Screen Shots‎ > ‎scratch‎ > ‎

Windows 8 & Metro Style Interface

Windows 2011 Build Conference - Some quick notes by Rob Chandler


Metro is the name of the new style UI for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 7. 
Very touch centric but just as good with keyboard and mouse.

Here are some shots from the Build 2011 Image Gallery ...

Swipe up to log in...

They reserve a 1 px wide border of screen pixels so that swipe in works.

Build 2011 (Formally PDC - Platform Developers Conference)

From 2011 Build keynote: (View the full 2.5 hr video presentation)

Build (formally PDC) is Microsoft's biggest developer event run each year where new products are unveiled. 

Key Note Highlights

Build Metro style UI - Program in what you want: HTML5/JS; XAML; C#/.NET; C++

Visual Studio 11 supports building Metro style apps.

Expression Blend can now output in HTML 5 as well as XAML. Shown here a stack of new Metro controls.

Metro UI is powerful... EG. A generic photo picker can leverage any metro based photo viewer installed.

Metro code example ran on Windows Phone 7 with an additional line of code.

Metro apps you build will run on any form-factor Windows 8 PC (including those with ARM & 8660 processors).

Windows 8 hardware notes:
  • OS runs in half the memory of Windows 7.
  • Faster bootup. Faster shutdown. Better performance.
  • Better security. More secure.
  • Windows 7 could boot from a 2 TB drive. Windows 8 can boot from a 256TB drive.
  • All Metro apps leverage hardware acceleration by default. 
  • Better touch. Windows 8 reserves 1 px border around the screen for the swipe in feature.
    • Better tests so vendors can test there hardware.
  • Displays: Windows 8 supports down to 1024x600 (for desktop apps). 
  • Displays: For metro Screens:
    • metro needs at least 1024x768
    • Side by side metro experience needs at least 1366 pixels across.
    • 1366x768 you get full display features.
  • New Windows 7 tablets new senses
    • 3 axis accellerometer
    • Magnetrometer
    • Gyro
    • Demo shows 3 lines of code to access all this info.
  • Optional NFC Antenna hardware - PCs can communicating between each other. Demo showed an NFC enabled business card touching a Win8 PC and picking up the data.
  • UEFI - Systems with Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI). Combined with SSDs gives ultimate startup/shutdown speed

New copy dialog. You can pause copy jobs to give others priority.
Windows 8 built in USB3 support (bottom copy) is fast.

New ultra light PCs in the pipe

The batteries are now larger than the PC

This Toshiba ultra-light under 2.5 lbs. Notice the RJ45 and Video D connector is thicker than the PC. 

Samsung Windows Developer PC -- Samsung / MS joint project

Many partners to do all different hardware components.
With Dock you get access to USB / Mouse / second monitor / charging.
They had a warehouse of 5000 in stock to give away at build.

New Task Manager

TaskManager completely revamped.
Now background apps can be fully "suspended" (0% processor).

App History .. Walk up to any machine and see what apps are sucking away resources.


Metro Style Control Panel

Scenario: Clean install ... How to get back to that clean state.

New feature: Reset and Refresh

Refresh command

"Reset" is like reformatting and reinstalling. All data is lost. PC all setup for next person.

Windows Assessment Console

Windows performance tests used inhouse now available for download. "Windows Deployment Kit".

Metro Style Remote Desktop

Remote DT handles touch. 

Hyper-V running on Windows

Hyper-V now runs in the Windows8 client. So create and run virtual drives and virual OSs on Win8.

And easily mount .VHD and .ISO files. ISOs mounted as DVD drives.
(rob: but will they stay mounted after boot? Hopefully yes - this was half baked in Win7)

Multiple Monitors

  • Desktop image can now span multiple monitors.
  • Metro can run on one monitor and Desktop on other. Ctrl+PgDn flip.
  • Can assign applications to show / Hide on different monitors (I'm vague on this still).

Metro and KB Support

On metro start screen just start typing (eg. "cmd") and you will find the app you need,

Command Shell .. Run as Admin options etc can be found by right-clicking the app.
KB Shortcut: Ctr+Shift+Enter will run as elevated

Here we right-clicked VS 11 tile to get startup options.

KB Shortcut: Windows+C = brings up the "charm menu"

KB Shortcut: Windows+F = brings up the "search"

Windows+Z = to bring up the applications app bar

Metro Style IE10

Or run the normal desktop style.

Various Metro On-screen Keyboards


  • Resize app is revamped for touch
  • Pen support ignores any palm presses.

Roam all your settings to other machines and devices

Cloud Services - Windows Live apps - Connected devices

  • Metro style mail. manages all mail. All stored in the cloud.
  • Metro style calendar. Can see everyone elses calendars shared via live.
  • People - Connected address book like on Windows Phone 7.
  • Photos - Connected to Facebook, Flickers, Skydrive, other PCs etc.
  • Apps are not released yet. This is just preview.
Any PC you connect to your live account can be accessed.

Windows Interns build a stack of Windows 8 sample apps.


Beta Updates - Will see updates even though its pre-release.

#1 focus on quality.


Download Beta available tonight. No activation required. No support.  -- Download PDF of Developer Preview Guide -- Download ISO images of Win8 install

Windows Developer Preview works great on the same hardware that powers Windows Vista and Windows 7:

  • 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
  • Taking advantage of touch input requires a screen that supports multi-touch

Installing the Preview on VM Ware Desktop 8.0

Unfortunately there is no Windows 8 option.
If you create a new VM under Windows/Windows 7 64bit you slam into this error...

Or create a VM using Other 64 bit...

You slam into this error..

Then an endless loop of reboots....

VM Solution

The trick is to create a "Windows 7 64-bit VM" and then select "I will install the operating system later" option (at the bottom of the Guest Operating System Installation screen).

Once you hook the VMs DVD drive up to that Windows 8, 64-bit 5 GB developer .ISO (requires a 64-bit Host OS) and reboot everything installs as it should.
I'm still use the trial VM Ware Desktop 8; Not sure if this fix will work for VM Ware 7.x.
I had no problem installing the VM Extensions under Win 8 Developer Preview.

Note: Other people have had success using VirtualBox and Hyper-V.