Stardock reveals ModernMix: Run and resize Modern Windows 8 apps on the desktop

How, where, what? This is possible? Yes, it is

Last week, Stardock teased us with an announcement of a new Windows 8 product in the vein of its popular Start8 Start menu program and its Decor8 Windows 8 Start screen wallpaper customizer. Today, the company has revealed that the third Windows 8-related program it has been working on is called ModernMix. Basically, its designed to truly fuse the Windows 8 Modern apps with the familiar desktop interface.

Basically, ModernMix allows Windows 8 owners to run all of the Modern apps such as Netflix, Xbox Music and more on the desktop, along with the ability to resize those apps in a window. You can even pre-set the Modern app window sizes so they stay the same size every time you launch the app. You can also pin the Modern apps on the desktop taskbar for a quick launch. Finally, the Modern apps running under ModernMix have minimal, maximum and close buttons on top, just like regular desktop Windows programs.

How, where, what? NM, see the above pic caption.

Stardock is releasing a public beta version of ModernMix for $4.99 and it can be used together with Startdock's previously released Start8 Start menu program. You can also download a free 30 day trial of the program. You can find out more information about ModernMix in a blog post written by Stardock CEO Brad Wardell.

Disclaimer: Please read this FAQ on Stardock's relationship to Neowin

Source: ModernMix

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I hope this sells like hotcakes, if only to show Microsoft how things should work in Windows 8. I hope Microsoft is using their telemetry data right now to count how many desktop users are relying on these hacks and add-ons just to get back the productivity they had with previous versions of Windows, learn the ****ing lesson, and give us something amenable to business use in the next major release (if there ever is a next major release).

Been using it since yesterday. WOW. Metro apps are leveled up to another category! You don't know how comfy is to use OneNote, News, Smartglass, Video, and Music running windowed!

Plus, the big big big big big plus, which is that there is no limit of metro apps running AT THE SAME TIME.

Thanks

LOL, Stardock should rename its Windows 8 application suite "The Finger", cause that's what they're giving Microsoft and I'm damned pleased about it!

First thing that came to mind: 'Jeez.... another start menu attempt thingy...."

Other stuff that comes to mind:
- Is this hacking the RT security sandbox? If so, no go....
- What about battery life now your Metro apps run on the 'power hungry' desktop?

I sometimes can understand what people try to do with solutions like this, but most of the time this all is just plain silly.

The only constant is change, deal with it.

Dutchie64 said,
First thing that came to mind: 'Jeez.... another start menu attempt thingy...."

Other stuff that comes to mind:
- Is this hacking the RT security sandbox? If so, no go....
- What about battery life now your Metro apps run on the 'power hungry' desktop?

I sometimes can understand what people try to do with solutions like this, but most of the time this all is just plain silly.

The only constant is change, deal with it.


I am not sure why a start menu came to mind when this product has nothing to do with start menus.

If you use this on a tablet will it use more power? Well having the desktop launched even once will up the power usage slightly so by definition that will be the case. Of course the target market is people who want to use the desktop and many of them will have mains powered desktop machines.

As for the RT sandbox, this remains as secure / insecure as it was before.

I wasn't expecting to like this since I'm mostly happy with Windows 8 as it is and don't see the need for stuff like emulating old versions of the start menu, but it's actually pretty sweet. You can set it up so WinStore apps run fullscreen like normal, but with the ability to basically turn the app into a desktop app (and back again) with a simple keystroke or GUI button press, which feels surprisingly quick and natural. This is ideal for me because again I'm happy with the default behavior *most* of the time (on my laptop), but occasionally hit a situation where I want to see something else at the same time and the snap view doesn't show what I'm interested in.

My biggest issue - which tbh is kind of a dealbreaker in terms of my buying this and keeping it installed, but since it's a beta maybe it'll be changed/fixed (or made optional to the extent it's intentional) by release - is that the recent apps thumbnail list on the left is (IMO) basically broken by this. It borks the switching animation (which I find makes the system feel smoother and doesn't slow anything down significantly, plus the non-animation here adds some weird flicker as well), and WinStore apps running in "desktop mode" still appear in the thumbnail list and switch to the app on the desktop, which I find disconcerting.

Basically, what I'd personally prefer is that apps running in "new UI mode" should behave and be treated by the system exactly as WinStore apps are now (so they should suspend/resume, be shown in the thumbnail list, but NOT be shown on the taskbar, etc.) and WinStore apps running in "desktop mode" should as much as possible behave and be treated exactly as desktop apps are now (so they should , be shown in the taskbar, but NOT suspend/resume, NOT be shown in the thumbnail list, etc.). I know some people like the idea of having a unified taskbar but I actually like having apps that suspend/resume be off to the left as it clears up the taskbar for more pinned desktop apps. I also think it makes sense for apps with completely different lifecycle mechanisms to have different UI for managing their lifecycles. If not for this issue I'd definitely pay the $5 for this otherwise very cool mod.

contextfree said,
I wasn't expecting to like this since I'm mostly happy with Windows 8 as it is and don't see the need for stuff like emulating old versions of the start menu, but it's actually pretty sweet. You can set it up so WinStore apps run fullscreen like normal, but with the ability to basically turn the app into a desktop app (and back again) with a simple keystroke or GUI button press, which feels surprisingly quick and natural. This is ideal for me because again I'm happy with the default behavior *most* of the time (on my laptop), but occasionally hit a situation where I want to see something else at the same time and the snap view doesn't show what I'm interested in.

My biggest issue - which tbh is kind of a dealbreaker in terms of my buying this and keeping it installed, but since it's a beta maybe it'll be changed/fixed (or made optional to the extent it's intentional) by release - is that the recent apps thumbnail list on the left is (IMO) basically broken by this. It borks the switching animation (which I find makes the system feel smoother and doesn't slow anything down significantly, plus the non-animation here adds some weird flicker as well), and WinStore apps running in "desktop mode" still appear in the thumbnail list and switch to the app on the desktop, which I find disconcerting.

Basically, what I'd personally prefer is that apps running in "new UI mode" should behave and be treated by the system exactly as WinStore apps are now (so they should suspend/resume, be shown in the thumbnail list, but NOT be shown on the taskbar, etc.) and WinStore apps running in "desktop mode" should as much as possible behave and be treated exactly as desktop apps are now (so they should , be shown in the taskbar, but NOT suspend/resume, NOT be shown in the thumbnail list, etc.). I know some people like the idea of having a unified taskbar but I actually like having apps that suspend/resume be off to the left as it clears up the taskbar for more pinned desktop apps. I also think it makes sense for apps with completely different lifecycle mechanisms to have different UI for managing their lifecycles. If not for this issue I'd definitely pay the $5 for this otherwise very cool mod.


As you rightly say this is a beta and we will naturally take feedback on board.

at the rate things are going. maybe stardock should release the next version of windows o.s.

at least they cater to the _real_ windows users' (neowin fanboys excluded) needs. lmfao.

And while you're at it, the ability to customize title bars, fonts, etc. Perhaps offer more than a 256-color palette? I don't think Microsoft realizes our etch-and-sketch phase passed for the majority of us many years ago.

Ok, the Application hang only appears if you close the windowed app, and right after also close it from the title bar. If you wait a few sec. there is no app hang or event error.
So this issue should be easy for stardock to fix.

Luke777 said,
Ok, the Application hang only appears if you close the windowed app, and right after also close it from the title bar. If you wait a few sec. there is no app hang or event error.
So this issue should be easy for stardock to fix.

How are you closing it first?

Neil Banfield said,

How are you closing it first?

Ok, the event errors does not happen, if I close the apps from the titlebar.
So this is all good now.
Will it be possible to get the apps working/showing in the ThumbnailLivePreview, like the normal desktop programs does?

Luke777 said,

Ok, the event errors does not happen, if I close the apps from the titlebar.
So this is all good now.
Will it be possible to get the apps working/showing in the ThumbnailLivePreview, like the normal desktop programs does?

Also, another small issue:
If I am running an modern app that is minimized in the taskbar, it will popup automatic, if I fx close IE or another program on the desktop.
This is a little bit annoyed.

Actually like this idea. Start menu can just die but this, this looks nice. MS should make this an option at the core of the OS.

Hey, if Stardock make it, and it satisfies the niche need of a vocal minority and keeps them buying Windows licenses, I'm all in!

Keep up the good work Stardock.

Looks pretty good however, closing an app creates a lot of Event Errors and Problems Reports are send. Apps hang etc.
Also closing the app from the title bar is slow.

It states that closing a modern app on the desktop by clicking on the 'X' will get rid of it. When I do this the app still shows up on the left side of the screen when you hover as it always did. Anyone else see this?

streetw0lf said,
It states that closing a modern app on the desktop by clicking on the 'X' will get rid of it. When I do this the app still shows up on the left side of the screen when you hover as it always did. Anyone else see this?

Windows 8 is just showing you that so you can easily reopen it if you made an error.

Nope, this is a bug. If you actually hit alt+f4 the application is closed properly and won't appear in the left side "open tasks list". When you use the right cross or double click on the left the window disappears but the app isn't properly closed and it still appears in the left open task list.

Luckily this is a beta, so they have some work to do for the final version I guess.

Lol, I totally saw this coming. But still, I really like using full screen Metro apps on my non-touch PCs. So I won't be installing this.

Seriously Stardock. I know you guys are in here, so this is a big, huge tip for marketing your product to creatives and business users: don't just sell this on windowed apps. Target multi-monitor users.

Joshie said,
Seriously Stardock. I know you guys are in here, so this is a big, huge tip for marketing your product to creatives and business users: don't just sell this on windowed apps. Target multi-monitor users.

Multi-monitor is a big target for us. Start8, for instance, can put itself on every monitor and ModernMix is really nice on multiple monitors. I have some of the RSS feeds on my secondary monitor in a window.

Frogboy said,

Multi-monitor is a big target for us. Start8, for instance, can put itself on every monitor and ModernMix is really nice on multiple monitors. I have some of the RSS feeds on my secondary monitor in a window.

Yep very very good on Multi monitors. I tried it and I am impressed. One of the applications that I use all the time happens to be a modern app, remote desktop, as the modern app is much much better than mstsc. Now I can even run it windowed and it doesn't disappear when I hit the start menu on the other monitor. I am certainly going to buy this one. I don't care and don't use start8 which I find utterly useless, simply because the included start screen is much better, but this one is certainly very usefull.

Not sure why some of the comments seem to think modern apps are useless, there are quite a few that make sense, and the ability to run them windowed is certainly a usefull addition.

People who think modern apps are useless don't understand basic concepts about new platforms.

It's like how something has to be possible before it can be done. These are the people who, the very instant something becomes 'possible', declare it pointless because it isn't being 'done'.

I'm not sure what direction and speed time passes for these folk.

I can see myself buying a suite of Start8, Decor8, and ModernMix. I have WindowBlinds, but haven't used it since switching to Windows 7.

Island Dog said,
Just an FYI, all those apps are part of the Object Desktop suite.

Great! Will have a look at it.

Thanks!

Used my gmail account it it was there is a second. Can't find any email on my ISP's email website in even the spam/junk folder.

streetw0lf said,
I clicked to Try It but haven't gotten an email with a link to the trial. It's been over an hour. Problems?

Check the spambox on your email filter. These software company emails are always shifty.

Good one, Stardock! You beat me to it. It's really non-trivial and many caveats in un-immersiving windows.

Mr. Wardell, I have to hand it to your company: this is an awesome app. Thanks so much for it! Now I can put XBox Music in a Window on my Desktop!

well , not bad .. stardock have creative vision or say idea,common sense whatevr ..
but it will be helpfull or usefull app for many users .
:
& its look like .. windows 8 has arrived like money maker source for stardock company ..

Wow, they sure knows how to tap every inch of the market. Still, good job Stardock for doing what no one else had the vision to do. Now I can truly say Windows 8 + Stardock was my idea.

A suggestion for MSFT: Aquire Stardock before it becomes a multibillion dollar company! And put them on the Windows 9 development team.

gzAsher said,
Aquire Stardock before it becomes a multibillion dollar company! And put them on the Windows 9 development team.

That made me laugh out loud....

gzAsher said,
Wdoing what no one else had the vision to do

You're crazy if you don't think this was a common idea before

Windows 8 is a big GUI fail,
Why should we buy all this tools before we finally can use and work with windows 8 as windows 7. Better is to stay on windows 7 in my opinion.

erm...you don't need all these tools...
just the start8 program...and thee are other free alternatives.
....don't know why you would have trouble just pressing the start key and typing what you want though... or pinning stuff to start screen as an extension to desktop...

I mean honestly who the hell would want to run the modern Wikipedia app in a window on the desktop instead of just firing up their favorite browser and going to Wikipedia.com...

Obry said,
I mean honestly who the hell would want to run the modern Wikipedia app in a window on the desktop instead of just firing up their favorite browser and going to Wikipedia.com...

Ask Stardock.............obvisious that company has turned into a CASH COW company. And Neowin sponsors them? Wow.

Obry said,
I mean honestly who the hell would want to run the modern Wikipedia app in a window on the desktop instead of just firing up their favorite browser and going to Wikipedia.com...
Should they have reached out to you to get your opinion for example applications to use in their screenshot demoing the functionality?

zeke009 said,
Should they have reached out to you to get your opinion for example applications to use in their screenshot demoing the functionality?

No, I'm just commenting on what I see in the screenshot. Isn't this what the comments are for? That's what they showcase, that's what I voice my opinion on. You don't have to agree...

"ModernMix" is certainly something quite a few Windows 8 users have been asking for, and it's certainly
something I'd use ... but $5 for a beta? No! Wait until you've finalised it before asking for any payment.

DJGM said,
"ModernMix" is certainly something quite a few Windows 8 users have been asking for, and it's certainly
something I'd use ... but $5 for a beta? No! Wait until you've finalised it before asking for any payment.

You do not need to buy it to try it out. Like most of our recent applications, this one lets you try it for 30 days simply by clicking the try button in the app. The buy option is simply there for those who wish to buy it now.

While it's still a beta, there shouldn't even be a time-limited trial. It should be totally free
until the finalised version is available, then beta users can pay the $5 to upgrade to that.

DJGM said,
While it's still a beta, there shouldn't even be a time-limited trial. It should be totally free
until the finalised version is available, then beta users can pay the $5 to upgrade to that.

As the final version is due for release before the 30 days is up, it is basically the same thing.

DJGM said,
"ModernMix" is certainly something quite a few Windows 8 users have been asking for, and it's certainly
something I'd use ... but $5 for a beta? No! Wait until you've finalised it before asking for any payment.

DJGM said,
While it's still a beta, there shouldn't even be a time-limited trial. It should be totally free
until the finalised version is available, then beta users can pay the $5 to upgrade to that.

Not really. Free during beta seems to imply Free forever. This way there is no 'hidden agenda' no 'bait and switch'. You know going in, you can try it for 30 days, and if you like it, buy it, and if you don't well, so be it.

Free is a cultural problem and your post exemplifies why. This is commercial software, and you can try it out, but there is never any confusion, this is a product that has an upfront price.

I've nothing against paying for software if it's worth paying for. I only have an issue with being
asked to pay if it's unfinished and/or not fully stablised, as is the case with most other betas.

Even if it's only a fiver for the finalised release, there should be no charge for a beta version.

I think this is rather pointless. Everyone knows the modern apps are primarily geared for tablets and doing this on a tablet is ridiculous. If you want to live on the desktop, there are much better desktop apps than the metro versions. Why on earth would I want to run the modern Mail app in a window instead of installing Windows Live Mail for instance which does more and is actually optimized for desktop use. We already have desktop IE (and other browsers) so why would I want to run the modern version of IE in a window on the desktop? Doing something just to do it doesn't make it useful... Quite the contrary actually. I don't see a single benefit of doing this...

The OPTION should have existed for Desktop users. As you've said yourself (and many of us have said for almost 2 years), Desktops work differently than Touch devices.

Windows 8 should have shipped as is for Touch devices and with a "Desktop first" option for the other 99% of the world's consumer and business computer users.

excalpius said,
The OPTION should have existed for Desktop users. As you've said yourself (and many of us have said for almost 2 years), Desktops work differently than Touch devices.

Windows 8 should have shipped as is for Touch devices and with a "Desktop first" option for the other 99% of the world's consumer and business computer users.

I have no issue using Windows 8 as "desktop first" on my desktop. It stays in the desktop interface until you purposely go into the modern UI. If you only launch desktop programs then it's just like 7. I haven't ever had the urge to use a modern app windowed on my desktop. They're not very useful. The only one I EVER run is the weather app to get the hourly forcast, but that's open for all of 5 seconds so I don't care if it's windowed or not.

Microsoft should have included this functionality itself. There's no reason Metro apps should run in their own environment outside of a tablet environment (unless a user specifically wants that).

Windows 8 must have been a blessing for Stardock, as it has reinvigorated the customisation community.

linsook said,
windowed modernui apps? no thanks.

Don't have such a narrow perspective. Don't just think of it as windowed RT apps--think of it as multi-monitor RT apps.

Joshie said,

Don't have such a narrow perspective. Don't just think of it as windowed RT apps--think of it as multi-monitor RT apps.

Why do you want to use multiple RT apps at the same time? They're practically useless on the big screen. Just use desktop apps...

mrp04 said,

Why do you want to use multiple RT apps at the same time? They're practically useless on the big screen. Just use desktop apps...


An application is just an application. Its platform does not dictate whether or not it can be productive. You have neither encountered nor used every RT application, nor are you equipped to estimate apps to come. If you are, however, satisfied with having an opinion based on assumptions based on opinions, be my guest, but don't be surprised when you encounter disconnects with reality.

I have to say, I've never, ever, been a fan of Stardock, I think their products are mediocre, and rip off of other companies, for instance, Microsoft and Dreamscape.

This however has potential, and could be good.

I think you are confused as I believe that Stardock created the Deskscapes program which Microsoft licensed for the OS for a time. So no one ripped off anyone there.

Azies said,
I have to say, I've never, ever, been a fan of Stardock, I think their products are mediocre, and rip off of other companies, for instance, Microsoft and Dreamscape.

This however has potential, and could be good.

Thanks.

Regarding DreamScenes, we designed that for Microsoft. We even made the dreams that Microsoft included. The .dream format was licensed to Microsoft but created by us. We then released DeskScapes to support other versions of Windows.

Frogboy said,

Thanks.

Regarding DreamScenes, we designed that for Microsoft. We even made the dreams that Microsoft included. The .dream format was licensed to Microsoft but created by us. We then released DeskScapes to support other versions of Windows.

Ah my bad then, I thought it was the other way around, it seems Microsoft really didn't divulge that information to the public, and it seemed like it was created by them. That's pretty cool, then.

Don't get me wrong though, I don't hate everything Stardock puts out, I love Start8, and really enjoyed Windowblinds back in the Windows 98 to XP days.

Azies said,

Ah my bad then, I thought it was the other way around, it seems Microsoft really didn't divulge that information to the public, and it seemed like it was created by them. That's pretty cool, then.

Don't get me wrong though, I don't hate everything Stardock puts out, I love Start8, and really enjoyed Windowblinds back in the Windows 98 to XP days.


We do have a version of WindowBlinds for Windows8 coming soon. Win8 isn't as ugly as WinXP was, but there is still room for improvement.

Frogboy said,

Thanks.

Regarding DreamScenes, we designed that for Microsoft. We even made the dreams that Microsoft included. The .dream format was licensed to Microsoft but created by us. We then released DeskScapes to support other versions of Windows.

Today, I learned... Thanks!

Neil Banfield said,

We do have a version of WindowBlinds for Windows8 coming soon. Win8 isn't as ugly as WinXP was, but there is still room for improvement.

Ah Windows XP. The Stockholm Syndrome of OSes.

Neil Banfield said,

We do have a version of WindowBlinds for Windows8 coming soon. Win8 isn't as ugly as WinXP was, but there is still room for improvement.

Do I sense an implementation of aero glass with blur on Windows 8 via this?

Looks like Windows 8 is going to be the best thing to happen to Stardock, ever! I don't know if I want Windowed Modern Apps. At least none that have been created so far. A Modern Office, yes, Photoshop yes.

But, I think I'll give it a try and support Stardock for doing a good thing. Now if they'd just make a Zune 8 for WP8 & Surface RT Sync/Media Mangement.

Before you pass over windowed modern apps, consider at least one very relevant use case: multi-monitor users.

There's nothing but evidence that productivity increases when working with two displays instead of just one, and that isn't because you're stretching Excel across two desktops. It's because you can easily reference and work in more than one window at a time.

There's nothing inherently wrong with WinRT as a platform, and you can already run an RT app on one display while referencing a desktop app in another, but you cannot reference multiple RT apps across multiple displays.

With something like this, you can.

Joshie said,
Before you pass over windowed modern apps, consider at least one very relevant use case: multi-monitor users.

There's nothing but evidence that productivity increases when working with two displays instead of just one, and that isn't because you're stretching Excel across two desktops. It's because you can easily reference and work in more than one window at a time.

There's nothing inherently wrong with WinRT as a platform, and you can already run an RT app on one display while referencing a desktop app in another, but you cannot reference multiple RT apps across multiple displays.

With something like this, you can.

When I'm using my multiple monitors then I'm trying to actually get work done hence I'm using desktop programs which work fine with multiple monitors. I don't see any Modern app that is worth using windowed on the desktop. Barely any worth using at all even.

It's a cool idea, but I'm not going to be installing it. It's bound to have weird issues and I never use modern apps on my desktop anyways.

I can see that scenario. But you confuse me with WinRT which I want to believe is Windows on ARM, and Modern UI is on x86-x64 Desktop.

MorganX said,
I can see that scenario. But you confuse me with WinRT which I want to believe is Windows on ARM, and Modern UI is on x86-x64 Desktop.

WinRT as in Windows Runtime. I was referring to the application platform itself.

@mrp04, RT is just a platform, and these assumptions that productivity apps are impossible to build for it is ignorance.

Joshie said,

@mrp04, RT is just a platform, and these assumptions that productivity apps are impossible to build for it is ignorance.

I agree, but I think it probably will take more time dedicated to the usability of the UI assuming full screen and no Right Mouse Button functionality in-place.

MorganX said,
I can see that scenario. But you confuse me with WinRT which I want to believe is Windows on ARM, and Modern UI is on x86-x64 Desktop.

It's all kind of confusing. Windows RT is Windows on ARM.

But WinRT is the name of the API to create Modern apps also called Metro apps.

WinRT is a very nice platform to create apps. There's no reason that they should beforced to run full-screen.

MorganX said,

I agree, but I think it probably will take more time dedicated to the usability of the UI assuming full screen and no Right Mouse Button functionality in-place.

Microsoft made a frustrating compromise when it came to the right click action in RT apps by having it bring up the command bar at the bottom of the screen (I'm at my Win7 work desktop, so I can't bring up the behavior to confirm it right this second).

On the desktop, touch integration involved making the 'long press' equate to the right click action. However, in RT apps they didn't maintain this relationship. If an app offers a long-press action, I don't believe it can be duplicated by performing a right click on the same spot (correct me if I'm wrong).

That sort of inconsistency baffles me. I understand the challenge--there has to be a way to bring up the command bar with a mouse--but it could've been better met.

... but why?

Many of the apps out there already have a desktop equivalent. The ones that don't have been optimized for the Metro interface, that is, they're probably aimed at tablet users.

The screenshot included sums up my opinion of most of these "Metro is terrible!" complainers quite well. Look at what this app is capable of, you can play angry birds while not reading your e-mail in the background! You can browse wikipedia with another browser window open in the background and have them both completely obscure the weather! Isn't that exciting!

threetonesun said,
... but why?

Many of the apps out there already have a desktop equivalent.

But many types of apps don't. For instance, There's a really cool Toms Hardware app for Metro but I don't want to run that full screen.

Similarly, lots of people like to watch Netflix in a window and the Metro version is so slick but you are forced to run it full screen unless you have ModernMix.

Yes, I'm sure it has a very slick UI when scaled down to fit on the screen with another running application, or shoved behind another open window.

threetonesun said,
Yes, I'm sure it has a very slick UI when scaled down to fit on the screen with another running application, or shoved behind another open window.

I'm not sure if you're trolling or not but if you're not, do you honestly think a weather app needs to run at 2560x1440?

Frogboy said,

But many types of apps don't. For instance, There's a really cool Toms Hardware app for Metro but I don't want to run that full screen.

Similarly, lots of people like to watch Netflix in a window and the Metro version is so slick but you are forced to run it full screen unless you have ModernMix.


Thanks for understanding my language

It depends on what the app can do. A sun or rain icon, no. A weather map with various overlays, why not. Or more importantly, at what point would you be actively looking at a weather map while doing something else? This is, essentially, why the start screen and live tiles works so well. If you just want updates, they're all there, if you want to focus on something, you just launch the app.

This completely avoids the point I was actually making, which was in regards to the Netflix Metro UI holding up if you throw it in box then shove it into the corner of your screen.

McKay said,
So Stardock have done what RetroUI have done for ages?

The RetroUI enforce feature is nothing like this. Last I heard that lets you have one window in a window, after you press a hotkey, the window vanishes if you switch away from it and it never shows on the taskbar.

McKay said,
RetroUI lets you run Metro apps in resizable Windows, so does this? How are they not even close?

Have you ever actually tried their feature?

McKay said,
RetroUI lets you run Metro apps in resizable Windows, so does this? How are they not even close?

Then go take a screenshot of you running RetroUI with a bunch of modern apps running in windows on the desktop and put it up.

No. Metro apps are for touch devices. If you want to run something inside a window then theres this thing called the "desktop". It's designed for mouse/keyboard.

If MS was to make the new UI function like the current desktop then whats the point of having a new UI?? It would have just completely failed again like all previous MS attempts with tablets and the like. A desktop-like experience does not work with touch. Why do you think iOS and most mobile touch OS's don't run apps in a window.

1Pixel said,
No. Metro apps are for touch devices. If you want to run something inside a window then theres this thing called the "desktop". It's designed for mouse/keyboard.

If MS was to make the new UI function like the current desktop then whats the point of having a new UI?? It would have just completely failed again like all previous MS attempts with tablets and the like. A desktop-like experience does not work with touch. Why do you think iOS and most mobile touch OS's don't run apps in a window.


I have been using Tablet PCs for the last ten years and enjoyed the ability to have windowed apps. Multiple options is the keyword and, among many others, one of the reasons why I never cared for iPads and clones sharing the same paradigm.

I think what people complain about is that there's not a choice. Make the new UI default, certainly. The out of box experience would be what 80% of people would use. Give the other 20% the ability to actually use modern apps without feeling like they are useless. I think a lot of people who think "it's no big deal" aren't running windows 8 in a multi-monitor situation.

Most people who use multi-monitor do it so they can be more productive by having simultaneous access to multiple pieces of data. For example, right now, I have SQL Server Management Studio up full screen on one monitor, Visual Studio up full screen in another monitor, and IE full screen on another monitor, IE has 5 tabs open, including one of the programming projects I'm working on. I glance at monitor 3, I see the data I'm trying to represent, I glance at monitor 1, I see how my code is currently displaying the data, I'm editing in monitor 2. I then move my mouse and hit refresh, see how my code change worked, then potentially revise my query back at monitor 3. Back and forth. When I'm going through specs on what I need to create or bullet points on jobs I need to complete, that I might split screen on that 3rd monitor. When I want to check off that I've completed something, I click, hit a key on my keyboard, then click back to where I was typing.

With Windows 8, Modern only works on one monitor. Period. The other two are desktop mode. When I launch any desktop program, the start page(and any modern apps) disappear. If I try to use Modern One Note for something as simple as a to-do list that I can mark off. First thing you notice is that I no longer have the ability to be side-by-side with SSMS, so to switch back and forth, I have to go to desktop for SMSS, then move my mouse to the corner, wait 3 seconds for app list to open up, go to One Note, click it, click where I want to be in it(since it looses cursor position randomly), type, hover again for 3 seconds, select desktop. I've just lost 6 seconds simply trying to see something that's been hidden from me...for no real reason except it's "the future". Now how about we throw Skype in there? Try using the modern app versus the desktop program and get anything done. Oh, yeah..and since my monitors are 1280x1024..I can't use split modern apps, guess since widescreen only serves to reduce my ability to read downward, I'm screwed.

From a business perspective, time is money. Modern apps, as they are right now, are a huge waste of that precious resource. Modern works well for tablets and presentation modes..that's it.

I'm hopeful that Blue is going to improve some of these conditions. Minimum requirements should be: 1) Start screen pan across all available monitors. 2) Modern apps being able to be dragged to different monitors. If I have 3 monitors, I should have 3 modern apps open. 3) I should be able to tag modern apps to auto-launch at start up. 4) Notification center. I need to be able to see past notifications that I didn't acknowledge(go back to why Modern Skype is insanely unproductive).

Honestly, I get it, trust me, I do. The new programming model is one of the ways that windows 8 can get performance gains and battery life. If a Modern app isn't in the front, that process can be suspended. If you are only running Modern apps, windows 8 is blazingly fast. Just..like..any..program..in..DOS. They are forgetting what a revolution in productivity "windows" became.

1Pixel said,
No. Metro apps are for touch devices. If you want to run something inside a window then theres this thing called the "desktop". It's designed for mouse/keyboard.

If MS was to make the new UI function like the current desktop then whats the point of having a new UI?? It would have just completely failed again like all previous MS attempts with tablets and the like. A desktop-like experience does not work with touch. Why do you think iOS and most mobile touch OS's don't run apps in a window.

Well Metro based apps are supposed to respond to mouse/keyboard also, something most developers don't spend enough time thinking about in their apps. Windows helps up to a point but it's really up to the developer to make sure they've tested their UI with mouse and keyboard.

Not all apps need to focus on touch as a primary input, developers more than anyone should realize we are in a platform shift and that applications are being reclassified. Consumption, content creation and task based app interfaces have different needs and we're really just starting to understand the implications.

Windows are chrome for the sizing and placement of an apps interface, touch has nothing to do with it. Input is the focus and an app should adapt appropriately.

1Pixel said,
No. Metro apps are for touch devices. If you want to run something inside a window then theres this thing called the "desktop". It's designed for mouse/keyboard.

If MS was to make the new UI function like the current desktop then whats the point of having a new UI?? It would have just completely failed again like all previous MS attempts with tablets and the like. A desktop-like experience does not work with touch. Why do you think iOS and most mobile touch OS's don't run apps in a window.


And why do you think iOS and OS X are two completely seperate operating systems targeted at different devices?

Oh right, because Tablets and Laptops/Desktops are two totally different devices with different means of interaction. Tablet UI on a desktop makes no sense, and many people have been saying this all along. This application by stardock lets DESKTOP users enjoy modern/metro apps in a way which makes sense on a DESKTOP computer. And funnily enough it does not hinder the experience of the app one bit, it actually makes it easier to use in conjunction with your other applications you use on a daily basis.

Gary7 said,
They will have Windows 8 looking just like 7 in no time. Save your money and just stay with 7.

Windows 8 has a number of nice features and the RT apps (modern/metro/whatever you call them) can be pretty nice. The problem is that previously they forced you to run in the full screen Metro experience.

LUTZIFER said,
Cool. Windows 8 is starting to look good now.

This is how Windows desktop workstation users should be transitioned into the metro environment, yeah I agree. Metro apps shouldn't take up the entire 27" screen. For notebooks, tablets, and ultraportable PC's, Windows 8 is good as it is.

If you bring up the charms bar, is it context sensitive to the currently focused Metro app? Also can you drag the app out of the window and 1/3 dock it to a side?

billyea said,
If you bring up the charms bar, is it context sensitive to the currently focused Metro app? Also can you drag the app out of the window and 1/3 dock it to a side?

Yes. For instance, if you have the store open and bring up the charms bar, it's in the context of the store. It goes by the active app.

billyea said,
If you bring up the charms bar, is it context sensitive to the currently focused Metro app? Also can you drag the app out of the window and 1/3 dock it to a side?

The charms bar should be context sensitive yes.

In order to dock them on the side you should either switch them back to fullscreen and then do so, or use the winkey + . keyboard shortcut.

Another thing that's necessary for some Metro apps... Is there a way to prevent the mouse from leaving the window the Metro app is in? For example, if you want to scroll in the Start Screen, it's a matter of just keep moving your mouse to the side of the screen and it'll keep going.

billyea said,
Are there any plans to make a Windows RT compatible version?

Considering only Microsoft signed code can run on the desktop, I'd say no.

Looks like Stardock needs to release an official jailbreak tool, considering they modify large parts of Windows already.