The future of the Desktop in Windows 9: What can we expect?

Zac Bowden

The future of the Desktop in Windows 9: What can we expect?

Microsoft have said since the very beginning that the desktop in Windows will be around for years to come, and that’s definitely true given that the majority of ‘useful’ apps on Windows still utilize the Win32 API. Microsoft are planning some changes in Windows 9 which will effect desktop users, but what changes can we expect to see?

There are many things happening with the desktop in Windows 9, which will ease use of the operating system for users all around. That includes tablet users, and keyboard/mouse users. Changes to the desktop will vary depending on your hardware too. We already know Microsoft are planning to further merge the Modern UI with the desktop in Windows 9, but what does that mean for tablet users?

Based on what we are hearing from various reports, tablet users will see the demise of the desktop in Windows 9, yes you heard us correctly. Microsoft is set to replace Win32 applications with Modern UI alternatives in Windows 9, meaning Windows is set to get a full on Modern UI facelift when it rolls around next year. The desktop will no longer have a place for tablet users running Windows RT (which by the way, is not dead), however the desktop isn’t going away for everyone, even for Windows RT devices.

We’ve heard the rumors regarding Windows Phone and Windows RT becoming one operating system, that’s no lie. Microsoft are planning to have Windows Phone devices and Windows RT tablets run the same operating system, which further confirms the removal of the desktop. But if hardware requires it, the desktop will be available, and will definitely be limited compared to the normal desktop.

“Why are Microsoft allowing this?” you may ask, it’s simple. Microsoft are planning to take on the likes of Chrome OS with Windows 9, and with Windows Phone being free, and Windows RT being merged with it, Microsoft will use this SKU as the cheaper alternative for OEMs to sell not only tablets, but laptops too. These laptops will run apps from the Windows Store only, which is what makes these laptops as cheap as they are. Just like on Chrome OS, which is limited to Chrome OS apps, the Windows Phone/RT devices will be limited to Windows Store apps. This lines up with other reports too, which makes this rumor a little more plausible.

The desktop being available on this SKU will only be for laptop users, who will undoubtedly be using a track pad and keyboard to navigate the OS. Tablet users will have no need for the desktop, therefore it will not be available.

In other words, Windows 9 will be different depending on the hardware you use. An ARM tablet will not see the desktop, an ARM laptop could see a desktop, a normal 32/64bit laptop/desktop/tablet will have the much more improved desktop which we already know a little bit about.

If you’re unaware what to expect in the ‘more improved’ version of the Desktop, let’s give a little run down. Microsoft are planning to further merge the Desktop and Modern UI, and how they’re doing this is simple. Microsoft will allow Modern UI apps to run in the desktop, in windowed mode, and have Modern UI apps pinned to the Start Menu instead of a Start Screen.

We’ve also heard of improvements and tweaks to its UI, although we don’t know much about that at this time.

This version of the desktop will be available in non-ARM hardware we all use today. So that’s your desktop, laptop and non-ARM tablet. Of course, Microsoft are rumored to be allowing users to choose how they use the operating system, allowing to opt between having a desktop with the Start Menu, of the full Start Screen. Many tablet users who aren’t running ARM hardware will most likely opt for the Start Screen option, whereas desktop and laptop users will opt for the desktop instead.

Of course, as nothing here is official, things could easily change. Right now though, this is what we’re hearing via reports and on the web, but in order to not disappoint people we must ask you to take what you’ve read here with caution.

Now over to you, what are your thoughts on this possible plan? Leave us your comments below!