If you just bought a new computer and it has Windows 8, I’ll bet you miss Windows 7. Maybe you even miss good ol’ Windows XP. If so, you’re going to really like this – it’s a way to make your brand new Windows 8 computer look and feel like Windows 7 or XP.
If you just started using Windows 8, what’s the one thing that you miss the most? The Start button, of course. It’s been a familiar component of Windows ever since Windows 95! And now with Windows 8, the Start button is gone – along with the Start menu that everyone is used to using.
Time to get the Start Button back!
To make Windows 8 look like Windows 7, we’re going to use a simple, free program called Classic Shell. You can get it at ClassicShell.net.
What Classic Shell does is simple: it brings back the Windows 7 or Windows XP Start button so that you can use it to access your programs, files and folders like you could before Windows 8 eliminated that feature.
I will go through the installation process below. Pay close attention during the download process – you may end up with an unintentional download if you get distracted and click on the wrong thing.
How to install Classic Shell:
1. Go to the website www.ClassicShell.net. If you are on the correct site, you will see this logo:
2. You can read the site and see the various features described. When you are ready to proceed, look for the “Download Now” button over on the left side. The software is free, but there is also a “Donate” button if you would like to contribute to the creators of the program:
3. When you click the “Download Now” button, you will be taken to a different website to get the actual download. Here is where you need to be careful and pay attention to what you are downloading. On this other site, there are ads for other programs, and the ads include a big “Download” button – it’s designed to trick you into clicking it. Don’t click another download button on this page. This is what it looks like:
I really hate that sites like this, with legitimate software, allow ads that are deliberately deceitful. But that’s another story.
4. Rather than click a Download button, your download should start up automatically. In Chrome, you will see it happening in the lower left corner. In Firefox,you’ll get a window asking if you want to Run or Save the file (click Run). In Internet Explorer, there will be a dialogue window at the bottom edget of the screen asking to either Run or Save (click Run).
5. Running the program will take you through the installation process, which is pretty basic. I didn’t see anything tricky or sneaky, which is nice. Here is what you should see:
6. When you click that “Finish” button, you might see the “Readme” file which gives some more information, but it’s not absolutely necessary that you read it (uncheck the “View Readme file” to avoid seeing it). Otherwise, you’re almost done.
You will see the Start button down there in the lower left corner. It “sort of” looks like the old Microsoft logo that used to show up there – same colors anyway, and it’s overall circular in shape.
The first time you click on it, the “settings” window come up on the screen. In that window, you have the choice of Basic Settings or All Settings. Here are what those two windows look like:
If you are curious about all those other settings, you can go exploring in the “All settings” menu and see what options you have (there are lots of choices). However, all you really have to do is choose one of the 3 Start Menu options that are displayed on both of the Settings screens. Just click on either Windows Classic, Windows XP, or Windows 7, and click OK.
You’ll see this little warning:
Just click Yes, and you’re done – your computer is ready to be used very similarly to the way your previous version of Windows functioned.
You’ll notice that there are still some differences. When you click the Start button, it used to give you the option to click on “All Programs” so you could choose one. That option is still there:
But in addition to that is the option to choose from the Apps that are installed:
I’m not going to go into Apps here – that’s a topic for another blog post. Just know that you can now access all of your Apps right from this menu.
Couple other points:
- If you ever do want to actually vew the “Metro” screen that shows icons for all the apps, you can do that by moving your cursor up to the top left corner of the screen so that a little menu appears, then move the cursor down to the lower left corner of the screen where you see the little thumbnail image of the Metro screen. Click on that image.
- If you decide that you just want to go back to the way Windows 8 was originally, without the Start button and Start menu, you can do that too. Click Start – Control Panel – Programs and Features. Find Classic Shell in the list, and click to Uninstall it. But why would you want to do that??
If you try Classic Shell, let me know what you think about it in the comments section. Good, bad or in between, I would like to hear your thoughts on it.