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How Windows Red can fix Windows 8: The right strategy for Microsoft

Galen Gruman | June 4, 2013
A proposal to rescue Windows 8 and fulfill Microsoft's promise to deliver a modern computing experience on both PCs and tablets.

The second way to introduce Metro into the traditional PC environment is to incorporate the live tiles introduced in Windows Phone and adopted by today's Metro. Thus, Windows Red Pro has a pullout Live Tiles tray that contains the live tiles for all installed Metro apps that have them. It's similar in concept to the pullout Running Apps bar in Windows 8, which shows live tiles of running apps.

The Live Tiles tray in Windows Red Pro has a handle so that you know it's there, and you can drag a tile out of it to the Desktop to keep it always visible there. The Live Tiles tray also provides quick access to any notifications you may have missed.

The user experience is simplified and rationalized
Microsoft's complex overlaying of the Windows Desktop and Metro environments is an outrageous imposition on users. Windows Red gets rid of that. But other complexities in both the Windows Desktop and Metro also need to go.

As previously mentioned, Windows Red Pro consolidates the Control Panel and PC Settings controls into the single Control Panel. It also streamlines the confusing, multiple interface approaches in the Windows 7 Control Panel.

For example, we adopted Metro's simple list of individual panel groups, so it's easy to change panels. Those panels organize their controls in panes, similar to OS X's System Preferences, so you won't face a clutter of settings windows as happens in the Control Panels of Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Also as previously mentioned, we ended the jumping back and forth between apps and the Charms bar by eliminating the Charms bar and moving the search, sharing, devices, and settings functions into the apps themselves.

We also dropped the Running Apps bar in Windows Red Pro, even though Windows 8 had it. After all, the task bar serves the same function, so there's no need for a duplicative Running Apps bar in Windows Red Pro.

All versions of Windows Red provide a visual cue for each pullout tray. Today's Metro requires users to know to swipe or click in one of the sides to open basic controls such as the App bar, Control bar, and Running Apps bar. These features are too fundamental to be made part of a hide-and-seek game.

In Windows Red Pro, the handle for the Live Tiles tray is always visible, so you know something's there. In Windows Red Mobile, there's a handle each for the Running Apps bar, the App bar, and the Control bar, so you know they're present.

Finally, we adopted the innovation in Stardock's ModernMix app as part of Windows Red Pro, providing users a way to group items — folders, files, and apps — however it makes sense to them. These items continue to reside in their folders, but the groups exist independently of the folder hierarchy, so you can have all manner of collections that make use of aliases to those resources.


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