Report: Microsoft to bring back desktop by default in Windows 8.1 update


Bye bye, Metro. No, Microsoft(s msft) isn’t planning to give the tile-based “Metro” interface it introduced in Windows 8 the axe, but The Verge has learned the company is planning an update that will enable Windows to enter desktop mode by default. Microsoft is said to be doing this to improve the user experience for keyboard and mouse users.

While Microsoft introduced a book-to-desktop option in Windows 8.1, this latest update – Windows 8.1 Update 1 – is said to enable this setting by default. That may not sound like such a big deal, but it’s actually a pretty big admission of defeat for Microsoft. Windows 8 (along with Windows 8.1) was Microsoft’s big bet to build an OS that powers both desktop computers and tablets (the tile interface also introduces better parity with the Windows Phone OS). Bringing the desktop back by default would be an admission, in a way, that most users are primarily interested in using Windows the good old fashioned way – with a mouse and keyboard in the traditional desktop environment.

What this could mean for the visibility of Metro apps is unclear, but Microsoft is expected to allow those apps to run in a window on top of the desktop.

Update 1 is expected to arrive in March, ahead of Microsoft’s Build conference in April.



It should really be based on the system. I am getting a touch screen laptop next week, I want Metro by default. So now when this update hits I will have to go find some setting to set it back the way I want it.

Saying that, I will say MS was beyond stupid to totally kill the old desktop and start menu for non-touch systems.

Dave Mackey

Bleck. What good is the desktop without the start menu? I’ve been using Start8 for a long time now…Better than waiting on Microsoft to get its act together. They dropped keyboard/mouse users hard – and they still haven’t said sorry.

Prasad Tiruvalluri

Not sure if this is true. I am currently booting directly to Desktop..


I’m pretty sure they mean the return of the “classic” start menu, because yes, Win 8.1 allows you to boot directly to the desktop, but only to a start button that brings you back to Metro.


You have the option to boot to desktop in 8.1 but it’s not on by default. Update 1 will change it to the default. There will be no classic start menu. Just wait for Windows 9 :)

Alex Colon

You can choose to do that right now. But the next update is believed to enable it by default.

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