Windows 8.1 update 1 leaks point to windowed modern apps in Windows 9

Microsoft is preparing to launch an update to Windows 8.1 this spring and the leaks have already started to show the fruits of this labor. While not a major refinement, according to known information, like Windows 8.1, the spring update will bring quite a few enhancements that will make it easier for mouse and keyboard users to make use of the modern environment.

One of the rumored features for Windows 9 is the ability to run modern apps in a windowed environment. If you look at some of the leaked changes for the spring update in Windows 8.1, you can start to see how Microsoft will transition modern apps into a windowed environment.

With the latest leaks, you can see that modern apps now have an access bar at the top of the app that allows you to close or minimize the application. We have already seen that you can now pin modern apps to your desktop and the access bar at the top is the next logical step to allowing the apps to run on the desktop too.

If Microsoft does make this move, and we have no reason to believe it will not occur, it will be another step towards taking the modern environment and making it friendlier for those who use Windows with a mouse and keyboard. Further, while some might say it is a step backwards for the modern environment, it will certainly be a step forward for the Windows Store.

Why is it a step forward for the store? By allowing for modern apps to be windowed (which you can already do with ModernMix, disclaimer) it will likely boost the adoption of apps in the store by the end user. By making apps more accessible and easier to use outside of the modern environment and not in a snapped mode, it creates better options for using modern apps while using the desktop and reduces the jarring jump between desktop and modern environments when using the apps.

The addition of the access bar at the top is a relatively ‘small’ update but when you bundle it in with all of the other leaked features, the spring update is turning into be a large usability upgrade for mouse and keyboard users.

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first the start button. now windowed apps. maybe they'll have (gasp!!!) resizeable windows soon. how's that for progress.

LOL they now discovered windows in Metro and after a few years someone will now discover that we need start menu and then we will have usable OS ...

I use modernMix to do this .. Only app I paid money for on windows 8 and I couldn't live without windowed modern apps and pinning works great and very stable for me

personally i can careless for metro... i will do everything in my power to bin it.. but i still think this is a better idea than what there is currently. .... and dont want fullscreen apps. or semi-docked but still full screen apps.

I never liked Gadgets on Windows 7... and now its just Gadgets but fullscreen Metro crap.

and yeah i sticking with W7 for as long as possible.. i dont see any benefits of W8 for how i work and play./

At least there is one acknowledged advantage of Windows-9 over the Windows-8 debacle--windowed applications. How many more of the Windows-7 advantages will also be included? Choice of UI to use on booting up had best be there--Metro or "classic desktop"!

It would be pretty cool if this Windows interface appeared the moment you touch the mouse. And not just these Windowed topbar but maybe also a visible appbar (incl. charms) so no more swipe gestures with mouse. And that it disappears the moment you touch the screen to have the gesture-based interface that works great for my Surface.

Lastly I like the modern clean look of these windows so much that I hope they apply it to the desktop as well!

Theres comments here suggesting people hope they don't see the context menu when using touch...my question is why would you want to run these apps in desktop mode on a touch device?

I'm not thrilled by the title bars in Metro, but if they're going to do it, you'd think they'd put the Minimize and Close buttons on opposite sides, so you can't accidentally close an app when trying to minimize.

Honestly, if I want to run apps on the desktop, I'll just run the desktop equivalents. I don't see the need to put Modern apps on the desktop.

DConnell said,
I'm not thrilled by the title bars in Metro, but if they're going to do it, you'd think they'd put the Minimize and Close buttons on opposite sides, so you can't accidentally close an app when trying to minimize.

Honestly, if I want to run apps on the desktop, I'll just run the desktop equivalents. I don't see the need to put Modern apps on the desktop.

I wouldnt want to use too different apps for the same purpose. It also doesnt fit into Microsoft's 'One OS' vision. They need apps that adapt to the system it runs on. Whether its a smartphone or full desktop environment. These Windows modern apps allow desktop devs to venture into the modern app world and it allows modern app developers to also consider the desktop. It all adds to realizing the vision of MS.

I'm actually moving away from living on the desktop. The only reason I use it is if there is no adequate Metro app for what I want to do. If there's a good Metro app, I don't really need to run the desktop program.

I still don't really have a need for Metro apps on the desktop. I'd rather run desktop programs in a Metro "window" so I don't need to use the actual desktop.

I've been using ModernMix ever since it first came out. I don't know why it's taking so long for Microsoft to implement its own version, but I agree that ModernMix changed my attitude toward the Windows Store. Before I installed ModernMix, I never looked at the store; now I check it and download from it quite regularly. Good thing, too: Microsoft has stopped making software for the desktop. Where, for example, is an update for Windows Essentials?

Let's 'gedder done. All of these upcoming desktop enhancements should have (and could have easily been) part of 8.0, so any delays are irritating.

grapemanca said,
I've been using ModernMix ever since it first came out. I don't know why it's taking so long for Microsoft to implement its own version, but I agree that ModernMix changed my attitude toward the Windows Store. Before I installed ModernMix, I never looked at the store; now I check it and download from it quite regularly. Good thing, too: Microsoft has stopped making software for the desktop. Where, for example, is an update for Windows Essentials?

Let's 'gedder done. All of these upcoming desktop enhancements should have (and could have easily been) part of 8.0, so any delays are irritating.

What about Office 2013? Visual Studio 2013?

Yes, you're right. I'm still using Office 2010, but I stand corrected! On the other hand, I'm trying to think of any consumer software that's still primarily desktop-oriented. For example, I bought a MSFT webcam recently, and all the software to use it is in a Modern app.

grapemanca said,
Yes, you're right. I'm still using Office 2010, but I stand corrected! On the other hand, I'm trying to think of any consumer software that's still primarily desktop-oriented. For example, I bought a MSFT webcam recently, and all the software to use it is in a Modern app.
Steam, Google Chrome, Firefox, Paint.NET, most music and video players, most bittorent clients...

Andre S. said,
Steam, Google Chrome, Firefox, Paint.NET, most music and video players, most bittorent clients...

Not to mention every Adobe application.

corrosive23 said,

Not to mention every Adobe application.

...and every other Windows application made prior to Windows 8.

I'm still using Windows 7. So needless to say... all my applications are traditional Windows applications. Dozens and dozens of regular ol' programs. I don't think I'm missing out on anything by not having access to "Modern" apps.

I was wondering if there would ever be a "Modern" version of Filezilla along with the "Desktop" version of Filezilla, for instance. But I don't think most companies are even thinking about that.

I just find it funny that Microsoft went so far as to define two separate environments... but now they seem to be combining them.

If "Modern" apps can run in floating windows... isn't that what we've always had?

Would love to pin tiles to desktop. Would be nice to have my Weather app and newsfeed on desktop (like i had in the past with gadgets) I know you can do this with Rainmeter already but would be nice as a default feature.

Vester said,
Would love to pin tiles to desktop. Would be nice to have my Weather app and newsfeed on desktop (like i had in the past with gadgets) I know you can do this with Rainmeter already but would be nice as a default feature.

It's so obvious. Microsoft is missing a great feature with this.

why not pinning your desktop to the start menue and don't give a **** about that useless desktop. cant think of any other interface in Windows that has less youse than the desktop

You can pin the whole taskbar to be "always ontop" of metro with a small hack. I still do use the traditional desktop though so would not want it gone completely.

toolbar with minimize and close, and from the screenshot from the other article, there will be access to the taskbar in some form as well. are some people happy now? can we move on?

vcfan said,
toolbar with minimize and close, and from the screenshot from the other article, there will be access to the taskbar in some form as well. are some people happy now? can we move on?

I am quite confident that a substantial number of people will be pleased with these refinements.

If this makes it to Windows 8.1 Update 1 (the bar on top of an app) I hope it doesn't show up on a tablet and if it shows up on a normal mouse-used one, I hope it will get the color of the app instead of this black so it blends better in.

Windows does not specify between tablet and non-tablet. If you use a trackpad you will see this even on your Surface.

It's really terrible to bring back old menus from Windows 3.0 that nobody even uses in Windows 7. Who does close a window with this menu?

I imagine that it will fade in as you mouse towards it, so it will be invisible on touch devices... just like the down-arrow for the "All Apps Screen" on the start screen, or the Start Button itself.

tiadimundo said,
Windows does not specify between tablet and non-tablet. If you use a trackpad you will see this even on your Surface.

It's really terrible to bring back old menus from Windows 3.0 that nobody even uses in Windows 7. Who does close a window with this menu?

Yes it does...

Just because the 'touch' gestures are mimicked with a trackpad doesn't mean the OS thinks it isn't anything but a trackpad.

Go to Control Panel - System
or
PC Settings - PC & Devices - PC Info

Read this line aloud...
"Pen and Touch: No Pen or Touch input is available for this Display"


This changes independently for both Pen/Stylus and Touch being available on the device. It also changes based on the 'client' capabilities when using RDP/Remote Desktop into a system. So if your client has Touch, the Host computer will report touch is available, and vice versa.

The OS also distinguishes between which input device and type of input is used for any touch, click, pen tap, image point, etc.

(So even on a 'Pixel Sense' technology that is using camera imaging to see the touch points, this information is reported to the OS far differently than a simple mouse click. Even just a Pen/Stylus reports different input data to the OS - offering everything from pressure and angle to velocity and other ink data captured when moving the Pen tip across the display.)

lol... I just love how little research Microsoft did with Windows 8. But then again... Xbox One, Zune etc lol

But not enough. The problem with the 'apps' isn't how they look, it's that they are worthless. I have an email client. I look at Wikipedia in my browser. Same with the news. I can look out the window to see whether it's raining or not. Oh, but there's a Twitter 'app' and Angry Birds. Really? Is this crap going to get better, or will it always be the same trash people diddle with on their cell phones?

I love Windows 8.1. Best yet. And I'm smart enough to be able to use the Start Screen. In fact, I thought the Start Menu became useless in XP forward. But this 'Metro' code is taking up space on my hard drive. And the 'apps' do everything less well than real software or a website.

If they're always going to be trash, give me the option not to install all that 'Metro' code. Right now, it's just wasted space.

"Already"? This is prety late, usual, we're already talking about the next major Windows when the previous version goes in RTM. We where talking about Windows 7 just a week after Windows Vista got RTM'ed, we where even talking about Windows 8 BEFORE Windows 7 got RTM'ed. Windows 9 is late...

I use modern mix and its a god send as I do a lot of admin task so need to be using the desktop more than I would metro, but I do like to use the apps as well. Good move my MS on this one.

It could be that they are finishing testing first before adding the modern style. Or they knew it would leak and did not want to reveal the real look and feel of it.

They might be learning after all that they should not let the testers see everything because they always leak everything. Good for them if that's the case. It will show those pesky fake testers to mind there own business and stop that non sense of leaking everything to the web.

Wall-swe said,
You can, there is even a high contrast theme white on black.

One can change the colors of the window borders and taskbar to black, but can't change the font to white. The high contrast theme also changes everything, including how web pages look.

One can change the colors of the window borders and taskbar to black, but can't change the font to white. The high contrast theme also changes everything, including how web pages look.

I remember seeing at least one VS on DeviantArt that was the default theme but with white text in window captions.

zhangm said,

I remember seeing at least one VS on DeviantArt that was the default theme but with white text in window captions.
For people who don't want to use uxtheme patches to modify system files it's not an option. Clearly an oversight by Microsoft and I'm sure it won't be fixed in Update 1 too.

I'm wondering the same thing. Its likely that styling is coming soon for those context menus. I certainly do not want to fight to select those somewhat tiny menu items with my finger.

I think some articles were assuming the 'mouse' menus will only show when you right click with a mouse.

If you are using your finger (the same action would be achieve by long-pressing the item with your finger) then the menu would be a metro-style menu.

InTheSwiss said,
Why is it using the old desktop style context menus and not modern UI menus?
Because Windows 8 is just a skin on to of Windows 7.

When I first tried a Windows Phone 7 device, the first thing I noticed was Windows Mobile 6.1 UI things were still floating around. Especially with menus and how one part of the app to on the new UI and other parts were WM6 UI elements.

InTheSwiss said,
Why is it using the old desktop style context menus and not modern UI menus?

These menus only show up when you use a mouse so though they styling may chang to be more metro I still expect them to be more for the mouse and not touch as far as spacing and size goes. Also, these UI elements, like the minimize and close buttons might only show up when there is no touch option and or when a KB/mouse is detected. You won't see them on tablets for example.

InTheSwiss said,
Why is it using the old desktop style context menus and not modern UI menus?

Why are people still expecting to see any form of consistency in Windows?

InTheSwiss said,
Why is it using the old desktop style context menus and not modern UI menus?

Because this is not the final design. Usually GUI skinning doesn't happen until the end.

George P said,

These menus only show up when you use a mouse so though they styling may chang to be more metro I still expect them to be more for the mouse and not touch as far as spacing and size goes. Also, these UI elements, like the minimize and close buttons might only show up when there is no touch option and or when a KB/mouse is detected. You won't see them on tablets for example.


Exactly, it would be expected for these app bars to appear only with mouse movement in first place (just like scrollbars for mouse appear when mouse is moved), so naturally the context menu is desktop-like.

j2006 said,

Because this is not the final design. Usually GUI skinning doesn't happen until the end.

And sometimes never lol

Hi_XPecTa_Chens said,
Because Windows 8 is just a skin on to of Windows 7.

When I first tried a Windows Phone 7 device, the first thing I noticed was Windows Mobile 6.1 UI things were still floating around. Especially with menus and how one part of the app to on the new UI and other parts were WM6 UI elements.

You do realise WP7 was a complete re-do of windows Phone. WP7 wasn't a coding update from WP 6.x.

Hi_XPecTa_Chens said,
Because Windows 8 is just a skin on to of Windows 7.

When I first tried a Windows Phone 7 device, the first thing I noticed was Windows Mobile 6.1 UI things were still floating around. Especially with menus and how one part of the app to on the new UI and other parts were WM6 UI elements.

What??????? that was in another universe right? lol you have no idea what you are talking about or must be confused with those last versions of Windows Mobile, there was absolutely NO remanents of Windows Mobile in either Windows Phone 7 or 8, it's a complete redo of the OSes, are you even aware of that? there's nothing in there of WM, nothing, NADA!!!!

djdanster said,

You do realise WP7 was a complete re-do of windows Phone. WP7 wasn't a coding update from WP 6.x.

It was still windows CE based though, so had a lot in common with WM 6. WP8 was the complete rewrite.

XerXis said,

It was still windows CE based though, so had a lot in common with WM 6. WP8 was the complete rewrite.

Ah, fair enough. The more you know....

Ely said,
.......

Actually.....
WP7 was built on the Windows CE Kernel.
That's where the similarities end. The entire GUI ran inside silverlight.

This is part of the problem with WP7 ->WP8. In addition to the requirement for TPM, they also moved from the CE Kernel to the NT Kernel.

I like it! Looks sharp. Now, if only they'd change the color of the default rusty orange close button for Forms apps.

Talys said,
I like it! Looks sharp. Now, if only they'd change the color of the default rusty orange close button for Forms apps.


You're talking about the default icon for .NET apps? You can already change that. Not hard.

Nazmus Shakib Khandaker said,
I think he meant the orange-red X button on desktop apps.

Yes, the orange-red X button on desktop apps. It's not easy to change without third-party software, and it's very much out of place. Many Microsoft applications like Office and Visual Studio get rid of it by making the form borderless and then manually drawing three prettier buttons on the top right.

Desktop apps would look much nicer if the orange-red would simply be the same color as the rest of the window border.

SharpGreen said,

You're talking about the default icon for .NET apps? You can already change that. Not hard.

Not .NET apps that I write myself -- I mean any desktop app that uses the system generated bordered window. Like Windows Explorer, WsFTP, SQL Management Studio, or any popup dialog that hasn't been reskinned.