The problem with Metro

I’ve been using Windows 8 as my primary OS since the Release Preview came out. I have been trying to like it. I’ve defended it to detractors. I might have even changed a couple people’s minds about it – point is I should be a best case scenario for accepting it. I even tried to like the “Metro” school of thought. Minimize the extra fluff, go “chromeless,” design first develop second, create immersive apps…

Reality is a harsh mistress.


The reader app was the first victim. Out of the box, Windows 8 has a PDF viewer that is a metro app. If you click a link to a pdf in a web page, BOOM! IMMERSIVE READER! (caps are appropriate – the Reader is jarring and obnoxious). Try as I might to like it, as soon as I actually wanted to get work done in any reasonable timeframe, I installed Adobe Reader so I could have multiple PDFs open at the same time, flip back and forth between the documentation and the application and easily work with text. Install non-metro app, productivity increases significantly.

The next casualty was the Photo Viewer. Believe it or not, I don’t always want to see a full-screen immersive viewer when I open a photo. If I am trying to quickly find the right screenshot in a folder containing a bunch of screenshots, the last thing I need is a big full screen viewer to cover my workspace… File association changed, problem solved.

How about the start screen – just a different way of looking at the Start Menu, right? Perhaps, if I could still shift-right-click to run as a different user (you don’t run your desktop OS with a domain admin account, right?); or if I could open multiple instances of an application (if you attempt to run notepad when notepad is already running, it just activates the existing window); or if I had a list of the most recent apps, or if I had jump lists, or if I could pin frequently used documents. The Start Screen is a poor replacement for the Start Menu. I ended up using Run more often than the start screen. Hello Windows XP… goodbye efficiency.

So I finally figured out how to fix all the productivity issues: switch back to Windows 7.

What it all boils down to is a matter of efficiency. For the “typical”, casual user Windows 8 should be great. For a Mac user, Windows 8 should be great. For your grandparents, Windows 8 should be great. For a tablet and a phone, Windows 8 should be great.

For a power user on a desktop PC, pretty much all Metro components of Windows 8 will slow you down even after you get used to them.

That is the problem with Metro

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