A long while ago I talked about how I planned on switching to using then-called “Metro” exclusively for a while – except for whenever I absolutely needed to use Windows 8’s desktop for productivity.

At the time, I had some success with this but kept finding that life was easier in the desktop.

Was this a fault of the new Start Screen UI? No, I believed it had to do more with limitations in the apps available for Windows 8. Now that the OS has been out for around two weeks, has this changed any?

There are now 13,000 apps for the Windows Store— so am I using the new UI more often or is the desktop still king?

I’m pleased to tell users that are on the fence about the new UI, that it does grow on you. Depending on your uses, you might find that you end up spending 50% or more of your time in the Start UI– at least this is about the amount of time I now spend in the new UI.

This is a major shift away from my old habits of basically spending only 5% or less of my time in the new UI (basically just using it to log in and then hitting the desktop button).

Every user is going to be different. How much you can really ‘rely’ on the new UI will depend on your usage profile. Here’s mine:

  • I play light and casual games.
  • I don’t bother with cable, I rely on Neflix and Hulu primarily.
  • While working I use TuneIn for my music needs in the background.
  • I use Microsoft Office for formatting some of my posts before putting them into WordPress.
  • I use Paint for basic image resizing and other stuff— yah my needs are basic for image editing.
  • I browse the net, do things like Facebook, Twitter, etc.

The only things that I really can’t rely on the new UI for are Paint and Office. Just about everything else I CAN do in the Start UI.

That being said, just because you can do it in the UI doesn’t mean the experience is BETTER than using the desktop.

I’ll be honest– I’m not sold on browsing within Windows 8 Start UI. Where I am impressed is things like Netflix, TuneIn and Hulu Plus. Since all my TVs are hooked up to streaming boxes and/or my main PC, I use the Hulu and Netflix apps a lot.

I think as a media and entertainment portal, Windows 8 Start UI is world’s better than Windows 8’s desktop and a traditional browser.

While I’ve enjoyed the speed upgrades in Windows 8 all along, I’ve been a skeptic about how useful this new-fangled UI is for desktop users. That skepticism is melting away.

Apps that act as quick portals to the web are useful, and somehow just seems easier and more intuitive than using a browser and bookmarks.

How about any of our readers? Have you upgraded to Windows 8? If so, how much time do you spend in the new UI, or does the desktop still get most of your attention?

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  1. i spend about 70% of my pc-time in the new ui. it’s pretty awesome once you know some cool tricks

  2. I use it a lot to be quiet honest. I use it for my mail, for my messenger, for my browser, for skype…Almost everything I guess. Except when I am playing games..Which it sends you to the Desktop mode. But I love having both modes anyway. And I love Windows 8 !!

  3. I use IE10 metro version actually. The bigger buttons and tabs are easier for me to see with my impaired vision. I completely switched from chrome to IE10 metro because of this. I also use lots of metro-style apps, except productivity ones, like Visual Studio 2012 Professional and Microsoft Office 2013, for which I use the desktop.

    The only time I use IE10 for the desktop is when I need a plug-in. I also use chrome to test sites on an alternative browser.

  4. I once heard the saying that Metro UI is like trying to mix a monster truck and a supercar at the same time. I thought the better analogy was that it is like having both vehicles in the same garage and Metro UI is a single key to use on both. I dont see people using both types of apps at the same time in normal circumstances. On a multi-screen system, however even that is a pleasure. On a single screen, it is all about what you are doing. If you just want to turn on the computer and do something quick Metro Apps are still quite useful, if you want to do alot of mutlitasking, desktop is supreme. I think people will figure out when and how to use the new system, and then they will look at the old OSes as being slightly disabled.

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