Yes, the desktop will be going away on smaller Windows tablets

With Microsoft’s next major release in development, details about the update are starting to fall into place. We previously reported that the modern UI will be disabled by default when Threshold is booted up on desktop-class PCs, but the story will be a bit different for smaller tablets.

Shortly before Mary Jo Foley published her piece about the plans for Threshold, we had near-identical details from our own sources about the company's plans for the update. Hearing the same information corroborated by different sources certainly seems to validate and authenticate the details that we have each received. 

We can now share some further details to add a bit more color regarding why certain moves are happening, along with some new information. 

First of all, on smaller Windows devices - the ones where Microsoft gives away the license for free - the classic desktop will be going away. These devices will live in the Modern environment and this change is one of the reasons why the Surface mini did not ship.

This makes a lot of sense too - on small devices like the Dell Venue 8 Pro, the desktop is nearly impossible to use as you lack the precision of a mouse (this is also why the Surface Mini would have shipped with a pen) so keeping these devices locked to the Modern environment is logical.

Snapped apps will continue to work in the Modern environment on these devices, and we understand that there will be new options for organizing apps on screen in the Modern UI as well. 

But why isn’t all of this happening now? Well, one of the value propositions of these devices is that they come with Office. But desktop Office on an 8-inch screen is somewhat of a joke. Yes it works, but the user experience is poor. But we know that Gemini will bring touch friendly apps to Windows, so the shift is waiting until then.

We have seen some of the Gemini apps and will have more to share on these touch-first Office apps in future posts once we get a few more details. When Gemini arrives, the reason for the desktop will remain in one last missing feature, a proper file manager. While the OneDrive app can act to some degree as a file manager, a proper updated app is in the works for these smaller devices.

Once you have Office and a proper file manager, the desktop on these smaller devices becomes irrelevant - and by getting rid of the desktop on such devices, the user experience can be considerably improved. 

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Just try using Adobe on a tablet :) who knows, mayby you can do it on a Windows 8 pro tablet not sure if we have those in Australia yet

quite honestly, I do not care if they get rid of desktop or not, just don't remove the ability to run desktop apps on devices of any size. An Intel atom based tablet, or hell, even a cell phone should be able to support legacy applications should the user want / need that ability. I run full software on my 8" Dell V8P all the time, I pair the device with a keyboard cover(http://www.amazon.com/Fintie-B...l+venue+8+pro+keyboard+case)
and a mouse, and I run AutoCAD, Photoshop, Sketchup Pro on the thing. I use it as an ultraportable laptop of sorts to do my work as an Architect. I am considering the Surface Pro 3, but am a little apprehensive of dropping 2k on a laptop/tablet hybrid that doesn't have dedicated graphics (its one think if I spent 300$ on the Dell V8P, but 2k is a tough pill to swallow). Either way, Desktop mode should be optional for people with small tablet devices, It should be present in the initial install, and you have the choice to activate, or de-activate it. That would be the best way imho. If legacy applications can run in modern ui, then so-be-it. My personal preference, is having the taskbar always showing, even when start screen is up. I like the modern start menu as an overlay to the desktop, instead of being immersive. The other option for me would be the ability to pin live tiles to the desktop, and / or for those live tiles to be interactive similar to widgets in android (only far more useful).

And when they say ''small tablets'' do they mean tablets running on ARM-Windows 2.0 (the successor to WP and RT)?

Naturally they cant do away with the desktop in smalll tablets running full-Windows. It might be small but there are plenty of application people could want to access on the desktop. It's a unique selling point to have access to the desktop on a tablet.

There is just one problem with this idea of doing away the desktop on ARM-tablets: how many ARM-tablets will there be? I cant see OEMs switching from Windows 8.1 to Windows ARM 2.0 for their Windows tablets. Perhaps the new WP OEMs that want to offer 70-80 dollar tablets running ''Windows'' to third world markets. But the HP and Dells of this world, I cant see them making such devices.

But as long as full-windows also has the same touch-based Office and file explorer then it shouldnt be a problem. I just hope they make it so that Windows ARM looks the same as full windows even if it doesnt have a desktop tile and it more WP under the hood than RT.

I'll be sticking with my desktop for same time yet because you just try to do video processing on a tablet/laptop if you can they would be slow...and I do have a tablet/phone

tiadimundo said,
But will Office Gemini have full feature support? I honestly doubt it.

It probbaly has all the features of Office 2013 RT. Which, in my experience, is Office without Macro's. But in terms of features most people use it's very compleet. All they need to do is design a touch-friendly UI. I imagine 80% of the features, which are barely used, will be tucked away in some 'other'' menu allowing the remaining 20% to be displayed in a clean minimalistic UI.

The timing is strange. With Threshold allowing Metro apps to run on the desktop, this is where Desktop on RT really starts to make sense.

Assuming this is for smaller tablets and Windows Phone/Windows RT are merged then can't the File Explorer be "Files" recently released for Windows Phone?

What about if you just want a single tablet (small device) but want to output it to your big screen, and therefore need desktop programs?

This isn't my boat, I'll be on the SP4, my uber PC, and HTPC, but I can see the usage case for others. Maybe not many people are doing it this way?

Further, what about hardware that supports keyboards, but does not come with them? Is that the "definition" of a "touch-first" device? I have news for you - there are a LOT of tablets, slates, phones, etc., that fall into the latter category - however, they all support physical keyboards, and most support larger screens. Some of them even run Windows (x64, at that). However, even if NONE of them did, calling them "touch-first" is specifically designed to be as disparaging and caging as possible. (A perfect example of such a device is the SAMSUNG Series 7 slate - the original one; while it is best known for being given away at BUILD 2011 with the Windows 8 Developer Preview, how soon we forget that it launched as a retail product with Windows 7 x64 at the same time. Should it lose the desktop - or keep it with Threshold?)

Devices like the Series 7 - and there are a lot of them, in screen sizes below and above that arbitrary cutoff - naturally muddy the waters quite a bit. In fact, so do most Android tablets, and all iPads. (Yes - I said "all" iPads - they all support physical keyboards, even though Apple doesn't even make one for them.) Arbitrary cutoffs aren't logical - and that is, in fact, well-known - yet they are trying anyway. Hence my asking what the real agenda/motive is.

Uh, no, just no! While I love the fact that, for those who have complained, Microsoft is listening to feedback and that's a great thing but we should be moving towards more options, not limiting the OS. What's the difference between a Venue Pro and iOS, then? Given that the Apple and Android app stores are vastly better, why would I buy a small Windows tablet? Still, well, we'll see how it goes, especially since RT devices only have a desktop for the file manager. For devices like the Venue Pro 8, however, I'd rather they kept full Windows. I was thinking about either a VivoTab 8 or a Surface Pro 3 for school and since the Pro is quite expensive, was gravitating toward the VivoTab. After this, it wouldn't be half as useful to me as before. Since Windows 8 runs just fine on an Atom processor, why not just let the whole thing run and, for those who want to remain in just one UI, give them the option to do so? Obviously, for any device that wants to be pure RT, which is rather stupid at this point, given how devices like the Asus Transformer T100 can undercut their prices significantly and still have full-blown Windows, sure, take the desktop away because it is mostly useless once a touch-friendly version of Office is out but making all small devices like that would be really stupid.

Simply amazing! Microsoft has finally realized, albeit, so very late, that one UI does not work equally well on smartphone, tablets, laptops, and desktops. It is comforting to see that the collective force of the marketplace finally knocked some sense into the MS "wizards."

Noooo! I spend like 99% of my time on the desktop on my Surface RT. I'm already accustomed to it, and it works great. No desktop on any version of Windows is pointless.

A rock has more function than Windows RT without a desktop

Makes sense for using Windows RT/WP - the desktop is fairly pointless on those systems.

But doing it for the x86/64 versions would not be a good idea, regardless of the size of computer used...

Microsoft only included the legacy desktop on the smaller and low end machines because their tablet only OS was half baked. They needed the legacy desktop to perform some functions not covered in 'Metro' and of course they needed to tout that the machines included Office and we all know that there is still no 'Metro' version of Office so until then at least the legacy desktop stays.

Microsoft will need to get the Windows browsing right in W9 so that people aren't left wondering where the desktop is on these devices. Dread to think how many people may have been caught out by RT.

Just one thing to say : FINALLY!

It was time Microsoft finally recognizes that the touch-first experience was hindered by the decades old desktop.

Because, with Windows 8.0, touch-first devices (like Surface tablets) were unable to offer the full touch experience. Several settings or tasks were only available or had to be performed with the old desktop mode.

And the desktop mode, whatever the lipstick Microsoft puts on it (ribbons and so on) will remain a pig for touch-first UX.

"Modern" was rushed in Windows 8.0. It was an incomplete experience. It was wrong for tablet users and even worse for desktop users.

I have been advocating since the Windows 8.0 preview release for two distinct experiences built on top of a common core: Windows Touch (naming for fun here) and Windows. No desktop on the touch-first UX and optional touch-first for desktop Windows (which could have been rendered in a separate window like Media Center did).

Anyhow, it seems that things are clearing up now. Finally.

ModernUI is NOT a touch-first UX. It is a more neutral UX by far than the Start menu is (that is stipulated) - however, it is no more touch-first than is Android or iOS. The entire reason that ModernUI has been labeled such a UX is due to the explosion of touch-capable screens on hardware that supports the OS; however, the same logic would paint the UX that ModernUI replaced (the Start menu) as a pointing-device-centric UX - which Microsoft actually said it was in no less than "Introducing Windows 95" (the original Microsoft Press book about Windows 95, released alongside the Windows 95 Consumer Preview). However, has anyone - other than the Start menu's critics, and Microsoft - dared call the Start menu out on that? If anything, despite Microsoft's extreme candor about the Start menu being a pointing-device-centric UX, actually saying so has been treated as some sort of taboo - why?

No - ModernUI is NOT pointing-device-centric; it is almost as far from that as can be without dismissing pointing devices altogether. (The closest example of another non-pointing-device-centric UX is GNOME Shell - which actually predates ModernUI by a few years.) However, GNOME Shell - like ModernUI - got whacked largely for not being pointing-device-centric - even though pointing-device-centric software still worked.

"the desktop will disabled by default when Threshold is booted up on desktop-class PCs"

This is a typo, right?

I would say keep the desktop on x86 but remove it for ARM seeing how no applications are compilable on the desktop side away.

Almost all 8 inch tablets that are out now have HDMI or Wireless HDMI. I want to use my small tablet on the go... (I'm fine with using a modern app... if it's a decent alternative to the desktop apps) and when I get home I want to connect it to a monitor and use it with a full desktop.

I would probably reinstall a tablet like this with a full Windows version.

Bamsebjørn said,
I would probably reinstall a tablet like this with a full Windows version.

IF you can... :/

You can't upgrade an ARM version to anything else.

That's probably not what you meant, but it's how I read it.

Quite possibly, but i'm hoping they're referring to Windows RT (ARM), which makes sense.
It wouldn't really make sense to remove it from the X86/64 versions...

Brony said,
Stubborn as a mule!.

Windows - Desktop = Windows RT

And everybody knows how well Windows RT worked.

Windows RT is a great OS.

its lack of success is due to the fact that the hardware it was released on used to cost around $500, whereas most tablets sold on the market were cheap <$200 android tablets.

with x86 windows 8.1 tablets selling at $199, a Windows 9 x86 SKU with no support for win32 apps and desktop would be a great thing for regular users who just need a tablet to browse the internet and use some tablet apps.

"We previously reported that the desktop will disabled by default when Threshold is booted up on desktop-class PCs"

Surely you mean the opposite?

There are still some options and configurations that I have to do from Control Panel (including some mouse settings, for example) that aren't yet in the Modern UI "PC Settings". So I really hope they're thoroughly fleshing that out as well.

Question: Might the desktop by a paid extra? Windows has had that "upgrade to the better version!" sales pitch baked in for a while now. Its conceivable that x32/x64 8" tablets could sell that.

For ARM based devices, it is fine to remove desktop. For Atom based devices, such as Dell V8P, it is stupid and anti customer to lock down. Yes, using desktop on these small screens are painful, but an external monitor could be connected and these small tablets could be easily converted to a nettop.

I've been a big critic on the way MSFT pushed Metro in Windows 7 to desktops, yet I think this move makes a lot of sense.

You do bring a good point, though. I reckon that besides the usability factor concerning screen size, the architecture should dictate whether or not the desktop is included.

AGAIN with that "I have mine and screw everyone else" mentality - that plain and simply needs to go away. Just because YOU don't see a use case for something does not mean that it isn't there. Locking things out because of ANY difference makes no sense at all - the OS might as well be closed-source (think iOS) if you are going to be that arbitrary. In fact, that is actually the bigger danger - iOS (which, as I just pointed out, IS closed) could well become more open than Windows if you lock it down to that degree.

Do you really hate Microsoft that much?

acrodex said,
For ARM based devices, it is fine to remove desktop. For Atom based devices, such as Dell V8P, it is stupid and anti customer to lock down. Yes, using desktop on these small screens are painful, but an external monitor could be connected and these small tablets could be easily converted to a nettop.

Wait, why is it ok if it's an ARM device, but not ok if it's an x86 device? I wanted a unlocked desktop on my Surface RT, not it removed completely. Speak for yourself.

The "architecture" - what is with folks insisting on making Microsoft like Apple? The ONLY reason iOS is closed is because that is the way the "Church of Mac" cultists want it - it is also the only reason that OS X is semi-closed, despite the OS itself being quite capable of running on most hardware that runs Windows Vista and later today. Android, for all its faults, can be run on MORE hardware than iOS (or OS X, for that matter) and darn near as much as Windows (or Linux, or BSD) - a port of L to x86 WILL happen (remember, KitKat will run on Intel or AMD CPUs or AMD APUs today). Microsoft HAS to be aware of (and wary of) exactly that - however, why is it that so many technical-minded (not just on Neowin, but elsewhere) are either ignoring those facts or are perfectly willing to DEMAND that Microsoft stick their heads in the sand and ignore the nascent competition?

Can someone explain THAT to me?

domboy said,

I wanted a unlocked desktop on my Surface RT, not it removed completely.

That would be nice, but unless Microsoft changes their policy around development of desktop applications in the Windows RT that will be pointless.

The point here is the premise that the development of desktop applications in the Windows RT for the ARM architecture is restricted BY MICROSOFT. And therefore based on that (AND THAT ALONE), it makes sense to remove the desktop altogether.

Just to be clear: I actually like the thought of having a desktop on ARM. But at the moment the current desktop of Windows RT is simply pointless and one might as well have it removed, and I doubt Microsoft will change these restrictions, though.

Edited by pmdci, Jul 2 2014, 10:26am :

Keep in mind if the demand is there oems can still produce 8" tablets with a desktop, they just wont get windows and possibly office free as they currently can. So you will still have that freedom of choice (potentially) but it will come at a cost

This makes a lot of sense too - on small devices like the Dell Venue 8 Pro, the desktop is nearly impossible to use as you lack the precision of a mouse (this is also why the Surface Mini would have shipped with a pen) so keeping these devices locked to the Modern environment is logical.
The DV8P is a great desktop replacement with bluetooth mouse and keyboard + miracast :( The new kickstarter from plugable shows exactly why devices *with the desktop* are awesome: https://www.kickstarter.com/pr...tation-with-charging-for-ve

I think it would be a shame to impose this sort of limitation, especially if it's just because the Windows licence is free on small devices.

As CPUs get smaller and more powerful we are close to the point where you could have a small handheld device like a tablet that can be docked and will work as a desktop replacement. In that situation I'd want to be able to access the desktop when docked.

Hopefully all this will mean in practice is that the desktop tile is not available on the Start Screen by default.

Do not like. Desktop is where lots of things like emulators run. Advanced configurations, proprietary software, etc.

I wonder if you can somehow enable it.

mrp04 said,
Do not like. Desktop is where lots of things like emulators run. Advanced configurations, proprietary software, etc.

I wonder if you can somehow enable it.

Where are you running this stuff on RT?

Dot Matrix said,
Where are you running this stuff on RT?
I've seen nothing among these rumors saying the no-desktop "feature" is limited to ARM.

Dot Matrix said,

Where are you running this stuff on RT?

RT was never mentioned in this article, it just said on smaller tablets where the OS will be given for free. That includes x86 tablets. It even specifically mentioned the Venue 8 Pro, an x86 tablet. I don't think there are even any RT tablets other than 10" ones.

mrp04 said,

RT was never mentioned in this article, it just said on smaller tablets where the OS will be given for free. That includes x86 tablets. It even specifically mentioned the Venue 8 Pro, an x86 tablet. I don't think there are even any RT tablets other than 10" ones.

Even so, what are you trying to do on the desktop on sub 9 inch devices? These are mobile devices, not workstations. I wouldn't want to be running resource intensive x86 applications on them.

Dot Matrix said,

Even so, what are you trying to do on the desktop on sub 9 inch devices? These are mobile devices, not workstations.

As I already said, emulators are an example. Project 64 for instance. I also had Input Director installed on my V8P while I had it. Lets me use my desktop's mouse and keyboard on the V8P over WiFi. Not possible if the desktop is gone.

It would just be a shame to remove it. Unpin it by default like it is with 8.1 is fine. Even lock it down by default so that it acts like RT. But there's no reason to remove it.

mrp04 said,

As I already said, emulators are an example. Project 64 for instance. I also had Input Director installed on my V8P while I had it. Lets me use my desktop's mouse and keyboard on the V8P over WiFi. Not possible if the desktop is gone.

It would just be a shame to remove it. Unpin it by default like it is with 8.1 is fine. Even lock it down by default so that it acts like RT. But there's no reason to remove it.

If it's locked, then what good is it? Again, these are mobile devices designed to go head to head with the iPad, and Android tablets. If you want the desktop, it'll be better served on a larger device like the Surface.

mrp04 said,
Do not like. Desktop is where lots of things like emulators run. Advanced configurations, proprietary software, etc.

I wonder if you can somehow enable it.

I see no reason why this stuff can't run in Modern as long as an app existed, at least on x86/64 Windows. In some cases the sandboxing might have to be loosened a bit, but that could be enabled on a case-by-case basis.

Dot Matrix said,
Even so, what are you trying to do on the desktop on sub 9 inch devices? These are mobile devices, not workstations. I wouldn't want to be running resource intensive x86 applications on them.
I've used my DV8P's desktop hooked up to a monitor. For the average user who may want to use a desktop based piece of software Bluetooth and Miracast easily turn a DV8P into a perfectly usable desktop with a swipe and a couple of taps.

Honestly, why people think you *must* have two devices to satisfy these two scenarios is beyond me. A DV8P plus a simple dock like is being kickstarted by plugable is all the fast majority of users need to cover *all* of their computing needs
https://www.kickstarter.com/pr...tation-with-charging-for-ve

Dot Matrix said,

Again, these are mobile devices designed to go head to head with the iPad, and Android tablets.

And have been failing miserably against them, and they will fail even harder when microsoft removes features.

Order_66 said,

And have been failing miserably against them, and they will fail even harder when microsoft removes features.

Right, because users have been using the iPad and Android because of its desktop... Oh wait...

All of which can be classified as "nicheware". (Yes - I said ALL of it - I even rather bluntly put Hyper-V - and all virtualization software - into that category, and that is despite VT-x/AMD-V becoming ubiquitous.) While such usage is increasing, it's not bog-standard for users despite the ubiquitous nature of the support across Intel and AMD CPUs and APUs, - and likely won't ever become bog-standard, either - it has to have a reason for use, despite the utter ubiquity. (I'm speaking as someone that DOES use virtualization support where available - including Hyper-V; however, I'm not going to sit here and blow smoke up anyone's posterior and postulate that everyone and their cat uses it - especially since NOBODY that I provide support for uses it.)

Dot Matrix said,

Right, because users have been using the iPad and Android because of its desktop... Oh wait...

And the desktop is one of the things that sets my RT device above the iPad and android devices that I also own.

Yes, the hardware on my surface rt is far superior when compared to my iPad and nexus10 and nexus 7, but the marketplace is a complete abomination, however once I began using the desktop side of this surface rt I find myself using it almost exclusively, I almost never touch my iPad or nexus's.

Order_66 said,

And the desktop is one of the things that sets my RT device above the iPad and android devices that I also own.

Yes, the hardware on my surface rt is far superior when compared to my iPad and nexus10 and nexus 7, but the marketplace is a complete abomination, however once I began using the desktop side of this surface rt I find myself using it almost exclusively, I almost never touch my iPad or nexus's.

And your Surface RT is safe. It's a 10.6 inch device.

Dot Matrix said,

Right, because users have been using the iPad and Android because of its desktop... Oh wait...


No, I use Windows because an iPad cannot do what I want; take these advantages away... Windows loose its upper Han.

Cosmocronos said,

No, I use Windows because an iPad cannot do what I want; take these advantages away... Windows loose its upper Han.

The desktop isn't going away on all devices.

Dot Matrix said,

And your Surface RT is safe. It's a 10.6 inch device.

That would be good news if true however different sources have reported different things in the past 2 days, I really don't want to put my surface on ebay.

Dot Matrix said,

Even so, what are you trying to do on the desktop on sub 9 inch devices? These are mobile devices, not workstations. I wouldn't want to be running resource intensive x86 applications on them.

People have given you all sorts of examples, but even past that, what if I want to dock it? Connect an external display and input devices? Being able to then switch to desktop mode would be awesome. There are a few people at work testing these exact usage models.

I don't understand your insistence that windows devices should be limited when there is no need. A flexible device is so much more useful and powerful than a limited restricted one. That's the whole trouble with Windows RT... people wanted to use it in ways that didn't fit Microsoft's narrow vision for it, and you seem think along those very same lines.

It is interesting that there is no mention of 10" and larger ARM devices. I really hope they will keep the desktop. Better yet, it would be awesome if there were an ARM version of full-blown windows for devices like Surface RT/2 that had developer access to the desktop.

Edited by domboy, Jul 1 2014, 9:13pm :

Dot Matrix said,

The desktop isn't going away on all devices.


Of course it is not but, as others already pointed out, I would buy a 8" Surface if it has W8/9/Next Pro and Intel.
Again "options" is the magic word.

Dot Matrix said,

If it's locked, then what good is it? Again, these are mobile devices designed to go head to head with the iPad, and Android tablets. If you want the desktop, it'll be better served on a larger device like the Surface.

Did you stop reading right after I said lock it down? Because my immediate next words were BY DEFAULT. BY DEFAULT non-Microsoft signed programs on the desktop, but allow the user to enable non-Microsoft programs.

mrp04 said,

Did you stop reading right after I said lock it down? Because my immediate next words were BY DEFAULT. BY DEFAULT non-Microsoft signed programs on the desktop, but allow the user to enable non-Microsoft programs.

That honestly makes no sense. You want them to lock it, yet not lock it?

Dot Matrix said,

That honestly makes no sense. You want them to lock it, yet not lock it?

What are you not understanding? Do you not understand the word default? A default setting is what it's set to out of the box, but can be changed.

Make it so by default the desktop is restricted or even hidden/disabled. Flip a slider in PC Settings and then it will allow third party desktop programs. So if you want to simply use it as a tablet and not have the possibility of installing desktop malware you're good. If you want to install desktop programs then flipping a switch would be all you'd need to do. Microsoft even released a new technology very recently that would allow companies to take old desktop programs and give them a new Modern UI front-end. If the desktop is gone those can't run. Just because you don't have a use for the desktop on small devices doesn't mean that others don't. Especially with low power processors becoming so powerful.

Do I need to explain it more clearly?

Edited by mrp04, Jul 2 2014, 5:48am :

DConnell said,

I see no reason why this stuff can't run in Modern as long as an app existed, at least on x86/64 Windows. In some cases the sandboxing might have to be loosened a bit, but that could be enabled on a case-by-case basis.

Because the apps DON'T exist and the sandbox is too restrictive. They'd have to completely remove the sandbox to allow programs to do anything a desktop program can do and they won't do that.

Order_66 said,
Next, laptops and desktops without the desktop.

Bring it.

It's the programs that matter, not the desktop itself. Let me run traditional programs in Modern or make Modern apps more robust and I'll never see the desktop again.

Order_66 said,
Next, laptops and desktops without the desktop.

Microsoft truly hates its customers.

That would be suicide.

DConnell said,

Bring it.

It's the programs that matter, not the desktop itself. Let me run traditional programs in Modern or make Modern apps more robust and I'll never see the desktop again.

I agree. Bring it.

DConnell said,

It's the programs that matter, not the desktop itself. Let me run traditional programs in Modern or make Modern apps more robust and I'll never see the desktop again.

Well microsoft has been at the whole metro thing for 2 years and the apps are still horrid compared to their desktop counterparts.

Order_66 said,

Well microsoft has been at the whole metro thing for 2 years and the apps are still horrid compared to their desktop counterparts.

Examples? I can give examples of apps I prefer over the desktop version - Teamviewer & Remote Desktop for two. The Netflix app is nicer and more responsive than using the browser.

Now if you'd brought up the far smaller Modern app library compared to the desktop, you'd have a point. But not much of one, because I was talking about desktop programs already. :-) I've never denied the advantage the desktop has when it comes to program library size.

I was talking about my wish to run desktop apps in Modern in the post you responded to. I've said many times I'd like to run traditional programs in Modern (similar to how you could run DOS programs in windows) to provide better integration for those programs and help make up the "app gap" compared to the desktop. If Microsoft could let DOS programs run windowed way back in 3.x, and make XP mode programs seamless in Win 7, then why can't they make desktop programs seamless in Win 8?

If I could run desktop programs in Modern, why would I even need the desktop? I'd be perfectly happy letting the 90s have their computer UI back.

JHBrown said,
That would be suicide.

Indeed, but unfortunately they have billions to absorb their losses and don't have to worry about making their customers angry with crippled software and a shoddy marketplace.

DConnell said,

Examples?

Just off the top of my head, ebay, dropbox, viber, mail, neowin and even onedrive just to name a few.

I can't even remember how many other apps I downloaded and deleted within a few minutes because they were such useless garbage even though they were promoted as being highly rated.

However I agree about netflix, love that app.

Order_66 said,

Just off the top of my head, ebay, dropbox, viber, mail, neowin and even onedrive just to name a few.

I can't even remember how many other apps I downloaded and deleted within a few minutes because they were such useless garbage even though they were promoted as being highly rated.

However I agree about netflix, love that app.

EBay, Mail and Onedrive seem to work just fine for me. I didn't realize there was a Neowin app. Something to try tonight.

And 90% of _all_ software is garbage, not just Modern apps. I've tried and deleted my share of apps, too. But I did that on the desktop, on my XBox 360s and on my Android devices as well. You act like bad software is unique to Windows 8.

At least it's easy to uninstall the stinkers in Modern.

Cyborg_X said,
I call BS. This is only going to be for the converged WP/RT devices.
Agreed, I don't know how they will provide Intel based devices of this size w/o the ability to software & drivers.

I'm hoping it's for devices with a below 10" display.

Desktop is useable enough on 10" and above and is nice to have for some occasions.

It is, older news, 9" and under will have Windows for free. And I agree, desktop is barely usable on really small devices, I have one here that's a pain to use, even with a stylus. If I need the desktop then I'd make sure to get a larger device that can actually do a decent job of it.

Maybe I will be holding onto my Surface 2 longer than I thought. It's not "small" since the screen is 10 inches, but if future RT/8 models lose the desktop then my options for a small, yet inexpensive, Windows tablet with a desktop mode may disappear.

I think they will apply only for RT devices. Considering that they can only run Modern apps... it's pretty logical they do that.

Snowbooks1419 said,
What if you have a Surface? That's not a "small" tablet, so will it still have a desktop?

I believe they're talking about 9" and smaller devices, it specifically calls out the ones where MS is now giving away Windows for $0. That doesn't cover any 10" and up devices like the Surface which I think plays into this since MS is really pushing the Surface Pro 3 now as the true "PRO" device. Also why I think when they do release the Surface mini you can say goodbye to the 10" Surface ARM model. They could just have the mini as the only ARM device out there with a 10" Pro and 12" Pro etc.

Kind of a crappy move unless it's a "by default" and can be reenabled. For example, the software I wrote is being used in an optical lab. It's a .NET 3.5 windows form program(aka, desktop). I carry around my cheap Venue 8 Pro and am constantly looking things up in my software and doing a lot of work based activities. It just so happens my software has a lot of elements that are touch friendly. I've subtle modifications when a section I wanted to use wasn't. When I want to do more serious work, I have a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard that I prop up my tablet and do additional work with.

There's zero chance this software is going to be rewritten for the Modern UI. It's been in place since 2004 and relies heavily on a lot of things that apps don't have access to.

I sure hope Microsoft isn't removing functionality(locking to modern) just because it doesn't make sense to them. I'm just one specific example who gets a huge value of having an 8" tablet running any possible piece of windows software.

NXTwoThou said,
Kind of a crappy move unless it's a "by default" and can be reenabled. For example, the software I wrote is being used in an optical lab. It's a .NET 3.5 windows form program(aka, desktop). I carry around my cheap Venue 8 Pro and am constantly looking things up in my software and doing a lot of work based activities. It just so happens my software has a lot of elements that are touch friendly. I've subtle modifications when a section I wanted to use wasn't. When I want to do more serious work, I have a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard that I prop up my tablet and do additional work with.

There's zero chance this software is going to be rewritten for the Modern UI. It's been in place since 2004 and relies heavily on a lot of things that apps don't have access to.

I sure hope Microsoft isn't removing functionality(locking to modern) just because it doesn't make sense to them. I'm just one specific example who gets a huge value of having an 8" tablet running any possible piece of windows software.

You could double check this but back at build they specifically showed how you can take a old desktop app and run it inside WinRT with some little work. Basically a wrapper for legacy code to get it to run in the modern environment. Channel 9 should still have the videos up and stuff.

I was pretty positive that it only worked if you played by the security rules. Which means, for example, I couldn't access my $10 USB RS232 adapter to talk to my hardware. I'll do a search for video though, thanks!

Best I found was being able to make WinRT calls through the WRL and COM, which isn't in the same universe as putting a thin wrapper on top of an existing winform app. It allows some legacy communication to older components, but isn't anything like "take x app, build a stub to launch it".

Moving to the Modern UI/WinRT/whatever you want to call it flat out requires a rewrite. Fastest migration would be if the program was WPF, but obviously this was written many years before WPF came about(and there's never been a reason to completely rewrite it for WPF). There's zero business incentive to rewrite a program that's worked perfectly fine for 10 years when there's only one windows 8 computer in the whole building. Especially if it's going to involve the overhead of writing our own driver for serial communications.

At that point, why don't we just rewrite for *nix? Or rewrite for a few windows servers to do all our communication with the equipment and then make the rest web based and get rid of the requirement for windows on all the user interface size(zero reason to write for the Modern UI).

With the Venue 8 Pro, I was able to pick up a $150 method of walking around the lab and doing all my work with the same tools that the people who sit on their desks had. If I "upgrade" to threshold, I loose that ability from what I understand in this news post. That makes me rather sour to the concept of threshold.

I'm crossing my fingers it's a "desktop is disabled by default to prevent confusion". As an advanced user with specific needs, I got into configuration and reenable it.

NXTwoThou said,
Best I found was being able to make WinRT calls through the WRL and COM, which isn't in the same universe as putting a thin wrapper on top of an existing winform app. It allows some legacy communication to older components, but isn't anything like "take x app, build a stub to launch it".

Moving to the Modern UI/WinRT/whatever you want to call it flat out requires a rewrite. Fastest migration would be if the program was WPF, but obviously this was written many years before WPF came about(and there's never been a reason to completely rewrite it for WPF). There's zero business incentive to rewrite a program that's worked perfectly fine for 10 years when there's only one windows 8 computer in the whole building. Especially if it's going to involve the overhead of writing our own driver for serial communications.

At that point, why don't we just rewrite for *nix? Or rewrite for a few windows servers to do all our communication with the equipment and then make the rest web based and get rid of the requirement for windows on all the user interface size(zero reason to write for the Modern UI).

With the Venue 8 Pro, I was able to pick up a $150 method of walking around the lab and doing all my work with the same tools that the people who sit on their desks had. If I "upgrade" to threshold, I loose that ability from what I understand in this news post. That makes me rather sour to the concept of threshold.

I'm crossing my fingers it's a "desktop is disabled by default to prevent confusion". As an advanced user with specific needs, I got into configuration and reenable it.


your tablet is an x86 device. Which means you will be able to install whatever SKU of windows you want.

only cheap tablets will ship with a mobile (probably free) SKU of Windows 9 that can't run desktop/win32 apps.

tablets such as Surface Pro will still run a SKU of Windows 9 with support for win32 apps.

you will still be able to install that SKU on a 8 inch x86 tablet if that's what you wish.


anyway, even if future 8inches devices will be sold with the "mobile" SKU of win9 by default, current 8inch tablets will get upgraded to the classic SKU of Win9, which will support the desktop and win32. Microsoft won't push an update that would remove features from existing devices.

NXTwoThou said,
Best I found was being able to make WinRT calls through the WRL and COM, which isn't in the same universe as putting a thin wrapper on top of an existing winform app. It allows some legacy communication to older components, but isn't anything like "take x app, build a stub to launch it".

Moving to the Modern UI/WinRT/whatever you want to call it flat out requires a rewrite. Fastest migration would be if the program was WPF, but obviously this was written many years before WPF came about(and there's never been a reason to completely rewrite it for WPF). There's zero business incentive to rewrite a program that's worked perfectly fine for 10 years when there's only one windows 8 computer in the whole building. Especially if it's going to involve the overhead of writing our own driver for serial communications.

At that point, why don't we just rewrite for *nix? Or rewrite for a few windows servers to do all our communication with the equipment and then make the rest web based and get rid of the requirement for windows on all the user interface size(zero reason to write for the Modern UI).

With the Venue 8 Pro, I was able to pick up a $150 method of walking around the lab and doing all my work with the same tools that the people who sit on their desks had. If I "upgrade" to threshold, I loose that ability from what I understand in this news post. That makes me rather sour to the concept of threshold.

I'm crossing my fingers it's a "desktop is disabled by default to prevent confusion". As an advanced user with specific needs, I got into configuration and reenable it.


WPF was added in .NET 3.0. If your app was written for .NET 3.5 then WPF is older than your app...not the other way around.

Also George P. was refering to the Brokered App Components or something similarly name that was added with the W8.1 Update.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-u.../windows/apps/dn630195.aspx

Sorry if I was confusing. My WinForm program was written for .NET v1.0, then got some rewriting for v2.0. VS 2008 let's me select up to 3.5 and everything seems stable.

This WinForm program in no way, shape, or form is MVVM. There's no Model to expose to a ViewModel/View. So you can't tap into it with a brokered app component and just write a new View(which, again, is a hell of a lot of work, this isn't a tiny program).

One of Windows strengths has been that you still have access to an insane collection of software when you upgrade to the latest version. I'm hopeful they don't artificially hobble it because someone in some management team doesn't feel it's appropriate for particular form factors.

Guys, they only needed the desktop while Office was desktop-only. They are getting ready to launch the tablet/touch version of Office for Windows and thus will have no reason to keep the desktop on smaller devices. People don't want it anyway -- they don't want to struggle through the desktop which was designed for mouse/keyboard. Microsoft has just been waiting for Office to be ready.

The CURRENT Office (2013) supports touch, to a surprisingly-solid extent, right now - IF the OS it is installed on does (and has the proper support for it) - have any of you even tried it? I have, which is why I know about it - yes; it will take getting used to - however, it likely won't be any harder than changing from WordPerfect to Word was in 1995.

User patterns are indeed a major obstacle - it's something I have stated repeatedly is the issue when it comes to Windows applications, Windows itself, and even other OSes.
NXTwoThou - vertical use-specific applications DO need rewrites to take advantage of new OS and/or hardware features; just because the application dates back to 2004 doesn't mean that it can't be re-written. What was the original application written in? (By that, I mean what IDE/programming language/etc. - you are saying that it's no longer possible - the question I specifically am asking is "why not".) If it was written in Visual Studio - any version - then VS 2012/2014 SHOULD be able to handle the rewrite. If "locking to Modern" makes no sense, how does "locking to desktop" make any - unless you want to specifically bar smaller form-factors? If that is the case, you are decidedly writing niche software - not general-purpose software.

Sure, it has a touch configuration that changes some AI elements and such, but they are working on something that doesn't require the desktop at all and that is metro/modern native.

evacc44 said,
Sure, it has a touch configuration that changes some AI elements and such, but they are working on something that doesn't require the desktop at all and that is metro/modern native.

But will it have the same features of the Desktop one?

Windows 9 pro=desktop,tablets
Windows 9 mobile=tablets and phones

This way tablets could conceivabley have over 250000 apps.

Windows 9 = Desktop, Laptop and Tablets
Windows 9 Mobile = Laptop, Tablets and Phones (Touch Screen)
We DON'T need 3 to 5 diff sinking windows types
Give all Full Ver and ditch the Upgrade and System Builder OEM ver
One key for both 32 and 64bit
Keep at $50 to more then $75
No more @#$%#@ing Live sign in carp

There are four - and only four - non-EU-mandated SKUs of Windows 8.1 today:
Core (basic features, no Hyper-V, add-in WMC add-in available at extra cost), Pro (second-greatest standard-feature set, includes Hyper-V support if supported by hardware for no additional cost, can itself be run virtually, WMC add-in available for additional cost), ProWMC (widest-feature support, includes WMC add-in and all Pro SKU features) and Enterprise (new with 8.1 - includes all Pro features, specific Enterprise features such as WindowsToGo, optional WMC at additional cost). That is it. Upgrade and System Builder are for specific "niche" usages; further, no SKU is locked to a specific "bitness" (no "x64 tax" exists). There is zero difference (except for OEM-specific loadouts) between 8.1 ProWMC on a Surface Pro 3 and an HP TouchSmart 610 - none whatever. (Keys are not tied to bitnesses of Windows - and haven't been since XP64.) Microsoft accounts are optional - again, that has been the case since Windows 8 launched. (Further, they cost nothing - how much does a Google Account - which Android requires - cost?) Apparently, you hate Microsoft enough to want to lock them in a cage and keep them from competing with Google. The question begs - why?

Makes sense.. one of my old 7" tablets runs a desktop version of Windows, it's near unusable at such a small size, even with a stylus.

Yeah. If Microsoft would give us that capability - desktop programs in Modern, I'd never see the desktop again! On _any_ of my machines.

DConnell said,
Yeah. If Microsoft would give us that capability - desktop programs in Modern, I'd never see the desktop again! On _any_ of my machines.

I think I am in the same boat =). Maybe my desktop but even on there I like the modern interface much better generally =).

DConnell said,
Yeah. If Microsoft would give us that capability - desktop programs in Modern, I'd never see the desktop again! On _any_ of my machines.

That would be something developers of those desktop apps would have to do though, it's not something MS can just have happen. From what I saw at BUILD they've made it possible to take a WPF app and maybe even Win32 apps and stick them in a WinRT/Modern wrapper of sorts. Still, the UI doesn't change so it'd be a pain to use them on such a small device without a mouse.

George P said,

That would be something developers of those desktop apps would have to do though, it's not something MS can just have happen. From what I saw at BUILD they've made it possible to take a WPF app and maybe even Win32 apps and stick them in a WinRT/Modern wrapper of sorts. Still, the UI doesn't change so it'd be a pain to use them on such a small device without a mouse.

I am not a dev but I would imagine that MS could program a virtual desktop to handle any desktop apps that would allow the standard app to run but incorperate modern UI behaviors like swipe down to close or over to split screen or hide away in the background =).

I dont know all involved, but anytime it would access the desktop or its framework it would just virtualize those processes into a modern wrapper or something?

Scabrat said,

I am not a dev but I would imagine that MS could program a virtual desktop to handle any desktop apps that would allow the standard app to run but incorperate modern UI behaviors like swipe down to close or over to split screen or hide away in the background =).

I dont know all involved, but anytime it would access the desktop or its framework it would just virtualize those processes into a modern wrapper or something?

The issue is more of a case of the apps UI and not so much the APIs it uses etc. Again, if the app is made for a mouse and a bigger screen, like most content creation apps out there, then even if they did have it run in modern, with only touch what good would it do? The problem is that it'd be such a pain to use without the proper mouse support and also if it's on too small of a screen then the controls are also a pain to try and use.

Like using Photoshop on a 8" device with touch, just not a good idea. So at the least the apps UI has to be worked on in some fashion before we start talking about emulating modern style OS controls/gestures etc.

George P said,

That would be something developers of those desktop apps would have to do though, it's not something MS can just have happen. From what I saw at BUILD they've made it possible to take a WPF app and maybe even Win32 apps and stick them in a WinRT/Modern wrapper of sorts. Still, the UI doesn't change so it'd be a pain to use them on such a small device without a mouse.

True, but if you're using a serious app, I'd imagine you'd be using a mouse & keyboard anyway. The only time the one on my Surface is detached is when I'm just reading a book.

The key element to my mind is getting the programs more integrated into Windows as a whole, rather than stuck corralled in the desktop.

It's the programs that are important to me, not the desktop.

George P said,

That would be something developers of those desktop apps would have to do though, it's not something MS can just have happen. From what I saw at BUILD they've made it possible to take a WPF app and maybe even Win32 apps and stick them in a WinRT/Modern wrapper of sorts. Still, the UI doesn't change so it'd be a pain to use them on such a small device without a mouse.

you're talking about hybrid apps, I guess?

you're wrong when you say that the UI doesn't change, since you are actually forced to entirely rewrite the UI as a WinRT front-end.

That front-end can then communicate with the legacy code running in the back-end, as a window-less win32 desktop app.

It's not a solution designed for regular users, as it requires side loading capabilities. So, it's aimed only at enterprise-apps.

Furthermore, with the desktop-less SKU of Windows 9, obviously win32 components and hybrid apps won't be supported at all. Even on x86.
The point would be to support only winRT apps and offer a user experience that is not vulnerable to traditional malwares. Allowing win32 code to run without a sandbox would defeat that promise.

DConnell said,
Yeah. If Microsoft would give us that capability - desktop programs in Modern, I'd never see the desktop again! On _any_ of my machines.

Right

I'm serious. While I do use desktop programs, I have no real attachment to the desktop UI. I'm not clamoring for its removal (except to get the goat of a couple posters here . . .) but I'm not married to it either. It's just an environment for running some of my programs, not the be-all and end-all of user interfaces like some people seem to think. I'm not anti-desktop UI, just anti-"This is the only proper way to use a full-power computer". I get tired of being treated like an infidel because I happen to like Modern and find it useful on full size computers as well as my Surface.

Indifferent is probably the most accurate word to describe my feeling about the desktop. Like I said, give me the ability to run desktop programs in a Modern "wrapper" or robust Modern programs to replace the desktop programs I use, and I would probably never use the desktop again.

Edited by DConnell, Jul 3 2014, 2:34pm :

I agree. I have a DV8P and working the desktop is tricky. But it also give up a lot of freedom if you cant run desktop apps. Like Chrome and adblock are nice to run on it. Unless IE will support extensions in metro mode...

Scabrat said,
I agree. I have a DV8P and working the desktop is tricky. But it also give up a lot of freedom if you cant run desktop apps. Like Chrome and adblock are nice to run on it. Unless IE will support extensions in metro mode...

I doubt it, not with the way the security around IE works on modern and other apps unless they add a specific API that will allow for data to be passed out of IE and into another "app" then you can kind of get extensions that way.

Scabrat said,
I agree. I have a DV8P and working the desktop is tricky. But it also give up a lot of freedom if you cant run desktop apps. Like Chrome and adblock are nice to run on it. Unless IE will support extensions in metro mode...

Chrome runs quite well in Metro mode.

SharpGreen said,

Chrome runs quite well in Metro mode.

Right. But it requires the desktop to do so =). So if they say no desktop at all then Chrome wont work.

George P said,

I doubt it, not with the way the security around IE works on modern and other apps unless they add a specific API that will allow for data to be passed out of IE and into another "app" then you can kind of get extensions that way.

I do too. It would just be nice to have adblock on my modern IE. I like IE much better than Chrome for navigation and resources but Chrome has adblock that cant be met by the scripting thing or whatever its called that IE uses to block adds. =)

Scabrat said,

Right. But it requires the desktop to do so =). So if they say no desktop at all then Chrome wont work.


If they outright forbid desktop apps from running on capable tablets...that would be a huge mistake. I'm fine with hiding the actual desktop on said devices but completely removing the ability to run desktop apps would be stupid.

Especially so if done on small devices that were more than likely bought under the assumption that they could run desktop apps

SharpGreen said,

If they outright forbid desktop apps from running on capable tablets...that would be a huge mistake. I'm fine with hiding the actual desktop on said devices but completely removing the ability to run desktop apps would be stupid.

Especially so if done on small devices that were more than likely bought under the assumption that they could run desktop apps


there will obviously be several SKU of win9 on x86:

the mobile (free?) SKU that doesn't run win32/desktop (for low cost laptops and small tablets)

the classic SKU (for desktop PCs, high end laptop/tablets) that will be like Windows 8.

current 8inches tablets will be able to install the classic SKU and continue to benefit from the desktop and win32 apps.

link8506 said,


there will obviously be several SKU of win9 on x86:

the mobile (free?) SKU that doesn't run win32/desktop (for low cost laptops and small tablets)

the classic SKU (for desktop PCs, high end laptop/tablets) that will be like Windows 8.

current 8inches tablets will be able to install the classic SKU and continue to benefit from the desktop and win32 apps.

Well ok. But there's still the confusion factor (depending on how the marketing goes) that x86 = desktop apps no matter the size, which was the other half of my point in the last part of my comment.