Microsoft to bring 'Metro' look to Windows 8 with 'Aero lite' theme

Windows 8 will bring many things to the table with regards to new functionality and visual styles. While this is great for everyone with a modern machine, Microsoft does not want to leave out those with hardware that is not up to spec for the new visual cues. 

A lot of information has been leaked on Twitter today, including a screenshot showing the file structure for a new visual theme 'Aero lite". The screenshot comes courtesy of @AngelWZR who states that "generally, Windows 8 [aero lite] theme looks a lot like Metro UI in some parts. It's very flat, as I can say looking to resources from it".

It shouldn't come as a major surprise that Microsoft will bring the 'Metro' look to Windows 8 as the company has been displaying that visual style on several of its interfaces. The 'Metro' look is set to become a staple of Microsoft products as they continue to build a brand around that visual style to help differentiate their products.

Since M2 has been completed and M3 builds have been produced, more users have gotten their hands on the platform. With more users having the platform, the likelihood of leaks grows exponentially which could lead to a full build leak in the near future.  

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Office 15 images leak out [Update] video and more images added

Next Story

Microsoft Office 15 gets reviewed, 20 pictures leak

76 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

The Metro UI is one of MS bests UI designs, I hope they push that UI everywhere. This UI can compete with anything anyone else offers.

Almost sounds like they will be changing the Basic theme from its ugly blue color to a metro white color and calling it aero lite

wv@gt said,
Almost sounds like they will be changing the Basic theme from its ugly blue color to a metro white color and calling it aero lite

Which would make sense to me I just hope it looks as nice as the current Zune software; if it does, I'll probably use that

I just hope they do something about font scaling. It's ridiculous having to squint at text on today's high resolution monitors, and adjusting the DPI setup they have right now is a horrible kludge that doesn't help all that much in many programs (and I just want bigger text, not gigantic icons and toolbars).

I'm not trying to pee on everyone's parade, but what has this screenshot proven?
I understand that it's quite probably that Microsoft will integrate some new UI into the next version of Windows, but this screenshot doesn't convince me of anything- other than that someone applied the leaked Win8 wallpaper and put a file called aerolite.msstyles into that folder.

I'm disappointed in the amount of unverifiable content that's now being eaten up on sites like this.

P.S. Where is the "Up" button?

+ 1, plus even if this is true information, he says "looks a lot like Metro UI in SOME parts" - not that the whole thing is entirely Metro inspired. (And it still bugs me that people says "Metro UI" which is incorrect terminology @__@)

And considering he's basing this by looking just at the resource files, not from actually seeing the theme in action (going by his post), and saying it looks "Flat", that doesn't really allude to anything more "Metro-like" than the current, flat, Aero basic theme.

Which of course does not look anything like anything Metro.

Ci7 said,
aero basic replacement ?

Makes some sense. The metro UI is very clean and lightweight - exactly what Aero basic ( and traditional classic theme) aim to be. I can easily foresee Aero and Metro being the UI's in W8.

Ci7 said,
aero basic replacement ?

Since Aero Basic is about 80% of the resources in Aero.msstyles (with a few overrides for when composition is enabled) I would say it's not a replacement but an addition. It could change in the future but I don't see why they would create a separate msstyles for it.

Panda X said,

Since Aero Basic is about 80% of the resources in Aero.msstyles (with a few overrides for when composition is enabled) I would say it's not a replacement but an addition. It could change in the future but I don't see why they would create a separate msstyles for it.

ah i was thinking of windows classic theme

Ci7 said,

ah i was thinking of windows classic theme

I think that would be a good idea. Windows Classic doesn't really look all that well in Vista and 7 and this would be more fitting.

"Clearance: In word15 video, my system was Windows 7 and MS Word window is not transparent because Office Starter version "

Metro UI is fine as long as they don't insist in cutting everything off. I have files and mp3s with long titles that's get cut off on my windows phone. It is worse when you have a series where the only way to tell them apart is the episode number that gets cut off.

Einlander said,
Metro UI is fine as long as they don't insist in cutting everything off. I have files and mp3s with long titles that's get cut off on my windows phone. It is worse when you have a series where the only way to tell them apart is the episode number that gets cut off.

They;ll handle it the same wasy they do on the desktop version of Zune - by using normal UI conventios like scrolls bars . Just because it says "Metro-like", if this is true, it's far more liekly to look closer to the Zune desktop clients general styling than closer to Metro on Windows Phone 7.

zikalify said,
How is the theme in the screenshot metro? it looks like plain old aero to me...

Leonick said,
Maybe you should remove that image from the article before we get a 100 comments on how it looks just like aero (which that is) and nothing like metro

DaveGreen said,
I think that "aerolite" maybe the tablet touch UI version of Windows MS announced for ARM devices previously.
Then why does the screenshot have both? It's obviously a secondary (possibly primary, default option if you're on a tablet/touch device) theme.

.Neo said,

It's awesome at wasting screen estate, yes.

how? where? it's generally not bigger than the usual non-glass titlebar

XerXis said,

how? where? it's generally not bigger than the usual non-glass titlebar

The fat borders, empty title bars, huge toolbars all over. I'll try to find a screen shot I made once comparing a Windows Explorer window to a Finder window.

3rd impact said,

are you still using 13" crt?


No I have a 27-inch screen with a native resolution of 2560 x 1440. However for netbooks screen estate is still a concern.

.Neo said,

The fat borders, empty title bars, huge toolbars all over. I'll try to find a screen shot I made once comparing a Windows Explorer window to a Finder window.


No I have a 27-inch screen with a native resolution of 2560 x 1440. However for netbooks screen estate is still a concern.

you do that, after that do the same for ie9 and safari

XerXis said,
you do that, after that do the same for ie9 and safari

Safari isn't the only browser running on Mac OS X you know. Next to that when I'm using Internet Explorer 9 I use it with the tabs on their proper spot. Looks like they deleted the Mac customization forum posts while reordering everything. Can't find anything back.

.Neo said,

The fat borders, empty title bars, huge toolbars all over. I'll try to find a screen shot I made once comparing a Windows Explorer window to a Finder window..

You can set the borders to basically nothing, but other wise, empty title bars & huge toolbars are in no way a result of using glass. That's Microsoft's own design choices, and the Aero basic / non glass / non DWM has pretty similar space usage.

~Johnny said,
You can set the borders to basically nothing, but other wise, empty title bars & huge toolbars are in no way a result of using glass. That's Microsoft's own design choices, and the Aero basic / non glass / non DWM has pretty similar space usage.

Yeah I was talking about Windows Aero as a whole. I know you can reduce the borders but the window corners will start look weird.

Azies said,
**** yes, Finally, a non-glass DWM theme from Microsoft.

Un-Select "Enable Transparency" - No more Glass, still can change colors and still get all DWM benefits...

.Neo said,

The fat borders, empty title bars, huge toolbars all over. I'll try to find a screen shot I made once comparing a Windows Explorer window to a Finder window.


No I have a 27-inch screen with a native resolution of 2560 x 1440. However for netbooks screen estate is still a concern.

You do realize you can change the sizes of all these things? Which kind of makes your whole point a bit moot.

Even people that complain the title bar buttons are not big enough on a touch screen (even by tech people reviewing the device), they should just slide the size up a bit. (Since the buttons can be several hundred pixels high if ya really want.)

This kind of stuff makes me wonder if anyone actually uses their computer, or are just trolling and never use Windows.

In your examples, reduce the Title bar font size, reduce the title bar size, reduce the menu font size, and each thing you mention can be freakishly tiny...

somethingelse said,

I <3 Glass

+1 My request for MS is to improve graphics of the UI. For some reason, Explorer window Back and Forward button looks pixelated.

fehuris said,

+1 My request for MS is to improve graphics of the UI. For some reason, Explorer window Back and Forward button looks pixelated.


The rounded corners on the windows look pixelated on w7 too, the vista ones looked nicer.

ShadowPHP said,
Would it not be 'Aero Lite' but they just didn't want to use a space in the filename?
Just a thought!

I think Microsoft just prefers having filenames not more than 8 characters.

Abhinav Kumar said,

I think Microsoft just prefers having filenames not more than 8 characters.
While probably true in retrospective view, I sense you are digging an insult based on the idea that MS is going to try and make everything octo-related. I.e. the 8 minute install coincidence..

Maybe you should remove that image from the article before we get a 100 comments on how it looks just like aero (which that is) and nothing like metro

Gross. Wasn't metro designed to be a touch interface anyways? Unless 8 is going to be for tablets I can see this going horribly wrong.

Lexcyn said,
Gross. Wasn't metro designed to be a touch interface anyways? Unless 8 is going to be for tablets I can see this going horribly wrong.
Metro is a design language or something...not a UI. So you aren't going to see a WP7 UI on Windows 8.

Lexcyn said,
Gross. Wasn't metro designed to be a touch interface anyways? Unless 8 is going to be for tablets I can see this going horribly wrong.

Windows 8 is going to be for tablets. That's virtually all that's been confirmed, & not just rumors.

MASTER260 said,

Windows 8 is going to be for tablets. That's virtually all that's been confirmed, & not just rumors.

And desktops.

Lexcyn said,
Gross. Wasn't metro designed to be a touch interface anyways? Unless 8 is going to be for tablets I can see this going horribly wrong.

Metro was a design language created especially for Windows Phone 7... that took elements from several places, including Microsoft's work on desktop software like the Zune Client & Windows Media centre. Though Metro itself was specifically targeted for Windows Phone 7, seeing as a lot of it's original concepts are from elsewhere it's pretty easy to apply them to any platform.

Lexcyn said,
Gross. Wasn't metro designed to be a touch interface anyways? Unless 8 is going to be for tablets I can see this going horribly wrong.
That's why it's a separate theme and obviously entirely optional. Maybe Aero is default on desktops and laptops, while Lite is default on touch devices/tablets.
~Johnny said,
Metro was a design language created especially for Windows Phone 7...
False. Metro UI existed in Zune Marketplace and the Zune HD long before WP7. Thus, I do not believe it was "created especially for Windows Phone 7."

L1ke 20 N1njas said,
Metro UI existed in Zune Marketplace and the Zune HD long before WP7. Thus, I do not believe it was "created especially for Windows Phone 7."

Metro goes back to WindowsXP Media Center edition and other UI work on the XBox.

The concept was a simple interface that could be used with limited input funcationality and easy to read quickly at small sizes.

Windows Media Center can be fully operated with a 6 button remote control and can be viewed and operated easily from across the room where the disply 'looks' smaller than sitting in front of a computer.


L1ke 20 N1njas said,
That's why it's a separate theme and obviously entirely optional. Maybe Aero is default on desktops and laptops, while Lite is default on touch devices/tablets.
False. Metro UI existed in Zune Marketplace and the Zune HD long before WP7. Thus, I do not believe it was "created especially for Windows Phone 7."


Metro WAS created for Windows Phone 7. It is a codename given especially to the design language used in Windows Phone 7 by the Windows Phone design team. That'll also be why no-one has ever heard the name "Metro" before Windows Phone 7 - it was designed especially for it. It borrows heavily from the concepts of Zune, Zune HD & WIndows Media Centre, but the Metro Design Language is actually specifically designed for Windows Phone 7.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metro_Design_Language
http://download.microsoft.com/...%20-%20Codename%20Metro.PDF
http://windowsteamblog.com/win...-amp-interaction-guide.aspx

A few places to learn more - Microsoft have never, ever applied the term "Metro" anywhere else, apart from Windows Phone 7

~Johnny said,


Metro WAS created for Windows Phone 7. It is a codename given especially to the design language used in Windows Phone 7 by the Windows Phone design team. That'll also be why no-one has ever heard the name "Metro" before Windows Phone 7 - it was designed especially for it. It borrows heavily from the concepts of Zune, Zune HD & WIndows Media Centre, but the Metro Design Language is actually specifically designed for Windows Phone 7.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metro_Design_Language
http://download.microsoft.com/...%20-%20Codename%20Metro.PDF
http://windowsteamblog.com/win...-amp-interaction-guide.aspx

A few places to learn more - Microsoft have never, ever applied the term "Metro" anywhere else, apart from Windows Phone 7

while this is true, I clearly remember an interview (on Channel 9 or something) with Joe Belfiore (right?), who explained how hints of metro are found in Media Center (just to name one)

http://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs...hone-7-Series-Hands-on-Demo

~2:25 : «There's a new visual design we codenamed "Metro", and Metro actually has its roots in Windows, actually (sic). Media Center on Windows was the first place where we did this typographically-intense high-motion UI, then it moved to Zune, there is X-box dashboard has a little hint of Metro in it and now you'll see it on Windows Phone; we want all those products to feel like a family»

Utopian said,

while this is true, I clearly remember an interview (on Channel 9 or something) with Joe Belfiore (right?), who explained how hints of metro are found in Media Center (just to name one)

Yep, like I said it borrows concepts from Zune & Media Centre, but they weren't based on Metro - Metro is based partly on them, partly on new ideas (Zube & Media Centre were both designed by the same UX teams from what I recall). Metro is based partly on them, partly on new ideas - and it was defined and fleshed out during the Windows Phone development, with Windows Phone specifically in mind.

They haven't tried to backport any of the Windows Phone stylings to the desktop, they're just continuing to follow the styles of Zune & Media Centre more closely, rather than Metro's variation of it.