Though the desktop environment in Windows 8 already offers what could be described as a pretty familiar experience to the Windows devices of yore, the same can’t be said for Windows 8’s Metro-style applications.
According to Microsoft, the new Start Screen and the apps that power them were all designed with touch in mind. Just like the iPad, these applications are mainly full-screen based, meaning users can’t simply resize a window to open more than one at a time.
However different, Windows 8 and Windows RT both allow Metro-style applications using something called snapped states. Using these snapped states in Windows 8 allows users to run two applications that can take up 25% and 75% of the screen at one time.
Here’s how to multitask in Windows 8 and Windows RT. It should be noted that both applications must support a snapped state in order for multitasking in Windows 8 to work. While all applications included in Windows 8 and Windows RT support snapped states, many third-party apps available from the Windows Store might not. Also, snapped states don’t work on Windows devices whose screen resolution is smaller than 1366 x 768 pixels.
From the Start Screen or any application, swipe from the left edge of the screen to the right.
Then drag an open application back to the left of the screen until you see the black multitasking bar.
Drag the first app you wish to have take up 75% of the screen from the multitasking bar onto the screen. In our example, we’re using Microsoft’s Bing search engine inside Internet Explorer.
Open the multitasking bar again by swiping from the left edge of the screen to the right.
Drag the application you wish to have take up the remaining 25% of the screen from the multitasking bar to the left or right edge of the screen and hold it there until it resizes.
For now, Microsoft will only let users see just two applications on the screen at those exact ratios at any given time. With Windows 8.1, users will be able to view as many as seven applications, should their device’s screen support it.
It’s important to remember that though you may not be able to see more than one or two Metro-style applications at a time, Windows 8 allows many applications to do things without having to be seen. For example, Xbox Music doesn’t require users to have the application open to play music.