Windows 8 'Aero Lite' button elements revealed

In what seems to be a never ending stream of leaks, elements of the Metro UI for Windows 8 have also now surfaced on the Internet. The image shows the specific style that will be included in at least one theme for Windows 8.

The image, courtesy of mswin.me, shows the back, forward, close, minimize, expand, help, and several other images that Microsoft will incorporate into, most likely, the 'Aero Lite' theme that Neowin reported yesterday. This image helps to confirm that Microsoft will be using the Metro design language in Windows 8 in at least one theme, if not more. 

This theme is expected to be used by users whose computers do not have the specs to run a dynamic interface. Microsoft knows that Windows 8 will be used on older hardware and wants to maintain its Metro design language across all themes that end users might use. It is not known at this time if there will be the 'classic' option theme in Windows 8.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

AT&T, Vonage offer free international calls and texts to Japan

Next Story

DST bug strikes iPhone again

88 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

It would be nice if Microsoft actually Had the whole UI features and adaption put into a framework, if not even the .NET framework, which developers could use a lot of native UI features instead of having to download a complete SDK/Code pack just to get those little nice features. The Win7 Taskbar features in Win7 are a prime example, Developers having to download WindowsAPICodePack just to add a progress meter in the taskbar... or those fancy right click popup features. The whole Glass issue for another example, the hurdles you had to do just to get your form to play along with aero glass was just horrific.

Dermot said,
It would be nice if Microsoft actually Had the whole UI features and adaption put into a framework, if not even the .NET framework, which developers could use a lot of native UI features instead of having to download a complete SDK/Code pack just to get those little nice features. The Win7 Taskbar features in Win7 are a prime example, Developers having to download WindowsAPICodePack just to add a progress meter in the taskbar... or those fancy right click popup features. The whole Glass issue for another example, the hurdles you had to do just to get your form to play along with aero glass was just horrific.

or use the .net/windows API's.

Dermot said,
It would be nice if Microsoft actually Had the whole UI features and adaption put into a framework, if not even the .NET framework, which developers could use a lot of native UI features instead of having to download a complete SDK/Code pack just to get those little nice features. The Win7 Taskbar features in Win7 are a prime example, Developers having to download WindowsAPICodePack just to add a progress meter in the taskbar... or those fancy right click popup features. The whole Glass issue for another example, the hurdles you had to do just to get your form to play along with aero glass was just horrific.

I definitely agree, The aero glass API is a complete mess since it just glasses everything black INCLUDING TEXT on buttons and other controls. And they are terrible for supporting new APIs in .NET Windows Forms (e.g. Aero, taskdialogs, superbar, ribbon), in fact they've stopped making an effort on WinForms because they want everyone to use WPF, which is cool and all but i don't like the look of the faked Windows controls and it doesn't handle bitmaps well.

If developers are having to make any large amount of effort to make their programs fit in with Windows, Microsoft is doing something wrong.

somethingelse said,
There had better be boatloads of cool animations everywhere or I'm switching to linux W/ KDE.

.. you're going to change your OS just because you don't like the out-of-the-box look? Granted, Microsoft should make it a lot easier for people to do, but you *can* change it.

Jen Smith said,

.. you're going to change your OS just because you don't like the out-of-the-box look? Granted, Microsoft should make it a lot easier for people to do, but you *can* change it.

Probably not, as I am still a slave to windows

somethingelse said,

Probably not, as I am still a slave to windows


go run linux with KDE for a while, you'll notice why so many people are stuck to windows
only advantage is customizability. More options means more time to change. Adding this to even getting your GFX driver to work properly, if your in bad luck, your going to have fun trying to setup other drivers.
however that drivers are improving for Linux, its still years behind its OSX and Windows counterparts.
And personally, Linux might need less restarts for updates/system changes. The stability is rather bad for desktop use. unless you have the time and knowledge (or luck that preconfigured settings work fine) its allot of work to get Linux to run as smooth as windows (altho i just used Fedora, Ubuntu and Debian)
ctrl+alt+backspacing equals reboot as it'll shutdown any program run on the desktop. and ctrl+alt+backspacing is used quite a bit to fix Desktop issues.

Shadowzz said,

go run linux with KDE for a while, you'll notice why so many people are stuck to windows
only advantage is customizability. More options means more time to change. Adding this to even getting your GFX driver to work properly, if your in bad luck, your going to have fun trying to setup other drivers.
however that drivers are improving for Linux, its still years behind its OSX and Windows counterparts.
And personally, Linux might need less restarts for updates/system changes. The stability is rather bad for desktop use. unless you have the time and knowledge (or luck that preconfigured settings work fine) its allot of work to get Linux to run as smooth as windows (altho i just used Fedora, Ubuntu and Debian)
ctrl+alt+backspacing equals reboot as it'll shutdown any program run on the desktop. and ctrl+alt+backspacing is used quite a bit to fix Desktop issues.

Yeah, you're right there, It is rather unstable, and KDE's system settings panel is a mess (though not as bad as the Windows control panel) and GNOME, metacity's window borders are aliased like Windows XP's, that bugs the hell out of me. Windows 7 does feel better (although I do have a soft spot for OS X)

Is a functional design that can looks fine even for a CGA 16 color screen. :-D

However, right now is almost impossible to found a screen with less than 65536 colors. ;-)

Not a big fan of the Metro style however, i think that the back button looks exactly like the outline for the back button on Firefox 4 in Windows 7 and XP

It seems like the operating system vendors don't get it:

Give us a supported, documented theming API.

Provide one or two nice defaults which show the potential.

Let us do the rest.

I always thought it weird that both WinXP and OS X 10.0 balked on user themability at the last minute.

Open up Outlook 2007 and Word 2007. They use the same minimize, maximize and close buttons. However, there is a few pixel change between the two apps.

Hopefully this is fixed.

Can't belive that this kind of crap is posted on NeoWin, I mean for god sake, it's obvious that these are only trash. Sorry for my language but it's so lame, SHAME.

I think that's more down to current icon styling, if they conformed to a Metro look then Aero could easily become Metro and retain the glass/clear(Aero) look.

somethingelse said,
I know the metro look works but it just doesn't look as nice as aero IMO.

They wont replace Aero, Aero will still be used, maybe because of the changes, at tops it'll be renamed because of a version upgrade. Aero is more or less the Explorer part for desktop windows in XP that splitt off into a seperate service, instead of running as part of Explorer (it still practically does, no explorer.exe running, no aero =p). Most we'll see is a more mature and developed version of Aero. Maybe under a new name, but doubt it.

I think it looks good. But what was wrong with Aero? It is finally getting to the point where developers are making their applications mimic the look-and-feel of MS Office's 2010 which was yet another twist on Aero. Should a developer start to target this Metro UI, or wait and see when Microsoft decides to change the look and feel of Windows again in a couple of months? Consistent UI design is not something Microsoft is known for.

Shadrack said,
I think it looks good. But what was wrong with Aero? It is finally getting to the point where developers are making their applications mimic the look-and-feel of MS Office's 2010 which was yet another twist on Aero. Should a developer start to target this Metro UI, or wait and see when Microsoft decides to change the look and feel of Windows again in a couple of months? Consistent UI design is not something Microsoft is known for.

these are most likely meant for a replace for the Vista/Windows Basic theme(s). Which have no aero. Good to know they're working on the basic theme's. As Vista/Win7 basic is fugly and laggy.
They wont drop Aero, it was pretty much their flagship feature for Windows Vista and Windows 7. Fat chance they'll move back to pre-Aero-like desktop window managers. Hopefully we'll see Aero pick up some of what they showed in IE9, a more matured Aero with some Metro UI elements. Other then that, really doubt that Win8 will be more different from win7 then Win7 is to Vista.

Capric0rn said,
No idea why everyone keeps calling this "Metro UI". It looks a lot more like Whistler to me
Because Microsoft named it Metro. Blame Microsoft.

tanjiajun_34 said,
Because Microsoft named it Metro. Blame Microsoft.

Where and when did Microsoft call this new UI that's going to be in Windows 8 "Metro UI"? As far as I know, they never claimed that this, what you see in this shot and the other shots, would be "Metro UI".

The way I see it, each new UI that Microsoft comes with right now, is instantly called "Metro UI" for no reason at all. I'd like to see people's reasing being calling this "Metro UI" because as far as I know, the Metro UI is about typography, smooth animations and simple colors.

Capric0rn said,

Where and when did Microsoft call this new UI that's going to be in Windows 8 "Metro UI"? As far as I know, they never claimed that this, what you see in this shot and the other shots, would be "Metro UI".

The way I see it, each new UI that Microsoft comes with right now, is instantly called "Metro UI" for no reason at all. I'd like to see people's reasing being calling this "Metro UI" because as far as I know, the Metro UI is about typography, smooth animations and simple colors.


Whistler is pretty much an Aero/Metro mix for desktop from what im getting so far.
probably several 'types' or themes with some variations as we see in Win7 but hopefully more.

but ah well, its all guessing.hope it stays something like aero, its glossy but also sleek(?) and straightforward.

Shadowzz said,

Whistler is pretty much an Aero/Metro mix for desktop from what im getting so far.
probably several 'types' or themes with some variations as we see in Win7 but hopefully more.

but ah well, its all guessing.hope it stays something like aero, its glossy but also sleek(?) and straightforward.


You do know that Whistler is a Pre-XP visual style right? It's a visual styles from the XP Beta's. So yeah, it's not a Aero/Metro mix as it has nothing to do with both

I definitely hope that Microsoft keeps Aero the main UI for Windows 8 as it looks good and clean. I personally don't see any reason to get rid of Aero. Customers won't be happy if they constantly have to adapt to a new UI inside the MS world.

@ Panda X: but will this mean that the buttons will be used from here?
and i think its just a new theme they are developing to replace the classic theme .

Salty Wagyu said,
Hey... looks like the UI theme Windows 2000 would have had, if it supported themes

I got WB to do this look in 1999 LOL

XerXis said,
those are probably only placeholders anyway

Exactly. We won't know what Windows 8 will look like for a long time.

Can't quite see how this confirms anything Metro at all. From the looks of it it's still using a standard cross with a red rectangular background, and minimise / maximise icons with a blue background

Just looks like they're phasing out the gloss a bit for a flatter colour scheme.

~Johnny said,
Can't quite see how this confirms anything Metro at all. From the looks of it it's still using a standard cross with a red rectangular background, and minimise / maximise icons with a blue background

Just looks like they're phasing out the gloss a bit for a flatter colour scheme.

Which is exactly the metro brief.. no gradients!

~Johnny said,
Can't quite see how this confirms anything Metro at all. From the looks of it it's still using a standard cross with a red rectangular background, and minimise / maximise icons with a blue background

Just looks like they're phasing out the gloss a bit for a flatter colour scheme.

Welcome to windows 3.1, err Metro

~Johnny said,

"Metro brief": http://download.microsoft.com/...%20-%20Codename%20Metro.PDF

Having flat colours doesn't mean instant Metro .___. Microsoft have been tending towards flatter, less glossy stylings all round their products for a while now.

I don't see what exactly that link you posted me proved. It is literally nothing but flat colours and text - pretty much what the above design elements from windows 8 are. no gradients, no fuss. I guess the real test will be how they handle the actually interface in windows8, but i would say that for small aspects of the ui they adhere to the metro system.

As we've moved towards high resolutions, it's natural to use more fancy effects. Between the extreme simplicity of Win3.1 and now, lines off the horizontal/vertical pixel grid looked bad ... but we're reaching the point where they can look good again. Hence the return to simpler UIs (e.g. WP7, Android).

empty said,

I don't see what exactly that link you posted me proved.

The point is it doesn't state no gradients - you could use them if you wanted.

What needs to be understood is that Metro for WP7 doesn't exactly translate to Metro for desktop. Look at their Metro-based desktop apps, and you'll find gradients. Look at Metro-based portable device OSs, and you won't find them. Two different platforms; two different implementations of Metro.

so right now every latest innovation idea will first apply on mobile device than bring it to the computer OS? Is that what happening ? Metro and iOS element is mixing up with your COMPUTER OS!!! LOL!

Priceless90 said,
so right now every latest innovation idea will first apply on mobile device than bring it to the computer OS? Is that what happening ? Metro and iOS element is mixing up with your COMPUTER OS!!! LOL!

Uhh.... No.

Metro existed way before WP7. I would say that Windows Media Center was the first metro design, but Zune was also one of the earlier Metro styles. That means metro design on the Zune device AND on the computer software. So no, Microsoft isn't taking anything from Windows Phone 7. Metro was on the desktop years ago.

andrewbares said,

Uhh.... No.

Metro existed way before WP7. I would say that Windows Media Center was the first metro design, but Zune was also one of the earlier Metro styles. That means metro design on the Zune device AND on the computer software. So no, Microsoft isn't taking anything from Windows Phone 7. Metro was on the desktop years ago.

Windows Media Center *was* the first metro design. They've introduced it alongside Windows XP Media Center Edition way back in 2005.

Mr Nom Nom's said,
Will that mean that Windows 8 will keep the same backend code but he front end/UI will be written in Metro language?

metro isn't a language, its a design specification

At this point, it looks like it will be powered by aero still with either some metro elements, or as a previous article stated; "something between aero basic and aero for the people who's computers don't have the power for full aero." or something along those lines.

neufuse said,
metro isn't a language, its a design specification

Umm, read the article:

....wants to maintain its Metro design language across all themes that....

Mr Nom Nom's said,
Umm, read the article:

"Design language" is an industry term that means something along the lines of "theme" or "feeling", "atmosphere". It's not really a specification that says X font at Y weight with Z leading, etc. but rather a description of the attitude or feeling that a design should evoke.

For example, consider Hotels: the 'design language' at Bellagio is upscale and opulent and you see that reflected in the entertainment, the rooms, the uniforms of staff, the food, etc. Excalibur is more whimsical and fantastic and you see that echo'd through-out the casino & hotel. In Apple's case you see it expressed as monochromatic slabs of glass and metal and how that's been creeping into the OS as well. Today Mac OS X looks like modern mac hardware. 10 years ago it was all transparent gel buttons and pinstripes that matched hardware from that era.

evn. said,

"Design language" is an industry term that means something along the lines of "theme" or "feeling", "atmosphere". It's not really a specification that says X font at Y weight with Z leading, etc. but rather a description of the attitude or feeling that a design should evoke.

For example, consider Hotels: the 'design language' at Bellagio is upscale and opulent and you see that reflected in the entertainment, the rooms, the uniforms of staff, the food, etc. Excalibur is more whimsical and fantastic and you see that echo'd through-out the casino & hotel. In Apple's case you see it expressed as monochromatic slabs of glass and metal and how that's been creeping into the OS as well. Today Mac OS X looks like modern mac hardware. 10 years ago it was all transparent gel buttons and pinstripes that matched hardware from that era.

+10 You just described everything perfectly.

The back and forward buttons are horrible, would be interesting is Microsoft brought in some metro elements and perhaps added a full metro theme rather than just 20 aero themes with slight color differences and only one non-aero theme.

Rather than having to get all the custom theme's from modding people it would be nice to get some proper themes from Microsoft with the OS.

Gaffney said,
The back and forward buttons are horrible, would be interesting is Microsoft brought in some metro elements and perhaps added a full metro theme rather than just 20 aero themes with slight color differences and only one non-aero theme.

Rather than having to get all the custom theme's from modding people it would be nice to get some proper themes from Microsoft with the OS.

+1
Arrows are too thick to look like the Metro UI.

Gaffney said,
The back and forward buttons are horrible, would be interesting is Microsoft brought in some metro elements and perhaps added a full metro theme rather than just 20 aero themes with slight color differences and only one non-aero theme.

Rather than having to get all the custom theme's from modding people it would be nice to get some proper themes from Microsoft with the OS.

On the matter of it being too thick, the final is likely to look very different to anything produced at this point. At the very most, any UI changes at the moment will simply reflect the proportions of the UI so when the real elements are complete, they can just replace the resources.

Gaffney said,
The back and forward buttons are horrible, would be interesting is Microsoft brought in some metro elements and perhaps added a full metro theme rather than just 20 aero themes with slight color differences and only one non-aero theme.

Rather than having to get all the custom theme's from modding people it would be nice to get some proper themes from Microsoft with the OS.

The problem is that if the themes are really significant changes then it can be a headache for developers trying to make their apps match.

Stetson said,

The problem is that if the themes are really significant changes then it can be a headache for developers trying to make their apps match.

Not if you use standard windows controls / .net controls.

[quote=Gaffney said,[ . . . ] Rather than having to get all the custom theme's from modding people it would be nice to get some proper themes from Microsoft with the OS.[/quote]Or they could finally promote/enable easy 3rd party mod theming.

Gaffney said,
The back and forward buttons are horrible, would be interesting is Microsoft brought in some metro elements and perhaps added a full metro theme rather than just 20 aero themes with slight color differences and only one non-aero theme.

Rather than having to get all the custom theme's from modding people it would be nice to get some proper themes from Microsoft with the OS.

+1

It's a shame that whenever there's a UI refresh with windows that it takes developers months if ever to actually make their apps follow the new interface guidelines. Not even Microsoft like doing it!

_DP said,
It's a shame that whenever there's a UI refresh with windows that it takes developers months if ever to actually make their apps follow the new interface guidelines. Not even Microsoft like doing it!

You've just suggested the #1 feature of Win9.

dotf said,

You've just suggested the #1 feature of Win9.

seriously if ms don't change the look and feel of windows, I think lots of people don't want to get the new version since what they do all day is just typing lol on the computer.