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

windows 8.1

Bye bye, Metro. No, Microsoft 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.

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