Report: Windows 8 Update Will Bring Back The Desktop (By Default)

Report: Windows 8 Update Will Bring Back The Desktop (By Default)

Here's where embarassing corporate backpedalling is a good thing: according to The Verge, the next update for Windows 8 will see every machine boot straight to the desktop mode by default. You know, like we used to, in the good old days.

While there's long been an option to boot straight to the more conventional desktop rather than the tile-based "Metro" UI, "sources familiar with Microsoft's plans" have told The Verge that the operating system's next update will enable this by default.

The Metro's tile interface is pretty neat for tablets and touchscreens, but for regular desktop PCs it's a nightmare. The backtrack is a result of Microsoft's "telemetry" revealing that the biggest percentage of Windows 8's users are old-fashioned desktop + mouse types who use old-fashioned programs, not these new-fangled app things.

If true it's a welcome move, which along with the return of the "Start" button sees the operating system return to the kind of experience desktop users should have had by default in the first place. And while we could be congratulating Microsoft on paying closer attention to the people actually using its products, The Verge highlights another possible reason for the changes: support for Windows XP ends in April, so millions of businesses will be moving to Windows 8. And those people need old-fashioned stuff like Start buttons so they can get stuff done.

Microsoft backpedals: Windows 8.1 update hides tile interface by default [The Verge]


    But...I like the tile system.

      You're in the minority but I'm sure there'll still be an option to boot into the Metro UI if you really want to.

      Last edited 01/02/14 9:14 am

      same, I think its simpler to deal with than the old start menu. It isn't as if you can't boot to desktop currently anyway..

      The metro tiles are awesome!

      I like it too.

      i find it puzzling that people wont just tick a bloody box to boot to desktop and stop complaining.
      Is this such a big deal??

      I don't mind the tiles, the new start screen is really handy for starting apps and programs, just press the start key and start typing. Windows 8 really isn't as bad as people make it out to be. Sure, it has its problems, but coming from Windows 7, which was so great, to Windows 8, which is a drastic change, people are bound to complain.

    I agree the tile system is better than the archaic start menu. Windows 8 has been out for how long now and people are still whining about the tile system? If you can't figure out how to use it in 2 years then I don't think computers are your thing.

    I'd like to know how it constitutes a nightmare. I use it every day in my job and have zero issues with it. But as always different == bad. We should just go back 10 years and stay on XP and all the other MS products at the time because surely nothing has improved since then.

      I don't find it nightmarish, however I installed Start8, which brings back the "archaic start menu", and it basically shows me what I want on a PC in much less space, in a much less distracting way in a way that doesn't break my flow. The tiles are good for mobiles and tablets, but it's just not as efficient for PC

      Just because you can figure it out, doesn't mean everybody can. If the report is correct and it's primarily a business influenced move, then it makes sense as I work with people who use XP every day and still struggle to use it. Unfortunately, not everybody is as computer literate as the average Kotaku reader.

      This might help explain things:

      The tiles are fucking hideous and if you don't like them, you're outta luck. 'Desktop' or no.

        This is exactly why I don't get the big focus on the start button. It's not going to do anything differently, and the start button on your keyboard does the same thing...

      why should the consumer adjust there way of using windows so that windows does what they want? the number 1 rule of sales - give the customer what they want, and they want the desktop and old start menu

      It takes far longer to scroll through a bunch of gigantic tiles than to check out your list of apps on the start menu. I don't see how making things take longer is the way forward.

      People have preferences that you don't share, grow up, deal with it and refrain from being an asshole.

      To quote Snuffbox - "You want a compu'er that looks like a compu'er".

    Why the shit would I want that? You can already option starting from the desktop and replace the start screen with the applist. At best they should have Windows ask which way you want it displayed on first run.

    fuck the legacy lovers trying to pull MS back to 1995.

      Its called supporting the lowest common denominator.

      I hope its like you said an option on first run or when the user profile creation is happening it detects if its touchscreen or not, based on that flag it sets boot to desktop or to start as default. I know most of my clients want to go to desktop first on their work PCs. Still either way you set the default people will complain.

      As for the old Start Menu, I don't want to see that. I have clients that have "friends" that put on Start menu replacements and its screws with everything, especially the ones that break that right click super menu we have in the bottom left now. Especially if you take the time to learn the new Start Screen its quite powerful. Yes there are drawbacks but I find it faster to get around.

        After working IT for large govt organizations, the absolute stubborness to keep everything as old and legacy as possible, while continually modifying things to make them less compatible and moving even harder, really killed my love for IT altogether.

          Our work computers use XP and some of my colleagues struggle with basic computer literacy, so I understand why big companies push to keep things familiar. Not only would it cost time in lost productivity, but you also need to spend time teaching people how to use it.

            This right here. While @dknigs, et al will find this a pain in the arse, I would say a good 75% of people I've worked with over the last 5 years (mostly boomers, though not limited to them) have fuck-all computers skills outside of the minimal training they've had to use their work related applications. The other 25% might have some idea, they might torrent, plays games, etc, but outside of this and browsing the web, everything else is white noise to them. I get that MS wants to change, but it's got to be incremental UI changes over a decent period of time, maybe a decade or so. The conclusion that "people use phones with apps, so by the transit of properties, people will be able to use Win8 with our phone style UI" is a bit of a stretch. Dropping straight into the app list might seem like a no brainer for any of us who have no issues with PCs, to them, it's just another obstacle. People like that will adapt over time, but a UI that's not desktop based has to become the new norm first and we're already on our way there, just not yet.

            Normally I'm sympathetic towards people who just aren't interested in computers, deep knowledge of how your computer hardware/software work and anything beyond simple networking just isn't necessary anymore, but come on it's been 20 years since Windows 95. We don't use anything strict like command lines anymore. Our OS' are pretty much on auto-aim. If you're still computer illiterate to the point where you can't sit down on a Mac and figure out how to get your work done that's on you.

            Honestly I think the people you talk about need things to be mixed up more often. They need to be cut less slack and taught properly. Run them through proper courses rather than just telling them where to point and click to get them out of our hair faster.

          As a government worker I can confidently say that if you IT nerds could actually do a large roll out without f*cking it, and half a dozen regularly used apps or systems, up then perhaps management would have more faith in doing it more often.

            As a person who works in IT Infrastructure for a massive corporation, I feel my opinion here is valid.

            Doing rollouts of new software and programs in a corporate environment is incredibly tedious and difficult. People complain when there is change, and if we roll out a new program, we get literally hundreds of users complaining that "this doesn't work like it used to" and "why can't I do this anymore?"
            Sure, we have the good ones who accept that IT is a trial and error practice, and accept that it takes time to smooth out the bumps, but majority of people are like you, who just say "fuck it the IT guys have fucked up again" and whine and complain until it's fixed.

            Until you've worked in a corporate IT environment, don't judge those who do. We spend 10 hours a day here making sure shit works for people and get nothing in return.

              except paid, right?

                No, most corporations will only pay you for the first 8 hours of a day you work. After that, it's time accrued to have an RDO. So, it's not all bad, I do get a day off a month, but that wasn't the point, haha.

                  I got your point, just being a bit of a smart ass ;)

            As a human being who understand technology. I think you need to calm down and realise that If there is any change to any "in place" system there are going to be issues. and the I.T "Nerds"... haha haven't heard that word for a while. are rolling out a system that has generally been pushed on them by another team. Not them. and they are forced to work it into the already existing system.

            You talk like you're both 60 and 6 at the same time.

    my laptop has been booting windows 8 desktop since i bought it, was just a minor 0/1 reg change

      Changing that shit is cool.

      I had windows 7 starter on my old netbook and it wouldn't let me change my background. But the internet told me I could use the registry to bypass the user interface restrictions and my mind was blown.

      Maybe I'm just easily impressed haha.

    I honestly don't really see the point of forcing this... I mean as the article points out, it's an option you can already select... And out of the people that hate the metro UI, who hasn't done that by now? or at least gone back to Windows 7 or something?

    MS seems to want to change the way do things from the Metro UI to how they originally envisioned the Xbox One, but they seem to struggle keeping their foot down, it's quite worrying. Damn them for being a big company that likes money so much that they are willing to change what they think are great ideas. :P

    Weird... when there was talk of introducing the metro system everyone was complaining about how it will ruin the system. Now when they say they'll remove it everyone says it'll ruin the system.

      People like to complain. People with a sense of taste have nothing to complain about here, so nod their heads, say, "About time, Microsoft," then move on.

        I don't think attacking people's taste is really necessary here?

          Hmm. Welcome to the internet, you must be new here. :)

          Seriously though, yes, it's part hyperbole. But only part. The tiles really are hideous and the almost universal critical panning the OS has received and its complete failure to perform to expectations, along with the very early announcement of Win9 development kinda bears that out.

          While not 'necessary', a sardonic counterpoint to the up-to-this-point one-sided comments which might give a misleading indication on the state of things? I'd argue that it's useful.

      It's not everyone, it's just groups. And different groups, at that. I never complained about Metro, I have no problem with them disabling it by default but I'd have a problem with them removing it. Others like transientmind have the opposite sentiment.

      Windows 8 is a great OS, people who don't like it are luddites who can't adapt, haha.

    The only bad thing about the metro interface is that in its default state it tries to push the app store on you if you let it.

    Once you configure it, guess what... It's a start menu with a slight aesthetic edge to it. Nothing more. It isn't hard to use and lets you make custom groups for programs you use all the time etc. Sometimes, I actually kind of like it.

    Because having my PC w/ssd boot in a few seconds without the animation of tiles sliding across the screen just wouldn't be quite as slick.

    I just don't understand why people think it's such a "nightmare" to use.

      For non power users that uses windows 8 it is definitely a good thing. Simple and easy to use like a tablet. Toss windows 8 to the old people and they can use it even better than iPads. For power users that want more customisation, it is a nightmare. You might not know that majority of PC users are from the XP era and it was one of the best platform windows created. Vista was shit and 7 saved Microsoft. Even companies are not supporting windows 8 and no drivers are found for majority company programs.

      PC does not consist of internet browser, torrent and VLC only.

        And a metro interface start menu stops you from doing anything other than browser, vlc and torrents? I use my PC for gaming, work, entertainment and occasionally teaching myself programming. Don't be a pompous twat about it and assume you know what I do on my PC.

          I'm not saying you are using it for what purpose and you don't have to be a dick when I state facts. That is the truth why companies are not going to windows 8 including the companies I worked at.

          I am merely stating facts what majority young users are using pc for in recent years.

          You don't have to be so butthurt when I did not target you when I said that unless you are one of them and get offended.

            When you say that last statement on your first reply, it comes off as a little accusatory, just so you know.

              Sorry for offending you but I was really targeting the younger general PC user.

              I know windows 8 is very new user friendly but I think that is precisely why it failed. Its like making my pc to a touchscreen-less tablet. :(

        I'm a power user and I have no problem with Windows 8 or Metro. I don't think blanket statements like that are helpful in determining who likes or doesn't like things.

        The main reason Windows hasn't been upgraded to 8 in the businesses I've worked with (or for) since 8 came out is that it's seen as unnecessary. Most of them just went from XP to Win7 and there was a good reason for that, Win8 is a much more incremental update in comparison that doesn't justify the cost of licensing a few thousand PCs. The UI is a factor, certainly, but cost/benefit has been the dominant factor in what I've seen.

        Back when Windows XP came out, everybody complained that it was shit and they were staying on Windows 98SE, which was the best OS that MS ever made (or so we were told at the time).

        Windows XP didn't stop being rubbish until SP2 in 2004. It also had a lifespan of six years which is a major anomaly for an end-user client OS (remember the 90s and how often new Windows releases came out?), so it had a lot of time to sit and be accepted and improved. Vista was a new kernel that was long overdue. Win7 was Vista with improvements and benefited from the increased support that Vista cultured. Vista was the disaster we had to have - without it, Win 7 would have been the disaster.

        Back in 2001 if you'd told people that XP would be so fondly loved, you'd have been laughed off the Internet.

    No one is moving to Windows 8, everyone knows with Microsoft you skip a generation...
    Win3.1 YES!, Win95 No, Win98 YES!, WinMe No, WinXP YES!, WinVista No, Win7 YES!, Win8 NO!
    I appreciate NT, 2k are missing.. I'm thinking home users...

    Yea its called windows 8.1, Right click on the taskbar at the bottom > Properties > Navigation > Tick "When I sign in or close all apps on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start" > Apply

    Done, you are welcome!

    So what will happen to all the tablet- and touch-based machines running Windows 8? Will they be ruined with this downgrade?

    And yeah, I think this update is ridiculous. The option to make the traditional desktop the default is there already.

    Seriously? I just hit esc once and bingo... too hard for some I guess

    Seriously, I have used every version of Windows since V1, when it came of 5.25 floppies. If every time MS decided to change an interface slightly I had such a freak out as people seem to have over Metro I'd have died from stress a long time ago. The fact that so many people, who I can quite safely assume are younger than me and are so set in their ways already that they can't cope with a new menu layout, well, we're doomed as a species because we've already developed the mindset of dinosaurs.

    Adapt or die morons. It's how nature works.

      Adapt to a worse menu layout? Why? The old method was much more efficient.

        Mouse control - check
        hotkeys - check
        ability to shuffle things around into my own categories - check

        It's an interface, it's not natural in any way, it's something you learn to navigate.

      Adapting into an evolutionary cul de sac doesn't strike me as a particular good move for survival.

      I'm a bit insulted that you assume anyone who doesn't like W8 must be a caveman. I've been using Windows for close to 16 years and the longer I use W8, the more pet peeves come out of the woodwork.
      1) Very poor information density. Metro was clearly designed for jabbing fat fingers at a 10" touchscreen, vs a 24" monitor with the fidelity of a mouse cursor. Every graphic element like tiles, charm icons, and especially within apps are hilariously oversized on my monitor and require far more scrolling than necessary. Oh and resizing tiles is binary so it's either medium or small with 1/4 the size and nothing in between.
      2) Windows 8, despite protestations, is NOT user-friendly. When I first clean-installed it, I had to google how to initiate sleep (apparently it was charms > settings > power > sleep). Someone like my mother would not have found that in a hundred years. They've somewhat rectified that with right clicking the task bar but again, is not a forward-facing feature that most will never find.
      3) Godawful Metro app selection. I would be more partial to staying within this environment if there was more apps and services but compared to the cornucopia of programs available on x86, the app selection in Microsoft's curated app store is exceptionally poor. The only noteworthy addition to me since I installed W8 over a year ago is Facebook. Then there's the fact that these apps are even less KB/M friendly than the Start Screen.
      4) MS jamming Metro versions of apps down your throat. If you try to download Skype, it will prompt you to install the 'Windows 8' version, which they don't warn is the RT version rather than desktop. This continues for new users who unless they've changed the default 'Open With' options for files, will continue to be pulled roughly back into Metro like image viewer, even when navigating in desktop's file explorer.

      W8 has many great optimisations under the hood like sandboxing but as someone who's typing on a W8 maching now, I avoid Metro like the plague. I wouldn't suggest it to power users and I probably won't even suggest it to average joes either. Before the rest of the Microsoft chain gang pipes in with "get out of the 90s man, learn to adapt!" The onus is on Microsoft to prove how their new vision should appeal to me, not force an unpopular paradigm with a steep learning curve on consumers and telling them to suck it up. If you're going to write us off as luddites, just look at the explosive popularity of OSes like Android or iOS which execute a touch interface well, and how everyone and their grandma can use an iPad.

    A few months ago giz had an article about someone who did a concept redesign of the win8 UI where it had the old style start menu but with smaller versions of the tiles embedded in it? That would be nice.

    TIles as desktop objects would be nice, if you want to glance quickly a calendar, weather or stock ticker (seriously, has anyone ever actually used one of those in windows?) it'd be good on the desktop, not so much in a separate applications screen.

    The idea of live updating tiles isn't a bad one but if you have to click something and occupy the entire display with another screen in order to get the updating information, you might as well just load the program directly

      I'm guessing they wanted to do the entire live tiles thing after seeing what a revolution gadgets caused when they were added in Vista.

      The idea of live updating tiles isn't a bad one but if you have to click something and occupy the entire display with another screen in order to get the updating information, you might as well just load the program directly

      It's value isn't seeing a specific live tile on demand, for that you just keep the application open and Alt+Tab to it, it's seeing all your live tiles in one place when just by hitting the Windows key. When setup right it gives you one big overview of your active desktop without the need to go into multiple applications.
      It doesn't sound super useful until you find your own reason for using it and it could certainly use some refinement, but I see it as the natural next step in desktop shortcuts. A shortcut that tells you whether you want to open the application before you open it. It takes the traditional idea of a desktop being like a physical desktop and then says 'well, it's not a physical desktop, so why limit ourselves to treating everything like it was a stack of paper?'.

      Also clicking something to get Metro up is doing it wrong. That Start button is a joke. Ignore the mouse and use the keyboard for interacting with Metro (or even Start on older Windows). It doesn't sound like much but if you can type even moderately fast it streamlines the entire thing down to nothing. Windows Key+[the first few letters of what you were going to click on]+Enter is crazy fast.

        Keyboard ftw. Want to start VLC? Win, "VLC", Enter. Rocksmith? Win, "Roc", Enter. (Or Win+3, as it's on my taskbar.) Works exactly the same as it did in Win7, just looks a little different.

        That said, unless you're a confident typist, you may not see this as a viable/speedy alternative.

    So people actually use Windows 8? I'm genuinely surprised. Does it do anything that Windows 7 doesn't, besides the hideous UI?

    I don't have a problem with the new Start screen in and of itself. I do have a problem though with the poorly executed/explained blend of the Modern architecture (tiles, fullscreen apps, reliance on MS App Store etc) and the legacy architecture. Nobody seems to know if the Start menu is an addition to the old Windows, or if it's an all new Windows with the Desktop added as a concession for backward compatibility.

    For instance, when you open IE from the desktop, you get IE in a window on the desktop, plugins and all, like Win7. When you click on the IE tile in the Start menu however, you get a full screen browser with the address bar at the bottom and no Flash. How the hell is my mum supposed to understand that distinction without me half-explaining it to her?? And half of the other tiles start programs on the desktop, you have to rely on intuition to work out which buttons start programs and which ones start "apps".

    I kinda half-wish that they had gone all the way - no desktop at all, all Modern, full-screen or die. Yes, it would mean developer/consumer backlash for a while, but it would've forced the issue and left no ambiguity.

    Last edited 03/02/14 2:12 pm

    Desperate move to sell Windows 8 which nobody wants, but the important thing is that microsoft learned their lesson.

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