Microsoft wants to steer us away from the familiar Windows 7-style Desktop interface with the Windows 8 update, called Windows 8.1. Details from a leaked video preview, found a couple weeks ago by The Verge, suggest Microsoft plans to do so by improving the Metro interface.*
Die-hard Desktop fans, lay down your pitchforks and extinguish your torches…for now. According to Mary Jo Foley writing for ZDNet, our beloved Desktop isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but Microsoft may do away with it in the long term by making Metro more functional. However, why go through the hassle of Metro if it’s going to be as functional as Desktop? The basic answer to that is Metro is faster, more stable and more secure than Desktop.
One major functionality improvement the update will bring us is the integration of Desktop’s Control Panel ** into Metro. This could resolve usability issues in apps such as Skype, which can only be opened in Metro, yet forces users to make intricate audio adjustments in Desktop.
Keeping in mind that this is Microsoft’s first Windows 8 update, we’re still not seeing any improvements to Windows 8′s split personality. Desktop fans will find that, even with shortcuts to certain apps in Desktop, they will still open via Metro. Forcing users to switch between Metro and Desktop to use certain apps causes frustration and confusion, resulting in unfavorable reactions and controversy towards Windows 8.
If you’re raising your pitchfork again, take a look at this to find out why Metro is, in essence, better than Windows 7/Desktop. Operating systems are written in computer code, and Desktop’s aging code has become too inefficient and unsecure to compete in today’s world. A replacement was inevitable and Microsoft is slowly making users transition to Metro so PCs can keep up with a more web-centric, app-based and virus-filled world.
For now, I’m sticking to my glorious Windows 7, but Microsoft is going in the right direction. I look forward to further Windows 8 updates which will undoubtedly entice me to switch over to the Metro side of things.
* Metro is the primary user-interface for WIndows 8, leaving the familiar Desktop interface for more intricate uses, such as file management and computer settings.
** That’s System Preferences for you Mac users.