Oh, you most definitely can run the conventional desktop on W8CP. Tons of things will ONLY run there. (or do you mean you want to run a plain blue background on the old desktop?)
But I still don't see any great advantage to Win8 for people who aren't using touchscreen devices - the Metro UI doesn't DO anything useful other than just change the look, really.
I'll have to look over MS marketing material and see what else they are promoting about Windows 8. After my experiences this weekend I can't think of much positive to say about it.
FWIW: the disk in question got corrupted somewhere between the last time I used it to back up a client's laptop and this weekend. I'm inclined to think either A) it got corrupted on shutdown of that laptop I was backing up (via a custom Acronis-designed linux boot disk), or B) somewhere in the bumping around in my trunk over the last couple of weeks made it angry. Though I can't imagine it was all that much bumping..