Metro’s Confusing Name Change

You have probably seen Metro mentioned a lot when it comes to Windows 8. The new Metro interface relies on a tile structure to provide access to live content. What you’ll see is something that looks like a smartphone interface, only larger. However, Microsoft has recently had to make a name change for the Metro interface, insisting that the Metro name was merely a placeholder or a code name all along (although, no one seems to remember Microsoft having mentioned the temporary nature of this nomenclature). You’ll see it listed as the Start screen interface now (or something similar). Fortunately, the change came early enough for me to make changes to my recently completed book, “Windows 8 for Dummies Quick Reference.”

For the purposes of my book (unless Microsoft changes its mind again) you’ll see the Metro interface as the Start screen interface. The term Metro apps is replaced with Windows 8 apps. Of course, the problem for me as an author is that there doesn’t appear to be an official Microsoft listing of terms that authors should use. All I know for sure is that the term Metro is now banned at Microsoft.

What does this mean for you as a reader? It means that you’re going to have to live with a confusing array of terminology for an interface that is already confusing everyone who uses it. Even if Microsoft provides a clear and precise set of terms tomorrow, it will take years to clean up the mess on the Internet. Authors who assumed that the term Metro was permanent have used that term consistently for everything from articles to white papers to books. When you perform searches for information on Windows 8 online, you’ll need to perform multiple searches in order to find everything you need.

So, what is this post all about? I wanted you to know precisely how I’m using terms in my book, even if you can’t obtain a specific set of terms from Microsoft. When you see Start screen, you know I’m talking about what has been the Metro interface up until now. When you see Windows 8 apps, you know that I’m talking about what has been Metro apps until now. Please let me know if you have any questions about this use of terminology at


Author: John

John Mueller is a freelance author and technical editor. He has writing in his blood, having produced 117 books and over 600 articles to date. The topics range from networking to artificial intelligence and from database management to heads-down programming. Some of his current offerings include topics on machine learning, AI, Android programming, and C++ programming. His technical editing skills have helped over more than 70 authors refine the content of their manuscripts. You can reach John on the Internet at