locked
Is the Desktop tile really a metro app or just an OS trick?

    Question

  • I was wondering whether the entire desktop shell has been placed inside a new metro app, or when someone clicks on the desktop tile, it just gives the illusion it is, but really switches to a separate traditional version of Windows running in parallel.   

    Win32 API seems to run on top of the Kernal and WinRT API on top of Win32 API. That means a metro app could simulate the shell and map calls to WIN32 API bypassing WinRT. On the other hand there could just be two versions of windows running and the tile simply pretends to be a metro app and actually switches to the other running one.

    If any one knows It would be very interesting to hear which one it is in reality.

    Sunday, October 02, 2011 11:00 PM

Answers

  • As far as I can tell, the Desktop is still as much a part of the Windows shell as the new Metro UI is, if not more so. Loading the desktop does not switch to a separate version of Windows running in parallel, I'm fairly sure, but I can't tell exactly what's going on. I do know this: it is possible to display normal windows such as Task Manager overtop of Metro without loading the Desktop itself, so the desktop UI cannot be a separate app, and I highly doubt that the entire desktop runs on top of Metro. In reality, it looks like Metro is a layer on top of the traditional windowing system, while clicking the "desktop" button loads the component of Explorer that contains the Taskbar, desktop background, and desktop icons. The windowing system that runs programs like Internet Explorer, Microsoft Word, etc. appears to run underneath Metro rather than on top of it or beside it. I can't say for sure, but I do know that if you cold boot Windows 8, open the Task Manager from the Ctrl-Alt-Delete screen, and restart Windows Explorer, the desktop will load without you ever having to click the "Desktop" button in the Start Screen.
    Monday, October 03, 2011 12:10 AM

All replies

  • As far as I can tell, the Desktop is still as much a part of the Windows shell as the new Metro UI is, if not more so. Loading the desktop does not switch to a separate version of Windows running in parallel, I'm fairly sure, but I can't tell exactly what's going on. I do know this: it is possible to display normal windows such as Task Manager overtop of Metro without loading the Desktop itself, so the desktop UI cannot be a separate app, and I highly doubt that the entire desktop runs on top of Metro. In reality, it looks like Metro is a layer on top of the traditional windowing system, while clicking the "desktop" button loads the component of Explorer that contains the Taskbar, desktop background, and desktop icons. The windowing system that runs programs like Internet Explorer, Microsoft Word, etc. appears to run underneath Metro rather than on top of it or beside it. I can't say for sure, but I do know that if you cold boot Windows 8, open the Task Manager from the Ctrl-Alt-Delete screen, and restart Windows Explorer, the desktop will load without you ever having to click the "Desktop" button in the Start Screen.
    Monday, October 03, 2011 12:10 AM
  • Ill remember that one, could come in handy if the metro hangs sometime! so far so good though. Metro definitely seems to be a layer on top, i seem to recall reading on the engineering blog that it wont load bulk of the OS code until the traditional desktop workspace is accessed?

    Also on multi monitor setups, the traditional explorer desktop will load at the same time Metro does, found this after watching task manager noticing a only slight pause when loading desktop on a single screen setup as opposed to it switching straight over to it when clicked on multi. Would love to hear how its all running in great depth if someone has the time to tell us.

    Monday, October 03, 2011 12:24 AM
  • So really the Desktop tile is simply and illusion. That's a shame, I was hoping they had converted the Windows 7 shell.exe in to a metro app. Rather than run the app or switch to a parallel version of Windows running at the same time, it simply seems to close or hide the metro interface and return to traditional Windows which it was running on all the time.

    I think a lot of Windows 8 may turn out to be smoke and mirrors. The diagram says WinRT is built on the Kernal, but developer checking has shown it is not. Of course none of that matters to users, or really developers from an app wring perspective. 

    It does have implications in the Microsoft can't really argue against an old Desktop only system, for those that haven't warmed to Metro. personally I really like it although I would suggest making the tiles smaller for the PC version and having more of them.

    Monday, October 03, 2011 10:43 AM
  • Windows 8 looks like this:

    |--------------------------------------|
    | Metro  |  .NET |                         |
    | App     |  App  |                         |
    |---------|-------| Win32 desktop   |
    | WinRT |  CLR  |        app/svc      |
    |--------------------------------------|
    |                    Win32                    |
    |--------------------------------------|
    |             Windows Kernel             |
    |--------------------------------------|

    The new Metro UI runs ALONGSIDE the Desktop.

    Metro style apps run in protected sandboxes, isolated from other desktop apps and other Metro apps. Metro apps can interact, but only through published "Contracts" (i.e. share, search, play-to, settings and app-to-app picking) and only under user control.


    Richard Turner www.bitcrazed.com
    Monday, October 10, 2011 10:15 PM