Enhancing Windows 8 for multiple monitors

This post goes into the details around the multi-monitor experience for Windows 8. From the very first public release and demonstrations of Windows 8 we have shown improvements over Windows 7 for multi-monitor scenarios and have shown how we support new Metro style apps within a multi-monitor environment. We have continued to develop and refine features for multiple monitors and have significantly enhanced the experience as we move to our next milestone, the Release Preview. This post provides a bit of a preview of work that was not yet complete at the Consumer Preview, and serves as a reminder that the Developer Preview and Consumer Preview were works in progress. Mark Yalovsky, a lead program manager on our User Experience team, authored this post.  (Note: This post is unchanged from last week when it was inadvertently posted as noted on @buildwindows8.)

Connecting multiple monitors to a PC is one of the easiest ways to enhance your Windows experience. Plug in a second monitor and you instantly double your working surface. I've had a multi-monitor setup for the past 10 years; once you start using multiple monitors, you’ll never want to go back to your old setup. A multi-monitor setup allows you to be more productive by having more windows across multiple screens. We’re very excited about the ease at which tablets in Windows 8 will be able to support large screen and high resolution monitors (often through HDMI connectors), as this opens up a broad range of exciting new scenarios.

When we embarked on planning Windows 8, enhancing multi-monitor functionality was an important area to improve. A multiple monitor setup is certainly more common today than they used to be, and many technical professionals (developers, graphics professionals, architects, etc.) have started using it. Today, support for multiple monitors is standard on virtually all PC hardware, and monitor prices are at an all-time low (as of writing this post, you can purchase a 21” LED display in the $140 USD range). As a result, we continue to see increased adoption of multi-monitor configurations, both by enthusiasts and technical professionals.

Data collected through the Windows Feedback Program indicates that approximately 14% of desktop PCs and approximately 5% of laptop PCs have run with multiple monitors.  It is important to note that this particular opt-in data set is enthusiast-leaning so represents the high end of usage (relative to previously shared measures that look at the entire universe of PCs), but we thought we would share this data set to reinforce another data source.

Number of

Desktop PC

Laptop PC













We recognize that a key value of using multiple monitors lies in the desire to increase multitasking. This is especially true of those of you who spend time arranging your desktop windows to maximize the available real estate across multiple displays. Speaking firsthand, most developers and testers at Microsoft have a multi-monitor setup in their offices, walking through the hallways one sees a wide range of monitor configurations from 2 to 4 or more monitors among the engineering team. This affords two important scenarios. First, developers can use a tool like Visual Studio on one screen and have the running/debugged program on another, or they can add an additional monitor and reserve it for side tasks such as email or web browsing.

With that in mind, we set out to achieve the following goals for those using multiple monitors with Windows 8:

  • Make the desktop a more personal experience. Perhaps the most personalized feature on the desktop is the ability to customize the desktop background. We set out to make this a great experience on multiple monitors too.
  • Improve the efficiency of accessing apps across monitors. In Windows 7, the top request from people using multiple monitors was to improve the taskbar efficiency.
  • Improve the efficiency of accessing system UI. In Windows 7, you could only access the Start menu on one monitor. With the introduction in Windows 8 of new UI that puts controls at the edges of the screen, we wanted to make sure that it’s still easy to access Start, the charms, the clock, and your recently used apps from every monitor.
  • Allow side-by-side Metro style and desktop apps. You can launch or move a Metro style app to any monitor, side-by-side with desktop apps on another screen.

Photo collage of various multi-monitor configurations

Examples of multi-monitor configurations in Microsoft offices

Multi-monitor desktop background personalization

Customizing the desktop background is a very popular feature in Windows 7. In fact, telemetry shows that more than 75% of users customized the desktop background. A limitation in Windows 7 is that in a multi-monitor configuration, you can only select a single background image that is duplicated across your monitors. Not only is this limited from a customization perspective (how many people really want to look at the same picture twice?), but it also looks bad if your monitors have significantly different resolution or are different orientations (portrait vs. landscape).

We know that some of you use some pretty advanced third-party tools for sophisticated background image management. In Windows 8, we made the background customization feature customizable on each monitor you use, and for mainstream customers, we’ve provided solutions to the common desktop personalization problems encountered with Windows 7:

  • Show a different desktop background on each monitor. When selecting a personalization theme, Windows 8 automatically puts a different desktop background on each monitor. You can even set a slide show to cycle through pictures across all monitors, or pick specific background pictures for each monitor.

Photo of two monitors each with a different background

Different backgrounds on each monitor

Screenshot of feature to pick different backgrounds for your monitors

Option to pick different backgrounds on each monitor

  • Multi-monitor slide show. It is very typical for people to have a multi-monitor setup that consists of different sized and/or oriented monitors. And of course, not all photos look great in both portrait and landscape or on all screen sizes and resolutions. To address this, we’ve added logic to the slide show code that selects the best suited images for each monitor.

Photo of a horizontal and a vertical monitor with images that fit

Slideshow with image selection that matches monitor orientation

  • Span desktop background across all monitors. You can now span a single panoramic picture across multiple monitors. We are also including a new panoramic theme in the personalization options for Windows 8.

Photo of a single background spanning two monitors

Span an image across all monitors

Screenshot of Desktop Background selection page with option to span picture across monitors

Option to span image across all monitors, including panoramic pictures

Multi-monitor taskbar

Of course the main reason most people use multi-monitor configurations is to be more productive. With the extra screen real estate you are able to see more windows up at the same time. The flip side to having more windows visible is that window management can become more challenging. In the desktop, the taskbar is the primary place for managing windows. As some of you pointed out to us in our Windows 7 blogs, lack of multi-monitor support for the taskbar is a gap. This can be summed up by one comment from the e7 blog:

@AlexJerebtsov, “The lack of multi-monitor [Taskbar] support is just about a crime”.

What’s interesting about adding multi-monitor support to the taskbar is that even among a relatively small group of users, there are several opinions as to what the ”right” design should be. As you can imagine, this is quite common in designing a new version of Windows—there are many points of view on how even relatively small things should be implemented. These are some observations from a variety of hands-on research methods:

  • People tend to approach window management in either an organized or an ad-hoc fashion. People who manage windows in an ad-hoc fashion frequently move windows between monitors as their workflow requires, and do not keep track of what monitor a window is on. People that manage windows in a more organized fashion tend to designate specific monitors for specific apps and tasks (for example, email always on the left, the browser always on the right). There is not always a hard line between these two working styles and most people move windows in an ad-hoc fashion from time to time.
  • Improved efficiency was consistently cited as a goal for the taskbar. Nearly all users conveyed the desire for improved taskbar efficiency. When we observed people using multiple monitors in their work, we noticed that the simple act of switching windows would sometimes require them to turn their heads, swivel in their seats, and reposition their mouse cursor as they jumped from a secondary monitor to the main taskbar monitor and all the way back again. Of course we also heard this articulated in term of mouse-efficiency. That is, we want to reduce the distance that you need to move the mouse to find and switch to a window on the taskbar.
  • It is common for people to have a primary monitor. Many people have one monitor that they run most of their apps on, with a smaller secondary monitor that has a few windows open for peripheral tasks (for example, managing a playlist, sending IMs, playing a video). This is particularly true for users who have kept their old monitor on-hand after upgrading to a newer, bigger, higher-resolution monitor. Ad hoc users still move windows freely between monitors, but tend to prefer one over the other for the tasks that they are currently focusing on, partly because it is comfortable to set up a chair, keyboard, and mouse to face one monitor directly.
  • Taskbar real estate is generally not a problem. When we designed the taskbar we were fairly confident that most people would find the default setting sufficient even with customization easy to find. Hands-on research confirms the majority of users keep the default setting where windows are grouped by app on the taskbar. Telemetry that looked at hundreds of millions of sessions further confirmed that only 6% of users ungroup taskbar buttons.

Infographic: 83% of users have the default taskbar appearance settings.

Multi-monitor taskbar options

Based on our field and lab observations we understood that people employ different window management techniques (always ad-hoc, always organized, mixed). For this reason, we chose to provide several multi-monitor taskbar options, so that advanced users with multiple monitors can still fine-tune their desktop experience.

Screenshot of feature that controls taskbar properties

Windows 8 taskbar properties

  • Show taskbar buttons on the taskbar where the window is open. This is the most obvious option that comes to mind when thinking of a multi-monitor taskbar. In this configuration, each monitor’s taskbar contains icons for only the windows that are on that monitor. The advantage of this option is that it is simple and predictable. This tested well with people who were very organized in their placement of windows, or who had dedicated monitors for specific tasks. On the other hand, ad-hoc users found this design to be inefficient, as they needed to remember what monitor a particular window was on.

Photo of monitors with buttons on the screen with the open windows

App buttons on the taskbar where the window is open

  • Show taskbar buttons on main taskbar and taskbar where window is open. In this configuration, the main monitor has a special taskbar that contains all the windows across all monitors. All the other monitors have unique taskbars, as with the first option described above. This option offers some of the cleanliness of the taskbar where the window is open model, but also offers a consistent and efficient way to get to any window via the master taskbar. People who think in terms of a primary monitor will probably prefer this option.

Photo of monitors with buttons on main screen and the screen with the open windows

App buttons on main taskbar and where window is open

  • Show taskbar buttons on all taskbars (default). In this configuration, all windows are available on all taskbars. This configuration is designed for maximum mouse efficiency because you can always activate any window from any monitor. Of all the options, this works the best for ad-hoc windows management, as there is no need to keep track of where windows are located. While some users indicated a preference for one of the other options, this was the only option that was efficient for the vast majority of users, which is why this is the default setting.

Photo of monitors with buttons on all screens

App buttons on all taskbars (default option)

Some changes for the Release Preview

For those of you who have used the Consumer Preview on multiple monitors, you’ll notice that Start, the charms, and the clock are only shown on a single monitor. The feedback has been vocal and clear on this and of course, given the prevalence of multi-monitor setups even in our own hallways, we understood that this feature simply wasn’t complete. Looking forward, here’s a sneak peak at some of the improvements we’re making to multi-monitor usage for the Release Preview.

No broken corners and edges

On the Consumer Preview in a multi-monitor setup, it is difficult to find the Start screen and other UI that is invoked from the corners with a mouse, since those activation areas are only available on a single monitor. In the upcoming Release Preview, we are making all the corners and edges alive on all monitors. You can now bring up Start, the charms, and app switching from the corners of any monitor. Want Start on monitor 1? Just go to the bottom-left corner on that monitor. Want it on monitor 2? Go to the bottom-left corner on monitor 2. This not only improves discoverability, it also improves mouse efficiency and multitasking. To launch or move an app to a specific monitor, bring up Start on that monitor and launch the app, or switch to the app using the app switcher at the left edge.

You can launch Start on any monitor:

Start screen on the main monitor

Start screen on second monitor

You can switch back to recently used apps from any monitor:

Switching apps on the main monitor

Switching apps on the secondary monitor


And you can bring up the charms on any monitor:

Charms accessible on the main monitor

Charms accessible on the secondary monitor


Launch and move Metro style apps to any monitor

There are several ways that you can launch and move an app:

  • Start. You can bring up Start on any monitor by moving your mouse to the bottom-left corner, or via the Start charm that you can invoke from the top and bottom-right corners of any monitor. Pressing the Windows key launches Start on the last monitor where Start or a Metro style app appeared.
  • Switch back to an app from any monitor. You can switch back to an app on any monitor by moving your mouse to the top-left corner. Clicking the app thumbnail switches you back to the app on that monitor.
  • Keyboard shortcuts. We are introducing new keyboard shortcuts that build on the shortcuts from Windows 7. Win+Pg Up or Win+Pg Dn moves Metro style apps across monitors. Win+Arrow and Win+Shift+Arrow continue to work on desktop apps as they did in Windows 7, by snapping and moving desktop windows across monitors.
  • Drag and drop. Using the mouse, you can now drag and drop Metro Style apps across monitors. Drag and drop works for both full screen and snapped apps.
Improved mouse targeting on the shared edge

A multi-monitor setup brings the major benefit of more real estate, but it also lacks the Fitts' Law benefits of hard edges and corners across displays. While it’s extremely easy to trigger corner UI such as Start, charms, or recently used apps on a single monitor, it isn’t uncommon to overshoot the mouse when the corner appears on a shared edge on a multi-monitor configuration.

With multiple monitors in fact, targeting the shared edge can be downright difficult. Move a few pixels too far and your cursor is suddenly on the wrong monitor. This has been a common challenge in previous versions of Windows as well, like when you’re trying to hit the close button or scroll bars on a maximized window on a shared edge. Many work around this by remembering to move the mouse slowly as it approaches a shared edge or by avoiding window layouts that bump up against those edges. We commonly observe this behavior in our own usage and in field studies.

In the Release Preview, we’re introducing an improved model for shared edges that makes it easier to target UI along a shared edge.

Since corners are even more important for Windows 8, we’ve created real corners along the shared edges to mimic the Fitts’ Law advantages of a single monitor. The red corners in the diagram below demonstrate how these corners can help guide your mouse.

Graphic demonstrating real corners along shared edges

We’ve designed the corners to provide help when you need it and to get out of the way when you don’t. The protruding corner target is 6 pixels in height, which means that it is only noticeable when you’re trying to target the corner of the screen. Also, we’ve designed the corner to only work for the monitor your cursor is on. For example, leaving monitor 2 for monitor 1 in the diagram below, the bottom corner in monitor 1 will not interfere as you move your mouse across the shared edge.

Graphic demonstrating how real corners only work for the monitor you are on

Shared corner does not block cross monitor navigation

The shared corner isn’t just an improvement for the new Windows 8 UI, but it also makes it easier to target controls on the desktop like Close and Show desktop. As a result, targeting shared corners is fast and fluid. First-hand experience is a must with this design, as you will notice this improvement right away when using the new Release Preview.

More to come

We have lots of ideas for how we could do even more with Metro style apps on multiple monitors. Our goal for Windows 8 is to deliver a great Metro style app experience alongside desktop apps, improving multitasking efficiency and making it easy to access the controls you need along the edges of every screen. We wanted to make sure your desktop experience was even more efficient, with new functionality such as the spanning taskbar, and we wanted you to also have access to Metro style apps while you’re also using the desktop. As we see new apps developed, and as we see how developers might want to take advantage of multi-monitor configurations in new ways with immersive and full screen apps, we will of course enhance this experience (and APIs) even further.

Download this video to view it in your favorite media player:
High quality MP4 | Lower quality MP4

We hope that you enjoy these new multi-monitor features. Thank you for all of your feedback – it has certainly helped us to improve Windows 8 as we moved from Developer Preview, to Consumer Preview, and soon, to the Release Preview.


Comments (152)
  1. Tetriando says:

    It feels really nice!

  2. shrippen says:

    this time here to stay? 😉

    on-topic: great to see more improvements in this regard, multimonitor is something I definitely see more and more in the future and the current Metro implementation doesn't really take multimonitor Setups into account, thus i won't be really using it…

  3. Prayaas says:

    Finally Windows has good support for multiple monitors!

    Just can't wait to get my hands on Release Preview!!

  4. Brian H says:

    Looks good. Nice work guys =)

  5. FremyCompany says:

    Does it mean we will be able to use 3, 4 metro apps in multimonitor computers?

  6. Sasha Apps says:

    Windows 8 is PERFECT!!!

  7. ReMark says:


  8. Jacek says:

    Can you run 2 metro apps in full screen mode on 2 monitors? I believe, this is the key feature for Windows 8 multimonitors users.

  9. Well good improvements, even that you overhaul how the corners work.

    Can i open a Metro app on each monitor, when i use both?

  10. Joao M Correia says:

    This quote right here is your Customers-Can-Go-Jump-Off-A-Cliff point:

    "This can be summed up by one comment from the e7 blog:

       @AlexJerebtsov, “The lack of multi-monitor [Taskbar] support is just about a crime”.


    Well, here is another quote that you haven't used yet:

    "Not allowing users to switch off the start screen is an abomination".

    You don't even have to give me credit for it, you can name whoever you want.

  11. Bradley Smith says:

    Finally, I can stop having to buy Ultramon to get a second taskbar. This is functionality i've relied on third-party apps for since Windows 2000 – can't believe it has taken Microsoft 12 years to implement this themselves!

  12. Jonathan M says:

    I would like to ask if this multiple monitor support will work on Windows RT tablets?

  13. i have to add sth.

    Why did you replace the magnifying glass icon for zooming in the bottom right corner with a minus?

    The magnifying glass icon was much better. It made more sense in my opinion.

  14. I have made Windows 8 my primary OS since Build of last year.  I have immersed myself in completely testing and using it in real world situations.  I've been amazed at how well it works and how productive I can be.  The improvements from the Developer Preview to the Consumer Preview have been pretty amazing.  I look forward to the Release Preview and beyond.

    I've heard many complaints from bloggers and other self proclaimed super users who think that Metro is awful, etc. who want to have an option to disable metro and to remove the start screen.  I'm tired of hearing it.  It is foolish and isn't going to happen.

    That said, I have been using the Start8 – from StarDock – that returns a semblance of the older style startmenu pinned to the taskbar.  I don't really need it, but I can see how that might ease the transition for some people.

    I have only one request.  I wish that there was a way to identify a "Primarily Desktop Mode" or "Primarily Tablet/Mobile Mode" setting for my computer.  In the "Primarily Desktop Mode", I could have something like the startdock Start8 menu option AND the ability to run metro apps in a window….this Windowed mode for metro apps wouldn't be like desktop apps that have unlimited sizing, but would only be allowed to snap to the support resolutions (1366 x 768, etc.).  I know this is possible because the Simulator effectively accomplishes this.

    By doing this, I think the majority of complaints concerning metro apps consuming an entire monitor (especially with monitors that have a large amount of real estate) will subside.  Let's not give those dumb analysts and bloggers any excuses to keep hating on Win 8.  I hope you'll consider this.


    Keep up the good work!

  15. pmbAustin says:

    The one issue I'd love to see an official setting for is the handling of multiple instances of a single app via the task bar, when buttons are grouped.  For example: Multiple IE windows.  If I switch to another app, and then click the IE icon to switch back… it doesn't switch back by default.  It brings up the thumb-nails and I have to then select which tab to go to.  This should NOT be the default behavior!  I currently have to use a registry hack to get the proper behavior back… which is, when I click on the IE icon to go back to IE (or any other app with multiple grouped buttons on the taskbar), the MOST RECENTLY USED WINDOW GETS FOCUS.  Clicking again, would iterate through the open windows/tabs.  Or I could hover and select the thumbnail to go directly to the one I want.

    Since the code to do this is already in the product (enabled by a registry setting in Win7), can we PLEASE get a simple UI in the taskbar properties to control this?  So I don't have to copy .REG files around to every system I use and run them in order to get the behavior I want?

    If you want to know what I use, visit this webpage for all the details:


  16. Anon says:

    "Allow side-by-side Metro style and desktop apps. You can launch or move a Metro style app to any monitor, side-by-side with desktop apps on another screen."

    What does the phrase "side-by-side with desktop apps on another screen." mean? If it is side-by-side then it is not on another screen.

    Can I run one metro app on one monitor and a second metro app on another?

    "Show taskbar buttons on the taskbar where the window is open."

    Shouldn't it be instead:

    "Show taskbar buttons on the screen where the window is open."

    Replace the word taskbar with the word screen in all of the similar options. I think it would make more sense.

  17. gawicks says:

    More to come?

    What does that mean? Are there changes planned for post RP too. I hope not . RTM should be for bug fixed only.

    Steven what are you doing?

  18. Ondrus says:

    This "modified" aero looks better than your new "white" design! ( http://bit.ly/K8294i )

  19. gawicks says:

    Also could you explain why you chose not to have a consistent tile colours .People is Red ,Mail is Turquoise , Store is green , Messaging is purple , IE is blue etc ; etc;

    That's just too visually complex .The contrast is simply too much .Giving a single colour would eliminate this distraction. IMO the icons are enough for differentiation

  20. xpclient says:

    You missed one feature. Having the notification area, at least, system icons, if not other notifications and always running apps available on all monitors. Is there a reason why you haven't added that?

    Another option you should add for improved mouse targeting so any corner or edge can enjoy Fitt's law is that the pointer moves to another monitor from any edge or corner but never unless you hold down Shift or some hotkey.

  21. pmbAustin says:

    Side note:  I really REALLY want to see changes to mouse and trackpad behavior, especially for the start screen:

    1) Having to target that really thin (and disappearing) scroll bar to scroll wtih the mouse or track pad is difficult and unintiutive.  Being able to click-drag anywhere on the background to throw the screen around, like it were your finger, is intuitive and should be supported.

    2) Having scroll-bars "fade out" even when the mouse is hovering over them, is a real usability nightmare for me, especially with trackpads… where I might position the cursor over the scroll bar area, and then click the track pad repeatedly to easy page down.  The problem is, after a click or two, the scrollbar disappears, and I have to wiggle the cursor on the trackpad to get it back.  This is seriously broken behavior.

    3) Two finger scrolling should be supported system wide (on trackpads).  I should be able to touch two fingers and drag back and forth to scroll the Start screen left and right.  PLEASE get this right.  Two finger scrolling should "just work", by default, on any multi-touch trackpad, without installing special (and usually HORRIBLE) drivers.  It should be "fast and fluid", unlike most two-finger scrolling implementations I've been forced to deal with on Windows (in particular, the Cypress drivers for the Dell XPS15z laptop are hideous).  PLEASE support trackpads with multi-touch gestures by default, out of the box, with "class drivers" and a consistent gesture langauge!

    These are the areas I'm still feeling pain points.  I love that you're addressing the keyboard/mouse/desktop area, and now I'm hoping you'll address the laptop/trackpad area.

  22. Things End says:

    @Amy Gx: Windows 7 is here to stay, more than XP.


  23. Why not bring back start button which calls the metro ?

  24. @Steven Sinofsky

    You guys said the glass (transparency) is removed why it still exists in these screenshots with the modified control elements such as the back/forward button….?

  25. Non-Primary Taskbar Pinning says:

    Does this mean now we can PIN to non-primary taskbar? Without this, multimon taskbar feels extremely incomplete.

  26. Eli Sklar says:

    So after 15+ years, someone came and actually did something about Microsoft's awful support for dual display, and then Microsoft engineers march in, take almost all of the features from that someone, and not even attribute the creators?

    Ah, not surprising actually.

    I've been using multiple monitors for the past 8-10 years, and windows was always bad at supporting more than one monitor, besides showing a screen and allowing user to drag windows to the other screen, not support was given. NOTHING.

    DisplayFusion is one of my "Must install" apps after reinstalling windows, and there's a good reason for that – they're at it for around 4 years, and they've learned a lot along the way, providing a lot of the features that users wanted and needed, and doing all of that in a lot of style, I must add.

    Why, dear MS engineers/marketers, don't you attribute 90% of the post above to the creators of DisplayFusion? it's pretty obvious that you simply took their work and implemented that inside windows 8, there is only one feature that does not come with DisplayFusion Pro – that's the corner lock, everything besides that exists and existed for years in DisplayFusion.

    Give credit where credit is due, they have done a wonderful work, and you guys just copied all of it.

  27. BruceIV says:

    Looks good. It's unclear from this post, so I'd like to know: is it possible to have two different Metro apps launched on different monitors simultaneously?

  28. bydwin says:

    great work team. this doesnt totally relate but thought i should mention. There are various problems with the metro task bar (the list of open apps): 1. Many desktop apps have file or edit or other right at the corner of the hot pixels, therefore the user is continually activating it by mistake. 2. App switching does not have a back button when swiping through apps because you are using the stack method. 3. Metro task bar, uses a preview method, which is too big an takes to much space. Solution: 1. Have metro task bar similar  to classic, using icons, with the ability to toggle through them using active buttons on the task bar, and also give option to still use swiping too at the users choice. 2. Have forward and back buttons on the metro task back to give the ability to move back and forth. 3. Use metro icons, similar to classic task bar. The thumb switch will always exist and is active when the user freezes the metro task bar and hides it. Also give apps the ability to windows for various reasons, such user sensitivity to flashing objects when switching full screen to screen. please view this for clearity. http://www.flickr.com/…/7222390770

    all in all we like what you done so far, its just that we dont have this dailogue with some of your OEMS like hp,dell,samsung, sony etc if we did we have told them to have two bettries per device and a way to charge them both, use one then plug in the other when the other dies, that doubles the bettry life, including software changes it means this part of the battle would have been won.But in cases where the devices is pluged into the electric grid there should be no comprmisesat all, like most productivity settings, many apps at time will fit well. one thing, we like that you said is "“post-PC” 20 years ago is now the very definition of a PC"

  29. CUMO says:

    Can the same Metro app be used on more than 1 monitors?  Some of our commercial applications use 2+ monitors and we would love to convert it to Metro if it is supported.

  30. Tmn F. says:

    ******** I really love this "OLD_AERO" screenshots, this is the good way. This is "clean" and pretty ! **************

  31. AndyCadley says:

    @xpclient: Hopefully after years of abuse the whole 'notification area' is finally on the way to complete deprecation, in favour of much less intrusive notifications.

    Great post though. Looks like many, if not all, of the issues with multimon in previous builds is well on the way to being rectified, along with some oft requested features too. Can't wait to try out the Release Preview build and see how some of these things play out in practice.

  32. Tmn F. says:

    And great functionality too !

  33. super says:


    How about touch monitors …I have an environment where I need my 2nd monitor to be touch and 1st to be non touch …is this being addressed…or any touch capability improvments?


  34. Looks good except for the embarrassingly named and ill placed "charms".  How 'bout a new name?

  35. Chris says:

    Is it possible to run a metro style app on the first monitor, while running another metro style app on the second monitor?

  36. Jack says:

    Why can't you have the notifications bar on both monitors? Then you could truly use the monitors interchangeably as equals. Also in general it doesn't seem like Windows Metro interface has a good notication system to review previous notifications or missed notifications, this is also a problem with Windows Phone. Finally I still hear nothing about voice search and voice control in Windows 8. Are you going to actually ship a modern OS without any voice capabilities?

  37. BM says:

    This doesn't help when running Windows 8 or Server 2012 in a VM.  It also doesn't help when using RDP.  

    When you move the mouse in a VM application towards the corner or edge, the mouse simply moves outside the VM application window, you don't get the hidden Start button or the Charms.  The same is true for a Remote Desktop window.  The benefit of a Start button is that you can directly and quickly click on it, oh, and the fact that a billion users have been trained to look for it for the last 10+ years…

  38. John Steinman says:

    Will there be support for pinning applications on secondary taskbars? I find this really annoying when using the CP.

  39. Eirik says:

    What about me that want to have more vertical space on my desktop and have my start menu on the left side of the screen? What if I have it on the right side, will this interfere with the "hot corners" or charms?

    I also wonder why I can't create a split screen right in the center of the screen with metro apps. Having Bing maps on 50 % and IE on the other would be something I would want to do instead of having the maps as a tiny phone-width app on the right or left hand side? Then I would have to open two browser windows and win+left/right them two both sides.

    Other than that: great job guys!

  40. Jason says:

    Now that they have support for more monitors, they should work on features like "right-click" in Ie for saving images or copying url's..

  41. Simon Mattes says:

    Are you guys going to support running several metro style applications on different monitors?

    From the post I presume you can only have one (two if one is snapped) metro style applications running on one single monitor.

    I hope I am wrong because I'd love to be able to start (and keep running) as many metro style applications as I have screens (x2 if snapping half of them).

    That way there would be a great multi tasking efficiency for metro style applications. After all: on multi-monitor environments it is very likely that the system is on AC and does not need to worry about battery life. Running several metro style applications simultaneously would not be an issue here.

    Keep up the great work; can't wait for the RP!

  42. JT says:

    Please add back mirroring!!

  43. @super — yep, that's how I work.  I have one touch (I use my primary) and one secondary (non-touch) connected to my tower.  I run Metro style apps and do mail from primary and then when I go to the desktop I use multiple apps spanning across the two.

  44. pmbAustin says:

    I'd like to summarize some questions that can hopefully be addressed (FAQ style):

    1) Is it possible to open a full-screen metro app on one screen, and another full-screen metro app on another screen?  (if not, why not?)

    2) Will users be able to pin apps to various taskbar/screens?  For instance, drag three apps from the primary screen to the secondary screen, so that each taskbar has a small set of apps pinned for launching

    3) Is there any hope of getting a 3rd snap mode for Metro Apps, if, say, horizontal resolution is 1600 or greater?  A 50/50 split would prove pretty useful on desktops (all of mine have 1920 resolution, so two metro apps side-by-side would work well, and mirror "Areo Snap")

    4) Can we choose which screen gets the notification area, and can we choose to duplicate the notification area on all taskbars?

    5) Is there any pending solution to the 'corner problem' for remote-desktop-in-a-window and windowed-VM usage scenarios?  Will the same mechanism work there, as works on the physical screens?

    6) Has any thought been given to the issue of "accidentally" activating charms and the metro task list when going for the "file" menu or the top/bottom of a scroll bar or the close button of a MAXIMIZED desktop app?

    7) The 6-pixel border seems kind of arbitrary, and seems like it might not be "enough" on very high density displays.  Is there any plan to be able to configure this, or have it change based on the pixel density?  At the very least, having a registry setting that can be tweaked?

    8) Will we ever get a way to 'ungroup' groupped taskbar buttons? (by right-click option?)  I can see one thing where I have grouped apps, and I want to drag one over to a new window by simply dragging the task bar button over to the new screen's taskbar.  Is that something we will ever see?  Even if not, can I drag taskbar buttons to new screens and therefore move the window to the same location on the new screen?

  45. Leon Scott says:

    I LOVE THIS!!! lol im  my laptop and another LG 24 incher right now with the Consumer PReview and I really wished that metro was accessible on either monitor without switching the devices preferences, this is absolutely awesome. The reason Windows 8 is going to be so sucessful, is because its not being engineered and designed inside of a box/cell like Apple OS. You guys at Microsoft are really looking to Us, the consumer, the end user, the grandmother, business man, college student, ect…. And asking what works for Us and what doesn't work, and even what we would like, and you are engineering based off of that, as well as keeping whats traditionally great about the windows experience, and along with leaping ahead of how the world's technology and user interactions are continuing changing and innovating ahead of it, that's why windows 8 will be great. I'm excited for the Realease Preview

  46. Ian Morris says:

    I'm sorry to say this. But what is the point of adding all this wonderful multi-monitor support when you're basically killing the traditional desktop environment in Windows 8?

    Who is it, exactly, that's going to want desktops like this, when they're forced in and out of Metro to select apps constantly.

    Come on MS, please give us what we want: the ability to shut off Metro and use the traditional desktop. I'm not saying everyone will want this style, but there enough of us out there who aren't interested in Metro to warrant having it as an option.


  47. Kevin says:

    It seems that once the hot corner is activated within the 6×6 pixel at each corner, moving the cursor outside of this will enable the mouse to go to the next screen. Is it possible to make it so that ONCE a hot corner is activated, that it's not possible for the mouse cursor to slip thru to the next screen without first going outside of the activated menu?

  48. Kevin says:

    @Ian Morris: The desktop isn't going anywhere. The metro start screen is exactly like of the start menu. It's a menu to launch app. If you don't want Metro apps, then don't install any. This metro app will be a tremendous hit for the average Joe.

    They simply can not make Metro start screen optional. It won't happen.

  49. Honestly, for me, this post contains more enticing reasons to buy Win8 than all the others combined, at least for a desktop PC. I couldn't care less about most of the live tiles, or any of the metro apps. Standard desktop computing like Win7 is more than enough. You guys should just bring this multi-monitor stuff over to Win7 via updates. This isn't enticing enough for me to get Win8 for desktop and I don't see myself getting a touch device for a while.

  50. pmbAustin says:

    @Ian Morris:

    1) Nobody is killing the desktop.  It's not going anywhere.  They've made MANY enhancements to the desktop, not just multi-mon support.

    2) You aren't "forced in and out of Metro to select apps constantly".  Configure your toolbars and short-cuts.  You don't need to call up the start screen if you don't want to.  And if you have a multi-mon setup, you can just specify one screen to be the screen you call up the start screen on if you want.  It's just a giant start menu.  Configure it to work best for you.  It's not a big deal, and you get used to it relatively quickly.

    3) Your anti-metro hatred is rooted in rigid closed-mindedness and lots of whining… and it's really getting tedious (from you and everyone else).  Start Screen isn't going away.  Metro isn't going away.  If you cannot adapt (or more accurately, you refuse to), then just get one of the third party add-ons that will give you a mimic of the old start menu and be happy.  You're going to have options even if MS doesn't provide them all for you.  In short:  Get over it.  Seriously.  All you're doing is making yourself more upset than you need to be, and annoying everyone else.  Surely there are more constructive comments you could make.

  51. Kevin R says:

    Looks great but PLEASE allow customization of the Start Screen! I'll take a blurred image of my desktop wallpaper over those solid colors on any day! Please give users the options! Thanks Microsoft!

  52. pmbAustin says:

    @joezim007 — there ARE other enticing desktop features, imho:  MUCH faster boot times, much faster shut-down times, much faster resume-from-hybernation/sleep times… new copy/move functionality… new support for *.iso/*.vhd files in Explorer… integrated SkyDrive support… native USB3.0 support… improved task manager… improved application/network monitoring… improved network features (more important on laptops, but still)… improved file system (healing/chkdsk)… improved handling of updates… improved memory management… improved performance…Reset/Refresh…Explorer improvements… powershell improvements… and I'm sure I forgot several, and I'm sure there are more we don't know about.

  53. Tom Servo says:

    Hrm, comment was swallowed?

    Anyway: A Metro app _per screen_, plus spanned configurations. This is kind of mandatory. Especially when content creation apps made in WinRT are involved, because you'd want reference material up on another screen, not spanned.

  54. @pmbAustin

    The Ian Morris hatred is not whining, it is his opinion and it hurts to you Metro fans…

    And is not annoying us, just you Metro lovers because hurts….

    You "fans" do not understand that you are a very small part of millions users round the world,

    We posted continuosly constructive comments, but do not liked, and ignored by M$

    Your words:

    "Start Screen isn't going away.  Metro isn't going away.  If you cannot adapt (or more accurately, you refuse to), then just get one of the third party add-ons"

    Are you a Microsoft commercial or a dumb user?

    Why we have to buy something(OS) that has less features than it's predecessor, to install third party app, for having something we already have??????

    Skip and forget it, that's the better choice that major of users will do.

    BTW on topic again, multimonitor support is requested in the most working enterprises, and they believe me(our 800 employes enterprise is still massively using XP, slowly upgrading to 7) will not at all take Windows 8 in their computers!

    At home maybe just the richest has more than one monitor for computer(and yes touch one!!!)

    No more words, just after have used day by day from the first W8 build "7850" available, today i've UPGRADED to Windows 7!!!

  55. Rennock says:

    Anonymous comments apparently aren't allowed.  Forget this.

  56. Will Windows Media Centre work in a multi-monitor set-up?

    Currently, if Media Centre is running in Full Screen Mode on the 2nd monitor, then you are unable to do any work on your primary monitor. Have you at least resolved this annoying issue?

  57. Mcnulty says:

    This post clears the wind. In the previous post, a guy with the alias "multitasker" posted a comment:



    I do have a touch screen monitor…but it is one of TWENTY FIVE screens in the house that are not built-in to the device.  My HOME has somewhere in the neighbourhood of $30,000 worth of established PC estate; more if you count the wiring.  Am I now to replace my screens with touch-enabled widgetry just to try to use this newfangled operating system?  

    When I open the start menu, or am forced to use a Metro application, must they take up the 47" screen on the wall, 6' away from me?  Why must I lose the flexibility and productivity I have created through my investment in screens of all shapes and sizes?

    Because Microsoft wants to try (and ultimately fail) to catch up to the iPad?   Everyone here is thinking it, but nobody will come out and say it: Windows 8 is too little, too late to catch the iPad.  The iPad is established and dominant.  Even a top-flight competitor like Android can’t make any significant dent in the consumer tablet market, and it has both mindshare and a significant host of applications.

    iPads are chosen by everyone because everyone has an iPad.  Microsoft should be familiar with the concept; this is what keeps Microsoft Office (and thus Windows) rolling in the money.

    Rip and replace $30,000 worth of equipment in my home?  No.

    I’d rather buy an iPad.


    ^Now I realize what a lying troll he is ! sometimes they even make no sense. If you guys like Mac or other operating system, you can go and use one. But if you are here to sing the Steve jobs'es or Linus Torvalds'es anthem, please don't bother.

  58. This is much better than DP and CP.

    However, this post still doesn't address this issues:

    – allowing more than two Metro apps in foreground, at least on multiple display setups, where the number of allowed foreground apps should be at least 2 x number of displays, so we can use all our displays to display metro apps.

    – implementing at least an additional 50/50 split mode for Metro apps (possibly vertical for portrait displays).

    – allowing more than one running instance for one metro app. For example I might want to use two instances of the Reader app to display one PDF on one screen, and another PDF on a different screen.

    – allow real multitasking, allowing apps to run even when not in foreground, a missing feature that prevents the proper implementation of entire classes of applications, even a simple SSH client would need that functionality. And it wouldn't hurt to also bring this to Windows Phone.

    – fix the broken share contract, that closes when you switch to another app or the start menu, losing a partially composed email.

    If these issues are solved, Windows 8 would be perfect for me.

  59. Alireza Noori says:

    In this link you can see what Windows 8 is missing and have it fixed. I'm looking forward to get a complete-featured taskbar for Windows 8. Please read this article from the awesome Actual Monitors guys.


  60. Musafir_86 says:

    @Win8 Team,

    -This may be a bit off-topic; however it's about the display adapters, so I believe it's connected to the monitors (pun intended).

    -Question: why the display adapter drivers that's built-in/bundled with Windows AND the drivers offered through Windows Update always don't have OpenGL ICD included? I understand that Microsoft might want to support only Direct3D if possible, but OpenGL also have quite widespread use, especially outside of consumer space (i.e. games).

    -I know users could always search, download, and install the driver themselves, but for quite older display adapters (several years old once a specific version of Windows is RTM'ed) which their driver no longer regular updated, it's easier and less hassle to just use whatever comes with Windows (and Automatic/Windows/Microsoft Update).

    -Finally, you could bundle Adobe Flash Player when Microsoft already have Silverlight, and you also bundle PDF reader (in Windows 8) when Microsoft have XPS format, so why not include OpenGL ICD? Please consider about it.


  61. Joshua Kairl says:

    Great now have a function for profile switching for Audio for Gamers have headphones & speakers

  62. pmbAustin says:

    @_alex74_ yes, Ian Morris is jsut whining, and so are you.  You can stamp your feet and ball your fists and pout all you want, but most people realize these fundamental things aren't going to change.  We're not "fans", we're just realists.  Your consistent harping on this issue is completely unproductive, especially when taken to the hysterics most of you 'haters' take it to… like you haven't even taken two seconds to understand the change or try it or get used to it.  If you actualyl HAD constructive comments, that were FEASABLE, then I'm sure they'd be listened to.  But for the most part, all your whining is guarenteeing is that most people tune you out.  Which I guess makes YOU guys the "dumb user".

    The RIDICULOUS notion that Win8 somehow has "less features" thant he previous version is part of what makes everyone want to just tune out the obviously ignorant whining.  It's just not true.  It does things DIFFERENTLY, that is all.  Many things are more efficient.  A few are slightly less so.  In the end, the improvements are dramatic over the previous version.  The rest just takes a slight change in thinking or approach to appreciate and become efficient with.

    Please.  Stop with the nonsense whining.  It's not productive.  It's very annoying. And it's ultimately pointless.

  63. Alireza Noori says:

    Just read @pmbAustin's post. It is really all I want.

    Also, when I pin an app to a secondary taskbar (you're gonna do it right?????) and click on it, I expect it to run on the same monitor that I'm clicking, not the monitor that it has been last time. This is extremely important.

  64. hamakaze japan says:

    Is one with more intelligible doing by a multi-monitor this new product?

    Thank you for the report.

    By the way, one may be worrisome.

    Seemingly the advertising expenses of Windows 8 will be made into the Japanese yen, and will spend about 160 billion yen.

    How much does the price become sure enough?

  65. Joenathan says:

    Looking great, love the changes in the pipes, I have three monitors so I appreciate the attention. One thing I haven't seen mentioned it having the system tray, especially the time and date being available on all the monitors, this is very important for me. Consider the scenario where the main monitor has a Metro app open, in that case the time is completely unavailable.

    Thanks much.  

  66. Trent Palmer says:

    Every Linux desktop I've ever booted up has multiple workspaces.  Why isn't this done on Windows?

  67. Beany says:

    Love this 🙂 Was a little worried about these multi-monitor issues not being fixed already in the CP. I also like the new ability to drag Metro apps on to different monitors. I have very few issues with 8 now. With these improvesments and the updated UI theme for the desktop (with updated icons as well hopefully!) you would have fixed all my major concerns.

  68. Json says:

    If final Windows 8 doesn't have an option to completely disable metro and restore Aero I'm switching to Mac.

  69. "The one issue I'd love to see an official setting for is the handling of multiple instances of a single app via the task bar, when buttons are grouped.  For example: Multiple IE windows.  If I switch to another app, and then click the IE icon to switch back… it doesn't switch back by default.  It brings up the thumb-nails and I have to then select which tab to go to.  This should NOT be the default behavior!"

    I agree. When you click on a tile with multiple windows it should bring up the window that you were last using. At the moment I find it very difficult to navigate between folders because if I have two open I have to click, work out which window I want and then click the preview. This is a lot more time consuming than the pre-Win7 era when I could simply click on a taskar app and it would return immediately. The previews should only appear when you hover over the tile, in much the same way that Aero Peek operates. I love the superbar that Win7 introduced but dealing with apps that have multiple windows open is very fiddly and unnecessarily awkward.

    More importantly, isn't it time that Explore finally incorporated tabs? Microsoft was slow to add tabs to Internet Explorer and seems to have no interest in bring them to Explorer, despite the obvious similarities. As long as you can drag and drop to tabs the functionality will remain the same but you won't have to deal with multiple windows in multiple places. Some people will dislike it but just include a legacy option, much in the same way that the taskbar includes an option for the XP-style functionality.

    I'm still not a fan of the charm bar on the desktop. Obviously I can understand its importance on tablet computers but on the desktop it really doesn't do much and is cumbersome. And the way it's transparent until you scroll up/down is also annoying, though that's inevitable due to the inclusion of multiple functions for one corner (i.e. Top: closing maximised windows, and opening the charm bar; Bottom: Aero Peek, and opening the charm bar). Oh, and will the All Apps function be included by default on the Metro start screen? Having to right click to access it obscures the functionality and requires extra mouse clicks during regular usage. Finally, what is being done to address the incredibly convoluted method currently used to shut down or restart your computer in Windows 8? Would it not make sense to include power options both in the user tile on the Metro start screen and/or in the right-click menu of the start corner? Using the charm bar is completely unnecessary and while it is possible to use keyboard shortcuts – or simply press the power button on your computer – it's often preferable to use the mouse. In Win7 it requires two clicks to shutdown your computer and barely any movement of the mouse; triggering the charm bar alone requires more movement of the mouse.

  70. Please support small snapped state for Start screen. Many people bash it only because it distract attention from desktop, problem will be solved if they can have start screen and desktop on screen simultaneously.

    The big number of multi-monitor users in Microsoft itself can be reason for cognitive bias about problem of distracting by Start screen.

  71. Riasat says:

    From pmbaustin: "2) Will users be able to pin apps to various taskbar/screens?  For instance, drag three apps from the primary screen to the secondary screen, so that each taskbar has a small set of apps pinned for launching"


  72. TurboFool says:

    Something I've been waiting for since Windows 7: a way to use Aero Snap more easily across multiple monitors. As it currently is, I can snap a window to the right edge of my right monitor, or the left edge of my left monitor, using only my mouse. But to snap it to either middle edge requires me to resort to keyboard commands. Please consider a fix for this as you clean up the rest of the remaining long-term multi-monitor issues that seems to finally be on the radar. I'm really happy with how 8's improving this already, so let's finish it off.

  73. B says:

    100% of the users in this office have multiple monitors on Windows 7.  Your telemetry data is probably lacking a few data points.

  74. WinRunner says:

    One word – Awesome!

    It is time to drop the remaining aero glass off Windows. This is much clean, crisp, and simple.

    Also time to drop the recycle bin from the desktop for good. Let us find a permanent place for recycle bin on the task bar.


    Windows 7

  75. Dave says:

    Windows 8 was my idea

  76. Kee Zhang says:

    Great~already waiting for these improves for more than 10 years…

  77. DarienHawk67 says:

    I echo Trent Palmer.  Apple OS-X has spaces.  Linux desktops such as KDE, Gnome, and XFCE have for years supported multiple desktops.  Is there a reason whether it be technical, marketing, business, etc., as to why Windows still—in 2012—does not support this feature?  And don’t even get me started on Linux desktop compositing.

  78. Great job, can't wait to try it out.

  79. Dina says:

    Can a tablet become a secondary (Nth) monitor choice? With touch, sound, etc…

  80. Step says:

    I've always thought that increased productivity from the usage of multiple monitors comes from the lack of skill of switching between windows

  81. WindowsVista567 says:

    @DarienHawk67, because its not required. Microsoft sets the trend not the penguine or the iGrave man.

    Dont get ME started you clumsy trolls!

    M for Microsoft, Metallica & Nothing Else Matters !!

  82. Derek says:

    Please provide an option to disable the hot corners, and how real buttons on (each) taskbar to bring up the Charms and the App switcher.

  83. Derek says:

    Please provide an option to disable the hot corners, and show real buttons on (each) taskbar to bring up the Charms and the App switcher.

  84. Now this sounds great. I plan to move to a multi monitor setup with my next build once Windows 8 get released so I could run the classic desktop environment on the first screen while I use Metro apps on the other but with all these productivity improvements, it should be great to allow users to run more than 2 Metro apps at higher resolutions (1920×1080 and more) on both screens. Great work, can't wait to have my hands on the RP and the final product.

  85. NM says:

    Wow, This is spectacular. keep up the good job.

  86. Enlightenment says:

    Is there any support for CHANGING the FONT-SIZE on each monitor?   Depending on the monitor size, you might want to increase/decrease the font for each one.  

    I wish that I could change the font size of text inside the "file explorer", especially when I'm using DETAILED view.  On a 24" 1920×1200 monitor, the text is too small.  No I don't want to change the system font size to fix this problem.  A person can change the font size in Internet Explorer, so why can't we change it in other programs, quickly with ALT +/-

  87. Ben says:

    If that screenshot of the traditional desktop on a monitor next to the Metro start screen doesn't convince you that you've munged two OSes together (badly) then nothing can save Windows 8.

    Vlad NC's list wouldn't be a start (to at least get Metro on both screens) but… No, I still can't imagine the start screen doing anything but annoying me when I'm trying to open / working with a desktop program. And it's not like I didn't give the CP a chance.

  88. Another thing that I think will be great is an option to pin Metro to a monitor. That way we can use Metro in a single (preferably touch-enabled) monitor for all of the Metro-only apps and still get the old desktop apps on another monitor.

    I imagine writing code in Visual Studio on 2 screens and github for windows (the Metro one) on another monitor will be awesome!

  89. Georges S. says:

    Oops, sorry if double post, I thought this was posted but it appears not.

    I'm very eager to try this, in a few weeks! Here are a few comments/suggestions that are meant to be constructive. Let me know if anything's unclear:

    – Why not using the same Keyboard shortcut for moving Metro app? Windows Shift arrow? It seems unnecessary to have to learn and use two different shortcuts, depending on which kind of app is used.

    – Related, Pg UP and Pg Dn are disappearing from keyboards (look at the latest breed of Thinkpads), which won't help for the new shortcuts

    – Why wouldn't the start screen open on the screen which is active, when using the Windows key? This seems very intuitive no? I don't mean to be a smart head, I guess you tested that, but I'm curious to hear the reasoning. I picture a workflow where the start screen begins to be a great thing even for power users that use mostly desktop app: on the active monitor, I want to open the application MyApp. I press the Windows key, start typing MyA and press ENTER, the application is now opened on that screen. Makes for a good user story IMHO.

    – I'm curious about the design process that leads to leave options like the 3 that tell what buttons are available for the taskbars on multiple monitors. Wouldn't two be enough? "All on all" or "All on main + opened apps on additional monitors"?

    – I'm curious how it works when a monitor has many desktop apps opened and I open a metro app on that screen, how do I re-invoke the desktop on that monitor with the keyboard? I guess I'll just try!

  90. Dannydekr says:

    Would be perfect if I could just pin the startscreen to one monitor, and let it stay on top so it acts kinda like a fullscreen app. Would be nice to have one monitor with a metro app pinned right next to the startscreen which stays on top. For desktop users with multiple monitors this would be the best solution to give Metro some good use.

    A 3rd party will obviously develop a tool to accomplish this, but would be perfect if Microsoft made this possible by default 🙂

  91. ReMark says:

    A copy of the notification area + clock in other screens could be useful.

    Just add a option to switch on/off this feature.

    What about add a "Hardware Sensors Control" in the Control Panel? To check all the sensors of the hardware like temp sensor, fan sensor and the other sensors? Out of the box is very usefull (and completes the OS)

    I'm waiting for other great improvements and features for the Desktop Environment.

    This Win8 must be great.

  92. My main beef with multi monitors in W7 is that if I run a game, e.g. Skyrim on one monitor the other goes blank, or sits there idly and there is absolutely no way to get out of the game short of alt+tab. The other workaround is to run the game in a window but this is hardly optimal.

    I think that if a game is on one monitor, that the desktop should temporarily move over to other monitor and that I should be able to use it by hitting the windows key or similar. The full screen game continues to run side by side with the desktop. If I move the cursor back over the game and click, the game is in control again.

  93. zz sense says:


    You are ignoring the fact that a lot of people (based on comments and articles, it's the vast majority) are unhappy about the design changes in Windows 8, because it makes their work less productive/enjoyable. You are insulting them by calling their objections unreasonable and based solely on their need to complain. While there is some truth about the second part, to express their concerns is the only way how they can deal with this issue.

    By being the hater of the 'haters' and whining about their 'whining', you are no better than them.

    I personally believe Microsoft could easily solve this issue by providing options to replace the Start Screen with the old Start menu, to keep the Start button and to enable Aero. That is unlikely to happen though, so I'm probably going to use some 3rd party programs for that, like you suggested.

  94. _alex74_ says:


    yeah dude how not, you are realist? no, simply you do not read nor these blogs(where negative comments are the most) neither blogs round the web(where negative impressions are massive)

    Realist means supposed on facts, and here we have full messages of facts….

    So maybe you are not capable to read/understand…..

    I'll wait here the market response on RTM to see just your face man!

    I'm still so happy with Windows 7!

  95. xpclient says:

    A thing to note: Horizontal span was supported in Windows XP already but then went away due to WDDM (lots of people complained: http://www.google.com/search) and meanwhile MS sold everyone newer OSes as a "replacement" with this missing functionality which finally gets introduced in Windows 8 (which taking away other functionality). So you never get everything in one product. 🙁

  96. ReMark says:

    I hope you get rid off old dialogs and old graphics… look at that display and its aliased border…

    Example : http://imgur.com/crQY0

  97. ZexisStryfe says:

    I agree with Dannydekr. I would love to be able to pin the start screen to one monitor and have it stay open there (currently it closes when you do something on the other monitor.) Then I could use the live apps as a dashboard, keeping track of email, appointments, IMs, etc.

  98. Arturo says:

    No Aero No Money

  99. Is Windows Phone likely to be supported as a multi-monitor screen? Allowing tighter integration between PC-Phone? (e.g. a 5" PLUS equivalent of the Samsung Galaxy Note)

  100. patrick says:


    yeah, right. damn these windows teams (blogs.msdn.com/…/introducing-the-team.aspx)… good for nothing but giving us replacement OSes with missing functionality.

  101. gocheif says:


    I'm with you.  Running Metro apps side-by-side will be key.  Imagine a setup where you have a PC with 1 monitor that is also connected to your HDTV; you are going to want Metro apps on both at the same time…

  102. Derek says:


    That would be awesome 🙂

  103. Narg says:

    Just put the friggen Start button back!!!!!  There is ZERO good reason to remove it.  Only consider removing Start when Metro becomes the standard.  NOT BEFORE!

  104. Synonymous says:

    "Telemetry that looked at hundreds of millions of sessions further confirmed that only 6% of users ungroup taskbar buttons."

    Since the ability to "ungroup taskbar buttons" was removed in Windows 7, telemetry for which windows version?

  105. relinquish says:

    Please remove the charms for desktop users and put back the start button. Also normal open desktop apps need to be seen when going to the top left corner in addition to the open metro apps.

    What you also need to do is have full screen tile images for your own software like I don't know OFFICE!

  106. I tend to have many windows open at a time – sometimes even dozens.  I use a 3rd-party tool to bring some sense to the situation on Windows 7.  In this situation, the only option that makes sense is "Show taskbar buttons on the taskbar where the window is open."  Every other option would leave the taskbar way too cluttered!

    Another consideration is the "Taskbar buttons" option for "Combine when taskbar is full".  This is my preferred option.  The default might make it more "Mac-like" and nicer for beginner users, but it is not realistic for me.  The default of a single grouped icon with no caption has problems because:

    * Icons are grouped, even when there is plenty of taskbar space.  This costs an extra click to activate the window.

    * Also because they are always grouped, it is impossible to tell at a glance what windows/documents might be open.  You have to click and mess with the taskbar to see what is open – even if not many windows are open.  For example, if I open Text1.txt and Text2.txt in Notepad, I have to click the Notepad icon to even see that I have Text1.txt and Text2.txt open.

    The removal of either the "Show taskbar buttons on taskbar where window is open" or the "Combine when taskbar is full" options would be extremely detrimental to my productivity.  I know you aren't removing them in Windows 8, but please don't threaten to remove them in Windows 9 or later!  Just because only 5% of users use a feature doesn't mean you can remove it; those 5% may be your key power users and removing the feature dumbs down the OS to accommodate novices while driving the experts to look elsewhere.

    One small thing:  I have 3rd-party software where middle-clicking a title bar quickly moves it to the other monitor.  This is a great shortcut and it would be awesome if Windows 8 supported it out-of-the-box.  Otherwise, moving a window to another monitor is way too cumbersome and takes too much time.  The keyboard shortcuts are great, but a mouse shortcut is needed, too.

    What about using Metro apps on multiple monitors?  If everything is to be believed from what is implied, the Windows desktop is obsolete and one would be a fool to write for it.  Windows on ARM won't let you write your own desktop apps, and I doubt the desktop will even be on Windows Phone 8.  So can you use multiple monitors even if the desktop isn't available or used?  (Or does it come down to a choice between the Windows Store and Metro-style app deployment, cloud usage, etc. vs. multiple monitor support on the desktop?)  Come to think of it, maybe you just need to let Metro apps use the desktop… so that Windows Store apps can still target the desktop… hmmmmm?

  107. pmbAustin says:

    "This costs an extra click to activate the window."

    @JamesJohnston, please see this link for a solution to that problem:


    And ask that MS build a UI to turn this option on in Win8 taskbar properties!

  108. Jason says:

    Love the sticky corners. BIG improvement.

    I'd still like to see notification area on both monitors since my primary gets covered by metro apps a lot of the time.

    I'd also like to know why I can't have two full screen metro apps at a time…?

  109. Steve says:

    I'm excited about all the thought going into multiple monitors in W8.  I'm surprised though that you show all the examples with a horizontal task bar.  In fact, in W7 with side by side monitors the best place for the task bar is to position it vertically on secondary monitor at the shared edge (i.e. in the middle on the secondary monitor).  This config uses less screen space, is always close by, and is easy to see. Do the changes in W8 make this still a good configuration?

  110. Eh? says:

    If I am using multiple monitors (which I do) I want to use the real estate for work, what is the point of having a monitor taken over completely by the start menu each time I want to start an application?

    Anyway, I am still waiting for the most important blog entry, the one that says “Here is how to disable the Metro cr@p in your desktop”, yep I can still hope for a better future.

    I am a Windows developer and now I will have to either use your aging APIs to do my work, or the failed WPF experiment, or the Version 2.0 UI called Metro. I choose neither…sort it out please before it is too late.

  111. Oh, one other thing.  Someone needs to smack the author of Windows User Experience Interaction Guidelines over the head with a clue bat:  msdn.microsoft.com/…/aa511448.aspx

    "This icon pattern is no longer recommended for Windows 7. Use regular taskbar buttons instead [of notification icons] if your program has desktop presence.  In this example from Windows 7, a regular taskbar button takes little space, but benefits from the Windows 7 taskbar button features, including Jump Lists, overlay icons, and rich thumbnails."

    That might be true if you leave settings at the default.  But I changed the taskbar option to "Combine when taskbar is full" for reasons I described in my last post.  Now, programs that follow this advice create large, unwanted taskbar clutter.  I would prefer they continue to use notification icons.

    Unfortunately, the Windows Messenger team seems to have taken this guideline to heart.  I installed a new version and found I could no longer minimize to a notification icon, and was forced to minimize to a large, bulky taskbar icon since I have "Combine when taskbar is full" set.  And I could not find an option to reverse this behavior; Google indicates that there is no solution.  As a result, I have stopped regularly using Windows Messenger.  Too bad for them; most of my contacts are on Facebook Chat now these days anyway.

  112. pmbAustin says:

    Can we get some feedback on the questions in my post at 05-21-2012 9:01 PM, where I summarized a lot of the questions and issues raised by this post?  Can we get a FAQ update?

    Any chance of acknowledgment or feedback on the issues I raised in my posts at 05-21-2012 4:56 PM and 05-21-2012 6:11 PM?

    Can we get a dialog here?  Or at least a simple acknowledgement?

  113. raymond says:

    why are the buttons so flat? why are the corners so sharp? At least give us some round corners. Even though window 7 was way too round, this is too severe of a sharp corner. At least give us buttons that have depth and character. Using some shading and effects would be nice like internet explorer 9's buttons. Why are the tabs of internet explorer so close? Give it some space so it's not so cluttered and cramped looking. Why are the scrollbars and dropdown button so ugly? That same scrollbar is in the consumer preview and it's very ugly. PLEASE fix it. I've never seen a more ugly scroll bar. The buttons cannot be so flat given that all the other content is 3D.

  114. Pax says:


    I agree. That's one of the stupidest decisions ever.

    But… There is a way around it:

    If you change compatibility settings to run messenger as Vista SP 2 it will only use the notification area when minimized.

  115. Mark says:

    @raymond – not going to happen. the aero look with rounded corners and 3d and shiny translucence is considered "cheesy" at Microsoft now and what you call "ugly" – plain primary color fill, square edges, no shadows, etc. – is easy for a low video power tablet to display, hence it is the new standard. Remember that powerful display desktops are not really the focus any more as they are (soon) in the minority.

  116. DarkUltra says:

    That double-sized Windows 7 superbar looks very unused. It never reaches half the monitor. Having small icons and only combine when full is more productive. You can quickly identify each tab when it has a name and an icon, and switch to it with only one click. At default you need to hit the big icon, then identify the app by its thumbnail, and click again. Havibg several similar windows open makes it even harder to do. Now that 16:9 displays are so popular, it is even worse.


  117. *THUMBS UP!* *THUMBS UP!*

    I can't wait to try it! I want to thank MSoft for listening and reacting to the user community. I know METRO can be something we can all get behind with a few more creative Power-Tweaks for us that like to customize. Perhaps using the underlying wallpaper of the monitor on which START screen was launched from to be the START screen background would help blend the Desktop and METRO transition.

  118. Love bots and drones spamming every post in hopes to get a boner. LOL. This blog sucks.

  119. Joanne says:

    The ability of this blog to swallow a comment if another comment is posted in the meantime is really irritating.  Anyway, my question is will Windows 7 be sold as software or preinstalled on computers after the launch of Windows 8? The lifecycle fact sheet says this is still to be determined.  So when will it be determined? Those people who don't want a tablet operating system, no matter how slick, on a new desktop need to plan ahead.  

  120. Adzi says:

    I have one simple question, what about non full screen Remote Desktop sessions, how do you open the start menu on them?

  121. Thomas says:

    New operating systems are great, but will there be any free upgrades from Windows 7 to Windows 8

  122. Crístian Deives says:

    nice Paris wallpaper 🙂

  123. It's about time!!!


  124. Michael Pollard says:

    Please simplify multi-monitor support with three or more displays. Currently, most single cards with three (four, five, six) interfaces can only use two unless the rest are native DisplayPort. This may be as much the fault of the card and driver makers, but it greatly impacts Windows. I normally use the Windows controls rather than the manufacturer controls, but I currently have to jump through hoops with Eyefinity before Windows will see the additional displays.

    What about Metro apps on large displays (displays that support 2560×1600 are readily available)? Will I be able to have four apps? Six apps? It would seem that they should be handled similar to large desktop gadgets, that can be dragged around and snapped to the edges of either the display or other apps.

    On that point, apps should not close unless specifically closed. I do not want to lose my Facebook or Twitter post because I minimized the app before posting.

    I would like to be able to group programs and windows, an arrangement that has been called a "desktop" or "workspace," so that I can re-open my normal programs and documents after restarting the computer. I may have four Notepad documents, Chrome with six tabs (though it handles restoration properly), IE with four tabs, two Word documents, and two instances of Excel each with two workbooks (because Excel puts everything for an instance inside the same window, unlike Word), and I'd like to be able to simply and easily restore the whole arrangement after restarting for updates.

    Since I haven't installed the preview yet (for lack of W7 restore media from the manufacturer): Does W8 work well in a combined touch/nontouch environment? With one of my arrangements, I like to use a touchscreen as my primary interface, using hotkeys to change focus and to move windows to the nontouch display. Think IE mostly on the nontouch display, with enough of the IE window overlapping the touch display for page navigation/swiping. I don't like needing to remember peculiar touch gestures – I prefer to touch icons, or using more universal gestures like page-turning swipes: "Which swipe needs one finger, which needs two, three or four?" I want to be able to touch to get the Start page, not need some weird gesture. For uniformity, I'd like to be able to use the same gestures with the mouse. And I do not want to have to buy it as an all-in-one to get the touch features that are only available from an OEM, as it is with W7.

    On the other hand, can everything still be navigated by keyboard? You know, WinKey and arrows to select a program, Alt-Tab to select the desktop then arrow keys to select a desktop shortcut?

    Personally, I like Glass. I like seeing shadows of what's behind, with the ability to turn that off on slower computers. What I want is the ability to customize the elements without losing Aero. Large monochrome blocks are ugly, unless required by substandard hardware.

  125. Michael Pollard says:

    Seconding an optional docked Start screen. It's a natural  progression of multi-display support and desktop gadgets. Sometimes I like to dock everything to stay visble.

    Seconding the ability to pin programs to the taskbar on a specific display, then be able to open the program and have it stay on the display where I opened it.

    Seconding theyarecomingforyou – tabs in Windows Explorer. Since IE and WE are already so related, maybe you should be able to have a webpage on one tab and a folder in another one? If you try that with IE9, that is, if you type a folder path in the address bar, it opens a new WE window and leaves the IE window as it was. Then you should be able to drag tabs apart into separate windows or together into the same window, as you currently can with Chrome. (Interestingly, you can browse a local path in a tab in Chrome, but it looks like an FTP site.)

    Seconding Dina – ability to use a tablet as an extra display. Or using a desktop computer's displays as extras for the tablet, or as SideShow displays. This would aleviate some of the issues with lack of hardware support for multiple displays – I could have a second computer with its two displays treated as an extension of the first computer and its two displays.

    Seconding Enlightenment – different text sizes for each display. A relatively small touch display may be used primarily for media control, with the media shown on a larger display – the small one may need the "text size" increased for ease of use (large controls), but doing so may impact the large display.

    Json – Apple is also replacing their Mac interface with a Metro-like one… and they are known for limited customizability…

    Synonymous: You can ungroup Taskbar buttons in Win7 by right-clicking an open area on the Taskbar, go to Properties, and changing the dropdown "Taskbar buttons". You have three options, Always combine, Combine when the Taskbar is full, or Never combine.

  126. Michael Pollard says:

    And seconding frustration at this webpage's desire to lose your post if somebody else happened to post while you were composing yours…

  127. xpclient says:

    Another issue with multiple monitors is: suppose you have enabled this mouse pointer option: "Automatically move pointer to the default button in a dialog box" (Snap To default button). Now suppose you are working on one monitor, and a dialog appears on the other monitor, the mouse jumps/snaps to the dialog on the other monitor. This should not happen!!

  128. ReMark says:

    In RC will be fixed the poor fluidity of the scroll?


    scrolling with the mouse wheel in metro apps is jerky, like tot orizontal pixels movements every scroll. Nope, is not lag or poor hardware.

    Scrolling webpages, jerky

    Scrolling Windows Explorer (like a file list), jerky (one scroll = y view + element height)

    The feeling is : why everything is so slow and jerky? With the touch is fine, the motion is pixel precise… but with the mouse… jerky.

    Anybody here with this feel?

  129. Mark says:

    @Michael Pollard

    Some good ideas there. In regards to large displays – unfortunately a display is a display is a display in Metro, no matter what size it is. So if you have a 27" monitor at 2560×1600 you still get one Metro app (or 1.2 if you use the snapped configuration) with letters about 1 inch tall and no way to change it (at least none of the Metro apps I have seen so far have any options for sizing things – I don't know if that is a Metro limitation or just lazy programming)

  130. Jdogg13 says:

    So, you will need a separate monitor for each metro app you want to run simultaneously?  I wonder if I can buy monitors in bulk.  #FAIL

  131. @xpclient: "Another issue with multiple monitors is: suppose you have enabled this mouse pointer option: "Automatically move pointer to the default button in a dialog box" (Snap To default button). Now suppose you are working on one monitor, and a dialog appears on the other monitor, the mouse jumps/snaps to the dialog on the other monitor. This should not happen!!"

    Then uncheck the checkbox.  Windows is just doing exactly what you told it to do: move the pointer to the default button, wherever it may be!  Sheesh….

  132. Mark says:

    I wonder if you have 2 separate Metro apps open on 2 separate monitors if both are actually running or if one is paused – remember that Metro is a single-tasking environment and is designed to pause any apps that are not on top (with some minor exceptions)

  133. JohnR says:

    While this is a good change, there are other multi-monitor issues in W7 that need fixed.

    On my dual-monitor system, the "primary" monitor (where the BIOS cybercrud is display AND where the Windows startup banner is displayed) magically becomes monitor #2.  I have to go into the control panel and swap then displays and move the taskbar.  Even worse, about 2/3rds of the time my changes don't survive a reboot and I have to do it all over again.  

  134. xpclient says:

    @JamesJohnston, so that means just for using multiple monitors, I have to sacrifice the use of this convenient feature which when enabled requires the mouse to travel far less distances? When this feature is enabled, the mouse pointer should not jump *across to another monitor*. Only if it's on the same monitor as the cursor is and a window appears on the same monitor, then the pointer jumping to the default button is okay. Is that so hard to understand? Sheesh…

  135. Not a fanboy says:

    Windows 8 Consumer Preview is a useless OS

  136. Synonymous says:

    "Synonymous: You can ungroup Taskbar buttons in Win7 by right-clicking an open area on the Taskbar, go to Properties, and changing the dropdown "Taskbar buttons". You have three options, Always combine, Combine when the Taskbar is full, or Never combine."

    You can disable the combining (making one out of multiple), but not the grouping (putting them next to each other).

  137. @xpclient:  "When this feature is enabled, the mouse pointer should not jump *across to another monitor*. Only if it's on the same monitor as the cursor is and a window appears on the same monitor, then the pointer jumping to the default button is okay."

    Where in the world was this ever implied?  To me, I intuitively expect the opposite and would think it to be a bug if the feature failed to jump the cursor to another monitor!

  138. What about multiple touch monitors?

    Multimedia development has a lot of windows that benefit from touch to adjust, change, or otherwise tweak.

    The beauty of touch monitors on Windows is that any window can be touch enabled by merely moving it to a touch screen. But what happens when there are too many windows to want touch enabled?

    I use digital audio (DAW) and video editing software. For audio there are several mixers and other windows and all plugins have their own windows. Adjusting EQ graphically by touch is great and very intuitive, as is directly adjusting mixer levels. Supporting more than two touch points would go a long way to making apps made to support it really 'hands on'.

    In particular, enhanced touch (gestures) needs to be selectable for each monitor, as some programs, like MYOB, have some controls that only respond in basic touch mode.

  139. Are Metro apps going to be like enhanced gadgets that can be sized and placed anywhere in v9, much like gadgets were 'freed' in Win7 from being 'confined' to the sidebar area in Vista?

  140. Beany says:

    You've fixed all my majors issues with the Consumer Preview now. Well almost anyway, you just need to update all the desktop icons (I'm liking the new updated desktop theme shown in a previous post, apart from the old icons).

    Like others have said i'd really like the ability to keep Metro open on one monitor, while having the desktop open on another monitor. At the moment Metro will close if the desktop is used, and thats definitely how it should be by default, but it would be nice if their was an option to disabled that so Metro remained open.

  141. Azim sadeqy says:

    it"s the best of lock i love it

    the is my Emil ad :  the.best_friend@live.com

  142. Dumbdown of APPS has started. Microsoft forcing for METRO cevelopment only... says:


    Of the stupid decisions you rtards have done this must be THE stupidest one sofar.

  143. Kerpal says:

    Did Start menu died?

  144. NoP says:

    These are all really nice improvements to the desktop.

    Those who asked about being able to use multiple Metro apps using a multimonitor configuration: I don't get you. According to the manufacturer, you don't need to have multiple windows open! You may as well stick a movie player app to either side of the screen, and it is indeed going to look great, you will have no need to adjust its size.

  145. @NoP says:

    "you will have no need to adjust its size."

    Hmmm…. Just like there was no need for copy/paste on the first iPhone or Windows Phone 7?

    And therein lies the problem! MS is trying to tell us what we need, instead of giving us what we actually need. ("we" being the customers)

    Personally, I have no objections regarding Metro as such, but I would like to have the choice whether to use one or the other.

    Not being thrown back and forth at will.

    And don't tell me, that I can stay in desktop all I want, because that is simply not true.

  146. احمد says:


  147. it look as if they fixed the multi monitor issue. Now add a que to copy and paste.

  148. SDreamer says:

    Sounds good, but what about the other stats regarding other aspects of Windows. TabletPC users are getting gimped through the downgrade of the TIP panel, other resolution laptops are missing out on metro snap, etc. These have higher percentages of users, but you're focusing on multimonitor features instead of trying to figure out how to cater to the higher percentage users. I'm not saying that you guys shouldn't do anything about multimonitor use, but please think about the other users of other features of the OS.

  149. Baronial Domino says:

    Very nice and thrilling new feature for Multi Monitors holder specially interesting and thrilling fact in upcoming Microsoft Windows 8 is that the Microsoft considering third-party developers to provide tools for working with multiple monitors. there is another thrilling article on Windows 8 http://www.techteem.com

  150. LD says:

    Is there a setting that allows us to turn off metro on all the monitors?  We really need that one.

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