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Metro apps for the Windows 8 UI won't run on prior OSes

The Windows 8 UI hasn't won any popularity contests, but there are workarounds for it, unlike for Windows 8 Metro apps and Windows XP or Windows 7.

Can Windows 8 Metro apps run in Windows XP or Windows 7?

No, Windows 8 Modern user interface (UI) applications will not run on prior versions of Windows. Microsoft created those special apps just for Windows 8. I'm not convinced that many people are even running these apps -- especially in an enterprise environment. Perhaps that's why information about the total number of downloads for each app is not readily available in the Windows Store.

The Windows 8 UI wasn't popular initially, especially for business use on non-touchscreen systems. Originally known as the Windows 8 Metro interface, the streamlined Windows 8 UI and related application architecture caused many IT shops to hesitate moving from Windows XP or Windows 7. This was partially remediated when Microsoft took a half-hearted step and brought back the Start button in Windows 8.1.

You can still run Windows 8 in a Windows-7-like mode using Start8 or some similar tool that brings back not only the Start button, but also the Start Menu and the Windows desktop that we've all come to depend on. In fact, I run most of my computers this way.

As another example, Windows 8.1 is optimized for bring your own device, or BYOD, environments, with features such as Workplace Join and Work Folders, but you should still consider third-party tools.

The benefits of Windows 8 far outweigh the Modern UI's drawbacks. If you choose to go this route, you can run the new Windows 8 apps in the intended way (within the Modern UI), or you can use a product such as ModernMix. This program allows you to run Windows 8 UI apps in a traditional window on the Windows 7-like desktop.

Next Steps

Consider Windows 8 BitLocker and encryption alternatives

Don't worry about Windows 8; focus on what the OS really does

Use whitelisting in addition to Windows 8 malware prevention and removal

Desktop vulnerability reviews should remember Windows 8 security

This was last published in August 2014

Dig Deeper on Microsoft Windows 8 operating system

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Have you used any Windows 8 UI workarounds, such as restoring the older look? Was the lack of a Start button or Metro apps with older versions of Windows a deal-breaker?
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The UI is not the reason people hate modern apps.  Its the crummy API's they are built on.  Therefore, the best solution is to nuke the modern side.  First, use classic shell and put XP cascading style start menu.  This is what was used in XP and its the best, most functional way to find apps at a glance.  Second, associate the apps that catapult you out of desktop to full modern screen madness like pdf, video, photo etc..  Third, disable charms on screen and also on touchpad.  Last, pin the settings app on desktop task bar.  Its really the only reason to use charms anyway. 
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Unfortunately, MS is fixing the UI with 8.1 and with windows 9.  But nothing can help modern API's.  Once they went full release on that a few years ago they can't turn back.. And they can't change it either unless they abandon the whole idea of modern and build something new.. Which would make all modern apps obsolete and unsupported like Zune mp3 players.  They should have listened to their beta testers.  This is going to end bad. 
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I've been a Microsoft Windows fan and user since the beginning and the Modern App/Interface and the missing Start Button in Windows 8 has been the most frustrating and annoying end user experience for me even after nearly two years of exposure to it. The nauseating 2D look of Office 2013 is yet another horrible to look at product. MS dropped the ball in every area of my computing experience with Windows 8 and Office 2013. The half baked Start Menu in 8.1 is barely an improvement. Simply put, there should be one check box in Win 8 that disables the modern UI completely for non touchpad users if they want to make it go away (LIKE I DO). The full functioning Start Button and Menu or a fully functioning alternative in the same location is a MUST. For Office 2013, they NEED to at least give the option to view the Office UI in the traditional graphically pleasing 2010 and prior look. When I open any 2013 Office app, all I want to do is close it immediately. Some people may like it, but that doesn't matter if many DON'T. Back to Win8... Without the third party Start8 Start Button replacement app, I wouldn't be using Windows 8 right now at all. I've uninstalled Office 2013 and went back to 2010 so I could actually enjoy looking at my Office apps again. Change is great if it makes sense, I personally found NO improvement to my user experience in any area (OS or Office) after two years of use and only now enjoy Win 8 with a Start8 Start button, Office 2010 and as much Metro removed as possible. PLEASE fix this stuff with Windows 9. This feedback is coming from a devoted Windows fan. PLEASE fix this disaster.
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I've been using Start8 since I first loaded up Windows 8. In my work style, I find the cascading start menu (where you can click Start, hover over, say, MS Word, and see a cascading menu of the last several Word files you opened) to be a real time saver, and Start8 brings that function back (and the Win 8.1 Start button does not).
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