Microsoft Refocusing on Desktop with Windows 9
During the time I’ve spent with Windows 8, I’ve come to appreciate its quirks, and to understand what Microsoft was trying to do here. It’s an admirable attempt at blending keyboard and mouse-style user interfaces with the rise of touch-capable devices. But at the end of the day, the blend is unsuccessful, and using it usually feels like using two underdeveloped operating systems that have been mashed together. That’s why I’m happy about the recent reports claiming that Microsoft’s next version of Windows will bring the focus back to the desktop, where it belongs.
A post on ZDNet today says that Threshold – an OS-unifying initiative that might very well end up being Windows 9 – will start users at Desktop mode or Modern mode depending on the kind of machine they’re using. The post cites sources within Microsoft who say that desktop and laptop users will have a desktop-focused experience, where Modern mode will take a major backseat. Moreover, those users will enjoy a “Mini-Start menu,” which is described as “a new version of the traditional Microsoft Start menu.” Even better, there will be an option to run Modern/Metro Windows apps in actual windows through Desktop mode, something that users have been hoping for since Windows 8 first made the division between the two modes.
A post on Neowin corroborates these claims, going a step further and saying that Threshold will give users the option of toggling the Mini-Start Menu and the tiled Start Menu that’s currently on Windows 8 machines on and off. So if you’ve gotten used to the tiled menu, and actually like it, it’s there for you. Otherwise, you can shut it off and enjoy a more Windows 7-like experience.
Tablet and hybrid users will probably see the smallest amount of change from the current incarnations of Windows to whatever Threshold winds up being. That’s because the Modern and Desktop UIs are both valid input options, so it’s likely that if you’re using a Surface Pro and you upgrade to Threshold (or Windows 9, or whatever it’s called), you won’t see too many big changes right away.
But the good news is that the bigger focus on the desktop is a great sign that Microsoft is serious about keeping its core users happy. When Threshold comes out in Spring of 2015, don’t be surprised to see lots of Windows 7 holdouts finally migrating to Windows 9. Let’s hope that it works out as well as these posts make it sound.