Review: ModernMix runs modern UI apps in windows

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At a Glance
  • Stardock ModernMix

Windows 8 is transforming into the desktop OS users thought it would be when they first heard about it, but it's not Microsoft doing the work: It's Stardock. The company's Start8 start menu replacement is best-of-breed, and they've hit the nail on the head again with ModernMix, a $5 program (with 30-day free trial) that lets you open Windows 8 modern UI apps as windows on the classic desktop.

If you didn't know better, you'd think these Windows 8 modern UI apps were designed to run in windows.

ModernMix is super-easy to use. Head to the Modern UI, open a modern UI app, press the F10 key, and the app moves to a window on the classic desktop. You can also choose to make this the standard behavior for programs launched from the Modern UI so you don't even have the press the key.

Right-click the icon in the upper left-hand corner, and along with the usual move, size, close, etc. options you'll find the option to create a shortcut to the app on the classic desktop. When you subsequently launch the program using this icon, it behaves as a classic windowed application. When you access the same app from within the modern UI, it behaves as it normally would. Best of both worlds.

However, you can change this behavior as well, having the icons launch the program full-screen. There's also an overlay menu in the top right corner of windowed Modern UI apps that lets you full-screen or window the application.

ModernMix lets you choose between windowed, maximized, and fullscreen modes.

There's really nothing more to ModernMix, but it reduces the number of times you have to traverse the two halves of Windows 8 (modern and classic), which is well worth the $5. Being able to run SkyDrive, Maps, Camera, and especially Solitaire in a window on the classic desktop is addictive (as well as more efficient) for desktop users. Now if Stardock would just figure out a way to use the modern UI as the actual desktop, we'd have something to celebrate.

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At a Glance
  • For $5, this utility puts Windows 8 modern UI apps in windows. It's surprisingly addictive.


    • Puts Metro apps in windows
    • Integrates seamlessly into Windows
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