Windows 8 now includes touch gesture to close Metro style apps

By Tom Warren, on 4th Dec 11 11:50 am with 83 Comments

Microsoft’s latest Windows 8 pre-beta builds include a touch gesture to close Metro applications.

The gesture allows touch based Windows 8 systems to quickly close off running apps. Microsoft’s Windows 8 developer preview does not include such a feature and relies on the task manager to close applications. The new touch gesture was demonstrated in a video by winunleaked on Saturday (see below). The feature appears to work for Metro “immersive” applications only and looks to be the first of many gestures that Microsoft is planning for Windows 8. The software maker is also building in a zoom feature for the Start Screen to allow users to organize their applications into groups and move items around the screen easily.

Images of Microsoft’s improved Windows 8 Charms Bar were released on Saturday too. The images show off a translucent Charms Bar. Microsoft has enabled support for automatic updates to Internet Explorer 10. Windows 8 users can enable the feature from the about dialog box in Microsoft’s latest browser. Microsoft is currently preparing a beta copy of Windows 8, to be made available in January. Little is known about the feature set of Microsoft’s Windows 8 beta. Recently leaked screenshots indicate that Microsoft will allow users to change the Start Screen color and the Start Screen background image in beta copies of Windows 8. Microsoft has previously detailed some other minor improvements to the Windows 8 beta. Users will be able to create, name and rearrange Start Screen groups as well as navigate with the Windows 8 Apps screen in a better way. Microsoft is planning to group applications to make it easier for users to identify them in Windows 8 beta. Windows Media Center will also return to Windows 8 beta alongside the typical Windows games, DVD creator and .NET 3.5.

For more information on Windows 8 check out our dedicated section or the latest news below.

  • Anonymous

    cool

  • GP007

    Nice, that’s kinda like WebOS but going the other way isn’t it?  IIRC in WebOS you’d flick them to the top to get rid of them.  This sounds good to me, but now I have to ask how you would do it with a KB/Mouse.

    • Anonymous

      ALT-F4?

    • GP007

      Heh, sure, but you still need something for mouse users.

    • Emi Cyberschreiber

      WinUnleaked video Note: This can also be done with a mouse / feature still in devel.

      canouna says on forum: “You can do the same with the mouse, click then slide the window to the bottom and it’s closed, so fast.”

      winrumors: “The gesture allows touch based Windows 8 systems to quickly close off running apps”

      which sounds wrong, because canouna says you can do it with mouse as well, not only “touch based”
      with keyboard they might use something else like alt+f4? i dont know and i kinda dont care. since i always close apps with mouse :P and this seems a nice way to do it.
      also i wouldn’t mind leaving metro apps “opened” since they go suspended.

    • Anonymous

      I think I have a decent solution to this problem. Move the one finger swipe to close gesture to a two finger swipe from the top and make the one finger swipe from the top open a card view for multitasking the way it is on Windows Phone. This way users are less likely to accidentally close an application unless they consciously want to and if you do want to close more than one window from the “cards multitask view” you can swipe down on one or more cards.

  • Anonymous

    By the time W8 releases, the tablet hype will be over.

    • Anonymous

      Exactly. You can already see that the tablet market isn’t going anywhere. The cheapest tablets are the most successful now. That does say alot about how confident the customers are.

    • Martyn Metalous

      Think about it this way, every Salesman with a laptop, wants a tablet, why? If it has the functionality of a laptop but lighter and easier to demo to a customer, with a blue tooth keyboard and mouse back at the office.

      Its not just salesman, anyone who is mobile and needs the full power of a desktop OS, will buy one.

      Current tablets are shitty phone OS, this was great to get to market quick but most folks want Windows in a more portable way, with good battery life and a smart UI.

    • Anonymous

      I still believe that the combination of ultrabooks and smartphones will be very popular by the end of next year.

    • Guest

      Apple shipped more iPads last quarter than Dell shipped PCs. Growth was 170%. It also carries one of the highest price tags. Amazon cranked up manufacturing to 5M orders for the Fire. You’d expect lower price points to prove popular in an explosive category, particularly in an economy where many are either fearful about the future or jobless. In a few years tablets will outsell all other PC form factors. Bill Gates believed that back in 2K. It just took a lot longer and MS isn’t leading it.  

    • Anonymous

      A typical iPad costs as much as a low-end PC. For most people that’s all they need, maybe add a wireless dock with keyboard for extended typing sessions and that’s all.

    • OMG55

      Yeah, but your forgetting that they shipped more to the consumer market, not businesses. This means their not being used for business purposes and still being used as a novelty. I have a couple of pads, and rarely use them. I mostly use my laptop hands down.

    • Guest

      @ArrowSmith:disqus 

      Costs as much as a low-end PC? Let’s try that again. An iPad costs significantly more than a low end PC.

    • Robin Ashe

      That’s because the more expensive ones are the same price as a low priced laptop, but have less functionality. A Windows 8 tablet at the $500 range would sell well.

    • Anonymous

       I assume you mean 16GB storage, WiFi-only? There’s gonna be a range of devices with and without 4G.

    • Guest

      The current hype might be over by then. That’s going to suck for MS. But then when you underestimate Apple, again, and get caught with your pants down, again, and take three years to respond, again, and thereby lose a market you pioneered over the previous ten years, again, it’s hard to have much sympathy.

      However tablets are here to stay. Where netbooks weren’t obviously better than alternatives in most scenarios except for price and size, tablets are.

    • Impartial

      I agree but the Asus EEE prime transformer is the form factor that will prevail, and Win8 is perfect for a dual mode lappie/tablet

    • http://twitter.com/tyw7 Thu Win

      Even if the tablet hype will be still there, nothing will replace the desktop / laptop.  Desktop has firmly positioned itself as a cheap power device.

  • http://techin5.com Jubbin Grewal @Techin5.com

    Sigh.. can Microsoft release this already so I can throw my money at them?

  • yves707

    they have to provide a way in the beta for faster tast/app switching. scrolling through the whole list of running apps is a nightmare!! ://

    • Anonymous

      well i think that’s something in the works.

    • http://twitter.com/mcakins McAkins Online

      Hello, ever heard of “Semantic Zoom”? Jeez, people simmer down. Wait for the beta.

    • Anonymous

      No. What’s that?

    • contextfree

      it’s already there in the dev preview – it’s called Alt-Tab. They just need to add a “touch” way of activating / using it.

  • Anonymous

    That looks useful but I really wish they’d come up with a better way of scrolling between apps than their current implementation.  Swiping from the left of the screen looks way too cumbersome and they really need a solution similar to WP7′s that allows you to choose an app from a list of open apps.

    • http://www.jeffkibuule.com Jeff Kibuule

      I expect them to use a card-like interface similar to task switching in Windows Phone 7.5. And then have an x button that makes it obvious how to close an app.

      Gestures are hard to make. If you can’t describe it over the phone, I don’t think it passes the ease in usability test.

    • Anonymous

      Almost every mobile OS has that.. Even android does.. We need something more original and intuitive

    • Guest

      Yes, let’s ignore what most have concluded through trial and error works best and choose something inferior just so we can be original and different.

    • Chris Woelfel

      “From the top of the screen, drag your finger to the bottom of the screen.” Isn’t that easy enough?

    • Anonymous

      It was more about switching between apps and get an overview of all running apps.

      As I said on another post: combining the taskbar and the Charms menu would solve all these issues. Swipe up from the bottom and you get the taskbar. Swipe up on a tile on the taskbar and you can close that Metro app. Would also work perfectly with the mouse: the taskbar would appear when you reach the lower edge of the screen.

    • Guest

      @tN0:disqus 

      The taskbar isn’t a part of the main Metro UI. The Metro start is in fact one large customizable taskbar. Some will like that and some will hate that. I’m not yet 100% convinced about it myself.

      But your options at this point are: get over it, stick with W7, or move to another platform. Pick one.

    • http://www.jeffkibuule.com Jeff Kibuule

      Only if you’ve seen it before. Problem is what is simple for you and me somehow can become super complicated for less techy people.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t know how cumbersome this is.. Don’tt forget it also allow side by side app so you swipe from the left and release it at a point you want it .. This looks more intuitive and original than than the wp7 option but it also would y hurt if  give other options too of going the same thing

    • Seth_p

      I’d assume Alt+Tab will have some Metro experience. Probably a similar implementation that they’ve done with Windows Update notifications (the ribbon in the middle). As far as a gesture, they’d probably use something like iPad – double pressing the Windows button on the device.

    • Penta2100

      To switch between just swipe out of the left hand side. if the next window isnt the one you want go back and pull it out again. the next windows will then show up

    • Guest

      He knows how to do it. He wants an option to “show all” rather than having to cycle through them individually. It’s a legitimate request. But perhaps there will be a keyboard shortcut to do that as others have speculated.

    • Guest

      Is this really a necessary feature? I don’t find it at all missing when I’m using the OS… so it sounds more like a request demanded based soley on copying a feature what other platforms are doing.

      The list is not really in random order, but in the order you last used the apps… So if you are using two apps… it is really quick. If you are using 3 apps, then worst case you have to do two swipes… but that would likely be quicker than some seperate gesture anyway (1 swipe or whatever to show a list or so of running apps, 1 to tap or select one)

      I can only see it really working/being applicable for when you have 4 apps running and want to switch between (ignoring that you could have a another app on the side)… and I am doubtful (given my own usage) that people have so much stuff open in Metro and have become inconvienienced, especially given the limited number of Metro Apps in the Dev. Preview.

    • Guest

      @ Guest

      I don’t think so. But I could see it being a would like. If you routinely ran 10 apps for example, this method would get annoying pretty quickly.

    • OMG55

      Typical American behavior (I am an American by the way), those gestures are too much like exercise….That’s why we talk about the “fattest cities in America”. It’s just like when Network printer started being pushed out in corporate enviroments, every user was whinning because they would have to walk to a central location to pickup documents. Quit already!

    • Anonymous

      Pointless comment is pointless.

  • http://www.rwalrond.com RWalrond

    They should use that gesture to show all running apps, then give me a chance to close them or quickly jump to another app.

    • guest

      like in W7?…Windows Key + Tab….that would be sweet in touch

    • Rebbe

      I also thought of
      it :) when you drag your finger from the top to the center the apps running
      minimizes like in the video and you can scroll through them and if you drag one
      of them further down to the bottom it closes…

    • Penta2100

      I would think it would be like Lion’s mission control. you pich your whole hand and spread your fingers out to show all windows open

    • http://www.twitter.com/wixostrix WixosTrix

      I’ve used the iPad gestures and I just don’t feel like that’s a natural gesture. 

    • Anonymous

      Good idea.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, the single app task switching is the only thing about Win 8 that looks painful to use.

    • Robin Ashe

      That’s a good idea. They definitely need something of that nature.

  • Unknown

    Stay out for more from us!

  • http://www.jeffkibuule.com Jeff Kibuule

    We don’t know if Media Cebter is going to be in the beta Tom. That link has several comments (one of them mine) stating that that screenshot you showed of Media Cebter in Windows 8 isn’t a Metro app as that’s how all classic apps appear (icon in bottom left).

    • Seth_p

      I recall Steve S mentioning Media Centre coming to the Beta build. This would make sense with their testing stage. 1 DP, 1 Beta, 1 RTM

      If it wasn’t included in Beta, it would cause a lot of confusion to beta testers and you’d have news speculating Media Centre is dead or Microsoft is failing in some regards. Apparently people don’t understand what ‘developer’ means in developer preview, so I’m just going in the same line of thinking that people are… dumb.

    • http://www.jeffkibuule.com Jeff Kibuule

      It may be released in the beta timeframe, but not necessarily with the beta itself. Since the Windows Store exists, that’s the perfect avenue to update non-core OS apps without needing to push out a new build. And certainly by the time the beta is released, all of the APIs will be locked down so developers will have a good base to code against.

  • http://www.mainstreetchatham.com/ JimmyFal

    Well that’s one major league grief point out of the way.

  • Anonymous

    What I would like is gestures to be supported well in desktop mode, on Macs the gestures are supported well and in many applications + let the hardware partners provide a good glass trackpad comparable to that in macs the current one by HP,ASUS,DELL e.t.c sucks !!
    Iv seen the demo of the new synaptics trackpad awesome but it should be in every windows 8 pc
    If I don’t hear this durinng CES am buying a macbook air

    • http://twitter.com/Georgesab George Sabourin

      They are, Canouna confirmed you drag from the top to the bottom of the screen.

    • Anonymous

      But this will close the desktop. Not a specific desktop app.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Luffy07 Sergio Gonzalez

      Yep, quality trackpad is what’s keeping away from non apple pc’s

  • Anonymous

    Really wish they keep mute and wow us layer when everything is ready

    • Chris Woelfel

      I’m pretty sure this is a leak… -_-

  • http://twitter.com/Technogies1 Technogies

    well Emi yes with keyboard they might use something else like alt+f4. I guess this technogie may be submitted to http://www.technogies.com

  • Anonymous

    Finally, something touchy that apple didnt do….I’m fed up of news apple doing touch-this, touch-that..

    • Banks

      instead, something touchy that palm and RIM did

    • Anonymous

      While I thought the same thing; if you look at the email application on Windows Phone, it uses the same animation but with a touch on Windows 8. Going down rather than up kind of makes sense, too. IMHO

    • Guest

      Most touch gestures are things the University of Toronto did 20 years ago. So what’s your point?

  • http://twitter.com/EduardoMLD EduardoMLD

    :D

  • Anonymous

    looks laggy.

    • Anonymous

      I disagree but obviously this was a leak and Microsoft was not ready to show this off so they probably have some more work to do on this feature.

    • Guest

      Yeah, that pre-beta software isn’t fully optimized for performance yet. How shocking /s

    • Anonymous

      What a tool.

  • Anonymous

    Is it me or am i the only one who saw an app overview at BUILD? Pinch zoom and you get overview of all tiles.

    • Guest

      So is that using the semantic zoom that isn’t part of the DP?

  • Anonymous

    Microsoft Windows 8 tablets will beat Apple iPad sales if marketed correctly. MS needs a slick design from all of their OEM’s especially Nokia

  • Anonymous

    @tom is this ‘google chromebook’ i see on ‘win(windows)-rumors’ ;)

  • Anonymous

    Ok I just came up with 2 idea on how they could possibly handle multitasking

    1. Ok, so from the video above if you drag down from the top into the middle of the screen you get a cards view of your currently running apps (like WP7). From there you can continue sliding down to close the app or simply choose another app to open/close from the list displayed.

    2. Add a dedicated charm on the right that will bring up this cards view of your running apps. From there you can either pick an app to open or swipe apps down to close them.  

    Either way would be cool :P I kinda like the charm option though. I think they should limit (there may already be a limit) the number of apps that you cycle through when you swipe from the left to say 5 or so.  People will most likely launch a ton of apps and a way to manage those in a nice clean interface without having to open the task manager would be nice.

    • OMG55

      Microsoft suggestion box please. We come on these forums and have lots of sugested changes, I just hope that what we’re submitting them to MS suggestion box (they created this so we could voice our opinions to be taken into consideration). If we’re simply expressing them here, then they won’t get to the right place.

  • http://twitter.com/lavidboys Daniel Rivera

    The gesture on w8 tablet is too sexy it seems different  and better then anything out there. Lets see how the manufacturer f**k this up. Wish Microsoft could market like apple does, by taken the dumbest, smallest and least used feature and make it out to be the biggest change in the world.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know of these gestures will feel “natural” to the average user.

  • http://twitter.com/tyw7 Thu Win

    Looks sweet but still looks suited for a tablet / touch screen rather than a tradational destop / laptop keyboard and mouse setup!

    Stop adding “eye candy” and fix the intergration of metro and legacy user interface rather than having the user being tossed back and forth between the two!

  • Robin Ashe

    I like the completely transparent taskbar in classic desktop mode.

    • Guest

      Nothing new. That’s in W7 as well.

  • MSfailboat

    So today, IDC pronounced that W8 will be ignored on the desktop and not be very successful in tablets. Everyday I check the twitter accounts of about eight or so important MS people, including their head PR guy. Now, this is a critical product, right? And IDC isn’t just anybody, are they? Guess how many responses there are to this report? Zero.

  • Anonymous

      @Jarrichvdv:disqus