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Next Windows Release Could Mesh Metro Apps With Desktop

Although it appears that we may not see the beloved Start Menu until Windows 9 (if at all), at least Microsoft is making an effort to merge the desktop with the Start Screen. As seen with the release of Windows 8.1, customers can now use the same wallpaper image on the desktop and Start Screen background. Now leaked images show that Microsoft is taking the merge one step further in Windows 8.1 GDR1 (or Windows 8.1.1?).

Screenshots leaked by Russian website WZOR show the icon for the green Windows Store app firmly planted on the desktop taskbar next to the File Explorer icon. The shots also reveal a "Show Store apps on the taskbar" selectable option on the "Taskbar and Navigation" properties window. This gives customers the freedom to load the "Metro" apps from the desktop or keep the two interfaces separate.

This leak swings back to previous rumors reporting that "Metro" apps will be able to float in windowed mode, just like desktop applications. Unfortunately, the screens don't reveal whether "Metro" apps will actually run in windowed mode on the desktop, or if the taskbar shortcut takes the user back to the Start screen to load the app.

Running "Metro" apps on the desktop isn't slated to be a feature until Windows 9. So far we've seen two dates for that particular release: this fall around the same time Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 were released, or sometime in Spring 2015. Either date could be possible, although there has been more talk regarding the Spring 2015 release than the Fall 2014 rumor.

Windows 9, codenamed "Threshold," is rumored to be released alongside Windows Phone 9, the first major Xbox One update, and a unified store. By then, Windows RT is expected to be rolled up into Windows Phone, leaving Microsoft with one desktop platform, one mobile platform, and one console platform, all bound together by the same core components and services.

What's quite possible is that Windows 8.1 GDR 2 will appear this fall, preparing the platform for the "Threshold" Windows 9 update next spring. Right now all of this is speculation and rumor. However, the roadmap should become clearer once BUILD 2014 hits this April.

  • SuckRaven
    No.
    Reply
  • bee144
    This is fair. Metro apps are basically full screened versions of the desktops apps. What's not to like about eliminating the clutter when I really want to hone in on an app?
    Reply
  • g00b
    Lol. Man. The Apple hate is strong. I can mention the sky is blue, and someone will chime in something about Apple.Anyway. Microsoft. Just buy Stardock and get this over with. ModernMix + Start8. Until then, you are getting haters just like Apple.
    Reply
  • Morbus
    This is fair. Metro apps are basically full screened versions of the desktops apps. What's not to like about eliminating the clutter when I really want to hone in on an app?
    The Metro SOFTWARE itself. It's usually crap anyway. Microsoft should be getting rid of that nonsense, not bringing into the desktop.
    Reply
  • damianrobertjones
    There's NO SUCH thing as 'Metro' Software. How can so many supposedly technically aware posters constantly get it wrong? It's MODERN UI.
    Reply
  • mouse24
    I personally like this change alot. Turns the "modern" ui into just a huge obtrusive start menu. Its better than a huge obtrusive start screen with its own programs running in the background that you constantly forget about.
    Reply
  • Osmin
    I am glad that Microsoft is finally going in the right direction and hope that they bring back widgets, Aero like borders, scroll inactive background windows without popping them to the foreground, and the ability to have multiple desktops. The ability to get metro apps without logging into a Microsoft Account is also desirable. If the Calendar and Mail apps require a Microsoft Account, which are limited to 5 devices, then you need to create another email which loses the ability to sync your calendar. Only paid apps should require a Microsoft Account to limit the 5 device threshold. Therefore don't just settle for bringing back Windows 7 functionality and improve features. My desktop is fast enough to handle more than simple colored rectangular shapes.
    Reply
  • soldier44
    Just stop already, no amount of changes will make me switch to 8 or 8. whatever. Will wait for 9 in 2015.
    Reply
  • CaedenV
    I personally like this change alot. Turns the "modern" ui into just a huge obtrusive start menu. Its better than a huge obtrusive start screen with its own programs running in the background that you constantly forget about.
    Metro is a better name... and has less letters for our lazy fingers to type. What matters is that we all know what is being talked about.Personally I am stoked about the possibility of 'floating' metro apps. While most of them are junk, there are quite a few media players (especially radios) that I like better than their desktop or web counterparts, but snapping them or switching between them is too annoying to bother using them in the first place. Also, potentially useful apps like metro's Skype (and other large metro apps) hibernate like a phone app when not up on the screen, making them useless to use as a chat client while gaming. Hopefully putting them on the desktop would keep them active and usable.The real hope however is that this will eventually bring the ability to buy native desktop apps in the MS Store. This could bring a much more secure (and safer) purchasing option to less educated users in order to avoid downloading every virus under the sun while looking for such simple apps as VLC or other commonly downloaded desktop applicaitons.It seems like MS is moving to make their conferences (or at least their opening keynote) more about product launches than about developers. Good or not, my bet is that this means we will see a major update (8.1.2?) released in the fall, and win9 next year. But I suppose that is just empty speculation.
    Reply
  • edogawa
    I think this is how it should have been from the start. It would be nice to launch the netflix app in desktop mode for example without feeling restricted.

    Metro store should act like steam and just let you buy software and it automatically update. I do like the idea the idea that if a format is required Windows will download and reinstall applications and your computer automatically, plus settings. So login on Windows with Microsoft account and photoshop, ccleaner, foobar200, utorrent, steam, blender, vlc, or whatever automatically installs and acts like a desktop program(if those were on the store and acted like desktop programs).
    Reply