Windows 8.1 Metro: Start or stop?

The tiled, touch-centric Metro interface is an integral part of Windows 8. So integral that Windows defaults to Metro on start up. Should this change?

Brooke Crothers
Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
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.
Windows 8.1 Metro: demoted by popular demand?
Windows 8.1 Metro: demoted by popular demand? Microsoft

The Metro screen certainly has had its detractors. Is Microsoft now one of them?

The touch-friendly tiled start screen, aka Metro, that greets everyone in Windows 8.1 may be in danger of being demoted, if reports are to be believed this week.

One report claimed that Microsoft is testing a scenario where the OS boots to the desktop by default (not as an option), bypassing the touch-centric Metro screen.

Of course, it's merely a rumor at this point because no one really knows if Microsoft will in fact implement this when the Windows 8.1 Update 1 is pushed out to the general public.

At the risk of stating the obvious, here's the problem: most Windows 8 users -- as pointed out in The Verge article cited above -- still favor the keyboard and mouse. That would imply that Metro could be, at best, a distraction and, at worst, a nuisance for some business users.

The corollary to this theory is that Metro could run in some form on the desktop. How that would manifest itself is also the subject of rumors.

And, as a final thought, was Hewlett-Packard dropping some hints when it ran the Windows-7-back-by-popular-demand promo (at bottom)?

Hewlett-Packard ran this promo earlier in the month.
Hewlett-Packard ran this promo earlier in the month. Hewlett-Packard