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Tom's Guide: Restore the Windows 7 Interface in Windows 8

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 34 comments

Check out Tom's Guide's latest story on Windows 8!

Microsoft's Windows 8 OS is drastically different to Windows 7. The biggest difference is the interface, which ditches several key concepts and introduces a brand new UI called Metro. If you find yourself wistfully thinking about Windows 7 and all the little features you've been missing since you upgraded, you needn't worry. There are a ton of apps and tweak that will inject a bit of Windows 7 flavor into Windows 8. Check them out in Tom's Guide's 'Restore the Windows 7 Interface in Windows 8.'

The release of Windows 8 was jarring for some users as they were forced to learn a new interface that abandoned or set aside several Windows staples including the Start Menu and the Desktop. While some users have adapted to the new Metro UI, demand for features like the Start Menu has given rise to the development of software designed to bring features of the Windows 7 interface to Windows 8. What follows are a few apps for restoring the Start Menu and tweaking the Windows 8 interface for a more classic feel.

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  • 19 Hide
    omnimodis78 , February 19, 2013 2:59 PM
    I don't know, for some reason I don't quite think that third-party apps are truly "restoring" the W7 interface. I know it's just psychological, but I have this mental image of using air freshener after taking a dump - the smell's still there, it's just being masked...
Other Comments
  • -8 Hide
    damianrobertjones , February 19, 2013 2:56 PM
    Quote:
    Microsoft's Windows 8 OS is drastically different to Windows 7
    : No it's not.

    Quote:
    UI called metro
    : Modern UI

    Quote:
    ditches several key concepts
    : What? Moves the start menu into a full interface that looks like WMC?

    Was this article written last year?
  • 19 Hide
    omnimodis78 , February 19, 2013 2:59 PM
    I don't know, for some reason I don't quite think that third-party apps are truly "restoring" the W7 interface. I know it's just psychological, but I have this mental image of using air freshener after taking a dump - the smell's still there, it's just being masked...
  • Display all 34 comments.
  • -4 Hide
    killerclick , February 19, 2013 3:07 PM
    damianrobertjones: No it's not.: Modern UI: What? Moves the start menu into a full interface that looks like WMC?Was this article written last year?


    All I hear is waaah waaah waaah. Cry harder, Microfan.
  • -3 Hide
    cocogorilla , February 19, 2013 3:16 PM
    I basically have to agree with damianrobertjones. What is the difference between the modern ui tiles and the 10 or so recently used application icons in the start menu? Start-menu even had an "all applications" just like modern UI.

    Try using your imagination and pretending that modern UI is actually still called "start menu". You should realize, "oh wow, this is a much fuller featured start menu than ever before," instead of lamenting the disappearance of the bottom left window icon. Difference is, it defaults open instead of closed. It even responds to the windows key.

    That's the irony of this article. It is basically how to turn OFF the start menu and load the old icon organizer. People, leave the funeral already... modern UI isn't going anywhere.
  • 7 Hide
    killerclick , February 19, 2013 3:28 PM
    cocogorillaWhat is the difference between the modern ui tiles and the 10 or so recently used application icons in the start menu?


    Fullscreen? Shitty use of screen realestate? The entirely new and incompatible software ecosystem that Microsoft wants to replace the existing Windows ecosystem with, so they can get 30% on apps sales and push a few more of their mobile devices?

    Windows 8 adoption rate is lower than that of Vista, the Surface line is a Zune-grade flop, and Windows Phones are back below 3%. Shouldn't Microfans be past the denial stage by now?
  • 2 Hide
    rds1220 , February 19, 2013 3:33 PM
    I agree with you 100% keillerclick. I couldn't have said it any better.
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , February 19, 2013 3:47 PM
    CocoGorilla,
    Just because you are ok with the "modern UI", doesn't mean everyone else is. Feel free to use the new UI all you want, but don’t chastise others if they want to use an application that allows them boot directly to the desktop along with the familiar 'start' button.
    That's fine if you or Microsoft want people to try it out before making a decision, but I don't agree with taking that decision away nor trying to make others feel bad because they don't agree with you. I can see where the "modern UI" could be a benefit for content consumption, but not for content creation. There are many users who multitask between applications throughout the day that find the new UI to be drain on productivity.
    Also, unless you work for Microsoft you have no idea what their future plans are. If enough customers complain or purchase tools like START8, they may very well return the option of booting to the desktop and/or a start menu. Or maybe they will better integrate the features of both the Win7 UI and the "modern UI", offering an improved experience. If they don't, then other developers will be more than happy to offer alternatives like the very applications referenced by this article.

    Have a great day!
  • -3 Hide
    back_by_demand , February 19, 2013 3:48 PM
    I already installed some freeware to give me a Start Menu but it now gives me additional features I didn't have on Windows 7 either, similar to functions you get when using 3rd party explorer programs like Explorer++ or Xplorer2
    ...
    Every OS has it's vanilla install which is annoying and has 3rd party programs to enhance it, Windows 7 is no exception, too many people are putting Windows 7 in an ivory tower and saying it is perfect - OK it is good and has lots of backend functionality but is it perfect? Far from it
    ...
    Roll forward to Windows 8 and the vanilla install isn't perfect either and a lot of doubters say "why should I install any 3rd party programs to make it better, MS should have done it for me" - no, they really shouldn't, it has been a part of Windows all the way back to year dot to customise with 3rd party software - the world is full of alternate notepads, calculators, file managers, browsers, compression, security and MILLIONS of other programs, most of which are free and this is a good thing
    ...
    Microsoft has provided an OS that at it's core is more secure and more functional, if the UI is not to your taste then do what every other Windows user has done for the last 2 decades and download something to make it suit you
  • 6 Hide
    beardguy , February 19, 2013 3:51 PM
    Sorry but when I read the title "Restore the Windows 7 Interface in Windows 8" my first thought was ... or I could just stick with Windows 7 :) 

    I almost upgraded, but Win 8 just seems like trash unless you have a touchscreen.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , February 19, 2013 3:54 PM
    If you spend your time on Tom's Hardware you probably have some interest in computers and operating systems. Metro is just a big start button, configure It the way you want. Don't like something, remove it. Want a power button, make one. Windows 8 is better then Windows 7, even for desktops.

    Really I'm surprised everyone puts up with all the whining. Learning the new isn't that hard.
  • 1 Hide
    blazorthon , February 19, 2013 3:57 PM
    killerclickFullscreen? Shitty use of screen realestate? The entirely new and incompatible software ecosystem that Microsoft wants to replace the existing Windows ecosystem with, so they can get 30% on apps sales and push a few more of their mobile devices?Windows 8 adoption rate is lower than that of Vista, the Surface line is a Zune-grade flop, and Windows Phones are back below 3%. Shouldn't Microfans be past the denial stage by now?


    Zune was almost absolutely awesome. Please don't group it with Windows 8.
  • 0 Hide
    makaveli316 , February 19, 2013 4:08 PM
    No need, i'm getting used to the "no start button" thing and i'm avoiding the metro crap, so i'm having a great time with windows 8.
  • 3 Hide
    freggo , February 19, 2013 4:11 PM
    There is an easy and fool proof way to get a Windows 7 GUI...stick with Windows 7.
    I sure did so far :-)
  • 4 Hide
    milktea , February 19, 2013 4:14 PM
    nivek999If you spend your time on Tom's Hardware you probably have some interest in computers and operating systems. Metro is just a big start button, configure It the way you want. Don't like something, remove it. Want a power button, make one. Windows 8 is better then Windows 7, even for desktops. Really I'm surprised everyone puts up with all the whining. Learning the new isn't that hard.


    One of the issue I have with the new Start Screen is that the new 'tiles' are so BIG, that it covers most of the screen. So now I could not see my beautiful background image upon boot. And I doubt the tiles can shrink to the size of the old start menu icons.

    Without those 3rd party customization tool, I'm stuck with those big annoying tiles.
  • 1 Hide
    Lan , February 19, 2013 4:23 PM
    Why on earth would you want the old interface? Once you learn the new one, even with a mouse and keyboard it's every bit as user friendly as Windows 7. And on top of that it works rather nicely with my Surface also.

    True, maybe not for everyone, but if people would just actually learn the new interface instead of complain about it, I think they'd see it, even if they don't entirely agree.
  • 0 Hide
    blazorthon , February 19, 2013 4:34 PM
    omnimodis78I don't know, for some reason I don't quite think that third-party apps are truly "restoring" the W7 interface. I know it's just psychological, but I have this mental image of using air freshener after taking a dump - the smell's still there, it's just being masked...


    This is just stupid. Windows 8's only serious issue is its UI (even that is debatable when you actually give it a fair shot). Changing the UI to your needs is not anything like using air freshener after taking a dump. It's more like flushing the toilet, scrubbing it if necessary, and washing your hands if we were to continue on the lines of your analogy.
  • -1 Hide
    Pherule , February 19, 2013 5:39 PM
    blazorthonWindows 8's only serious issue is its UI

    No, it has other issues too.

    The biggest issue for me is it keeps connecting to Microsoft's servers without user permission to download massive quantities of data, and yes, I have turned off auto-updates etc.

    I will most likely be using Win8 as my next OS despite this. I'll just use a decent firewall to block it from accessing Microsoft's servers unless it has my say-so.
  • 0 Hide
    blazorthon , February 19, 2013 5:41 PM
    PheruleNo, it has other issues too.The biggest issue for me is it keeps connecting to Microsoft's servers without user permission to download massive quantities of data, and yes, I have turned off auto-updates etc.I will most likely be using Win8 as my next OS despite this. I'll just use a decent firewall to block it from accessing Microsoft's servers unless it has my say-so.


    Huh. I never noticed that on my network, but that might just be my firewalls in action.
  • 2 Hide
    The_Trutherizer , February 19, 2013 8:21 PM
    I still believe it was probably well within Microsoft's means as a capable software house to give people a choice. People love their right to choose. I think MS missed out on some brownie points with it's clientèle.

    I am yet to decide whether I am a convert.
  • 0 Hide
    blazorthon , February 19, 2013 8:33 PM
    The_TrutherizerI still believe it was probably well within Microsoft's means as a capable software house to give people a choice. People love their right to choose. I think MS missed out on some brownie points with it's clientèle.I am yet to decide whether I am a convert.


    I agree in that MS could have both done a far better job on *Metro* (they can say it's not called that anymore all they want, but the name is stuck for all I care since their replacement is worse) and/or at least made it more manageable without third party programs. I just don't like people complaining about it as if there's nothing that can be done and that Windows 8 is ultimately junk just because of easily fixed UI issues. 8 has it's advantages and a lot of people seem intent on glossing them over or outright ignoring them.
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