December 19, 2011, 10:02 AM — Windows 8 will be the first Windows operating system since Windows 95 to drastically modify the user interface. Not only will we see a port of the Windows Phone 7 Metro UI, we'll also see support for multiple monitor setups, an immersive version of Internet Explorer, and touchscreen optimization.
Many of the improvements that Windows 8 will bring (for example, access to the Windows Store, native USB 3.0 support, "Refresh and Reset" features that simplify restoring your system to its factory default configuration, and Windows Live account integration) aren't available yet. Nevertheless, you can get the general look and feel of Windows 8 on your Windows 7 machine--including an approximation of the Metro UI, multiple monitor support, and the ribbon-style toolbar in Windows Explorer--right now. Here's how.
Duplicate the New Metro User Interface
One of the biggest changes we'll see in Windows 8 involves the user interface: Instead of retaining the regular desktop we're used to, Microsoft is importing the Windows Phone 7-esque Metro interface.
You can duplicate the general look of the Metro interface by installing an application called Mosaic. Mosaic doesn't integrate with your desktop, as Metro will, but it does let you have a Metro-style live-tile overlay.
Mosaic is easy to set up on a Windows 7 PC. To get the app, download the latest build from the Mosaic Project website. Extract the files from the zipped build folder, and double-click Mosaic to run the program. You may want to put a shortcut to this program on your desktop for quick future access.
Mosaic will initially open in full-screen mode with two tiles. To get out of full-screen mode, click the arrow in the upper right corner. Select Options from the small black menu that appears, and disable the Enable Fullscreen Mode option. While you're in this options menu, you can also configure Mosaic to display the Windows taskbar while you're in fullscreen mode, enable widget and startup animations, or even start Mosaic automatically when you start Windows.
Currently, you can add several tiles to Mosaic to personalize it. To add tiles, first go to the Mosaic Store by clicking the Mosaic Store tile. At the Mosaic Store you can download tiles for future use--including Facebook, Gmail, Hotmail, and Twitter, as well as weather, clock, control panel, music, and picture tiles.