No Windows desktop mode!? No!

No Windows desktop mode!? No!

Summary: The early look at Blue have some Windows experts thinking that Microsoft is getting ready to dump Windows 8's desktop mode once and for all in favor of Metro. No!


It comes as no surprise to anyone who reads my stories that I hate Windows 8's Metro interface. I'm not alone. Lots of people hate it. But instead of switching back to an Aero-style interface, perhaps the most respected technical Windows writer out there, blogger Paul Thurrott, looked at the leaked Windows Blue release and thinks Microsoft is planning on dumping Windows Desktop mode entirely. No!

Will Metro be Windows' only interface soon? Some experts think so.

I've thought all along that one way Microsoft could save Windows 8 from its current market malaise if it would make its desktop mode the primary interface instead of Metro.

That isn't what Thurrott sees happening though. In fact, he sees the exact opposite.

Thurrott wrote, "All the action in this build is in PC settings, and if you were looking for any further proof the desktop being eased out going forward, look no further than this. As noted in the previous report, there are a ton of new settings in there now, including many items that were previously only available in the desktop-based Control Panel interface. This is clearly an indication of how we get from here (Windows 8) to there (Windows 9, with potentially no desktop)." As further proof, he observed, "The default apps interface has been completely Metro-ized in this release."

Some observers, like ComputerWorld's Preston Gralla, agree with him: "There's a reasonable chance that Microsoft will finally get around to killing the Desktop in Windows 9," Gralla writes. "With Windows 8, Microsoft did its best to make the Desktop at best an afterthought, relegating it to a tile on the Start screen. Windows 8 has been built for touch and the horizontal orientation of a tablet, and the Desktop has no place in that world."

Others, such as Byte's Larry Seltzer, disagree: "Can anyone actually believe this? Earth to Paul: The Windows desktop is a major strength of the operating system, 'especially' as compared to the competition. There is an ocean of expertise and customized software out there on the Windows desktop, and Microsoft would never alienate these people."

I'd agree with Seltzer, except... well, Microsoft is already alienating those users. I know some Windows 8 PC users. The majority of them zoom past Metro and get to a normal Windows Desktop as fast as possible. If Thurrott is right, Windows users will be locked into Metro once and for all. That will fly as well as a lead brick.

One source close to Microsoft told me he can't see Microsoft dumping the desktop anytime soon. "There's the little, itty-bitty problem of hundreds of thousands of desktop applications that will take years, if not longer, to migrate to WinRT API-based apps. Just bringing Office alone to WinRT will be a Manhattan Project."

Of course, Microsoft does have one way around this problem: Move all its business apps to the cloud and make them software as a service (SaaS) apps. This fits in nicely with Ed Bott's vision of Microsoft's future as a cloud-based service provider with its own hardware line, Surface.

If moving its business applications to the cloud really is the plan, then Microsoft could indeed leave Windows 8's desktop mode behind. I wouldn't be happy about it, and I don't see that I'd ever like Metro, but a combination of cloud services and Windows-based devices with Metro interfaces could win for Microsoft.

It's beginning to look more and more like if you want a traditional desktop, you're going to need to use Linux. Who'd thought it? 

As a long-time desktop Linux user, that's fine by me, but I wonder if Windows users really want to follow me to Linux, or if they'd rather just have a working, Aero-style desktop instead of a cloud-based Metro device? I'd bet they'd really rather have their fine old desktop anyday. 

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Topics: Windows, Cloud, Enterprise Software, Linux, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Windows 8

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  • MS wants you all-in, or not at all

    Thus Linux is guaranteed to benefit by gaining more users, notably power users. Once in Linux, they'll discover the OS they should have been running for years. Everything MS does these days -- much like Apple -- stinks of desperation. They're constantly chasing last year's tech.
    • You are kidding right?

      "Once in Linux, they'll discover the OS they should have been running for years"

      It's not even April 1st.
      • I don't think he is kidding...unfortunately

        Over the past 4 or 5 years, I've tried Linux at least once a year.

        I love my tech and I like to try out as much software & hardware as possible to see if there's something better for me to use and you always get people banging on about just how good Linux is, so I always give it a try...then go back to Windows, then wait a while for the next great Linux release, give it a try...then go back to Windows.

        I don't know why, but I just do not like Linux at all.

        I'm happy with Windows 8 and with it's 'Modern UI' and Start screen, I even find the start screen a lot more powerful than the start button...however even I would probably be a little concerned if the Desktop disappeared completely.
        • You didn't let it sink in long enough...

          Last year I needed to upgrade my hard drive in my laptop, so I did, and decided to give Ubuntu a try for a full month. The first week was a little tough, because I didn't know where to find certain things that I had become accustomed to having in Windows (mainly third party stuff like screen shot capture, VoIP phone, Putty, etc.) I quickly learned that they were a short search away in the repository, and from then on they stayed up to date and all was good.

          But here's the thing that started to win me over pretty quick: When I couldn't quite figure out how to do something, it was a google search, PLUS COPY AND PASTE, and DONE. I put "copy and paste" in bold, because when I had difficulty finding certain things in windows, I'd have to follow a tutorial of screen shots, at least 3-5 steps long, to edit a registry setting, or find a hidden control panel setting. In Linux, you usually have about 3-5 lines of commands that you can just copy and paste into a terminal window, and DONE.

          At the end of my first month, I found that I was able to get more done with less hassle. I found that my machine didn't get slower as I added more services and programs. Granted, I do still have a VirtualBox loaded up with Windows 7 so I can support desktop users at the office, but for the most part I never need to leave Linux. So I've been using Ubuntu 12.04 for 10 months now, and I'm not looking back.
          Technical John
          • Good for you

            Good for you. I will keep using my Windows for my stuff. Regards.
          • lorenzosjb I'm with Technical John when he say's its easier to Use Ubuntu

            or Mint than it is to with Windows. I use a draw system and I keep a W-Xp, W-7 & W-8 to help friends when they need it. But I really enjoy starting with any Linux Distro in the Alpha stage and testing all the way till its finished.
            Over and Out
          • Why is it that

            when someone says they want to keep using Windows, people immediately post saying how easy Linux is. When they say that Windows fits their needs, people immediately make it clear how that person screwed up.

            Can't the Linux community let someone decide, for themselves, to use Windows? Is it that difficult?
          • That's exactly what I'm wondering..

            Can't they just stop making posts on articles that clearly do not concern Linux from any angle... I don't get it.. I really don't.. Are they that desperate for attention or is it just that Linux has a lot of ghost advertiser on its payroll..?
          • That's exactly what I'm wondering..

            It's clearly because we love Linux and feel sorry for WindoZe users.
            No Linux user gets paid for any advertising. Come on!
          • Why is it that

            Cynical99 here is why:

            Because WindoZe users think this is normal:

            1. Getting as many viruses and malware as you can.
            2. Spending many hours a month rebooting
            3. Doing mindless Defrag Monkey Business
            4. Staring at a WndoZe freeze up or lockup most every day
            5. Wating for updates and then having to reboot when finished
          • Good for you

            And your stuff is ?lorenzosjb

            let me guess..

            1. Getting as many viruses and malware as you can.
            2. Spending many hours a month rebooting
            3. Doing mindless Defrag Monkey Business
            4. Staring at a WndoZe freeze up or lockup most every day
            5. Wating for updates and then having to reboot when finished

            Yes I thought so.

            I've used Debian Linux since 2002 and never ever had to suffer from 1-5 above!

            Have fun wasting all your time instead of enjoying productivity lorenzosjb.
          • @ITJohnguru

            Buddy this is not 2002 :-)

            Try "WindoZe"(as you like to say) which was released within the last decade.
          • not looking back

            That's fine; it works for you. But it doesn't provide what's needed for most; not at all. As I said earlier.
          • What is "most"?

            There are casual computer users who just do web browsing, email, office stuff... all of that is easily done under Linux these days. Using a distro like Ubuntu, it's a quick and easy install for everything and driver support is as good as it can get. Now, admittedly games are still a weakness, though Wine gets better every day. But that's for PC gamers ... now, statistically speaking, what are "most" PC users?
            Robert Showalter
          • "Most" as in...

            98% of the desktop users out there.
          • Even Microsoft itself don't believe in myth of "1% Linux"


            Ballmer and guys of Redmont were estimating in 2009 that Mac got some 3-4% of desktop clients while Linux got some 4-5%.

            That 4-5% for Linux in non-mobiles is quite the average estimate most independent studies have claimed. I think it's near the truth.
          • That was for the benefit of the DOJ

            Was very convenient for Linux to have 4% for the DOJ to help Microsoft prove it wasn't a monopoly.
          • That was for the benefit of the DOJ

            Cynical99 so you just admitted that Mafiasoft aka Microsoft lied in court?

            Nice work. Balmer should be throwing a chair at you any minute now.

            I am aghast at your "I can have my cake and eat it too attitude"
            Like whatever spin plays up your shill trolling paycheck for your Redmond bosses!

            You have no brain do you?
          • 98%?

            Market Share. Curently, Windows ~ 70%, MAC
          • OOPS, Trackpad Error

            Mac ~ 14%, Linux ~ 10%, Other (This includes BSD Unix, BeOS clones, OS2, Amiga OS and even some DOS)% 1%. That means that Windows is really around 75%. Shipped OS is higher for Windows, but, it is the most replaced OS out there.