Windows 8 Metro interface Blues

The new version of Windows 8 — Blue — seems to be well under way, but it appears to be coming with the same old dreadful Metro interface.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

I've got a bad case of the Windows 8 Metro interface Blues. It looks like Microsoft will be releasing Windows Blue midyear, but the interface is going to be the same old Metro mess that's been giving its users the blues since day one.

Windows Blue: More of the same old Metro mess.
Image: WinBeta

What gives, Microsoft? Windows 8's acceptance on the desktop has fallen even behind Vista's lousy numbers. The biggest single reason for this is the Metro interface. Sure, Metro may be OK on a smartphone or tablet — although you sure couldn't tell it by the ice-cold reception that Windows 8 Phone and RT have found in the market — but it's awful on the desktop.

Call me crazy, but really Microsoft, would it kill you to add a Start button and make the Windows 8 desktop the default interface instead of Metro? It's not that hard. Heck, as David Gewirtz pointed out, it doesn't take that much to make Windows 8 look normal.

Even then, however, you can't really avoid the Metro morass. Take Matt Baxter-Reynolds' dad, who — after double-clicking on a photo in his desktop mail app — ended up dumped in the Metro-style photo viewer: Just an image in the middle of a full-screen gray window with no trace of the decades old windows, icon, menu, and pointer (WIMP) interface metaphor for a guide.

But is Microsoft fixing its busted interface? Nope.

Instead, if the leaked Blue release is the real thing, it looks like all we'll really be getting are resizable tiles and a snap view, which will enable two or more tiled apps to be on the display at the same time. Wow, resizable and multiple windows on the screen at once. What a great idea! Gosh, we haven't seen that since, oh, Windows 7.

If Microsoft really wants to save Windows 8 with Blue (or, as I'm starting to think of it, Windows 8 Second Edition ala Windows 98 Second Edition), they're going to need to do more than update its core apps and put some WIMP-style lipstick on the Metro pig. The fix Windows 8 really needs is to dump Metro and give Windows 8 an Aero-style interface , but Microsoft seems unwilling to change its course. Oh well, if it wants people to explore Google Chromebooks and stick with Windows 7, so be it.

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