So I recently have begun an experiment where I am forcing myself to keep within the Metro UI at least 75% of the time, doing all my browsing from the Metro version of EI, and even using Microsoft’s Online Word app for my writing needs.

I plan to keep up with this experiment for at least a week to see how I feel about Metro than (or if anything changes for me at all). While it has only been about a day, I have certainly noticed something that I don’t see changing for me anytime soon.

Metro is great. It’s nice looking and it takes out some of the complexity that comes from using the desktop. Unfortunately, I think that’s the problem for users like me. Metro works well, but it doesn’t offer something that I can’t already do perfectly fine on the desktop.

Of course I’m using a laptop, not a tablet, but that’s the point. MS is trying to get us to buy the idea that Metro is as good for desktop users as it is for the touch-screen crowd. If this were a tablet, than I’d say that the thing Metro can do better than desktop is work well with a none-keyboard/mouse setup.

This is the biggest thing Metro has going for it for power users. Unfortunately, until touch becomes wider spread on desktop PCs and laptops, this isn’t a factor for the x86 crowd.

For casual users, the idea of having a UI that makes things easier and isn’t nearly complex is wonderful. For many business and power users, though, we are used to the complexity and find its absence a little weird. Right clicking in Metro and its apps brings up few to no options, something that done in desktop brings up tons of different options, even in your browser.

So does this mean that Microsoft was foolish to try and push Metro on the desktop? Not at all. Casual users are a growing market, whereas I suspect the ‘power users’ that like complex old-school ways of getting things done are a largely dying breed that will be weeded out over the course of the next decade or so.

That being said, I really am starting to question why they didn’t just throw certain types of users a bone and allow a ‘start button/start menu’ option.

More than likely though, they didn’t do it because they are planning to eventually phase out the desktop altogether or at least severely lock it down in a nature similar to ARM, where it only runs one or two special apps but largely just processes resources and such in the background.

More than likely though, this transition will be gradual. Windows 9 will probably start the transition and maybe Windows 10 will complete it. Keep in mind this is only a theory.

That being said, if a start bar/start menu option existed that replaced Metro completely, would I use it? I don’t know. I like the idea of having Metro around for when I want to play around with it, and as apps become more widely available this will be even more true.

A perfect compromise for me would be if I could maybe hit a combo key (like Windows Key + W) and it would bring up the start menu instead of Metro, while just hitting the Windows Key would bring Metro.

In the long run though, I think having no start menu is going to be nothing more than a minor inconvenience for myself. At the same time, I really doubt I will ever spend more than 20-30% of my time within Metro (at least after this experiment).

This is actually a lot like how I treat my Kinect for the Xbox 360. When I use the Xbox, 80% of the time I am using the traditional console experience, but about 20% of the time I use Kinect. What about you? Is Metro ever going to be your ‘main’ UI or will you probably split your time 50/50?

Conversely, do you think Metro will likely just get a very small portion of your time, while most of it is spent in the traditional Windows desktop? Share your thoughts below.

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  • Vincent Haakmat

    I think Metro is just fine. I am a power user and developer and I tell you.. it’s grrrrrreat!!
    The WIN+X key is heaven sent… I hope this can be made extensible and i will (almost) never need to see explorer again. The fact that I can have my development tools and other apps pinned to the start screen is all I need to have this interface work for me. But what people need to realize is that the Start screen is an app by itself. you just type and search happens. I know this is a version 1.0 of the Metro interface, and just like Office 2007, Office 2010 cleaned up a lot after MS got enough user feedback. The same will happen to the Start screen. It is not going away, but if Office 15 is any indication, nothing is fixed in stone and can only be enhanced, but there is no return to the Start Orb. I see , for example, the option in the future, that if the system detects multiple monitors, that you can also indicate on which of the monitors you would have the program appear. Of course you have companies like Stardock who will try to resurrect the Start orb again, but this is futile and only lets old habits linger around longer than they have too. If Microsoft wants to take on Apple, it has to beat them at their own game. If touch is the future, beat them at it, if ultrabooks are the future, beat them at it also, and while at it, bring the servers, embedded systems and phones to that same kernel also, and you have a hands-down winner. Win8 as it is, has my blessings as a power user, and my greatest part in this is my feedback, not gripes…. Windows 8.. was my idea !….. 🙂

  • Noel18

    My store and control panel disappeared from start screen..Anyone has a similar error ?

    • Vincent Haakmat

      No, but just type the word store and you can pin it again, as does control panel

      • Noel18

        hmm is like disable or something not just “unpined ” from start menu…

  • Rex

    Serveral things, I think your theory that Microsoft Will eventually kill off the desktop is spot on.  I think it is throwing people a bone mixed with continuing backward compatibility with older software.  I would not be surprised in the future to see these older software to be bound in apps that can run from Metro

    Already I am looking toward the future nastalgicly when we dont have the intricacies that we had in the past.  But really do we use all those things or need them?  Who uses themes any more?  Back in windows 98 they were all the rage, now they just seem childish.