Microsoft has lifted the lid on the desktop for Windows 8, and it features a cleaner look than previous Windows operating systems. It's also flatter than a pancake.
Shown off in a post on the Building Windows 8 blog, the desktop does away with Aero Glass, which was the UI introduced on Windows Vista. That means "flattening surfaces, removing reflections, and scaling back distracting gradients." And hence a cleaner look. I think it resembles Google Docs and Gmail since they were refreshed a while back.
The desktop has been brought "closer to the Metro aesthetic, while preserving the compatibility afforded by not changing the size of window chrome, or system UI." Black text on a pale chrome will remain, just as in Windows 7, to keep it compatible with existing programs.
The aim was for the desktop to feel "light and airy" with a chrome style that doesn't distract from the content of the app.
Clean and crisp are the order of the day, with no more glass and reflections, and squared off edges for the windows and taskbar. Basically, it's a lot plainer, and much less flashy, with more muted colours.
It's a lengthy post, including a potted history of Windows desktops past, and plenty of the thinking behind the changes. Of the desktop, it says: "It is an explicit design goal of Windows 8 to bring this software forward, run it better than in any previous versions of Windows, and to provide the best environment possible for these products as they evolve into the future as well." Sounds good to me.
It claims to be a significant improvement on the Windows 7 desktop, with additions including a new Task Manager, new Explorer and file copy UI, multi-monitor taskbar and wallpaper. And it should use fewer system resources than Windows 7, so you won't need a monster PC to run it.