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Is the desktop now just another app in Windows 8?

With the recent leaked screenshots of Windows 8, many have seen the changes to the desktop. One of the biggest changes was the fact that the Start button has been removed from the taskbar, and is now being used as a hover thumbnail. Why have Microsoft done this? It’s because the desktop is just another app.

Metro is the way forward in Windows 8, we all know this. Microsoft’s aim of the game is to create a unified user interface across all their products, and Metro is the UI chosen to do so. If you haven’t yet noticed, Apps will be available for Windows 8 from the official Windows Store.

Every Windows 8 app requires you to use the charm bar to return to the Metro start screen, every single app. The desktop in the Windows Developer Preview does not. The start button is still available for pressing at anytime, which would bring you back to the Start Screen. In recent Windows 8 builds, the start button is gone. Why? Because Microsoft wants the desktop to be treated just like any other app, available in its own space, but not part of the Start Screen.

Now, when in the desktop of the latest Windows 8 builds, you have to use the charm bar or ‘start thumbnail’ to return to the Start Screen, this has been done because Microsoft want every thing on the Start Screen to be an app, even if an app opens into another app, it is still outside the Start Screen.

For example, the Control Panel metro app has no start button, returning to the Start Screen requires you to load up the charm bar and hit ‘Start’. Why does the desktop get special treatment? It doesn’t. The desktop is just another app. Even if that app is used to achieve most tasks in Windows 8, it is still an app.

Although metro apps don’t include a start button, you can still achieve the same tasks by moving your cursor to the left bottom of the screen, where the start button would usually be. You can do this in any metro app, whether it’s a game or a word processing app. So the start function hasn’t really been removed, button is just gone.

The point of this post? To get the idea across that the desktop is going to be treated like an App, whether you like it or not. Now of course, this is just personal opinion and you are welcome to share your thoughts in the comments below.

How will consumers react to this change? Do they want to be using an all-app operating system similar to Apple’s iOS?

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