The most significant element brought by Windows 8 is without question the new touch-compatible interface, formerly known as Metro UI. This element is the soul and body of any Windows 8 tablet and although it has been hated by many, some people are actually looking forward to testing it on their own computer. In some of these cases, upgrading to a newer Windows version is out of the question so the Windows 8 UI was believed to always remain a distant dream. Not with WinMetro.
Thanks to a helpful application called WinMetro, those that currently have Windows 7, Vista and even XP installed, can enjoy the benefits of the new Windows 8 user interface on the current operating system, without actually upgrading to a newer version. Although still found in beta, the program works pretty smooth and mimicks the desired experience in great percentages.
How to install the ex-Metro UI on older Windows versions
Well, WinMetro basically imitates the behavior of the Windows 8 touch interface by starting the application whenever the computer does. Just like in the upcoming Microsoft OS, users can switch between the classic desktop and the former Metro panel simply by pressing the Windows + X buttons simultaneously. Other than using two keys for warping instead of one, the WinMetro only downside is that it lacks the touch compatibility of the original product.
Continuing the comparison, WinMetro also comes with application tiles instead of icons, and a small range of them come pre-loaded and may be used in full-screen modes. To make this possible, this program has resorted to a trick and directed certain apps to display content and run in Internet Explorer, instead of stand-alone clients. The included apps are:
- Bing search
Apart from these tiles, WinMetro also comes with usual icons which can be customized by the user. Once one of these icons is double-clicked, the user will be taken back to the classic desktop layout and WinMetro will continue running from the background (there is a setting to disable this).
Other Windows 8-like features
The new interface is not the only thing ported from Windows 8. Another included feature is the Charms Bar, which can be seen in both Desktop and Start Screen mode, by pressing the Windows + C buttons or by placing the cursor over the lower right corner of the screen (sensible edges anyone?). Just like in Windows 8, the Charms Bar contains ways to search the memory, load the Start Screen or access helpful settings.
Taking in consideration that the app is still in it’s early beta, we give it a good score and expect improvements in the future, such as the possibility of adding new tiles to the panel and a more improved search function. WinMetro can be downloaded from here.