Cairo Desktop
(Click to Enlarge)

When the first glimpse of the redesigned Microsoft Office 2007 interface hit the web people were worried about how it would affect their productivity. As it turns out almost everyone that I’ve talked with loves the new interface after they were given a few days to adjust.

This has left people yearning for a similar change to Windows, but we’ve yet to see any drastic changes make their way into the widely used operating system. Cairo is an upcoming Windows Shell alternative, which means it will replace things like the Start Menu with its very own implementation. I haven’t gotten my hands on it yet, but a peek of what’s in store is pictured above.

Cairo will include a redesigned Taskbar/Start Menu as well as a file explorer. The whole thing has a Mac-like feel to it, and I think it looks amazing to say the least. The most important thing, however, is whether it increases or decreases productivity given a proper adjustment period.

One thing that’s really interesting is their move away from scrollbars in Explorer. You’ll notice the arrows at the bottom of the Explorer window in the screenshot I posted, and those are used to navigate from one “page” to another of results. Don’t worry, regular scrollbars will still be available.

There is no word on pricing, but I’m guessing the pre-release versions will be free. A lot of work is obviously going into this project, and I expect that there will eventually be a fee associated with it.

Once Cairo is released we’ll update you as to whether the usability lives up to what the concept shows off.

Cairo Shell [via WinBeta]