I’ve been kind of down on the Windows 8 metro experience. Part of the reason is that I’ve seen how Microsoft might have implemented a Metro-style interface that would make sense on mobile and a desktop without doing what they actually did – tack on a completely different user experience (Metro) and make the desktop some sort of “legacy” environment.
This is a screenshot of my desktop. Using WindowFX, I have hidden all my icons (I double tap the desktop to bring them back). I have enabled the Tiles option to hide my taskbar. The bar on the right is Tiles. It’s not a “sidebar” in the traditional sense. At the top you have pages. Using your mouse (or on a touch screen your finger) you can turn pages by grabbing any blank area and dragging.
Now, on a mobile device I’d picture the pages being hidden except when you hit the home button and the tiles width being wider (you can control the size from the options menu, I have it on normal).
Now above I’ve made the tile pages as wide as they can be. If I wanted, I could get rid of the live previews and just have very large icons (which I’d be tempted to do if I were running on a mobile device). The live previews make it exceptionally easy to find what you’re looking for.
Here’s a diagram of one of my Tiles pages. As you can see, I have made it very narrow (max screen space) and have turned off live previews. With this set up, you can permanently turn off the task bar (we have made it so that the Windows key will still pop up the Start menu just in case there’s something you want to grab).
So how much is Tiles? Answer: FREE. There are premium features (like skinning and special page filters that are quite compelling for power users) but the base program already does what I think (and hope you will agree) could have been done with Windows 8 rather than creating a separate "Metro Start Screen” thing.