In late May 2012, Microsoft announced in a gigantic Building Windows 8 blog post that they would bring a more metro-styled desktop (though the word “metro” at Microsoft may soon become a thing of the past) in the final (RTM) version of Windows 8. Here are their exact words:
We have made a number of improvements to the desktop visual appearance in Windows 8. Although we wanted the desktop to feel familiar, we also wanted to take some ideas from our new design language and apply them where we could.
We applied the principles of “clean and crisp” when updating window and taskbar chrome. Gone are the glass and reflections. We squared off the edges of windows and the taskbar. We removed all the glows and gradients found on buttons within the chrome. We made the appearance of windows crisper by removing unnecessary shadows and transparency. The default window chrome is white, creating an airy and premium look. The taskbar continues to blend into the desktop wallpaper, but appears less complicated overall.
To complete the story, we updated the appearance of most common controls, such as buttons, check boxes, sliders, and the Ribbon. We squared off the rounded edges, cleaned away gradients, and flattened the control backgrounds to align with our chrome changes. We also tweaked the colors to make them feel more modern and neutral.
While a few of these visual changes are hinted at in the upcoming Release Preview, most of them will not yet be publicly available. You’ll see them all in the final release of Windows 8!
They also provided an image of what is to come:
So, we expected the window borders to be a lovely white by default, and the colour of the taskbar to be changed separately (but they can be the same if you want). Here’s what the personalisation screen looked like for a few builds of Windows 8 (from winsupersite.com):
Anyway, it looked brilliant. But, for some reason, Microsoft removed the option to independently colour the window borders and taskbar in later builds, and the RTM/final build. So if your taskbar is blue, so are your windows. This could be the case with the old personalisation, but now this is the only option. Which kinda sucks.
Recently, Windows 8 RTM was leaked onto the internet. Windows 8 Enterprise N (no media player) to be exact. And, of course, some people have installed it. And complained about the frankly pretty horrible desktop interface. See this Verge forum post. Colours that look great on the taskbar don’t on the window borders. And vice versa. I requested a screenshot of the window borders as white because they look brilliant as white. But when they are, the taskbar is an unappealing grey. Check it out:
Microsoft has given us compromises, nothing else. If only they hadn’t removed that checkbox. I suppose we will get used to it, but what I’m wondering is:
Who on earth decided to remove that checkbox and why???
But we will never know. The countdown to 26th October continues…