While you're here, you'll notice that you can also disable some or all of Windows 8's hotspots, allowing you to safely roll your mouse into the corners of the screen, without worrying about triggering the charms bar, apps switcher or Start button.
Restore the classic Start menuThe lack of a Start button (never mind Start menu) on the Windows 8 desktop is annoying, but there are plenty of options for getting it back. Access Metro apps from the classic desktopIt's possible, by installing Classic Start Menu and Skip Metro Suite, to avoid the Start screen entirely, but how do you access modern apps without it?
Click Next, give your shortcut a suitably descriptive name -- like Modern Apps -- and click Finish.
Dump the File Explorer ribbonI quite like the new ribbon-like user interface added to the File Explorer in Windows 8, but if you prefer how things were in Windows 7, you can disable the ribbon quickly and easily using WinAero's Ribbon Disabler tool. Stop opening files in modern appsDouble-click a media file in the classic desktop and it'll open it in the corresponding modern user interface app. Restore the Windows briefcaseMicrosoft thinks everyone wants to use cloud services like SkyDrive to keep their files synced across multiple computers. Access POP email in MailThe Mail app doesn't like POP email accounts, but you can gain access to them. Pin any file or folder to the Start screenThe Windows 8 Start Screen lets you pin programs and apps with no problems, but if you want to go further and pin shortcuts to files, folders or certain special shortcuts like the Control Panel, you'll need help in the form of Start Screen Pinner. Here’s how to make Windows 8, or even 8.1, look like your favourite version of Windows from the past.
I recommend Classic Shell which, as I’ve noted before, offers you a variety of classic Start menus. If you’ve been paying attention to the features in the upcoming Windows 10, you know Microsoft is bringing back the Start menu. Set this up with a Windows 7 custom start button, then set Classic Shell just right, and it’s hard to tell which OS you’re using. More than a few of our readers were upset when Microsoft announced the end of support for Windows XP. If you’re one of them, I recommend checking out Royal VS, which brings back that classic look. Grab the proper Start button for Classic Shell and you’ve got a pretty convincing XP setup.
Of course, back in the days of XP, many users turned off the green and blue theme in favour of Classic Mode. Enter your mobile number to receive a free text message with the download link for the app. I have two questions if you wouldn’t mind… Did installing the shell just cover up UI or did it replace it? This article may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Status Audio hopes to buck the trend of expensive celebrity-endorsed headphones by selling direct to consumers. In its much anticipated San Francisco Threshold event this Tuesday, Microsoft introduced the new version of Windows.
In April, Microsoft demonstrated a Start Menu mock-up, which fueled speculations that this much-demanded feature would make a return with Windows 8.1 Update 2.
It’s possible, by installing Classic Start Menu and Skip Metro Suite, to avoid the Start screen entirely, but how do you access modern apps without it?


In lieu of the missing Start menu, Windows 8 provides a handy selection of shortcuts when you press Win+X. I quite like the new ribbon-like user interface added to the File Explorer in Windows 8, but if you prefer how things were in Windows 7, you can disable the ribbon quickly and easily using WinAero’s Ribbon Disabler tool. Just launch the tool after unzipping it (choose the x64 version if you’re running Windows 8 64-bit), and click Disable Ribbon Explorer, logging off and back on again when prompted to effect the change. Double-click a media file in the classic desktop and it’ll open it in the corresponding modern user interface app.
Microsoft thinks everyone wants to use cloud services likeSkyDrive to keep their files synced across multiple computers. Just download and install the tool — when the SmartScreen Filter appears, click Details followed by Run Anyway to ignore it. The Windows 8 Start Screen lets you pin programs and apps with no problems, but if you want to go further and pin shortcuts to files, folders or certain special shortcuts like the Control Panel, you’ll need help in the form of Start Screen Pinner. If you’re the only user of your PC, then having to swipe the lock screen and then enter your password might seem like a waste of time each morning. Windows 8 will no longer support the playback of DVD movies, but you won’t have to shell out for the privilege of using a third-party tool if you install VLC Media Player. They're all enabled by default, so simply untick those features you wish to keep before clicking Save Settings. Customising this list can be done by hand by browsing to a hidden folder -- press Win+R, type 'appdata' and press Enter. Just launch the tool after unzipping it (choose the x64 version if you're running Windows 8 64-bit), and click Disable Ribbon Explorer, logging off and back on again when prompted to effect the change.
To revert to traditional desktop apps for your music, photos and videos, open the Control Panel and choose Programs, followed by Default Programs. If you're a fan of the old Windows briefcase, however, you'll be glad to learn it's possible to get it back in Windows 8 with a rather convoluted Registry tweak. The secret is to configure your web mail account to access your POP mail, which in turn can be read in Mail. Just download and install the tool -- when the SmartScreen Filter appears, click Details followed by Run Anyway to ignore it.
Download, extract and launch this portable app, then simply add whichever shortcuts you need, which will subsequently appear on the Start screen for easy access.
Nothing makes your system feel less like a classic version of Windows than the modern (aka Metro) Start screen. As you’ll see below, this makes it really easy to get a Start menu that blends perfectly with the look and feel of Windows versions past. Both patch Windows 8 so that you can use custom themes – something Microsoft disables by default.
If you’ve patched everything properly, and installed extra themes, you should see new options. Most simply didn’t want to install a new system, but a few miss the green and blue look of that operating system.
If you want that back, the Windows Clasic Theme is a close approximation of what you’re looking for. Part of me wishes Microsoft would offer this option by default, but I suppose they want more control over the look and feel of their product – and to give it a modern feel.


Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items. Microsoft is planning to use pop-up warnings to remind users to upgrade and it could start as soon as next week. If you’d rather go straight to the traditional desktop we all know and love, download a free tool called Skip Metro Suite. They’re all enabled by default, so simply untick those features you wish to keep before clicking Save Settings. But if you want something more traditional (and free), install the Classic Start Menu portion ofClassic Shell instead.
And if you bought a new wide-screen computer your manufacturer may have plugged the DVD media player hole so you don’t need VLC Media Player. The post is meant to give options to computer owners who’s manufacturers did not think to include a 3rd party DVD application. But if you want something more traditional (and free), install the Classic Start Menu portion of Classic Shell instead. Select Set Default Programs, pick your chosen app -- such as Windows Picture Viewer for photos, or Windows Media Player for music and video -- and click 'Set this program as default'. Click here to download a pair of Registry files that simplify the process of switching the briefcase feature on and off again. Once installed -- it's quite a slow process -- your new sidebar will appear, which works in exactly the same way as it does in previous versions of Windows. Dumping the lock screen requires a trip to the Registry Editor -- press Win+R, type 'regedit' and press Enter. Select your username, then untick 'Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer'. There other ways to get a Windows 8 Start menu, but for retro-skinning purposes I recommend Classic Shell. Not so long ago we also showed you how to make Windows 7 look like Windows XP, and now we can do the same thing with Windows 8. If you’d rather your gadgets were individually floating on your desktop rather than pinned to the sidebar, just right-click the sidebar and choose Close Sidebar. In this how-to guide, I'll reveal how to water down or ignore some of Windows 8's more controversial features and restore functionality you thought had gone forever. If you'd rather your gadgets were individually floating on your desktop rather than pinned to the sidebar, just right-click the sidebar and choose Close Sidebar. While these tips aren’t strictly about making Windows 8 like Windows 7, they address a few annoying niggles. While these tips aren't strictly about making Windows 8 like Windows 7, they address a few annoying niggles.Bypass the Start screen and disable hotspotsWhen Windows 8 first loads, you'll notice how it defaults to the new Start screen. If you'd rather go straight to the traditional desktop we all know and love, download a free tool called Skip Metro Suite.



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