Microsoft to Improve Metro Apps in Windows 8.1

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Yesterday Paul Thurrott enumerated a number of tweaks that will appear in the upcoming Windows 8.1 update. Screenshots from WZor confirm a few of Paul’s earlier notes on upcoming changes to Windows 8.x that are worth discussing.

The gist is that Microsoft wants to unify the desktop and Metro environments, especially in the context of apps. The better the apps work between the two, the more people might use applications from the Windows Store. This is tacit admission that people love the desktop environment that they have used for decades, and have been slow to switch over to the Metro environment.

So, if people love the desktop and you want them to use more Metro apps, you bring the Metro apps to their desktops. Paul previously reported that you would be able to run Metro apps on the desktop, but WZor screenshots show it in action. Surprise? No.

There is more: “I can confirm one new feature: Metro apps will now include a close box, similar to that seen on desktop applications, which can be clicked with a mouse so that the app closes completely.” Thank god. Getting rid of Metro apps when you are done with them has been a constant Windows 8.x headache.

The divide between the “new” in Windows 8.x (the Metro side of the fence) and the “old” (the Windows 7 bits of Windows 8.x) is being blurred. That’s probably good, given that the old is popular and Microsoft wants the new to become more so.

We’ll see more before Build, given the current pace of leaks. It seems that Microsoft wants to patch the weaker parts of Windows 8.x while keeping its main thrust in place. You can’t have mobile Windows without the Metro interface, and you need an app store as well. But you can heal the cracks on traditional PCs, I suppose.

This post first appeared on Techcrunch | Top Image Credit: Flickr

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