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How To Open Google Chrome in Metro Mode on Windows 8

UntitledWith the Google Chrome recently adding a slick new Chrome OS-style workspace for Windows 8 users, many of you may be wondering how to access it.

To play with Google’s latest feature you need to set Chrome to open in Metro mode – aka ‘Windows 8 mode’ – by default. And why not: it offers a more familiar layout than Internet Explorer and looks good to boot.

In Windows 8 there are three possible browser experiences available. These are:

  • Not set as default; opens as window on desktop
  • Set as default; set to open as window on desktop
  • Set as default; set to open in ‘Windows 8′ mode

In this post we’re going to look at enabling the latter of these.

How to Make Chrome Open in Metro Mode on Windows 8

Chrome cannot run in Windows 8 mode if it’s not the default browser. It’s an annoying limitation of Windows 8, but one that has to be adhered to.

So, first, you’ll need to make sure Chrome is the default.

  • Open Chrome
  • Open the Chrome Menu
  • Select Settings
  • Under the section marked “Default browser” press the Make Google Chrome my default browser button

With that taken care of we can set it to open up in Windows 8 mode:

  • Open Chrome
  • Open the Chrome menu
  • Choose Relaunch Chrome in Windows 8 mode 

That’s it! Chrome will now automatically open in Windows 8 mode by default. If you’re on the Beta channel this means you won’t see a full-screen Chrome window but the Chrome OS workspace:

Chrome Windows 8 Metro

Switch Back

To switch back to using Chrome in the more traditional ‘desktop’ mode simply follow the guide above but choose ‘Relaunch Chrome on the desktop’ in the last step.

To reset Internet Explorer as your default browser (and have it open in Metro mode) open the Default programs application from the Windows 8 Start Page and adjust the browser setting accordingly.

Don’t See It?

Refer to this article for more information on why you may not see this option listed in Chrome.

  • whataboutbob

    I like the idea but hate the ugly grey background. The whole experience isn’t quite there yet.

    • edecaudin

      IMO it could just emalute ChromeOS entirely, that would be exciting.

    • Sebastiaan Franken

      The gray is actually one of the colours you can choose from as a background in Chrome/Chromium OS. It would be nice if it were to pickup on your current wallpaper. Who knows, that might get done in the next release.

      • David G

        in chrome(ium) OS you can select the wallpaper from your google Drive. just toss a couple of pics in it and see if this will pull like the chrome(ium) os will. so far Canary and beta do not yield the new UI on Windows 8 for me

    • Yvan Philogène

      You can be sure that in the end, it will sync your wallpaper, as it’s part of all your Chrome environment synced properties (like bookmarks, installed apps, etc…)

  • Sebastien

    Still completely broken on my Surface Pro, tried both the Beta and the Canary. The interface is offset to the top left, completely unusable.

  • Boothy

    Hope they fine a way to map the keyboard shortcuts to the chrome OS ones.
    Not sure that will be possible, but would be great, as the keyboard use is one of the great productivity features of Chrome OS

  • obxscape

    Thank you! I just want to see what time it is without switching back and forth between the app and desktop. These instructions worked to launch in desktop mode.

  • heyheythere

    this option vanished for me when Chrome just updated!

    • Brian Dillinger

      Me too!!!!! I can’t seem to find a fix yet either

      • sietedos72

        same here! super annoying as I want to go back to the windows 8 view!

        • Omar

          Same here…

          • tan

            Omg yeah, chrome just updated and i cant get it back either, does anybody know how?

    • lelelelel

      I’m stuck in low res desktop mode can’t switch wtf google :’(

  • http://twitter.com/markinapub Mark J Daniels

    This is fine, although the option to Relaunch Chrome in Win 8 Mode has disappeared for many. When I first installed Chrome on Win 8 that option was there; I gave it a try, then switched back to Desktop Mode. Now when I try to relaunch in win 8 mode, the option is no longer in the menu. I’ve read of this happening to several people.

  • Jeff Henry

    I don’t know why this just started happening today. The appearance in Windows 8 Mode is far superior and I am having difficulty looking at it in Desktop mode. Very frustrating.

  • lol2050

    is there a way to change background wallpaper on ChromeOS mode? because it looks just like that pic above..and right click doesn’t give me any options.

    • http://omgubuntu.co.uk/ Joey-Elijah Sneddon

      Not at present, no.

  • Sillion

    My Google Chrome is set as default browser and I cannot change it back to the Metro Mode because it does not even GIVE me the relaunch thing and I am so frustrated right now. Is there any other way to change it to Metro Mode?

    • http://omgubuntu.co.uk/ Joey-Elijah Sneddon
    • jones Mcgee

      This happened to me and I just figured it out. Right click on the shortcut created in desktop. Pick Troubleshoot Compatibility, then Troubleshoot Program (bottom option), then pick the answer “the program opens but doesn’t display correctly”. Test Program. Google page will pop up and graphics should look better. You can close the page and end the troubleshooting. You can now reopen google chrome in desktop and it will give you the option now to reopen in app mode as explained above.

      • Bene

        THANK YOUUUU You are the first person in 2 months of searching that was able to finally help me figure this problem out! Every other option I tried failed, but this was so simple and worked, and just THANK YOU SO MUCH!

  • el5pelos

    I have the same problem as some of you down here, I doesn’t give me the relaunch option and I also have chrome as a default browser, this is super anoying, this look like windows 98.

  • tarfeef101

    Is there a way to get it to open in Desktop Mode if opened from the desktop but open in windows 8 mode if opened from Metro? Thanks

  • yotoeben .

    Why do they have to do this. Any link that I click on in an E-Mail or in Skype opens to the App and it is very annoying to keep switching back and forth between the modes. Does anyone know if there is a way to permanently keep it on Desktop mode?

  • Travis Nolte

    Set IE or another browser to default. That will reset chrome back to desktop mode.

    • TheLinuxMinecrafter

      But why would you want IE?

      • Jeff

        Because IE 11 renders faster than Chrome and is truly built on the Modern UI.

        • TheLinuxMinecrafter

          I can’t say I agree with you.

          • Jeff

            You don’t have to. Benchmarking and real world usage prove it. Chrome is only better than IE11 on Google’s own rigged benchmarks. The GPU rendering usage on IE11 is way beyond what Chrome has, so it kills it on WebGL now.

            I’ve not been a fan of IE for years, but IE11 has really pushed it forward. The new head of IE has also hinted that they will be creating IE for Android, Mac, and iOS as well, becoming the only browser to offer cross tab support on all available platforms unless Chrome decides to come to Windows Phone and actually have a REAL Modern UI browser.
            I’m sure you may think that won’t matter, but making Windows free on 9″ and smaller devices makes it cheaper for OEMs than Android (they pay MS $7-10 or more for patent licensing), so I expect a massive surge in Windows Phone over the next year, led by Samsung. Once they can successfully move away from Android, it opens the door for HTC, Samsung, and all to sue Google for dumping (they are already being investigated for it in two EU countries with more to come). The Chinese government, in its approval for the Nokia sale, stated that they recognize over 200 patent families that Microsoft owns that are necessary for Android to function. Google knew about this and sold Android as “free”, profiting on the backs of Samsung and others. Once Samsung doesn’t need Google anymore, they will sue them to Kingdom Come.
            Enjoy Chrome while you can. In less than five years, Google will be less than what Yahoo is now. Bookmark the prediction. The collapse is coming. Android and Chrome are dead. They don’t look like it, but look back in 12 months and you’ll see things have changed.

          • bwat47

            “The new head of IE has also hinted that they will be creating IE for Android, Mac, and iOS ”

            Source? I’ve heard nothing about this, and IE coming to these platforms would be pretty big news…

  • V

    How do I change the background screensaver for windows 8 chrome?

  • C

    Running chrome in windows 8 mode was driving me crazy and I couldn’t figure out how to switch it back so thank you!

  • Chris

    I have done these steps but it wont launch in “Windows 8 mode”, What else can i do?

  • Susan Dianne Farris

    seriously – I am getting angry. I hit the buttons that made Chrome always launch in Windows 8 form however, I can not switch it back!!!! I have NO menu button because the right side of chrome will NOT show!!!! How do I fix this??????