Smiling Bald Guy

Solving the world's problems using code (that honestly could use a few more unit tests).

Archive for the ‘Windows 8’ Category

Emerge Desktop: Get the best of Windows 8 while dropping Metro

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So, I love that Microsoft is taking risks. Really, I do. I just wish that I liked the whole Metro thing more, because right now, I’m not digging it. I’m a hardcore multi-tasker on my desktop, so this whole “fullscreen or 25/75 split” thing just doesn’t hack it for me. I frequently have many windows open, and I’m switching between them like mad. In addition, I find myself switching between the Metro and the Desktop worlds too frequently, and only because I have to go to the Start menu occasionally. It’s a pretty jarring experience compared to the desktop, and it’s made worse by the fact that the icons for any non-Metro apps get exploded out of their containing folders onto the Metro surface; it makes it VERY noisy.

To be fair, most of my problems stem from the fact that I’m a software developer. This means that I’m going to have a scrillion tools installed, precious few of which are going to be transitioning to a Metro UI any time in the next decade. So, I’m going to be spending approximately 98% of my life in the desktop world, with occasional forays into the Start menu to launch another desktop app.

Now, I could stick with Windows 7, but that’s just a non-starter. I would lose my geek street-cred! And besides, I’m┬áloving the boot speeds Win8 brings to the table. So, I started looking around for replacement shells. So far, the one that appears to have a decent amount of community support is Emerge Desktop. So far, it’s OK; I get my “All Desktop, All the Time” experience, and it’s got some nifty customization features:

Emerge Desktop + Windows 8

Hey, look! A Start Menu!

A disclaimer: I wouldn’t recommend this shell to anyone but a non-developer; configuring it is not for the faint of heart, it doesn’t support Metro apps, and it’s lacking some usability features like the ability to right-click a running application to pin it to the “quick launch” list. That being said, it’s a nice way to have my cake and eat most of it too.

Written by Andy Hopper

March 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Posted in Windows 8