From The Forums: Check out a new Windows 8 desktop mockup

We have seen our share of third party alternatives to the "Modern" Start screen for Windows 8. Products like Start8, RetroUI and Pokki all offer up ways for users of Microsoft's latest operating system to access the desktop UI with elements of the new Start screen.

Now one of Neowin's forum members has posted up some mockups of his concept of a Windows 8 desktop that look really impressive, at least on the surface. Neowin member AmazingRando uploaded his mockups in the forums a few days ago.

As you can see, elements of the Start menu show up in this mockup of the desktop but it still allows for full access to Windows 8 apps as well as the desktop UI. In his post, AmazingRando says:

Any tile will have the ability to be 'Pinned to Start Menu', as shown here with the weather, Maps and Skydrive Apps. Any tile shown that are not pinned will be based on what is open or has been open. Mouse wheeling or finger sliding/flicking will spin thru this list of tiles (in this example it shows Desktop and Calendar) of all your currently running tiles.

He adds, "In the normal mode, the Start Menu will default at 4 or even 5 tiles high with the ability to adjust to go from one corner to the other. It will never get wider unless a search is done or you tap All Programs. Tapping "Apps" will take you to the Start Screen. Power and Settings buttons should be pretty obvious."

You may also see some tiles on the right of the desktop that look a bit like the Windows 7 desktop gadgets that Microsoft did away with for Windows 8. AmazingRando says, "They are simply live tiles that can be pinned to your desktop screen and are covered up by any windows just as in prior versions of Windows with gadgets."

Perhaps some enterprising software engineer might take a look at this concept and make it into a reality one day.

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I may not like it 100%, but it's a thought in the right direction for any dev that would like to build a desktop skin if MS exposes the APIs for it

ya for sure.

i had hopes they would do this on Longhorn and here we are with win 8 rtm
and its still locked down.
Why should we have to hack the system and compromise security to run a custom theme ?

And THAT right there is the back bone to my hate towards windows 8 !
Complete lack of options and an ever shrinking narrow direction chosen by M$.

Makes me think of why myself and other have used Rockbox firmware ?
Options.
Who actually defends taking away options ?
oh yeah.. windows 8 cheerleaders that's who lol

Now one of Neowin's forum members has posted up some mockups of his concept of a Windows 8 desktop that look really impressive, at least on the surface.

Can we see the images of the one that looks really impressive please? The one you have shown here is the one that looks amateurishly random in its construction. Try as I might, I genuinely can't find one good thing to say about it. Can you imagine how quickly that desktop would look like someone threw a pack of cards over it? Hideous.

For Windows 9
Bring two options for install:
1: Select tablet/Smart Phone Mode
2: Select Desktop Mode.
Tablet mode works like today.
Desktop Mode: The start menu opens from the desktop with taskbar.
Apps can run in full screen & window size (just like a normal program on the desktop)
Add Minimize, Maximize and Close buttons to apps.
Add an option to enable Areo Tranparent in Desktop Mode.

Look somehow intersting, but mostly useless. This may work for Desktop but not for tabelts - try to scroll for programs

I think instead of losing time on start screen, people should think about a new thème for the desktop. A thème more touch friendly, with larger taskbar larger ribbon button. And awesome : as on Office, it could be activated from a simple button on the Window bar.
What ? It's what Microsoft should have done for the OS release. Ohhh... Hey Microsoft, I'm ready to work !

Seriously, the problem is not more the start screen on the desktop than the desktop on a touch device... And even more.

Oh... interesting. Not really a good design but interesting, but... Again on the start menu ? Seriously ?

Wait, it could be a large pane with some live tiles... Or better : the start button could display a entire screen pane with Times... Ans it could be scrolled, awesome.

Oh wait... It's Windows 8 ! Maybe people will understand why and where start menu is gone now.

Wireless wookie said,
Oh... interesting. Not really a good design but interesting, but... Again on the start menu ? Seriously ?

Wait, it could be a large pane with some live tiles... Or better : the start button could display a entire screen pane with Times... Ans it could be scrolled, awesome.

Oh wait... It's Windows 8 ! Maybe people will understand why and where start menu is gone now.

I dont advocate the removal of the Start Screen. Just playing with ideas to merge the two for more desktop-centered users. During the course of the a typical day I think I see the Start Screen a total of 3 minutes. All of it is wasted on me.

This concept is awful. The creator did not think about the long term, and how this is even more cumbersome, especially when the entire screen is full of apps. It would look like just another cluttered desktop if that were the case, with icons strewn about.

WinMunkee said,
This concept is awful. The creator did not think about the long term, and how this is even more cumbersome, especially when the entire screen is full of apps. It would look like just another cluttered desktop if that were the case, with icons strewn about.

The concept would only allow tiles in the vertical plane shown as the "Start Menu" and not expand further from that in the horizontal plane. This menu would not suppress or remove the Start Screen but be a way to join more of the Start Screen functionality together with the Desktop. It also would only be visible when clicking on the Start button on this screen or on the Start Screen.

ShareShiz said,
Thanks for the quality news John.

/s


Thanks for not understanding the concept of 'From the forums' articles, ShareShiz

/s

Thanks everyone for the input (good and bad). This was just some random ideas knocking around in my head.

I've used Windows 8 preview, RC and now Pro. I run Windows 8 Pro at home on my HTPC (at the 10' Foot Experience distance) and use it 8 to 10 hours a day at work.

I was hesitant at first to use Windows 8 because I was afraid most of the time the Start Screen would be up on my screen. Day-to-day use has shown that I rarely if ever see the Start Screen. So my first goal was to get the usefulness of the Live tiles onto the desktop. The gadget idea seems like a no-brainer and I am kind of shocked Microsoft didnt go with it.

Then I realized that having about 25 different applications and windows open at any given time during the day covers most gadgets. I normally lay them each out very carefully to overlap themselves so I can quickly click from an active windows to an inactive one and do my task switching like that. So I thought it would be nice to have the addition of Live tiles on the Start Menu. So when it does pop-up you can still get a quick glance at the data while doing other tasks. This also allows the Start Menu to be more touch friendly for hybrid or touch only users who find themselves here.

The single "large" tile column of the Start Menu on my mock-up allows access to the Apps, the Live Tile update data and also doesnt consume desktop real estate. I envision their movement and animation to be exactly how they are on the Start Screen. Any non-pinned tiles will always be at the top of the column and scrolling your mouse wheel or flicking the screen with the Start Menu open would cycle through any open or recently used App with your 3 (or X) apps always shown at first when its opened. All pinned tiles would be on the bottom of the menu with no more than 50% of the menu's total allowable height consumed by pinned tiles.

With the active apps on this list it eliminates the need for the App Switcher from the top left-hand hot corner. And with a Start Button it eliminates the need for the bottom left-hand hot corner. By no means am I trying to cling to the past, or long for my free-wheeling Start button clicking heady days of my youth. I just think having a visual target for a user to access is much easier than a corner. Microsoft also felt the need to not get rid of the Start Button either as it's still on the charms bar and is the most prominent icon there (for your eyes and your thumbs).

Getting user's to understand that physical corners now are targets for your mouse cursor is a difficult task. It gets even more difficult when using 2 monitors and those are the corners that overlap. Like it or not, Microsoft did not remove the Start Button, they just made it smaller and removed the graphic for it. It's still sitting in the corner in about a 15x15 pixel spot that you click on to see an App Launcher (the Start Screen) and you can right-click on this invisible area to get access to the Control Panel, etc. The loss of the visual target just makes it harder for users.

I also think that the Start Screen thumbnail that opens up from the bottom corner should be entirely clickable and not disappear until you mouse away from the entire thumbnail. They gave the user a visual reaction but if they were only 2 pixels into the very small hot-area a small bump or hand shake and bam that thumbnail is gone. This "dead zone" is very problematic for the aged and/or handicapped as they do not have strong mouse accuracy as it is. Mousing into a corner also causes an issue as there is no feedback that you've reached the corner but visual feedback. Did the Start Screen thumbnail not open because I'm not in deep enough or is the computer running slow or frozen? If I right-click now will I get the Advanced menu or the Task Bar Properties menu? That "dead zone" to the left of your first pinned application is very confusing and difficult for most users to grasp. It also breaks the whole visual interaction construct that is the basis of modern computing.

So those were my main focal points on my initial ideas. This is simply a mock-up that was posted to the forums to get some feedback on so I could refine. For example, I should've flipped the Power and Settings buttons around that I didnt notice until someone pointed out that change. So thanks to everyone who is providing constructive feedback (positive and negative). I am planning on working on refining my images more and setup some basic animation tests to see it how it would actually look in real use.

And the "All Programs" list was just a slapped together way of showing how the menu might expand laterally to allow for finer results with text height and iconography. I really dont like the idea of the "All Programs" function here and was going to scrap it, but the icons below seemed to fit better as 4 icons instead of 3, so it stayed. This section would still be necessary for displaying search results, but I'd like to see them grouped and displayed a bit different and have been playing with some ideas.

Also thank you very much for posting this to the front page. I've been reading Neowin forever and this is a pretty neat honor.

jeez i thought i was the wall o' text king lol

don't take it personally people are jerks.
i'm not sure i like or dislike your idea
but i love teh concept of changing stuff up and making it different.
keep on doing what you want and have fun, don't let the jerks discourage you.

Oh and to everyone else..
M$ betterz bring bak Mah Startz menuZ !!11111111

Wow, some of the stuff you added was very intelligent and creative.

I would like to see you do some improvement on the implementation however. Hope to see some improved concepts in the forums.

All I want is an option to enable the taskbar in Metro ui. And (optionally) an option to run normal desktop apps in full screen mode by default making the difference between desktop and metro as small as possible.

SiLeNtDeAtH said,
Let. It. Go. Windows 8, as it is, is here to stay. You bitched. You moaned. You lost.

now you're just embarrassing yourself.

your gonna crucify the guy for customizing his ui ?
edit: *thinking of customizing the UI..
sad..
and nice attitude by the way

ok...if metro, modern, or whatever is the flavor of the week and people complain about it. then this is just plain horrible. as bad as it seems i think i'll stay with the above, instead of this horrible thing. it just hurts the eyes by looking at it

Why are people's "mock ups" of how they personally wished Windows 8 looked like news?!

Windows 8 is what it is! ...no "mock ups" are gonna change that!! - unless someone actually implements this design, a "mock up" of someone's "ideal" OS is not a front-page news story, Neowin!

It actually isn't as bad as others are saying, but I would take issue with a few UI concepts that just no longer belong and dismiss what Windows 8's Start Screen accomplishes.

For example: There should not be a menu to gain access to applications. I even disagree with Microsoft who also is still allowing this on the Windows 8 desktop, as you can add a toolbar of your programs folder in Windows 8.

Again this all goes back to what people perceive as different, and beyond displaying the Metro Tiles on the desktop Wallpaper, it is not really any different than what Windows 8 is already doing.

This is more about adjusting or shifting perception of working 'from' the desktop instead of working along side the desktop. In reality though, there is not really a difference.

Whoever worked this out, keep playing with the idea, you may gain a better understanding of Windows 8 and why it is like it is, and you may also find some new ideas that could be something that changes how people use Windows 9.

I dunno.. not a fan of the style itself but the concept is interesting. Instead of pinning a shortcut you're pinning a live tile instead, you get the functionality without sacrificing the classic start menu that some people are wanting to cling to. (Windows 7.5?) Don't like Modern apps then no biggie, just pin the standard stuff and off you go.. since this is all theoretical then there's a theoretical option to show the pinned items in the classic list. Not a fan of widgets cluttering up the desktop in general but it's also an interesting take.. pin the tile to the start menu or the desktop. A desktop tile on the start menu is kind of silly though as you're already there.

Having the tiles in that menu isn't particularly useful because so few can fit in. That would work better if it was a sidebar from top to bottom.

The tree menu also needs to die. There is absolutely no need to have generally anything but the application icon. Uninstallers are in control panel and any auxiliary apps could be accessed thru the main app or as control panel items.

The Apps/All programs division isn't useful either.

I think of it like this; if there was a start Screen menu button on the Native Desktop, then I would have a menu pop up that is fit for a larger Tile and either with the mouse or my finger, I can scroll up to see all my apps. The other good scenario would be that I can pinch to zoom to go to a group tile area for instance Photo or News. There is a program kind of like that, but it gives you the option to either have the menu cover the whole top or bottom of the desktop and you'd scroll from left to right. Even though that is a good idea, I don't believe people enjoy the left to right and are use to the up and down scrolling. I don't mind either since I'm adaptable to change and willing to try new things such as what Microsoft has integrated in the Modern UI.

Without been disrespectful to who ever created it, that defiantly doesn't work for me. I can't see the metro tiles ever working in a start menu personally.

I actually think this looks nice, for the desktop. The problem is, the Start Page isn't for the desktop environment, it's for touch/tablets and us usable on the desktop. This concept does nothing for touch tablet devices.

The desktop environment is necessary for now, but eventually on tablets it will go away. The Start Page is necessary, but not necessary to be on the desktop

I quite like it. Perhaps change the theme of the applications folder to be more inline with the Windows 8 theme, but I could get on with that very nicely. It could be the best of both worlds, offering a start menu for those that want it, and those that don't want it won't see it because they can use the Start Screen.

must be a slow news day for neowin for this abomination to make frontpage news.
well done to the dev for making some thing but imo its cluttered and breaks the flow of desktop use.

xSuRgEx said,
must be a slow news day for neowin for this abomination to make frontpage news.
well done to the dev for making some thing but imo its cluttered and breaks the flow of desktop use.

"From The Forums...." ...yeah, it probably should have stayed there(!)

No offense, but this doesn't look good at all :\

Decor8 did an excellent job in modifying the Metro start screen to make it resemble the desktop more. Makes it feel like a Mac-style gadget overlay.

Yah I love Decor8 right now. Love to have the ability to set use my own wallpaper.

Spartan Erik said,
No offense, but this doesn't look good at all :\

Decor8 did an excellent job in modifying the Metro start screen to make it resemble the desktop more. Makes it feel like a Mac-style gadget overlay.

The start button and menu is gone. Holy ****, deal with it already. The all programs listing in the pic above shows how archaic and 90's it really was. I was an avid Windows 8 basher for the longest time, but after using it as my primary OS I wouldn't go back to 7 ever. Sure it's got flaws, but it really is a transition OS from Microsoft and I'm sure 8.1/9 will continue this evolution into a more finished product, but there's nothing I did in 7 I couldn't do in 8.

lol... now this looks soooo complicated... I understand the ideas behind it but Microsoft already attempted to do widgets on the desktop screen and it failed horribly.. Every person I have shown windows 8 over the age of 40 is absolutely blown away at how beautiful it is and my GF's mom is even going to be trading in her mac to get the new UI.

my opinion is they should allow you to add more data to the homescreen if you want like the time, date, network info and so on.. because that would make a lot of people happy

Lachlan said,
lol... now this looks soooo complicated... I understand the ideas behind it but Microsoft already attempted to do widgets on the desktop screen and it failed horribly.. Every person I have shown windows 8 over the age of 40 is absolutely blown away at how beautiful it is and my GF's mom is even going to be trading in her mac to get the new UI.

my opinion is they should allow you to add more data to the homescreen if you want like the time, date, network info and so on.. because that would make a lot of people happy

This. None of my friends have said the current Win8 screen is bad. They either like it or are neutral about it. I installed it to my mom and ever since she keeps telling me how much she loves the new interface. Oh and my sis also wants it ASAP. My father doesn't count coz he doesn't use comps...

Lachlan said,
lol... now this looks soooo complicated... I understand the ideas behind it but Microsoft already attempted to do widgets on the desktop screen and it failed horribly.. Every person I have shown windows 8 over the age of 40 is absolutely blown away at how beautiful it is and my GF's mom is even going to be trading in her mac to get the new UI.

my opinion is they should allow you to add more data to the homescreen if you want like the time, date, network info and so on.. because that would make a lot of people happy

I guess it should be pointed out that I do not intend this to be a Start Screen replacement but simply a means to access the "metro" content from the Desktop without having the whole screen shifted back to the Start Screen.

I love the Start Screen and the new App interface and methodology, however it gets a little clumsy when you're working from the desktop and flip in and out of it for random things.

Colin McGregor said,
Disgusting. Whoever though this was a good idea should feel bad about themselves.

You're mean. Also, I lol'd IRL.

Colin McGregor said,
Disgusting. Whoever though this was a good idea should feel bad about themselves.

Yo, dawg I herd u like the desktop so we but the desktop on ur desktop so you can access ur desktop from the desktop.

A desktop tile on the desktop ? I see why 'u mad bro'

sagum said,

Yo, dawg I herd u like the desktop so we but the desktop on ur desktop so you can access ur desktop from the desktop.

A desktop tile on the desktop ? I see why 'u mad bro'

It was just a sample tile I used so you could get the sense that the tiles were dynamic and reactive (note: it matches the current wallpaper as it works now in Win8). It's at the top on this screen because it was the most recent accessed "app". This Start Button and stacked menu would also be accessible from the Start Screen so it would require the Desktop tile to show up, however in reality the Desktop tile would be suppressed from this list if you were already on the desktop.