ModernMix: Make Windows 8 better by running apps on the desktop

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 6, 2013
Windows, Windows 8

We have seen attempts before to bring Windows 8 apps to the desktop of the operating system. RetroUI Pro can do that for instance but all implementations up until now did not feel fluent enough. This changes with today's release of Stardock's newest program for Windows 8, ModernMix.

One of the big complaints that many Windows 8 users have is that the start screen of the operating system is limiting how apps can be displayed on it. You can either display apps in fullscreen, or in 1/3 or 2/3 of the screen if the apps have been created for that. There is no option to display apps in different resolutions or screen sizes which may not be a problem if you are running an application that makes good use of the screen estate, but running a calculator in full screen on a 1920x1080 screen is just overkill and not something that many users would want to do.

ModernMix falls right into the line of Stardock products that have been created to resolve popular issues in regards to Windows 8. Start8 for instance was created to bring back the start button to the operating system and provide users with options to enable or disable certain aspects of the interface.

Decor8 on the other hand added an option to add a custom desktop background to the operating system's start screen, something that Microsoft did not make available natively as well.

And now ModernMix. Once you have installed the program, - download is somewhat of a hassle as you need to enter an email address on the download page to receive a download link to that email address - you can configure how Windows 8 apps are opened on the system.

You configure if Windows 8 apps should be launched in full screen, in a windowed full screen mode, or as a window, and that for apps launched from the start screen and from the desktop. You can for instance configure ModernMix to launch Windows 8 apps like before when you run them from the start screen interface, but in a window when you run them from the desktop.

The implementation itself is excellent as it enables you to run one or multiple Windows 8 apps in windows on the desktop just like any other program installed on the computer. You can move those windows around, resize them or close them just as easily without any issues or problems that the full screen nature of apps usually results in.

What is interesting is that many apps become quite usable once you run them in a window as opposed to full screen. The mail app for instance feels a lot better in windowed mode as it is now a lot easier to copy and paste contents into emails or look something up while you are writing the email without losing focus.


Running those apps in windows on the desktop is a great experience and it is quite puzzling why Microsoft did not implement apps this way in the operating system.

Up until now I thought that a start menu is the essential program that you need to install right away when you run Windows 8. From today on, I'd say ModernMix is the program to go first before you install any other program on Windows 8.

Note that the program will be available for $4.99 after a 30 day trial period. I personally think it is well worth that.

The developers have added a couple of options to the program. You can for instance use the F10 hotkey to switch between modes quite easily. The program furthermore displays a small overlay in the top right corner of the screen if apps are run in fullscreen that enables you to switch between different view modes easily.

Here is a demo of the program in case you want to see it in action.


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.