If you have a PC with Windows 8 but miss Windows 7, there's no need to downgrade. Following a few simple steps, you can make Microsoft's current operating system look and feel almost identical to its predecessor. Here's how to bring back the Start menu and the attractive aero glass theme how to hide other Windows 8 elements like the Charms menu.
Getting tired of Windows 8 and its tiles' reign of terror? Laptop Mag's Avram Piltch shows you how to get the Windows 7 you know and love back—without ever downgrading.
Step 1: Swap the Start screen for a Start menu
Without a doubt, the most unfamiliar (and, for some, most annoying) feature of Windows 8 is its tile-based Start screen. Where Windows 7 lets you choose from a list of applications by pulling up the Start menu, Windows 8 makes you go to a completely separate screen just to launch an application or conduct a search. There are a number of third-party Windows 8 Start menu apps including the free Classic Shell, but if you're willing to pay $4.99, we recommendStart8, because it looks the most like the Windows 7 Start menu and allows you to control many other elements of the UI.
1. Download and install Start8. You can try the program for 30 days without paying for it.
2. Select Windows 7 Style and Windows 7 Theme under the Style tab.
3. Make sure Disable Translucency is unchecked.
4. Select the Desktop tab.
5. Check "Disable all Windows 8 hot corners." This setting will prevent the Charms and Windows 8 Start shortcut from appearing when you hover the mouse in a corner.
6. Make sure "Automatically go to the Desktop when I sign in" is checked. This way Windows 8 will take you straight to the desktop when it boots rather than making you go through the Start screen first.
7. Uncheck Disable Taskbar Translucency.
8. Select the Control tab.
9. Uncheck "show the Windows 8 menu when I press the right windows key."With this setting off, you won't accidentally end up on the Start screen if you hit the right Windows key.
10. Close the Start8 settings window.
11. View all your programs by clicking All Programs on the Start8.
12. Pin your favorite programs to Start8 by right-clicking on them and selecting Pin To Start8.
With Windows 8, Microsoft took away the attractive translucent Aero glass effects and style many people love in Windows 7. Instead, the company made the desktop theme flat, solid and a little bit boring. While you can't get all of the translucent effects back, you can get a very similar look to Windows 7′s default theme.
1. Download and install UxStyle. This application tweaks your settings so you can install third-party themes you didn't get from Microsoft.
Step 3: Add an Aero glass effect to window title bars
Even with the Aero theme installed, the window title bars and borders are opaque. While you can't make all parts of the UI have the smoky translucent effect they do in Windows 7, WinaeroGlass can make the title bars see-through.
Even if your desktop looks like Windows 7, you have a Start menu and your system boots you directly to the desktop, you may still want to run some Windows 8 apps. Under normal conditions, you'd be forced to run new style apps like Bing News or the People app at full screen in Windows 8′s Modern UI, but with the help of a utility called ModernMix you can run every Windows 8 program in its own draggable, resizable window on the desktop.
. Download and install ModernMix. The application costs $4.99 but has a free 30-day trial. You may need to enter your email address to receive a download link.
2. Select Windowed mode under "When launched from the Windows 8 Start Menu." With this setting enabled, even if you launch a Windows 8 app from the Start screen, it will open on the desktop.
3. Select "Never return to the Windows 8 menu when I close applications"under the Advanced tab.
4. Close the ModernMix settings window.
As long as ModernMix is running, all Windows 8 style apps (also known as Modern apps) will run in windows. You can even pin Windows 8 apps to the taskbar by right-clicking on their taskbar icons and selecting "Pin this program to taskbar."