With Windows Blue comes fear of desktop's demise

Windows Blue portends the end of the desktop. That's what doomsayers are claiming today. Are they right?

Windows Blue rumored shutdown screen.
Windows Blue rumored shutdown screen. Neowin

Windows Blue has triggered a spate of doomsaying about the end of the Windows desktop.

Today there has been no shortage of articles claiming that Blue portends the end of Windows 8 desktop mode. You know, the mode that most Windows 8 users spend their time in.

Rumored changes for Metro -- the Windows 8 touch-centric tablet mode -- include a different way to handle multitasking in side-by-side snap view. Possibly providing less reason to drop to the desktop for multitasking.

But what seems to have most observers worried is the changes to Control Panel.

Here's what Information Week said.

Build 9364's (Windows Blue) tablet-centricism is so pervasive...the ability to modify Control Panel settings -- which previously required that users shift to the desktop side of the OS -- from within the Modern UI. Indeed, with a Modern-flavored File Manager rumored to be in the cards, Microsoft seems keen to translate many legacy activities to its new touch-centered world. The changes can certainly be justified in the name of convenience but they will also wean users off the more familiar Explorer environment by encouraging them to conduct more of their business in the tablet UI.

And Extreme Tech, commenting on the tweaks to the Metro Control Panel said: "If you had any lingering doubts about whether Microsoft was trying to kill off the Desktop, here's confirmation."

Another plausible scenario is that Blue is just a set of necessary tweaks to make Windows 8 easier to use.

And what does Microsoft have to say about all of this? Very little at this point. "Product leaders across Microsoft are working together on plans to advance our devices and services, a set of plans referred to internally as "Blue," Microsoft said today in its official blog.

That is the first time that Microsoft has officially mentioned Blue. But you can expect a lot more about Blue at the upcoming Build Conference in June -- also announced today.

Maybe we'll know more by then whether Microsoft is getting ready to consign the beloved, time-tested Windows desktop to oblivion -- or not.

The Windows 8 desktop we know and love.
The Windows 8 desktop we know and love. Microsoft
About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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