15 ways to make Windows 10 look and feel like Windows 7
Following are the ways to make your Windows 10 look and feel like Windows 7.
NOTE: We recommend you create a manual system restore point before making changes to default settings and installing recommended third-party tools so that you can restore your Windows 10 back to today’s date if and when you need.
Install the free Classic Shell to get Windows 7 like Start menu
While Microsoft has added back the Start menu with Windows 10, the Start menu is not the same as the one in Windows 7. If one or more features of original Start menu is not working or if you are missing the Windows 7’s Start menu in Windows 10, install Classic Shell for Windows 10 program right away.
In addition to Windows 7-like Start menu, the Classic Shell brings a couple of other classic features to Windows 10. If you’re installing Classic Shell just for the sake of Start menu, be sure to uncheck other features like Classic Explorer during the installation.
Enable Aero glass transparency
Microsoft dropped the Aero glass transparency with Windows 8. In spite of requests from millions of PC users, Microsoft didn’t enable the Aero glass transparency for window borders in Windows 10. While it’s possible to make the Start menu transparent out of the box, there is no option to turn on Aero glass transparency for window borders without the help of third-party tools.
Those of you serious about getting back Aero glass transparency should check out Aero Glass program. The program brings Windows 7-like Aero glass transparency back to Windows 10 with ease. On top that, it automatically installs and applies Windows 7-like Aero glass compatible theme.
Disable the lock screen
The lock screen was introduced first with Windows 8. The lock screen shows some useful information like network status, battery charge level, date and time, number of new emails and notifications and can be configured to display detailed information from an app.
The only problem with the lock screen is that it adds another level to the boot to desktop process. In short, you need to perform an addition click to see the login screen where you enter your account password. Go through our how to remove the lock screen in Windows 10/8 guide for detailed instructions.
Remove the search/Cortana box from the taskbar
With default settings, Windows 10 displays a large search box on the left-side of the taskbar. While the search box makes it easy for beginners to quickly initiate a search, you can place the search icon instead of the box to save the space on the taskbar and make the taskbar more like Windows 7. Did you know that you can initiate a search without using the search box or search icon?
Right-click on taskbar, select Cortana, and then click either Hidden or Show Cortana icon.
Disable Windows Explorer ribbon
If you want to make the Windows Explorer or known as File Explorer in Windows 10 look like the one in Windows 7, you need to disable the ribbon. There are couple of ways out there to enable the Windows 7-style toolbar in Windows 10’s File Explorer but we recommend you use a free tool called Old New Explorer.
Disable Quick Access
With default settings, File Explorer opens to Quick Access in Windows 10. While Quick Access can be useful at times, you might want to turn off the Quick Access and open File Explorer to This PC to make the Windows Explorer behave more like Windows 7’s Explorer.
Disable Action Center
Action Center is one of the new features introduced with Windows 10. The feature allows you quickly view recent notifications and messages and also allows you quickly access various system settings.
Here is how to turn off the Action Center in Windows 10:
Step 1: Open Registry Editor and navigate to the following key:
Step 2: On the right side, create a new DWORD (32-bit) value and name it as DisableNotificationCenter.
Step 3: Double-click on the DisableNotificationCenter value and set its value data to 1 to disable the Action Center.
Install desktop gadgets
Desktop gadgets are very popular among Windows 7 users. If you want to get the original desktop gadgets offered in Windows 7 in Windows 10 as well, please refer to our download desktop gadgets for Windows 10 guide for instructions to download and install original Windows 7 desktop gadgets in Windows 10.
Install Windows 7 games
The classic games have been dropped from Windows 10. While modern version of Microsoft Solitaire is offered, the classic games were more fun to play. Luckily, it’s possible get all these classic games in Windows 10 in a jiffy. Please refer to the instructions in our how to get classic Windows 7 games in Windows 10 for the detailed directions.
Get Windows 7 like folders
While Microsoft has retained most of the Windows 7 icons in Windows 10, some icons have been updated. The new folder icon in Windows 10 is pretty good but if you like the folder icons of Windows 7, go through our get Windows 7 folder icons in Windows 10 guide.
Uninstall and remove Edge browser
Microsoft Edge, the new web browser from Microsoft is shaping up well. The Edge browser will get extensions support with the anniversary update which is expected in the month of July or August. That said, if you’re not happy with it, you can get rid of the same by following our how to uninstall and remove Edge browser in Windows 10 guide.
Get rid of default modern apps
As you might have noticed by now, there are dozens of built-in apps in Windows 10. While apps such as Mail, Weather and Groove Music are useful, you might want to uninstall other apps that are not so useful. Please refer to our how to uninstall default apps in Windows 10 or how to use CCleaner to uninstall built-in apps for detailed instructions.
Use a local account to sign in
If you’re using a Microsoft account to sign in to Windows 10, you can consider using a local user account to sign in, just like in Windows 7. While signing in with a Microsoft account has its own benefits, most users prefer local user account for privacy reasons.
Enable the classic Personalization window
In Windows 10, when you right-click on desktop and click Personalize you get the personalization section of Settings app instead of the classic Personalization window. If you want to restore the old feature, please read the instructions in our how to enable the classic Personalization window in Windows 10 guide.
Set Windows 7 wallpaper as your desktop background
Last but not least, don’t forget to download and set the original Windows 7 wallpaper as your Windows 10 desktop background. Perform a quick search on the web to download the Windows 7 wallpaper in required resolution.
Enjoy your new Windows 10!