Rumor Microsoft Will Remove Desktop From RT

Windows RT on Surface 2

Merging the Windows RT and Windows Phone operating systems will create a touch only world on tablets and smartphones

By Stephen Pate – Windows 9 codenamed Threshold will merge the operating system for all small screen devices to something that works like Windows Phone 8.1. Or so say the rumors.

Myce posted a story suggesting Microsoft will remove the Desktop environment from the Surface 2.

Mary Jo Foley, the CNET source for Microsoft leaks, confirmed the same thing. Windows RT and Windows Phone will merge with one code base and no Windows Desktop apps and interface.

That makes sense since the worst part of any Windows tablet is stepping back into the world of Windows 7 Desktop. The Desktop fonts and menus are too hard to use for what should be a touch only world.

All the screens in Windows Phone 8.1 are optimize for the touch environment. I have both a Windows Phone, which is easy to use, and a Windows Surface Tablet for which I use a mouse. I had a Dell Venue Pro 8&Prime Windows tablet and found it hard to use.

This is what the Desktop looks like on a 10.6&Prime Surface 2.  You need a mouse to make this work which does not make sense with tablets.  An Apple iPad does not need a mouse.

Surface 2 Desktop screen (click for full size image)

Microsoft released a touch version of Office for the iPad but here is what Excel looks like on the Desktop of a Surface 2.

Excel on Surface 2 Desktop (click for full sized image)

The Surface has a 10.6&Prime screen. It gets much worse on 8&Prime and smaller Windows tablets. The desktop has to go.

The Desktop can’t be removed until Microsoft ships Office for touch screens on Windows, similar to the touch version already available on the iPad.

All of this will happen, according to the rumors, when Microsoft ships Windows 9 or Threshold next spring. In the meantime, there will be previews available.


There will be a separate preview of Threshold running on ARM processors, too. My sources are saying the current target date for that preview is January or February 2015. As the ARM-based version of Threshold — which should run on both Windows Phones and tablets isn’t expected to include the Windows desktop, the focus will be on changes Microsoft is making to the Metro-Style Start screen environment. Mary Jo Foley.


Windows 9 Threshold beta (Photo Myce)

Reliable sources have confirmed tells us that Microsoft will release Windows RT devices that only contain Metro and from which Microsoft has removed the desktop interface. Currently Windows RT, running on ARM CPUs, contain both a Metro mode and a desktop mode just like Windows 8.1 PCs.

According to our source Microsoft is planning to remove the desktop feature from Windows RT which would make Windows RT devices touch only. Our source can’t confirm whether this will be on all Windows RT devices or that it will only be on specific models.

The Windows RT desktop is different from the desktop on regular Windows machines and PC desktop applications can’t run on the Windows RT desktop. Microsoft bundles only a few desktop applications such as File Explorer, Internet Explorer and Office RT, other Windows RT desktop applications can’t be downloaded like on the PC desktop but need to be installed from the Windows Store instead.

The possible reasoning behind offering both Metro and the desktop on Windows RT devices was likely to get the best of both worlds. However most users on the PC continue to use the desktop and for touch devices Metro is usually the interface of choice. Therefor it wouldn’t be a strange decision for Microsoft to ditch the desktop on Windows RT in favor of Metro.

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By Stephen Pate, NJN Network

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