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The difference between x86 or Win 7, or desktop apps, and the touch based Metro style


This seems like a good time to ask a question regarding the difference between x86 or Win 7, or desktop apps, and the touch based Metro style apps. The above discussion regarding the settings in Skype is a good example. Heretofore Windows o/s has been the most popular o/s in the world, selling about 360 million copies per year, year after year. Win 8 changes all of that and makes the o/s less adjustable or useful for users, and MS sees this as an improvement? I keep hearing that MS is going to get rid of the desktop and all apps will be Metro style. Will the new, improved apps have all the capabilities of the older Win 7 type apps? If not, then how is this an improvement?

Additionally, how will finger touch based apps have all of the capabilities of mouse based apps? First of all, no right mouse button. Second, no precise pointer positioning. Third of all, no multiple windowed interface with apps able to run multiple tasks at the same time. It seems Win 8 style apps are single tasked, or two or three tasks at the most. Win 7 apps can, and do run dozens of apps at the same time.

I used an Amiga computer for the 9 years or so in which it was a viable o/s. The Amiga had a windowed interface and it had screens that were not windows and could only be gotten to by keyboard shortcuts. At least they multi-tasked. It seems that Win 8 is going back to that limited or constricted o/s style, and it regards this as an advance in computer interface. It seems to be a step backward to me. Or, am I wrong on this? What are the advantages to going to a finger touch based interface if the user loses many of the advantages of the prior mouse based interface?


Super Moderator
Jeff, I made your post its own thread because it is far broader than the Skype thread you posted in. MY short answer to your questions is that you misunderstand Windows 8 and have some misconceptions about what can and can't be done. Win 8 is not less adjustable than previous versions of Windows, desktop is not going away (though you may interact with it more through a Modern UI in future versions). No body is getting ride of mice and touch based apps have equivalent ways of performing mouse functions. A right click is the same as a long press for example. You certainly have the option of running as many tasks with Windows 8 as you have with any other version of Windows in the past. Touch based interface isn't going to take away prior functionality but is actually the opposite by adding touch to the list of things you could do before.

The future is more functionality not less. Apps are only limited by the imaginations of the developers and you can already see this with Apple and Android. There are apps that do far more than could have originally been imagined. Touch just offers an additional input option and we can expect that to be further augmented with spatial input like Kinect and Leap Motion as well as improved voice input, eye tracking and probably someday even thought control.



Thanks for the new thread. I looked for the new thread option, but figured that since I am a new user I didn't have the option of beginning a new thread yet. I'm happy to discuss this new thread. I read on another board the idea that 90% of all a typical computer user needs or wants to do today is doable via the touch interface on RT or the iPad or the Nexus 7. The desktop just gets in the way and complicates matters, or so it is said. I've heard that Steve Jobs once said that the pc is like a 747 and most of us only need ground cars. I've also heard that some say the pc is like a home oven/stove and most people only need a microwave for 90 or 99 % of their cooking. If touch is simply another way to accomplish computing tasks, then I have only high hopes for it. My experience with 3 pre release versions of Win 8 and now a Surface Pro is that the Metro style apps are, in almost all cases, not as useful as the standard desktop apps. I use both versions of Kindle, Evernote, and Nook. None of these excellent desktop apps seem to be as limited as the metro style apps are. Perhaps the metro developers are just learning the routines and the metro style apps will become as useful as the desktop apps in the future. Time will tell.


Super Moderator
Good analogies but not everything can or will be replaced by something else. Ever try and cook pancakes in the microwave? Even if you only have an oven for that one day a year you cook a turkey, you still need an oven. People still ride horses although in theory motorized vehicles can completely replace them. All I mean is that even if phones and light weight tablets can do 90% of what we need it isn't everything. How about restoring a bricked iPhone from your Android tablet? Not gonna happen ;)

Then there is work which is a whole different story. How many people can pull off their whole work day on a tablet? What about writing programs on tablets? They don't support the SDKs. Movie special effects? Home studio music recording? Storing home movies and pics? We have quite a ways to go before even some of the simple home PC tasks are replaced entirely by tablets. This is one of the reasons people are so excited about the Surface Pro. You get a real PC in tablet form without giving up any of your real PC abilities :D
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