Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8.1 Update 1 will see the company slightly break awayfrom its infamous “Metro UI” (as we still call it), according to The Verge. The most recent update, Windows 8.1, allows users to boot to desktop without ever seeing the tiled interface, and Microsoft allegedly wants to push that feature even further by making it the default option. If true, consumers could live inside the Windows 8 ecosystem without ever seeing a single tile. The tiled UI has been a huge point of contention ever since Windows 8 was announced.
“The update is still in development, and Microsoft could alter this further before it ships, but it’s currently being changed to appease desktop users,” The Verge wrote.
In a traditional desktop environment, the presence of Metro inside Windows 8 never seemed to fit, making the OS hugely unpopular among longtime Windows users; it made much more sense in a touch environment, such as on the Surface. Microsoft has slowly bowed to consumer demand, starting with the option to boot to desktop, and this most recent rumor could all but eliminate the Metro environment. It’ll still be there, but it definitely sounds like it won’t be the main focus in Update 1, which is expected to arrive this spring.
In addition to simply responding to consumer demand, the change may also be a strategic move to appease businesses when Microsoft eventually cuts off support for Windows XP in April. Other changes expected in the upcoming update may include shutdown and search buttons on the Start Screen, the ability to pin apps to the desktop task bar, and a toolbar at the top of apps with minimize and close buttons, The Verge said.
Microsoft has a big Build developers conference in April, where the company is rumored to detail what to expect in Windows 9. What we see in Windows 8.1 Update 1, meanwhile, could be a huge indication on what direction the company plans to go.