Microsoft talks about having two user interfaces for Windows 8

Microsoft continues to update its official Windows 8 developer blog with new entries about its upcoming next version of its Windows operating system. Today's newest blog entry takes a closer look at Windows 8's user interface, or rather its two user interfaces. The most talked about part of the new UI is called "Metro" which is the highly graphical design that is pictured above and is made to be used primarily for touch screens devices. Microsoft also has the more traditional PC-based user interface that will be more familiar to previous Windows users when they check out their files and folders.

But why have both kinds for this one operating system? According to Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky, "Having both of user interfaces together harmoniously is an important part of Windows 8." One of the reasons for having two kinds of UI is the success of Windows 7. Sinofsky says, "Hundreds of millions of people rely on the Windows 7 UI and existing Windows apps and devices every day, and would value (and expect) us to bring forward aspects of that experience to their next PCs."

While there is an argument to be made to start completely over and launch Windows 8 with just the graphical Metro UI, Microsoft decided against that. Sinofsky says, "We chose to take the approach of building a design without compromise. A design that truly affords you the best of the two worlds we see today. Our perspective rests on the foundation of the open PC architecture that has proven flexible and adaptable over many significant changes in hardware capabilities and software paradigms.  This is the flexibility that has served as a cornerstone through transitions in user interface, connectivity, programming models, and hardware capabilities (to name a few)."

He adds, "If you want to, you can seamlessly switch between Metro style apps and the improved Windows desktop. Existing apps, devices, and tools all remain and are improved in Windows 8. On the other hand, if you prefer to immerse yourself in only Metro style apps (and platform) and the new user experience, you can do that as well!"

More information on Windows 8 is expected to be revealed at Microsoft BUILD Conference in Anaheim, California in mid-September.

Image via Microsoft

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I have a feeling what we'll find is that while ALL apps will still run, most apps that people install outside of the enterprise, will be off of the app store, and metro-style.

At least I pray!

"Having both of user interfaces together harmoniously is an important part of Windows 8" - why for gods sake they cant talk like normal people, but continuously use marketing bs...

insanelyapple said,
"Having both of user interfaces together harmoniously is an important part of Windows 8" - why for gods sake they cant talk like normal people, but continuously use marketing bs...

It's not "marketing bs", it's called speaking professionally. You'd rather they talk like a 10 year old?

funkydude said,

It's not "marketing bs", it's called speaking professionally. You'd rather they talk like a 10 year old?

This whole English lark - It confuses some people.

This W8 will be the rebirth of hybrid devices. I like, what Microsoft says, that this won't a compromise on either side.

FMH said,
This W8 will be the rebirth of hybrid devices. I like, what Microsoft says, that this won't a compromise on either side.

And this is exactly what we need. Tablet (smartphone OS) devices are useless 99% of the time. I picked up an HP TouchPad because it was so cheap and I haven't touched it in days. There is not a single thing it can do (that I use or know about) that my laptop or my smartphone don't do better.


My laptop is a convertible tablet (HP 2740p) and even with the sloppy touch controls, it has a pretty huge advantage: The taskbar at the bottom. One click and I switch between programs. On my TouchPad I have to click the button, slide the cards back and forth to get to the one I want, and then click it.

mrp04 said,

And this is exactly what we need. Tablet (smartphone OS) devices are useless 99% of the time. I picked up an HP TouchPad because it was so cheap and I haven't touched it in days. There is not a single thing it can do (that I use or know about) that my laptop or my smartphone don't do better.


My laptop is a convertible tablet (HP 2740p) and even with the sloppy touch controls, it has a pretty huge advantage: The taskbar at the bottom. One click and I switch between programs. On my TouchPad I have to click the button, slide the cards back and forth to get to the one I want, and then click it.

I am glad there is still someone who understand what 'Tablet", a real one as envisioned by Bill Gates in 2001, is!!!
Al these iPad and clones are useless for me; I am hanging to my old Toshiba M400 convertible until newer, more modern, devices of the same kind will appear.

What I want and need is a device that replace my laptop and a convertible does it, an iPad does not.

The blog post doesn't tell us anything new, but it's reassuring that Microsoft know what they're doing. They understand everyone's concerns, so I think they've really thought this through.

ThePitt said,
thats nice but no thanks... Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0 stay away from me

Why? At least you can run it for Windows 7 free!

Did anyone actually expect only the Metro interface? Even after MS showed it will be switchable this summer?

Nice that they explained their reasoning though, although this isn't really news.

x-byte said,
Did anyone actually expect only the Metro interface? Even after MS showed it will be switchable this summer?

Nice that they explained their reasoning though, although this isn't really news.

No, it's just his elaboration, to what he had already said at D9.

Sounds like a mess to me. At least hope it is possible to use Metro UI exclusively, without having to switch to the regular desktop. Otherwise I'll just stick with Windows 7 and see what Windows 9 brings. See no point in paying a fortune for what eventually amounts to a glorified start menu (which is the impression they are starting to give me).

If they are going to make a new UI they need to stick with it. Microsoft's biggest problem since as far back as I can remember has been consistency!

Fourjays said,
Sounds like a mess to me. At least hope it is possible to use Metro UI exclusively, without having to switch to the regular desktop. Otherwise I'll just stick with Windows 7 and see what Windows 9 brings. See no point in paying a fortune for what eventually amounts to a glorified start menu (which is the impression they are starting to give me).

If they are going to make a new UI they need to stick with it. Microsoft's biggest problem since as far back as I can remember has been consistency!


How can it be a glorified Start Menu when it actually runs apps (the Immersive ones)?. That's just like saying the old Desktop mode is a glorified Start Menu. The Immersive experience is a whole new Windows; it is nothing like a Start Menu.

The new UI is great for lots of scenarios like tablets, notebooks, or even some desktops. I will love it on my eee slate, where I set everything to maximize by default anyhow, and wish all the buttons were three times bigger. Plus, all that graphics horsepower can more smoothly do things like scale a webpage in continuous increments. My mom will also love it because it's a lot simpler.

The new UI with full screen/tiled window motif does NOT work for those of us that rely on large, high-resolution monitors, or that have multiple large monitors. If I have even one 27" or 30" monitor, the last thing I want is a web browser or word processor to take up the entire screen, half a screen, or even the entire screen height. I do not want gigantic text, nor do I want tons of whitespace -- I want... you know, adjustable windows

And by the way, adjustable windows is great for mouse, and horrible for finger.

So yes, 1 OS, 2 UI is perfect -- technically THREE UIs, the third being the minimalist, low resource, RDP friendly Windows NT skin.

Talys said,

So yes, 1 OS, 2 UI is perfect -- technically THREE UIs, the third being the minimalist, low resource, RDP friendly Windows NT skin.

Three UI's, yes, that will be great, If three UI's is the right way to go then maybe 4 or 5 UI's will be even better?

They always planned on having both interfaces. I don't quite understand why they were misleading people into thinking there was only going to be the Metro style UI, I mean it would be everyone having to go back to Windows 3.1
The Metro UI is more for tablets and small devices where the hardware isn't going to need all the eye candy and features of a full interface so it only makes sense to have both.

"We chose to take the approach of building a design without compromise. A design that truly affords you the best of the two worlds we see today."

Isn't that essentially the ultimate compromise: building two entirely different user interfaces for what will ultimately do the same things?

While I understand the reasoning (the tablet UI would be rubbish for non-tablet stuff) I do feel that having two so vastly different UIs will mean a product that doesn't know whether it's a bird or a fish. The user will most likely have to change between the two based on programs they use and the end result will look like a mess. I really hope they theme the Metro UI to more closely match the old Windows UI so they will fit together better.

I do really hope they can get developers on board. We've suffered too long with the idiotic and ****ty UIs that date back to Win9x. I wish MS would drop legacy support and simply offer that in an XP mode for those that need it and require fully Win7 native apps otherwise, especially in the upcoming app store.

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