How to get Metro apps in a window on your desktop

By on March 6, 2013 1:06:29 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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Stardock released the first BETA of ModernMix today.  In a nutshell: Modern apps (often called Metro or RT apps) on Windows 8 are forced to run full-screen no matter what.  If you have a 20 inch monitor (or larger) you know how absurd it is for many of these apps to be running full-screen.

If you want to grab it right now you can at www.stardock.com/products/modernmix

Once ModernMix is installed, all those Metro apps can run windows on the desktop. They even show up on the taskbar which means you can pin them for easier later launch.

Let me show you, in pictures, what this means:

image

There’s a really good Metro version of Netflix. But without ModernMix, this has to run full-screen. If I want to watch Netflix full screen, I’ll watch it on my TV.  The whole point of watching something on a PC is that you can have it in a window while you do other stuff.

This brings me to the second window: The music app. Every time I want to mess with my play list or whatever, I don’t expect to have to switch to a big full screen app to do this.  iTunes doesn’t make me do this. But the Windows 8 music app does – unless you have ModernMix. Now I can keep it in a little window if I want and click on it if I want to do something.

image

One of the best Metro apps on Windows 8 is the ESPN app. But again, on my desktop PC, why would I want to have this app be full screen?

One nice thing about ModernMix is that those windows are resizeable and most of them, remarkably enough, almost seem to have been designed to be resized.

image

The result is that ModernMix suddenly makes the Windows 8 app ecosystem relevant. I’m finding myself actually interested in them because they don’t get in the way of the other things I’m trying to do with my PC.

image

As a practical matter, no app can be designed to be all things to all people in terms of the user experience. That’s one of the reasons having windows on the desktop works so well.  I might be running at 1024x768 and you might be running at 2560x1440. That difference leads to a very distinct user experiences. But if apps are forced to run full-screen the app designer has the challenge to create something that will work in all these different conditions.  But when you run them in a window these apps can really shine.

image

Ironically, the Windows 8 store runs as if it were originally designed to run in a window. By being able to run it in a window I can (like I do with my Mac) search for things on the net and then look for them in the Windows store.

Ending the debate

When you combine Start8 with ModernMix, the end result is that Windows 8 becomes an indisputably better than Windows 7. 

The two biggest problems with Windows 8 are solved:

1. Being forced to jump between two environments (the desktop and the Metro experience)

2. Being forced to run the “new” (modern) apps full-screen

With Start8 and ModernMix you can run your entire Windows 8 experience from the desktop and enjoy all the advantages that Windows 8 provides.

To get the beta (and I want to emphasize, this is a BETA) go here:

www.stardock.com/products/modernmix

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March 6, 2013 1:19:59 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Will ModernMix be included in Object Desktop? So if I was to buy Object Desktop today, and it comes with a year of free updates, would I be able to get ModernMix when it's released (assuming it's released in the next year)?

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March 6, 2013 1:21:14 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting bstock,
Will ModernMix be included in Object Desktop?

Yes.

Quoting bstock,
So if I was to buy Object Desktop today, and it comes with a year of free updates, would I be able to get ModernMix when it's released (assuming it's released in the next year)?

Yes!

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March 6, 2013 1:21:16 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting bstock,

Will ModernMix be included in Object Desktop? So if I was to buy Object Desktop today, and it comes with a year of free updates, would I be able to get ModernMix when it's released (assuming it's released in the next year)?

Yes, it is included with Object Desktop.  Also, anyone who purchases the beta gets the full release.

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March 6, 2013 1:24:27 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Hmmm....a little fuzzy on how to get them open in a window on the desktop

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March 6, 2013 1:24:39 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

According to the website yes. Can't see it in StardockCentral though.

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March 6, 2013 1:25:09 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Lantec,

Hmmm....a little fuzzy on how to get them open in a window on the desktop

Either press the hotkey (default is F10), or mouseover to the top right corner where you can click the button.

You can also set the default state from the config window.

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March 6, 2013 1:27:44 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Thanks Neil!

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March 6, 2013 1:34:41 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting c242,

According to the website yes. Can't see it in StardockCentral though.

I believe that may have been sorted now.  Something about something not being in some table in the database.

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March 6, 2013 1:38:35 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Hm, okay, eerhm, how to enable it ?

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March 6, 2013 1:43:18 PM from Little Tiny Frogs Forums Little Tiny Frogs Forums

Quoting c242,

Hm, okay, eerhm, how to enable it ?

It should be running once activated.  Just hit the hotkey to switch a window, or use the top right corner overlay to change it

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March 6, 2013 1:50:52 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums


But if apps are forced to run full-screen the app designer has the challenge to create something that will work in all these different conditions.  But when you run them in a window these apps can really shine.

This "challenge" (well, I have to admit I expect UI Designers to always do this) is the only reason Modern Mix delivers pleasing results. Given that most developers were not able to design their Windows apps for different screen sizes/resolutions and a majority of apps still can't handle high DPI settings correctly, this change was more than required. BTW: Ever tested your UI experiments on screens with a 1024x768 Resolution? No?

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March 6, 2013 1:55:44 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I can't wait to try it out tonight. I had to buy a new laptop last week and of course it has Windows 8. I love new technology, but so far I'm not a fan of W8! But after installing Start8 it was bearable, except for having to switch screens. And now this great new program that will remedy that.

Thanks to all you great people at Stardock for coming out with all this great software!

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March 6, 2013 1:57:38 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting SvSchfer,

quoting post
But if apps are forced to run full-screen the app designer has the challenge to create something that will work in all these different conditions.  But when you run them in a window these apps can really shine.

This "challenge" (well, I have to admit I expect UI Designers to always do this) is the only reason Modern Mix delivers pleasing results. Given that most developers were not able to design their Windows apps for different screen sizes/resolutions and a majority of apps still can't handle high DPI settings correctly, this change was more than required. BTW: Ever tested your UI experiments on screens with a 1024x768 Resolution? No?

Actually yes.  We test at multiple dpis and multiple resolutions for most of our apps.

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March 6, 2013 2:11:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Remind me again why I should be using Win8 in the first place?

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March 6, 2013 2:15:54 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting hedetet,

Remind me again why I should be using Win8 in the first place?

For many people it will be because their new PC came with it.

Personally I am still on Windows 7 at home, but I have a couple of win8 copies ready and waiting.  Mind you I also skipped Windows Vista totally even though I had a free copy of ultimate!

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March 6, 2013 2:26:36 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Excellent choice for a new Stardock product

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March 6, 2013 2:48:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

WOW!!! Thanks!! 

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March 6, 2013 3:42:29 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Installed... works great! Thanks!

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March 7, 2013 2:13:02 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

When you combine Start8 with ModernMix, the end result is that Windows 8 becomes an indisputably better than Windows 7. [/quote]

I thought Win 8 was superior ever since installing the final release, though I must also give credit to Start8 and Decor8 for my level of satisfaction. The release of Modernmix, however, makes it more versatile and pleasurable to use. 

Generally speaking, I use Win 8 much as I did Win 7 and remain mostly in the desktop unless I need to access an app, and interchanging between the environments is as easy as one press of the Win key, but Modernmix alleviates the need to even do that.  The ability to pin apps to the taskbar and open them in a desktop window is a real blessing.  Thanks Stardock.

[quote who="hedetet" reply="14" id="3327633"]Remind me again why I should be using Win8 in the first place?

I've been saying for months that Win 8 is better than Win 7, but don't take my word for it.  See what the CEO of Stardock has to say in the OP and believe it.

Oh, and before anyone says Stardock and/or other 3rd party developers shouldn't have to fix MS' mistakes, remember where you are.  Stardock has been in the business of making Windows better/easier to use for over a decade, so what's the difference between making XP and Win 8 more user friendly?  Admittedly, MS could have done better with the GUI, but under the hood, Win 8 is a faster, better and more stable OS.

 

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March 7, 2013 2:52:59 AM from Little Tiny Frogs Forums Little Tiny Frogs Forums

 

 

  I am very happy that something like this came out, as it was one my real pet peeves with Windows 8.  However, in the short time I have been using it I have encountered something that bothers me:

 

I use the metro mail app.  I know, I know...I should at least get thunderbird or something real....but I did like the notifications when I got mail showing up.

 

When I have the metro mail app open as a window, I no longer get notifications.  I am assuming that this is part of windows (since they think I have the mail open in a full screen, so why need a notification, right?) and there is nothing you can do about it...but I thought I would ask anyways.

 

If I have the mail app minimized then I no longer know if I received mail or not.

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March 11, 2013 10:08:35 AM from Little Tiny Frogs Forums Little Tiny Frogs Forums

Hey, now I can play Solitaire and listen to music at the same time!

A program that let you create your own start tiles would be cool. I tried and you need like four versions of the image in a .ico file and access to a folder that even an Administrator doesn't have permission to.

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