Windows 8 is clearly a transition product. Microsoft is laying the groundwork for a more touch-friendly, mobile-oriented future. But it also isn't yet ready to throw out the familiar Windows desktop. The result is a dual nature – and a recipe for confusion. A new tweak, however, aims to smooth this Windows 8 transition.

Simplicity restored

Stardock’s new app ModernMix brings some much-needed consistency to the bipolar Windows 8. By default, Windows 8 runs traditional Windows apps on the desktop, and Windows Store (formerly “Metro UI”) apps in full-screen mode from the new start screen. After installing ModernMix, though, Windows treats Metro apps like Windows desktop apps.

This means Windows Store apps no longer have to run in full-screen. They can sit side-by-side with desktop Windows apps. And like all desktop Windows apps, you can do things like resize them or pin them to the taskbar. ModernMix will remember those settings the next time you open the app.

ModernMix also adds a handy menu in the top-right corner of windowed Metro apps to let you quickly toggle between full-screen and desktop mode.

Why do we need this?

So why didn’t Microsoft include this functionality by default? Why must Windows 8 customers throw down US$5 (after a 30-day trial) to simplify things?

It's probably tied to the company’s vision for the future of PCs. Microsoft doesn’t want its OS to feel exactly like the Windows of old. If ModernMix's functionality was included in Windows, perhaps it would be too easy to dismiss the new part altogether.

Forcing some degree of the full-screen Metro environment on Windows customers also increases familiarity with the look of Windows Phone and Windows RT. This could potentially create a halo effect, making customers more comfortable buying devices on those (struggling) platforms.

Windows Store apps’ modern UI may have a bright future, and that part of Windows 8 is much better-suited to multitouch. But, in the meantime, it creates a headache for countless desktop and laptop customers.

If you’re missing the days when everything revolved around the desktop, you can try a 30-day free trial of ModernMix at the source link below.

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