You Can’t Take My Desktop Away, Windows 8

You Can't Take My Desktop Away, Windows 8

This image is my desktop and the wallpaper is free to use by AliceXZ on deviantART. Check out her amazing BBC Sherlock artwork and contribute!

However you’ve come upon Windows 8 — if you have at all — it’s likely been preceded by at least some history with older versions of the popular Microsoft operating system. My first taste of Windows on a computer of my own was Windows 3.2. It was nothing really to write home about, mind you, but it was like going to a warm, familiar library where I knew the location of every book, every card stack, and every magazine — and even though the magazines were regularly stolen by unscrupulous patrons, it was just an accepted part of library life.

Yes, Windows 3.2 was familiar and warm, and when Windows 95 was released, I warmed to that version and the versions that were released after that. They were great, weren’t they? Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows XP were with me all along the way on my personal journey of computing enlightenment. They provided me with an open and inviting spot from which to learn and grow as well as relax and play.

That inviting spot? The desktop.

Yes, I know. The desktop is just a small part of what comprises Windows and I know that a thousand people will bring their snobbish, tech-savvy pitchforks to my door and proclaim their love for any other thing about Windows, and that’s a-okay. But my favorite thing about Windows has always been that clean (well, mine is clean) place where I can save things to its surface, display images of my choosing, and keep it all sorted and easily accessed according to my personal habits of organization and whimsy.

Desktop Represents Ease of Use

Keep in mind that what is primarily important — to any operating system — is ease of use, you know? Windows gave me the opportunity to use my desktop as a hub while I delicately wove in and out of its brains, and that was what I grew up with. So imagine my surprise when Windows 8 came along and Microsoft had decided that the desktop just wasn’t a “thing” anymore. Instead of it being center stage, you could “choose” to use it if you so wanted, but it was no longer a default feature. In fact, to access it, I had to actually select it and make sure things installed to it instead of a Windows 8 app. Yes, I had to work around those godforsaken apps because I’m a purist. I didn’t want to click on a button and then see my desktop; I just wanted it to be there, like a familiar friend, holding the Steam game icons that I played the most and letting me know that Spotify was merely a click away.

Oh, did I have some files I wanted to peek in on? They were right there, splayed out for the world to see. Image files, notepad files, and even lecture videos that my professor gave to us to study for the week. There you go, Candice!

No Desktop for You!

However, Windows 8 figured that I didn’t give a damn about all that. In the trendy metroblogofashionsphere of the Internet (I made that up. Don’t steal it), I wasn’t hip anymore. People used apps, man! Why would you need a desktop and i… kaunz? Icons? What did they call those? Why would I need those when I’ve got all those apps?

Because some of us didn’t sign up for this Metro style change of apps over icons being brought to my computer. My computer is my computer because it isn’t my phone. Whoah, did that make sense? Hold on, keep it together. I simply mean that my charming Windows Phone 7 is a beautiful piece of machinery because it knows that I have a computer on which to compute. When you turn my PC into a larger, far more expensive Windows Phone, I suddenly start wondering if I need myself another computer.

Okay, You Can Have a Desktop. But Jump Through These Hoops First!

Thankfully, Windows 8 doesn’t want you to abandon all hope and it does allow you to install Windows 7 programs to your desktop. You can re-route yourself away from the apps by simply, well, ignoring them. When I boot up my computer and it puts me on the App screen, I simply act like a snotty, stereotypical white golfer near an ethnic caddy in the 1920s. I put my hand up against my cheek and keep walking until I hit the green, you know? (The green in this analogy is my desktop. Keep up, kids.) It’s not that I think the App screen isn’t valued in the community, but I really just want to get to the green. You understand, right?

I’d like to point out that I would never condone racism. Not even a little. My president is black.

Don’t I Know What’s Best for Me?

Back to the subject of Windows 8 and my desktop: I’m unsure why Microsoft thought “trendy” and “hip” meant that we may not need something as integral as a desktop. Are there truly people out there who don’t think it’s necessary anymore? With all those apps, I’m sure that people can learn to avoid using a desktop, but what about those who were taught all these years that the desktop wasn’t a dirty and cumbersome thing? We were taught by Microsoft to appreciate the desktop in the first place and now we’re told to compute without restrictions, supposedly. “Here, you don’t need this as much anymore,” and Microsoft has suddenly turned my safe zone into a Starbucks.

How about you guys? Do you use the desktop more and find Windows 8 and its focus on apps to be slightly troubling to get used to? Perhaps you think re-routing is too simple to merit any complaint, or maybe you just use a Mac and think this whole thing makes no sense! Sound off below and tell us how you got through the new changes and overly complicated path to the desktop.

Article Written by

Mouthy with a broad vocabulary and a large imagination, I come in from a rather lengthy (7+ years) stay in video game journalism. While tech, gamer and geek culture has always been my strength, I tend to be right at home with whatever topic is thrown my way. I'm a mother, a multi-tasker and a maverick. ♥

  • freedy

    People need to understand that “Windows” is going to be phased out. In a few years there will only be Windows RT (for both x86 and ARM) for client machines including your home PC. Windows Server will still be produced of course, but with more and more “desktop” features removed.

    • David

      The main problem with this theory is that programmers who build applications for Windows RT, Android and iOS still need a proper laptop with a proper OS to work on. There are more users than classical computer users and they are the ones who actually need a computer and not a tablet. So no, it won’t be phased out anytime soon.