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How to: Change Windows 8 to look and feel more like Windows 7

Last response: in Windows 8
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March 8, 2013 3:22:29 PM

How to: Change Windows 8 to look and feel more like Windows 7 whilst you are getting used to the new Modern UI

First up a little background to this article and why it’s needed:

Microsoft (MS) have always had a way of knowing what the PC market, and the IT industry in general, is going to do, where it’s going, and how they can make best use of the trends.
In fact, MS have started most of those trends themselves after careful analysis of the people that would be affected by the changes.
The change from Windows 3.11 for DOS to Windows 95 was thoroughly researched and tested, with appropriate amount of ‘leaks’ to the public in order to whet our appetite for the change.
The subtle but distinct changes from the 95 platform all the way up to Windows 7 were tested and seen as logical steps in the direction of being more and more user friendly.
Then something strange happened. The mobile market of smart phones and tablets exploded with almost unprecedented growth, spearheaded by the ‘old enemy’, Apple, with its iPhones and iPads.
MS reacted slowly and were thus a little late to the mobile market, stated by Mr Gates himself here http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/02/18/bill_gates_micr...

The main answer to this new threat seems to have been a standardisation of the MS OS to the new Modern UI (formally known as Metro).
MUI is a paradigm shift in how you are supposed to use your PC, the only problem is that it is designed for touch screen users (the mobile and tablet markets) in preference to the aged keyboard and mouse setup that the majority of us use.
If you read any given article on the pros and cons of Windows 8 you will see that most of the issues arise from people trying to get used to the Modern UI and Windows ‘Apps’.
When I personally upgraded I struggled with the absence of a Start button and so took a long look around at the available options, if any, for getting my trusty little Start button back.
I found many answers to this question (which can be found with a simple search of these very same forums) but I am going to focus on the one that I found to be the most useful for what I wanted, and also, I have since found, for everyone I have introduced Windows 8 to.

My remit was thus:
1. I want my Start button back
2. I want to boot into Desktop mode
3. I want to be able to customise how my Start Menu looks
4. The tool has to be free

Enter Classic Shell http://www.classicshell.net/

This great little tool actually answered all 4 of my desires, but it also does a lot more too….

1. Downloading is a synch as you simply go to the link above and click on the green download button on the first page. This will take you to a Source Forge page where the download will auto start.

2. Once you have the download simply run it, agree to the license (as long as you do agree that is!) and then you will be presented with some options.
At this point your personal choice will take over. I only use the Classic Start Menu and the Classic Shell Update (You need the Classic Shell Update for some of the functions of the start menu).
The other two options change the way in which Windows Explorer and IE10 look, but personally I do not think you need to worry about those.

3. Click next and then Install, once the install program is done click Finish and you are done!
At this point you are shown a text file with some very good help and guidance in that will help you understand what you have installed and how to customise it, but I’ll take you through the setup I use and that I find has the least impact on the system, but with the most return in functionality.

4. You will have a new Start button in your taskbar now and clicking it will load the initial settings screen where you can select the style of the Start menu that suits your tastes. I chose Windows Vista/Windows 7 mode by clicking on that section of the options screen. You will be prompted with a screen asking if you want to continue. Select Yes, then Ok.
At this point you are actually done if you simply want to have a start menu that boots you directly to Desktop mode instead of the Modern UI Start Screen, as that is the default setting in Classic Shell.

You still have the option to go to the normal Modern UI Start screen by moving your mouse to the upper or lower corner of your screen and then selecting the Windows Squares icon, or simply carry on running in Desktop mode.
March 9, 2013 8:33:17 AM

Tom...I'm not sure if you actually read my post mate!
The link you have given us is actually the exact same one that you get to from my How To!

Please take a read through my post and you will see how it works (and...yes, it does boot you to desktop) :) 
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a b $ Windows 7
March 9, 2013 2:14:46 PM

I can appreciate what you are doing, but for the life of me still cant see the logic behind buying a new OS that despite huge feedback Microsoft have still insisted on building around a UI that most people either don't want or cant/wont get their heads around, and then spending your time making it work so its usable.

Anyway good luck with the thread.

Mactronix :) 
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March 9, 2013 2:28:48 PM

kalten said:
How to: Change Windows 8 to look and feel more like Windows 7 whilst you are getting used to the new Modern UI

First up a little background to this article and why it’s needed:

Microsoft (MS) have always had a way of knowing what the PC market, and the IT industry in general, is going to do, where it’s going, and how they can make best use of the trends.
In fact, MS have started most of those trends themselves after careful analysis of the people that would be affected by the changes.
The change from Windows 3.11 for DOS to Windows 95 was thoroughly researched and tested, with appropriate amount of ‘leaks’ to the public in order to whet our appetite for the change.
The subtle but distinct changes from the 95 platform all the way up to Windows 7 were tested and seen as logical steps in the direction of being more and more user friendly.
Then something strange happened. The mobile market of smart phones and tablets exploded with almost unprecedented growth, spearheaded by the ‘old enemy’, Apple, with its iPhones and iPads.
MS reacted slowly and were thus a little late to the mobile market, stated by Mr Gates himself here http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/02/18/bill_gates_micr...

The main answer to this new threat seems to have been a standardisation of the MS OS to the new Modern UI (formally known as Metro).
MUI is a paradigm shift in how you are supposed to use your PC, the only problem is that it is designed for touch screen users (the mobile and tablet markets) in preference to the aged keyboard and mouse setup that the majority of us use.
If you read any given article on the pros and cons of Windows 8 you will see that most of the issues arise from people trying to get used to the Modern UI and Windows ‘Apps’.
When I personally upgraded I struggled with the absence of a Start button and so took a long look around at the available options, if any, for getting my trusty little Start button back.
I found many answers to this question (which can be found with a simple search of these very same forums) but I am going to focus on the one that I found to be the most useful for what I wanted, and also, I have since found, for everyone I have introduced Windows 8 to.

My remit was thus:
1. I want my Start button back
2. I want to boot into Desktop mode
3. I want to be able to customise how my Start Menu looks
4. The tool has to be free

Enter Classic Shell http://www.classicshell.net/

This great little tool actually answered all 4 of my desires, but it also does a lot more too….

1. Downloading is a synch as you simply go to the link above and click on the green download button on the first page. This will take you to a Source Forge page where the download will auto start.

2. Once you have the download simply run it, agree to the license (as long as you do agree that is!) and then you will be presented with some options.
At this point your personal choice will take over. I only use the Classic Start Menu and the Classic Shell Update (You need the Classic Shell Update for some of the functions of the start menu).
The other two options change the way in which Windows Explorer and IE10 look, but personally I do not think you need to worry about those.

3. Click next and then Install, once the install program is done click Finish and you are done!
At this point you are shown a text file with some very good help and guidance in that will help you understand what you have installed and how to customise it, but I’ll take you through the setup I use and that I find has the least impact on the system, but with the most return in functionality.

4. You will have a new Start button in your taskbar now and clicking it will load the initial settings screen where you can select the style of the Start menu that suits your tastes. I chose Windows Vista/Windows 7 mode by clicking on that section of the options screen. You will be prompted with a screen asking if you want to continue. Select Yes, then Ok.
At this point you are actually done if you simply want to have a start menu that boots you directly to Desktop mode instead of the Modern UI Start Screen, as that is the default setting in Classic Shell.

You still have the option to go to the normal Modern UI Start screen by moving your mouse to the upper or lower corner of your screen and then selecting the Windows Squares icon, or simply carry on running in Desktop mode.



Thanks for sharing that........

Not sure of the point of your post. Is it to educate those of lesser intelligence who can't figure out how to Google, and then install a very simple application!?

Anyway, Win 8 has approx. Sweet FA of the Windows market (less than 3%!!!) so who gives a ****.



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March 9, 2013 2:29:02 PM

Mac...thanks for the reply, but I feel that you might have missed the point of the article as well. :) 

Putting in the Start menu for me was about a transition period between old school Windows and Modern UI, that's why I titled the article "How to: Change Windows 8 to look and feel more like Windows 7 whilst you are getting used to the new Modern UI "

You are right on your assessment about the feedback to Ms about it though...for the life of me I can not understand why they changed to this, unless they do actually know something that we do not....which I kinda doubt, but the public have been proven wrong by people like MS before..... We shall see. :) 
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a b $ Windows 7
March 9, 2013 2:52:55 PM

kalten said:
Mac...thanks for the reply, but I feel that you might have missed the point of the article as well. :) 

Putting in the Start menu for me was about a transition period between old school Windows and Modern UI, that's why I titled the article "How to: Change Windows 8 to look and feel more like Windows 7 whilst you are getting used to the new Modern UI "

You are right on your assessment about the feedback to Ms about it though...for the life of me I can not understand why they changed to this, unless they do actually know something that we do not....which I kinda doubt, but the public have been proven wrong by people like MS before..... We shall see. :) 



At the risk of getting off topic slightly I will just answer your last point. its 100% a profit driven corporate decision. It opens new avenues to monetize the platform, (yuck just washed out my mouth after that management speak ) :) 
Yea so basically they have new extra ways to make money from us by going with this new format which is why we are stuck with it.

Many people are hoping windows blue will bring back the old style start button and feel. In a way I hope they are right but I doubt it and any way for me the ship has sailed. I wouldn't change from 7 now even when the support stops.

I'm sure most people will forgive and forget quickly most do and I hope posts like yours help along the way.

Its funny but there are more user driven help topics like these than there are Microsoft driven promotions about what (apart from the great new UI which is the only feature I have seen them push) actual useful new features are in W8

Mactronix :) 




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March 9, 2013 3:11:05 PM

kalten said:
Mac...thanks for the reply, but I feel that you might have missed the point of the article as well. :) 

Putting in the Start menu for me was about a transition period between old school Windows and Modern UI, that's why I titled the article "How to: Change Windows 8 to look and feel more like Windows 7 whilst you are getting used to the new Modern UI "

You are right on your assessment about the feedback to Ms about it though...for the life of me I can not understand why they changed to this, unless they do actually know something that we do not....which I kinda doubt, but the public have been proven wrong by people like MS before..... We shall see. :) 



I think Microsoft is looking at a future beyond even the touch screen and more into the idea of toching the screen without actually physically touching it! With all the games out there and the people doing things with webcams, maybe they see a future without actually touching the screen and more so of pointing at what you want and you cannot do that with an old style windows 7. would be easier with the windows 8 style screen. just my thoughts and doesn't mean I know what I am talking about but tech is moving at a blazing speed so who knows what we will be doing in 5 years? haha
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March 10, 2013 5:48:51 PM



Again...I love feedback, but if you read my article you would see that one of my points was that it had to be free...so whilst Start 8 is a good application of what we are looking at here, it does not meet the criteria...yes it is not expensive, but it is still not free! :) 
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March 10, 2013 7:25:09 PM

as i said, ex7forw8. best option
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March 11, 2013 11:26:02 AM

TheBigTroll said:
as i said, ex7forw8. best option


OK...again, I think you may have missed the point in my article...It's not about removing the Windows 8 style, it's about having a transition period between Windows 7 and Windows 8

Though, it has to be said: If I was looking to not use the Modern UI then I would look to something like this :)  But that's off topic here! :) 
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!