Microsoft No Longer Pins Desktop Tile By Default In The Start Screen Of Windows RT 8.1 Devices

Microsoft Surface family

In Windows 8 devices, the Start Screen always had the Desktop tile pinned by default. It allowed users to quickly move in and out of desktop mode from the Start screen. However, Microsoft has a different view on this and the Desktop tile is no longer part of the default tiles pinned in the Start Screen of Windows RT 8.1 devices. Users can always pin it again, but I think it is yet another step from Microsoft to move users away from traditional desktop mode.

Microsoft provided the following statement regarding this action,

“The only desktop apps without modern versions which run on RT are the Office apps: Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. In order to streamline access to them, we pinned those apps directly to the first page of Start. Clicking any of these takes you directly to that Desktop app. You can also bring up the switch list from the left edge if you have a Desktop app open and click Desktop to get back to the Desktop. If you want a Desktop tile (ala Windows RT 8.0), you can go to All Apps, and the Desktop tile is in the list of apps there. Simply right-click, or press-and-hold (with touch), and you can pin it to the main Start screen and make it as large as you want.”

What do you think of this move from Microsoft?

  • Glenn Edwards

    Errmmmm, that’s very strange then, as I update my Surface RT running the preview of Windows 8.1 to the full release of Windows 8.1 RT, and the desktop tile is still there, pinned to the desktop.
    I lost all my installed apps during the upgrade, as expected, and documented, when upgrading from the preview version.
    But based on the fact I lost my installed apps, but the desktop tile remained, leads me to believe that Microsoft haven’t in fact removed the desktop pinned tile.
    I certainly haven’t pinned it. It’s always been there, and still is, on all of my Windows 8.1 or 8.1 RT devices.

    • Simon

      The pinned tiles on your start screen are synchronized with the cloud, that’s the reason why the desktop tile is still there.

    • Prayaas

      Your Start Screen layout and settings remain when you update.

  • kalval

    Is this all 8.1 installations or just tablets? If it is all installations I am worried for the desktop’s future. I think eventually the desktop UI needs to be upgraded or replaced, but ‘modern’ is not ready to take its place just yet on mouse/keyboard devices.

    I’d like to see the desktop stay, but modern apps be allowed to run on the desktop in windowed mode with a modified UI more suited to mouse/keyboard. Microsoft should allow developers to submit apps to the store with 2 UIs, one for destop and one for modern. That way, users could choose the UI that suits them and their input method. On hybrid devices, they could still switch between these UIs, and all open apps would be transferred to the other UI with their alternate interface.

    Microsoft needs a single OS across device form factors, not a single UI. It is perfectly reasonable to have a touch interface and a mouse/keyboard interface rather than trying to make a single UI work for both, but optimised for neither. The above solution would be perfect, and would allow settings and files to sync across devices, allow developers to target a single platform, and provide a whole host of other advantages without damaging user experience. The best user experience does not mean the same experience across form factors. It means the best experience for each form factor, with elements carried over between each.

    I think MS would be shooting themselves in the foot to get rid of the desktop and its massive app library any time soon. If the desktop is replaced, modern MUST run all x86 apps, and have much more flexible file management and other advanced features including networking, registry, etc.

    • jvs

      You have no idea what is a Store application, stop suggesting non-sense solutions for a non-problem.

    • Eolirin

      It is, in fact, only Windows RT devices, not even all tablets, as the article states. Windows RT devices *cannot run desktop applications* except for Office, which is pinned to the Start Screen already. So that tile is largely redundant now that you no longer need to go into the Desktop to change settings or do file management. PC Settings has been revamped to cover just about everything that you needed Control Panel for, and the Skydrive app lets you manage local storage as well.

  • HypeZ

    Please correct the article! The microsoft quote you pasted on your article says that this will only happen for Windows 8.1 RT, not all the Windows 8.1! :)

  • jvs

    Waiting for the complains about the Desktop tile not present in the Start Screen…
    A third party application to add the shortcut to the Desktop.
    Then a third party application to remove the shortcut to the Desktop.

  • donzebe

    Microsoft it is so soon to remove it as a default on start screen

    • Eolirin

      Why? Anything that you need the desktop for on Windows RT is pinned to the Start Screen already, making that tile really redundant.

      • donzebe

        You’re right, I did not see the RT. I thought it was all of 8.1 I do not use desktop app on RT anyway.

  • Tom Parker

    Would be nice to still have the option to turn this on not just remove it.

  • counterblow

    I wish they would have removed desktop calculator and any other accessories that have been migrated to modern. Don’t need them taking up space, even if it is little bit.

  • RichFrantz

    This must be true only for new devices, purchased by people without Windows 8/RT. Otherwise your existing Start Screen (w/ Desktop tile) follows you to new/upgraded devices.

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    • Eolirin

      This site displays exactly the same as in any other browser with IE11 on any Windows 8 device, including tablets. AFAIK, IE11 isn’t available for Windows Phone.

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