back to article You must have at least 8 inches for Windows 10 to go all the way

The Windows 10 traditional desktop is a no-go zone for new tablets smaller than 8-inches across, according to Microsoft exec Joe Belfiore. This week he tweeted that only slabs at least 8in in size can run the Windows 10 operating system in desktop mode and use normal 32-bit Windows applications. Smaller slates and smartphones …

  1. JCB

    No sense? Nonsense

    "It is a dilemma. The traditional Windows desktop makes no sense on a small tablet. It was not designed for mice and keyboards, not fingers on touchscreens, and it was not designed for tiny displays."

    One of the reasons I bought a Windows tablet is because it can run Desktop. If you only want apps, does a Windows device make any sense at all? Yes, desktop is fiddly on a small screen. It can be made easier by having a cheap stylus to hand, and when I really want to run serious desktop software I can turn on a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard. It all works, and so do all the USB accessories collected over the years.

    For example, I can plug in my old Epson photo scanner with an OTG adapter. The Epson software loads without bother. It is a lot easier to take my tablet to the scanner on the table than to try and find space next to the PC for the scanner.

    Just because you have Desktop available on a tablet doesn't mean you have to run desktop every day but it's good to have the facility when you want it.

    1. joed

      Re: No sense? Nonsense

      And let's not forget about possibility of connecting external monitor. Stuck in the Metro nonsense just because the box was too small for MS. Thanks a lot for taking decisions for us.

      Acting the same since Windows 8.

      1. Jess

        Re: No sense? Nonsense

        A long time ago a reg commenter posted an opinion that metro was originally designed to run on a tablet that sits in the place of a keyboard and has a second monitor in the conventional position.

        Out of the box Windows 8 is a POS on a single screen desktop, but on a dual screen it is quite usable. (One screen intercepts all jarring 1980s style switches to full screen, making the system a tad clumsy as opposed to absolutely vile).

        If the small tablets allowed desktop apps on a second screen, and acted as the input device, I could see it working. The only real flaw is having an x86 processor on a tiny battery powered device.

    2. cipnrkorvo

      Re: No sense? Nonsense

      Exactly! I actually like the "modern" UI. It's nice on tablets. BUT, why take away the possibility to use desktop apps/programs on smaller tablets, if the user wants to?? Those apps/programs can come in very handy sometimes! You won't be using them all the time, but they can save you when there's no other option!

      If this decision comes through in the final version.. unified OS my ass!

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: No sense? Nonsense

      What this statement from MS is effectively saying, the idea of having a single Windows UI/UX across all platforms and form factors is stupid. But then we knew that and MS should of known that from trying to make Windows desktop/laptop work across a range of screen resolutions from 800x600 through to 1920x1080 and beyond and monitor screen sizes from 7" (netbook) to 24+"...

      Yes, I agree MS have overlooked the whole desktop in the pocket concept, which people such as Ubuntu are exploring with their various phone OS developments. I think the lesson is that MS started from the wrong place, it tried to put desktop Windows on to a pocket device rather than take pocket Windows and enhance it to support a desktop.

  2. gerdesj Silver badge

    's funny how history repeats itself

    Back in the day the KDE desktop on Linux went from version 3 to 4 and there was much wailing, handwringing and general gnashing of teeth. Wind forward a bit and the Gnome desktop did a similar thing. With KDE the problem was hardly any of the satellite stuff like applications worked with it and it was somewhat buggy. With Gnome it was a case of dumbing down the interface to the point of bloody daft.

    Later MS did it as well with TIFKAM. You could also argue about the ribbonification of MSO n co but I digress.

    KDE now has two versions - there is a distro that will give you the old 3.x look n feel but still developed. Everyone else has moved on and apps have finally been ported. Gnome has split into a bewildering array of things but basically you can have it how you want it. My choice is KDE with bits of Gnome.

    MS are still learning what to do, but you will only get one version of it at each iteration. Your choice.

    Apple just make stuff look lovely. No choice.



    1. Jess

      Re: Apple just make stuff look lovely. No choice.

      I'm not sure that Applies to Yosemite.

      It looks vile compared to what has gone before. (OK still nicer than the best Windows.)

  3. Ragequit

    Microsoft is having a mid life crises so it's no wonder they're obsessed with size. I'm sure they'll be bagging on about having the largest fondleslabs in the industry any day now. They'll have some luxury or sports car manufacturer design it for them. Sadly it will only come in canary yellow and pink.

    Seriously though I doubt MS has any intention of making the UI type user selectable. It's these arbitrary classifications of kit that let them charge a premium for certain use cases. I mean heaven forbid uses an inexpensive 7" fondleslab to run desktop apps when they can charge you considerably more for 1" more? lol. I'm honestly not sure if that's the case but I wouldn't find it surprising. Wouldn't be the first time.

    1. Kunari

      That and MS may keep the license fees for Win10 on smaller devices free like they do with Win8.

  4. joed

    Just stop calling it Windows

    Waiting for Congress to mandate that anything running on less than 7 inch is not Windows.

    1. Teiwaz

      Re: Just stop calling it Windows

      Microsoft Tiles is just a little disconcerting. People will be going to B&Q (hardware store) looking to buy it.

      I've seen LXDE and XFCE ported to small screen devices like N900s. Neither are modern touch oriented desktops and neither are particularly useful beyond (kewl, I thought it could be done, so I did it).

      8" or less seems a little arbitrary thought 6" minimum would be a more reasonable setting for borderline useability (for the most user control), but this is not about the useability minimum, the 8" minmum is well over the best presentation border for the desktop ui. They are ensuring it looks good to the point of not allowing you to make it look bad.

      I guess it could be worse, they might have decided on a 11" minimum, then netbooks and ultrabooks would have neen relegated to near useless.

      1. joed

        Re: Just stop calling it Windows

        I don't like any arbitrary limitations where no one else but the individual is affected by his/her decision. I've done RDP from iPhone 4S. Was it the best experience - no, but it "saved the day". I wish that MS went back to creating computing environment and left the decision on how to use up to a user.

        I had some refreshing Linux Mint experience just this week, alternatives look better than ever.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Just stop calling it Windows

      It's Windows as far as the eye can see.

      If someone in Marketing had had the brains to call the tablet version something else we wouldn't have had all this nonsense because there would have been no customer expectation of the desktop or Win32 apps.

      But no, now the phone version is Windows too. Imagine if you could take your phone to a presentation and plug it into an external screen and use a Bluetooth zapper. Or plug it into an external screen with mouse and keyboard to work on the train. But it's not that either.

      If they had managed Ubuntu-style support for every device form and input including external screens they would have probably cracked it and it could deservedly be called Windows on everything, but they haven't done that. It's still very different under the hood.

  5. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    I can already imagine ...

    ... the ads: Increase your tablet size with this our product.

    Warning: If Windows stays up for more than 4 hours, consult a physician.

  6. JeffyPoooh

    "No Desktop For You!"

    Microsoft folks still playing 'Hide The Desktop' ?

    Nobody learn the lessons from the sudden end of the Sinofsky era?

  7. Paul Shirley

    the screw turning on desktop apps

    This is how they plan on forcing devs to write Modern apps instead of desktop versions, make sure large chunks of the market can't run desktop apps. They couldn't get anyone to choose modern over desktop willingly, not users, not devs, so its time to apply pressure.

    Again Microsoft's dream of the same apps running on everything is revealed as the same apps running dumbed down on everything. Modern apps may well run on the desktop now (as they always should have done) but it ain't pretty and it ain't a good use of my valuable screen space.

    I'll be hanging onto my rich and densely packed desktop ui and continuing to ignore the wasteful toy modern versions. Both as a dev and a user.

  8. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    I'm seeing nothing to persuade me to change back to windows

    I run W7 at work and occasionally in a VM but *for my use cases* I don't see anything that would make me change back to Windows. W10 just doesn't seem to offer anything beyond a more complex UI.

    Indeed, one of the questions I'm looking for in new hardware reviews (particularly for laptops) is whether, and how easily, Linux can be installed. It's just a bit annoying having to buy Windows just to throw it away.

    1. Chemist

      Re: I'm seeing nothing to persuade me to change back to windows

      "I'm looking for in new hardware reviews (particularly for laptops) is whether, and how easily, Linux can be installed."

      FYI I bought a 4-core i7, 8GB, 500GB HD, 1920*1080 screen (15inch) laptop about a year ago from PC Specialists WIndows-free and OpenSuse 13.1 installed without a problem. It's just Intel graphics but it will run 2 simultaneous 1080/50p videos using ~18% CPU so I've not found that a problem. Only complaint so far is the rather cheap case. Screen is gorgeous. All the hardware is recognised and works. Sleep works fine and I only shut it down when travelling a distance.

  9. Jason Hindle Silver badge

    What if you plug a smaller tablet into a monitor, keyboard and mouse?

    Do you then get the desktop?

  10. Alan Denman

    re -" It is a dilemma. "

    Funny that, I once ran a desktop on a manky 800X600 screen.

    Somehow I think I could manage a 720p

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: re -" It is a dilemma. "

      >manky 800X600 screen

      There was a time when users coveted such a screen, it made a big difference to the Win3 UI/UX...

  11. Brian 39

    "Long term, though, if Windows is to have any future on tablets, the desktop has to go"


  12. Chairo

    This is going to be fun

    I'm just waiting for the first people updating their 7 inch atom win8 tablets to win10 and realizing their little tablet has been castrated to winrt functionality.

    It's going to be another publicity nightmare for Microsoft.

    One would hope, that they see it coming and still offer the desktop for upgraded machines, but I am not holding my breath.

    1. Squander Two

      Re: This is going to be fun

      You didn't think to read the article before commenting?

      1. JCB

        Re: This is going to be fun

        "You didn't think to read the article before commenting?"

        It's always going to happen. It's one of the dangers of the silly decision Microsoft have made. Some people will misread and mishear and others will deliberately muddy the waters. There will be a significant group of potential buyers who will get the garbled message that Windows tablets don't run desktop. Even the idea in a buyer's head that "some tablets" don't run desktop will put sales at risk.

        I remember that I had heard that WinRT didn't run desktop. I used up significant time and energy making damn sure that my Toshiba Encore did run desktop. I would not have bought it without desktop even though many days I only use the Metro interface. Without desktop it would be a Metro tablet not a Windows tablet. I already had an Android and without the lure of desktop I would have stayed with that and later upgraded to another Android come the time. The Tosh cost nearly twice what I had paid for the Android. I would not have paid that just to get a different, incompatible set of tiles.

        It is well known that big manufacturers deploy FUD to try to drive purchasers towards there own products. It takes real business flair to use the fear, uncertainty and doubt to drive people away from your own products.

        Microsoft, if you are reading, a tablet without desktop is not a Windows tablet. It is a Metro tablet and I would buy an Android or maybe an Apple in preference to a Metro tablet. The point of a Windows tablet is that it is compatible with a Windows PC and what I can do on the one I can do on the other, to the extent that not only do I run desktop on the Windows tablet but I also run Modern apps on my Windows PC. It's two devices but one system as it stands at present, but Microsoft are breaking that.

  13. Sirius Lee

    How does Windows 10 know?

    So far as I know, there is no system setting that describes the size of the machine in inches or any other measurement unit. The resolution of Linx 7 is 1280x800 which is the same resolution as the Linx 8 and Linx 10. So how does Windows 10 know the Linx 7 is a 7 inch display not a 10 inch display? Why is 1280x800 OK on a 10" but not on a 7" device?

    I have no problem using Outlook on my Linx 7 even with my fat fingers. Windows 10 and Office 2016 promises even better touch capabilities. Writing on the Linx 7 is not fun but that's because of the need to use an on-screen keyboard. The experience is no better on my 10" Android tablet so the device size does not affect this aspect of device usability.

    It seems the prescriptive instinct that was a prominent feature at Microsoft in the Ballmer years is still alive and kicking. Especially in the form of Joe Belfiore who had a prominent role in Windows 8 and in the success that is Internet Explorer.

    1. hayzoos

      Re: How does Windows 10 know?

      The display size is available to the software through the EDID protocol.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: How does Windows 10 know?

        >The display size is available to the software through the EDID protocol.

        So it would seem that MS Windows 10 will actually read these fields; which have been present since at least 1999. However, instead of using them to do something useful, like present a UI that is appropriate for the display size and resolution, they will use them simply to determine if the device you're using is supported and/or licensed...

  14. PeterM42

    Get a grip!!!!!!!!

    "Long term, though, if Windows is to have any future on tablets, the desktop has to go."

    Er, I think you will find most multi-tasking, multi-user operating systems (like Windows NT, Linux and Unix) can support alternative UI "shells".

    It wouldn't take a genius to have this as a user-selectable/switchable option.

    But there again, Microsoft don't seem to have the brains left to fix simple faults, let alone realise what they actually CAN do (quite simply) with a bit of sensible coding. I blame that Salesman Ballmer for stupidifying Microsoft.

    But don't get me going on their failure to actually TEST ANYTHING PROPERLY - for evidence, look at the number of patches to just-released patches.

    And whoever let the Windows 8 TIFKAM UI past the 1st alpha (internal release) test needs sacking!

  15. JSmith123963

    One OS to rule them all that's BS

    "One OS to rule them all" - that's total BS why Microsoft makes it look like Windows 10 will be exactly the same running across all different devices when they literally make a different, for example on the desktop and tablet that are 8-inch+ it will have no restrictions to what you can do to the OS, but if you run on any other device then you will have restrictions such as not able to modify the OS (unless you hack it) and not able to run desktop apps, What if you wanted to run a desktop app that can run on mobile for what ever reason, why omit the desktop mode?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    want the OPTION of a windows desktop whatever the size.

    I hope that eventually i will be able to get the windows 10 equivalent of an Asus padfone, 4.7 inch screen with an atom cpu with decent ram and a decent amount of memory (SSD) this will be my phone and compute device so will need / want the Desktop at some or all screen sizes i will plug it in to a choice of 7", 10", or even 12 " tablets which the larger ones will have optional keyboard case attachments depending on my needs. also a desk base station with multiple monitors keyboard and mouse and audio connections as well as a HDD,

    on the phone or tablet case multiple USB 3.1 ports will provide the choices of display port (HDMI with adaptor) connectivity as well as USB data and (USB To Eternet connectivity unless a standard smaller than RJ45 gigabit connector is agreed)) and when the atom is not powerful enough to handle the processing i will be able to connect to a compute as a service supplier or VDI session be it @ MS (azure) / Amazon / or my Office.

    I suggest its called the Surface PPD (phone, Pad, Desktop) or even PPDC as everything needs to be Cloud now!!

  17. Yorkshen

    Shall we bet that Windows ( a normal one ) will be across all kind of devices just after a year from now on ? :)

    Just wait and You'll see ;)

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