Here's how to make Windows 8.1 more like Windows 7 (in case you're weird like that)

Let us be honest, what people really want when they ask for Windows 7 back is that it be done with the modern Windows 8 Start Screen and make their machine more mouse and keyboard friendly.

Windows 8 has placed a large amount of its reliance on touch based PCs that is the Microsoft future. If you do find yourself without a touch screen and are yearning for the days of Windows 7, then read on as we bring you as close to the experience as we can.

To begin, we are going to talk about how to make Windows 8.1 act as close to Windows 7 as we can without using any third party software. At the end of the article, we will discuss a few third party option you do have, for adding a Start Menu replacement.

Before we proceed, it is important that you have the latest version of Windows 8.1 along with the recently released “Update 1” for Windows 8.1. Head to your Windows Updates section by typing “Windows Updates” from the Start Screen. Continue scanning for updates and restarting after each, until your system is fully up to date.

Boot to desktop

If you have a machine without a touch screen, then Windows 8.1 should take notice and boot your directly to the desktop instead of the Start Screen. For those of you who have a touch screen device, but still want to boot to desktop, there is an easy tweak to make it so.

  1. Go to the legacy desktop and right click on the taskbar – click “Properties”.
  2. When the properties menu appears, head to the “Navigation” tab.
  3. Within the navigation area, find the “Start Screen” section below and check the box that states: “When I sign in or close all apps on screen, go to the desktop instead of Start”.
  4. Done – your system will now boot to the desktop upon login.

Display apps instead of the Start Screen

In previous versions of Windows, clicking on the Start Button would open a Start Menu from which you could view and run any of your installed programs. By default, the Start Button now takes you to the Windows 8 Start Screen, but we can change that.

If you wish to see a list of your installed apps when you click the Start Button on the desktop, then follow the steps below.

  1. Go to the legacy desktop and right click on the taskbar – click “Properties”.
  2. When the properties menu appears, head to the “Navigation” tab.
  3. Within the navigation area, find the “Start Screen” section below and check the box that states: “Show the Apps view automatically when I go to Start”.
  4. If you wish to see your legacy desktop applications listed before your Windows 8 apps, be sure to also check the box entitled: “List Desktop apps first in the Apps view when it’s sorted by category”.
  5. Done – your Start Button will now display a list of apps to you when pressed, instead of the default Windows 8 Start Screen.

Minimize Window Store apps to the taskbar

If you are a heavy desktop user but occasionally use a few Windows 8 style apps it might be a good idea to allow them to be minimized to the desktop’s legacy taskbar for easy access. Using this method, you would not have to switch completely away from your desktop and thus would enable a more efficient workflow.

  1. Go to the legacy desktop and right click on the taskbar – click “Properties”.
  2. When the properties menu appears, head to the “Taskbar” tab (which should already be selected).
  3. Within the Taskbar area, find and check the box that states: “Show Windows Store apps on the taskbar”.
  4. Done – now you can easily use the mouse to minimize Windows Store apps to the taskbar by moving your mouse into the upper right hand corner when they are running.

Taking Advantage of new Windows 8.1 Update 1 features

This is not so much of a tweak, but instead a reminder of the abilities brought forward in “Update 1” for keyboard and mouse users. For those who are unaware, the large update pushed by Microsoft for Windows 8.1, entitled “Update 1”, offered a collection of new features with a heavy focus on non-touch screen users.

The biggest change to note is that you can now close Windows 8 applications by moving your mouse into the upper right hand corner of an app; when you do so, a classic style title bar appears. If you went ahead and enabled the ability mentioned above to “minimize Windows Store apps to the taskbar”, you will also see a minimize button next to the close button.

Lastly, it might be a good idea to check out what Microsoft has introduced in the latest updated instead of fighting against it. Navigation with a mouse and keyboard has become much better due to the ability to easily close apps with a mouse and boot to the desktop. Large power and search buttons have now also been placed on the Start Screen for easier access and you can now right click Start tiles to view their options or rearrange them. In essence, less mouse gestures and more clickable controls with the latest update.

Bring back the Start Menu

A collection of various companies including Stardock, Start Menu Reviver, and Pokki, are trying to create alternative Start Menu solutions for those who are still mourning its removal from Microsoft’s latest operating system. Please note that these solutions only work on Windows 8.1 - not Windows RT.

Each solution provides the ability to replace the default Windows 8 Start Button with a new custom solution that allows a more traditional way of viewing the installed applications on your PC. Some solutions, such as Pokki, also provide their own application store for handy widgets.

Pokki and Start Menu Reviver are both two great free solutions to get the job done; you can check them out by clicking here for Pokki and clicking here for Start Menu Reviver (opens in new tab). Stardock’s Launch 8 application is also a great solution that includes a free trial, but is $4.99 to purchase thereafter - click here (opens in new tab) to view it.

Be sure to stay tuned to Windows Phone Central as we will be posting a comparison article shortly, so you can easily decide which your favorite solution is. Be sure to let us know in the comments below if you have tried one of the third party Start Menu solutions above, and if so, what you think of them.

What do you think about Windows 8 – are you still yearning for the past days of Windows 7, or have you moved on to a better and brighter future?

Michael Archambault
  • Thanks, but no thanks. I'm very fine with Windows 8.1 way.
  • +620
  • Yep, although the update is a little weird. I like pinning metro stuff to the taskbar but the new bars at the top of apps for mouse users interfere with some apps (like nextgen reader's sync button is mostly covered now), and the popup taskbar interferes with app controls if you have the taskbar at the top of the screen. 8 was bold, 8.1 was a better refinement, but this is kind of a mess of some good but not fully considered ideas.
  • Couldn't agree more.
  • +920
  • Ditto. Honestly, I don't want to fish through that slow old labyrinth of menus anymore and the start screen works fine with mouse and keyboard... but the whiners are; by nature, stupid and loud enough to vocalize en masse.
  • Yea, well the "whiners" as you call them in my world are business users who don't have time to deal with learning a complete new UI. The people i know are pretty damn busy and don't have the resources to learn some completely NEW way of doing something that was never broken and never needed to be changed.  Like for example, a hospital I work at, there's ER doctors who just don't have time to learn Windows 7 - they spend their days fixing people, and they need the PC to do parts of their job, but have no interest in re-learning some new interface because MS says they have to. Now some home user might have all the time in the world to get used to a new UI, and that's fine for you.  But the people I work with don't have extra time for that stuff, so you want to get all negative and call people stupid, well, kind of a narrow view there.
  • Agree with you.
  • You work with doctors and they can't learn how to use an update? I know children that can use 8.1  If your excuse were valid than everyone at your job would still be using windows 98.  
  • That's right, they can't. My wife is one too. Doctors don't have time, will, or need to learn a completely new way to accomplish the same things they've always done, children do. I know some people who do still use Windows 98 and it's part of my job to make sure it keeps that way, because then they don't have to waste their valuable time learning something to do things they've already done every day for the last 15 years.
  • I mean, really, how long does it take to learn a new version of Windows? It's not that drastic of a change. You aren't switching to Linux or Mac. Professionals of all types have to learn something new to keep their jobs going. If a new OS is one of them, then just do it and move on.
  • Some of us do A LOT more with our computers than simply reading email and insulting people on blog posts.  When you change my OS interface, it pisses me  off.  I am FAST with Win 95-7.  I didn't even want to touch 8.  I currently have 8.1 and am happy that there are customization options, but that's why I have Windows to begin with--because Microsoft traditionally allows you to customize your computer experience.  That's why they made certain changes with 8.1 over 8.  Also, the traditional start menu allows me to select options while barely moving my mouse cursor.  Forcing me to move my line of sight and cursor over a greater distance = less efficiency.  Yes, it makes a difference for advanced computer users.
  • I love Windows 8.1, but thank goodness for these options if only to help silence the dinosaurs. They have been getting on my nerves mightily.
  • You are retarted. There is a spill on isle 11, go clean it up.
  • The word is retarded. Retarted might be a word, a type of twice baked pastry, possibly? Divergent tech might necessitate divergent interfaces. The changes in 8 serves no purpose to a lot of business and academic users who are not using their machine like a glorified smartphone.
  • +928!!
  • Me too! I moved to windows 8.1 because bored with windows 7.. so please don't ruin it
  • Be sure to give me a call when you can right-click a network connection (in the HUGE panel that appears when clicking the network icon) and having "disconnect", "properties" and "status" avaialable to you. Or, you know, having "Network and Sharing Center" available in that gigantic wasted area. It's not just the Start menu. It's about a disastrous design. It's about users not being able to find a goddamn Shut Down button. It only came back becuase users kept "whining". You know what? Try to explain the fact that you have 2 places for changing the settings of your device. One of them is half-baked for the heavy desktop user, but for some reason that's the only one that's available to you because "let's replace the Start menu with the Start screen!" Ever looked at Bluetooth and Devices sections in the PC settings app? Useless. Can't do jack except adding and removing devices. The "Control Panel" link just appeared in the latest update, yes, because users kept "whining" and Microsoft realized what they had done. So enough with the "whining" crap. As a professional developer with focus on UI, I call this a disaster. No amount of Microsoft sheep and blind fanboyism can turn this design into the delight fanboys want to pretend Windows 8 is. Maybe Microsoft can fix part of Windows by bringing back a propert Start menu. The rest will remain disastrous.
  • Well said! :-)
  • I had the same feelings when upgrading from XP to Windows 7.  They way it organized the control panel into categories - I could for some reason couldnt find squat and became frustrated. Then I learned you could switch up the view to classic/uncategorized.  Windows 8 is missing these 'views' to keep from alienating users who have to relearn where to find stuff. That is not to say that Windows 8 isn't on the right track with its touch based UI / desktop UI.  
  • You are right about the classic views. But I had a different experience moving from XP to 7. The search feature in the Start menu was so good that I hardly ever looked for any programs in the classic menu again (still, the classic tree of programs gave me and still gives me a good overview of what the recent program I installed is about, what help it's got, how to register it, etc). But that's not it. Many tasks that used to be easy to do, are now demonstrably harder to perform. Stuff is harder to find. Spaces are wasted a whole lot more (when in the Desktop and with a keyboard and mouse). I absolutely love my Surface RT because Windows 8 is a whole other thing on a mobile device. It easily trumps iOS and Android with how customizable and smooth it is, and how it can turn into a power house when you need it. But Microsoft sacrificed the desktop for this, all the while they could create two very specifically tailored modes of operation that wouldn't interfere with each other. So the touch, absolutely. The desktop? I have to disagree.
  • It's backward compatiblity from a UI perspective right? If WIN 8 on the desktop had done a better job of supporting previous forms of task navigation, MS wouldn't have to backtrack now to build more backward compat UI support, which is what is going on with the start menu for example.  The bulk of users are clearly jarred.  Settings and such are a cludgey mashup right now. But I do think MS is on the right track as they'll build in much needed improvements to bring folks along and smooth out the desktop experience.
  • Exactly.
  • Microsoft should have developed a better desktop enviroment for windows 8 to start off with. They didn't learn anything when they went from xp to vista to 7. Not to mention the disasters in between. Many businesses are just now upgrading to 7 because xp is not supported. Microsoft will make a huge mistake if they are in the mindset that windows 8.1 will replace an enviroment like xp of 7. I do believe that 7 is in most settings the best windows has developed. I use a windows 8 phone and love it. BUT is doesn't replace my desktop. There is sitll alot programs out there in use that will only work xp. It isn't that easy to upgrade when it will cost a company hundred of thousands to upgrade equipment because software isn't compatible and current software is obsolete. I have a few pcs at home and learning isn't much of an issue and the cost is bearable. But when a company has hundreds of pc's it isn't and easy and affordable task. Not to mention the loss of production because everyone has to learn a new way of doing the same job.
  • Microsoft doesn't care about users...they'll cram Window 8.1 & other future disasters down users throats, and we all have to choke on it.  Have to accept & get used to it unfortunately.
  • When I was an administrator for a large high school a helpfull comment from a computer engineer (they are the ones who get you out of the crap that you got yourself into without really trying) was that Microsoft usually engineer 3 different ways of doing the same task so when one doesnt work usually one of the other two will. Same with Windows 8 it seems. First the Start Menu reappears (hope there are easy ways to get into the network stuff we need to sort also) as well as the inevitable Compatabiltiy problem.  I have not yet had ANY programs fail that would work on Windows XP.  This is also true for most drivers but some failures for Win98 setups.  Try right clicking on the Setup application program itself (in the listing when you find it), go to Compatability, and Test the Program.  Its a bit MS'ifish when it finishes the task - sometimes I go for a coffee and come back to it as the notification at the end is typical of the rush-job.  Even Win3.1 had a translator when win98 came into effect and most programs would work but not all drivers.   Must admit most WinXP/7 drivers seem to adjust to the Win8 Environment so give the beast a chace to lay it all out and use the amended setup offered at the end of the compatability testing. Just to stir the pot - hate the clumsiness of Win8. Nothing really clean about how it works - just looks better and wobbles all over the place like a jelly trifle. (~: Ric :~)
  • Completely agree with all of your points. I first used W8 (8.0) on a desktop and it was clumsy and awkward. Then I used it on a touch tablet and it was magically transformed... a far smoother and more seamless experience. But going back to desktop it still feels half-arsed, exactly like two OS's slapped together. 8.1 made so many things more accessible... I still haven't updated to the latest update yet, but it looks like they're nailing now a lot of the glaring issues with it. I can't stand it when people claim that it's a perfect OS, or that somehow people that don't like it are ludites - it's been far from perfect since day 1. All of the changes are welcome and much needed!
  • I don't understand why anyone would want to move backwards. This whole "busy professionals don't have time to learn a new UI" argument is pure crap. I'm as busy as they come and it was no issue for me. Watch one five minute video on YouTube and you will know everything you need to be completely functional. It's majorly easier to learn than every version Windows before it. The truth is, their are a large number of people that fear and resist change of any kind. Completely irrational.
  • This isn't a matter of people moving backwards. It's a matter of people not wanting to go through the cost and trouble of upgrading and learning something new when it doesn't give them anything they are going to use. If you have a system that already works 100%, why change it?
  • LOL
  • Then what are you doing here loser?
  • .
  • Do the rest of us that like Windows 8+ get to cry about the old Windows, just like that tiny portion cries about the stupid start button for 10 months?
  • You were numb enough to not realize what had happened when Windows 8 first came out, it's unlikely you'll realize anything has changed when Start screen is replaced with Start menu. So no worries. Better ask PC makers how tiny that portion is. That "tiny" portion made HP start selling laptops with Windows 7 installed, and has almost all PC makers "whining" about people downgrading from 8 to 7. But you, you keep living in the dream world. It's OK.
  • Remember there are home users and business users.  Home Users have all the time in world to mess around with a new UI.  Business Users have existing business processes and we found the new Windows 8 UI did not take that into account at all. So instead of getting all negative and saying people are "crying', no, they are just upset that they have been forced into a UI that doesn't work for them and prevents them from getting actual work done, unlike you, who likely just wastes time searching the internet and doing stupid stuff.
  • FYI don't want to sound all pissed, but I've just had this argument so many times, there's two types of users - those who have time to mess with stuff and those who don't.  Those who don't are mostly people who need to use the computer (vs. actually wanting to use the computer).  I do realize they are two different classes, I just deal more with the business users.
  • It should be mentioned that a future update will bring back a native start menu.
  • Right, when is that coming? Fall? I love Windows 8.1 as is, but I think they need to do this ASAP. People just aren't buying into it and Windows 8 is unfairly being stigmatized like Vista. I say, bring in a new start menu that bridges the desktop and modern UI /apps, call it Windows 9, and give everyone on Windows 8 a free upgrade. I also want to see the UI switch change: just make the Start Screen Live Tiles transparent in desktop mode, with double tap on the wallpaper to switch back and forth. That'd be much less jarring.
  • +920/surfacepro
  • Except its not. Its another trick for the fools that keep whining; its an app list on the left and a mini start screen on the right; all the same functionality you have always had from windows 8, in a package they can sell to the moaners.
  • I never said it was the same exact start menu. Personally, I don't really care either way. Perhaps a small menu on the left like that would be a good way to help migrate 7 users into 8. Considering that Microsoft waited this long, they are pandering. It's just the right amount, pretty late.
  • Ever heard of Windows 8's "dual personality" and "jagged experience"? That menu will greatly alleviate that problem. Also, there was a reason you could pin programs to both the Taskbar and the Start Menu. That will be coming back. What else? Jump Lists. Now what additional stuff you can do with your Start menu? You can either link to old places like Control Panel as you could in Windows 7, or you can have live tiles giving you information at a glance without being intrusive. Sure, to the untrained eye these are all the same. Let me give you an example: try to choose a dark color for the taskbar and the chromes of windows. Have you realized that you can't read the title of windows with this configuration? You know what Windows 7 used to do? It simulated a glass etching with the window title inside, so no matter what color you chose you could still see the window title, that went great with the whole glass effect of Aero. These are what separate a good UI from a bad UI, and Windows 8 has gone mad in that respect. Fact is, if Microsoft chose to ship Windows 8 with a Start menu and a Start screen, you would have been here defending that version of Windows. It wouldn't have made a difference to you, or most people here. Because you don't follow design principles, you follow the company; and that's the worst thing you can do for the company you are a fan of.
  • Windows 8 was already keyboard and mouse friendly... It's just a matter of taking the time to learn as to how... The kids only want the Start Menu back since that seems to be the only way they know to Shut down the computer...
  • Unfortunately it's not so much the kids as the older users who have been doing it the same way since Windows 95. MS trained them to do things a certain way for decades and now they can't seem to wrap their head around this. The majority of help calls I get are from users over the age of 40. The younger people without so many bad habits seem to adapt more quickly in my experience
  • Sadly, the use of the Start Menu hasn't evolved at all for most people. They use it just like they did in 1995, hunt and peck. If they had adopted the search function in start (introduced in Vista), they would be fine once they familiarize themselves with the new presentation of the results.
  • The key to productivity is workflow habits. I've been using particular customizations for the start menu and taskbar since Win95. They improve workflow speed. The default MS start menu has always been bare bones and unwieldy. But by customizing to your business needs it can become extremely slick.
  • Yep - my W7 work start-menu is highly efficient and organised. I can find things in a couple of clicks, or by searching. Having the same amount of information on a start screen means I have to scroll across several "screens" worth of information, or condense everything down to the smallest tiles and magically remember the application by its icon alone... or just use the full app list or search function, but then I'm back to the W7 start screen :P
  • Or just type the first few letters of its name. (eye roll). Nothing is faster!
  • Wasn't the official start menu announced?
  • That's in a later update.
  • Also IObit startmenu8 is another good free solution. I installed it on some work pcs to help the haters become likers.
  • Wouldn't trust them with someone else's data.
  • Using 3rd party programs isn't the solution, it's just a workaround. Such features should already be implemented from the start and not later via updates or 3rd party programs. That's exactly what I hated about Android, there are too many apps you need to replace because the stock apps aren't sufficient or not even included.
  • Just a minor point, but it's not called "Update 1". Microsoft dropped that and officially calls it simply "Windows 8.1 Update", which makes far less sense to me.
  • Update 1 implies there'll be an update 2. Just Update carries no commitment...
  • Screw the start menu, the right click menu is so much better. Tiles seems like they may have a lot more usefulness coming.
  • Oh, and Classic Shell is another very configurable free start menu alternative.
  • Or download "classic shell". Its only a couple MBs, free and just awesome. If you don't like the metro start screen biz, then classic shell is what you need.
  • Indeed. I'm not sure why they didn't mention Classic Shell in the article. It is without doubts the best thrid party start menu application and it's free. Check it out:
  • Because it's not pro-Microsoft, and WPCentral does not write anything that is not pro-Microsoft.
  • I'm interested in the new start menu they bring in the next update. Till then I'll stick with the start screen on 8.1.
  • Ya I prefer a modern look to this windows 7 mess.
  • I think 8.1 is much better than 7 love the new internet explorer specially when running from the couch on a 40 inch screen
  • I love Windows 8. But for larger. Non touch screens a "productivity mode" or " professional edition is needed. For this version the interface could reverse and the desktop should become key. With the startscreen becoming a menu again.
  • What problem do you have?
  • When I started out with Windows 8 I really liked it, even on non-touch. Although I did recognize that the hidden UI elements such as the charms and appswitcher should be onscreen if you have a large monitor. The extra step to put them on screen is annoying to do with the mouse and more importantly unnecessary due to the large screen. However I find that even though the modern environment is easy to work with even for non-touch, I still switch back to the desktop when I'm on a non-touch PC. The reason being that the desktop environment is just as good for non-touch in some aspects and much MUCH better in others than the modern environment. Especially when I'm being productive and working with multiple Excel, Word and SPSS files. The modern environment would never be as suitable for this situation. Because if they added all those feature it would no longer be suitable for its more 'consumer' friendly customers. The lines arent thatclear cut of course. To some degree modern UI is good for productivity as well and the desktop is fine for consumption as well. However I do feel that Microsoft should recognize that the desktop is an important piece of Windows, especially for powerusers. WHile they should still push for a touch UI even on touch-friendly desktops, they should include a productivity mode that inverts the UI by placing modern apps within the desktop and transforms the startscreen into a startmenu. And while out of this mode it should be the way it is today.
  • I was VERY happy with win 8 the way it was. But apparently in making it "better", they screwed up touch. I auto hide the desktop taskbar and I used to be able to swipe down and it would pop up, but it doesn't seem like it does that any more.
  • +1
  • I am still not able to update my windows 8.1. I tried standalone install still aftr 99% it will say following updates were not installed. Its stupid.
  • "what people really want when they ask for Windows 7 back is that it be done with the modern Windows 8 Start Screen"   And that's what Microsoft will be giving us, people who want to see that damn Start Screen gone (or permanently hid), with Update 2 and Windows 9. And about time. I have no problem with Windows 8 on my Surface. But on my PC, I would like to have the start button back. And by that I mean the REAL start button with the menus. Not the Windows logo that leads to the Start Screen.   And I don't give a sh*t about what Metro-lovers think. You like Metro, fine. Use it. Just don't try to shove it into the mouths of the majority that clearly doesn't like it. Luckily Microsoft cares more about what the majority of their users want and not what a couple of dozen fans want ;)
  • +1 Herbertsnow... Hahaha. These are the same people at work, who if you change the location of their desk, lose their mind for the next 14 months.
  • I'm going to start referring to the people stressing out about the stupid, out of date start button, as 'Les Nessman'
  • Caveman?  How about this example - one of my clients is a doctor, and he spends all day helping and fixing people. He just doesn't have time to learn a new UI, he only has time to help people and then try to live his life.
  • too funny :) yep that's basically him!
  • Start menu; least productive aspect of windows. The cool kids have been pinning apps and jump lists since windows 7 (and its still in windows 8). Get over it. (queue rant in 3,2...)
  • I'm not buying that the overwhelming majority want Metro style Windows 8 to go away. I just think those that want it to go away are just the loudest and most obnoxious. So I'm flipping the table. START MENU SUCKS. Take 10 minutes to learn your way around Windows 8, get more productive, and get a therapist to deal with your Windows 7 Start Menu OCD.
  • I rarely used the start menu in WIndows 7. The few apps  I needed on my PC were pinned to the taskbar.  Trolling through a cascading series of static popups wasn't making me more productive when I could quickly click a taskbar icon to open an app.  I can't belive that I'm the only that used win 7 like this.
  • Yep, that's how I use it currently at work. Stuff I used daily is pinned to the taskbar, stuff I use intermittently (but is still important) I have pinned at the top of the Start Menu. Everything else is highly organised so I can find it quickly, assuming I can't find it by quickly searching in the keyword box. On W8 my start screen is a glut of mostly unrecognisable icons and tiles, so I just bypass it now for the desktop.
  • +920! Well said, MissionSparta.
  • Then you are out of touch with reality. Manufactures are back to shipping PCs and laptops with Windows 7. That was due to the overwhelming demand for downgrades to Windows 7 from 8 and 8.1. The new UI doesn't work for traditional keyboard and mouse users. It will take much longer to learn to navigate this disastrous new UI that only fanboys and children seem to like. Older users and productive members of society subscribe to, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," whereas people like you believe if it ain't broke, it should be fixed until it is. We have the capability of learning the new UI, but it's terrible unless you're using a tablet or phone. It surely wasn't designed with desktop users in mind. Microsoft is trying to be like Apple by forcing people to accept their vision. Apple did away with optical drives as if they're obsolete. Being more productive and efficient means not having to stop and take classes or watch tutorials made by children on YouTube to learn a silly new user interface clearly made for casual web surfers and not people who depend on desktops to get real work done.
  • Never fails to amaze me how clueless most PC users are (in general, but particularly) when it comes to navigating Windows. Keyboard shortcuts are the key to the kingdom but good luck entraining that. Most folks seem to get as far as learning to set the wallpaper - though, why bother when every inch is covered in shortcuts - and their learning journey ends.
    As long as MS continues to move forward while leaving "rest stops" for those that can't keep up, I'm happy for everyone.
  • I would be interested to know if there's a handy keyboard shortcut for 'Sleep'. So far (2 hour-old Win8 virgin) it looks like the only way to put a Win8.1 PC into stand-by with the keyboard is - Winwows key, tab, tab, tab, enter, down, enter.
  • That's right.I spend all my time in visual studio; the metro apps, charms menus and crappy cut down settings screens are, to me, Grandmother Mode.
  • Sorry to hear that, Les.
  • I don't have touch screen. 8.1 update make things easy for me. I still got dual boot of Win 7 and 8.
    Start Menu: I don't use it much anyway on win 7. Universal search is working fine for me. I used to press win button on keyboard and open the required program by writing in the search box. On win 8, I am doing the same thing.
  • I have had touch screen on my 24" AIO PC which originally came loaded with Vista. Since day one of installing Win8, I almost never touch it. I navigate the Modern UI almost exclusively with mouse and keyboard and have never found it to be a problem or challenge. I have always moved effortlessly between the desktop and Start screen and use legacy and Modern apps without any "jarring" sensation. This entire debate is a false controversy.
  • I don't believe you have a touch screen that you aren't touching to navigate the disastrous Windows 8. It wasn't designed with keyboard and mouse users in mind. Also, you're probably not doing much besides basic tasks such as opening and closing programs. Your comment about this being a "false controversy" proves you aren't part of the business world, lawn boy.
  • Update 1 broke the start screen functionality; I.e. It ALWAYS shows the desktop when I close my apps even though I've told it not to.
  • I liked W8 when it didn't have that disgusting button in the bottom left. Looks so out of place.
  • Do these free apps bombard you with ads?
  • No.
  • The only thing I really wish they would add for mouse use is a small 'X' for apps in the multitasking orange, so that way you don't have to drag them down to close them. Otherwise, it's great, most support is awesome, and I can switch easily between mouse and touch on my SP2.
  • You get a title bar with X in 8.1 Update
  • Indeed, and I love it when using my mouse! But still would be nice to add an 'X' to apps in the multitasking pane/sidebar, so I can quickly close several Metro apps.
  • I personly hate the right click context menu on the start screen now. It looks so ugly. And before I could right click and keep right clicking to select multple apps (I can still do this in xbox music). The new way forces you to actually use the keyboard (to hold CTRL). Before i only needed one hand on the mouse to select more than one item. I feel like this change was done to make slow people happy. It's so backwards!! Although over all i like all the other changes. The only real change i'd like is to make windows store apps be windowed, and windows applications to work like windows store apps.
  • The way Windows 8 displays installed programs is a step backwards from Windows 7, mainly because it loses the sub menus when you install bigger software, not to mention the inconvenience of scrolling horizontally through a long list of bigger icons. I was able to create a new toolbar in the taskbar and point it to the start menu folder, and then minimize it and place it beside the start button so that when I click on a small arrow I get the old programs menu without a third party tool.
  • Paid $8 for Start8/ModernMix combo when we first got our Windows 8 touch screen laptop. Great decision.
  • I like Windows 8.1 and the improvements that have been made, but I am open to the new start screen menu thing
  • Install "ClassicShell" to get the much missed 7 start menu back on 8.1
  • Freeware I might add.
  • Shouldn't have to install any thirdparty software for ease of operation on this platform on a desktop. Microsoft should have done a better job before releasing this os for both desttop and mobile. This is great mobile platform, but not so good for desktops. For all of you that love it, that is great, you have your opinions...... For all of you who don't, I understand. Microsoft for years has given windows a familiar way of doing things. Who new before intgrating to 8 that if would be completely different? I guess people should wait and review before taking the plung....Not usually when it comes to pc's or mac..... it is usually the familiar choice that keeps one with one or the other. Microsoft missed this with 8. I will stick with 7, just as i did with xp before 7. I do like 8 on my phone.
  • I don't understand the problems with wanting the real start menu back.. Why can't people live and let live? Everyone has a certain way of doing something. Just gives choices.. Then everyone can choose their way, and stop being hypocritical douche-bags about "the way it should be done..." There is no "one way" of doing something.. -- Sorry if I am mean, I just dislike mean people! --
  • whisper words of wisdom: let it be.
  • Duly noted! -- Sorry if I am mean, I just dislike mean people! --
  • Oh it's because most people that criticize it are pretending to be something they are not, and need an excuse to lay into other people, especially with the anonymity of a forum like this.
  • I would rather leave it the way it is and let the updates take care of it for me. (threshold will include a start menu BTW)
  • The thing is, the Update 1 is what Windows 8 should've started with to ease people into the difference. People in general don't like change...but I just can't do without Windows 8 now. It syncs beautifully, it runs SO much smoother (and yes, faster. Dare I say here? ;)), and OneDrive and settings integration are just a must now. I wish it was easier though for it to be deployed in IT environments, just because of the high overhead of helpdesk support they'd have to give to end-users ("How do I open up Word?" O.o) Otherwise...never looking back ;) - Windows 8.1 is here to stay!
  • Hear! Hear!
  • I have an issue where if I close an open app, it will pop me into desktop. I boot into metro, and hitting the start button takes me to metro, but closing apps takes me to desktop. Anyone have any advice? I'm not even sure how I made this happen in the first place...
  • Eyah, sucks X2
  • In the desktop, right click on toolbar and deselect the option to show metro apps on the toolbar. After that, you won't experience being dumped into desktop after closing an app.
  • After messing around with 8.1 for a little more than a month, I found the hybrid of classic Windows and Metro to be quite pleasing. Especially with split screening the desktop & metro applications on 2 displays. Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • Agreed... Windows 8 is 100X better on multiple displays than any previous version of windows and really any other OS I've ever seen.
  • I would like to see metro apps be true windows, that can be moved around wherever we like - or at the very least, let us split the screen horizontally as well. A lot of apps don't need to be the full height of my screen - it would be fantastic to have 6-8 apps on the screen at once, instead of the limitation of 3 columns.
  • I would argue (at least for me) that Windows 8.1 is more mouse friendly than Windows 7. If you whined about the start button, you never learned the OS.
  • I have experienced the same thing.
  • I use Start8 on my desktop and Surface
  • I do like Windows 8 and it's design, but Stardocks ModernMix is an essential tool for me. I'm still waiting for Microsoft to allow metro apps as normal windows on the desktop. I wouldn't use a start menu anymore though.
  • Windows 7 proved to be a long time fighter. I think people are generally closed to changes, and the new paradigms brought by W8 certainly proved that. What really annoys me is how unbelievable this restriction can be: In my college, all the new computers came with W8 and, even considering they're not touch powered, the keyboards all have the new logo. Good, HP machines. Guess what the maintainers did first? Right, installed Windows 7.
  • It's possible that they may have third party software, or older hardware devices, that aren't compatible with Windows 8. My workplace has some users that are remaining on XP, due to the fact that some of the older printers they use, don't work with either Windows 7 or Windows 8, but there isn't a budget for getting new printers, so old Windows is sticking around.   Corporate cost cuts and all that.
  • Launch8 is the taskbar within Start. START8 is the Start Menu add-on. LOL
    But I use both the Start Screen AND Start8. Just awaiting for the official menu to come around. Start8 is the final Stardock program I have installef, thanks to 8.1.
  • Win8 isn't just a disaster on the user side ... there's the whole WinRT/WinPRT API disaster on the developer side as well. One perfect example, in WP81 you have to prepare for your app to be terminated and restarted before you call the FilePicker API! And this is on a system with at least 512 MB of system memory. The people responsible this laughable mess should never be allowed near a computer ever again, much less a compiler. Win8 is the biggest example of corporate suicide in history. Throw 1.5 billion users in the trash. Throw hundreds of thousands of developers in the trash. All in an attempt to grab 30% of applet sales in a walled garden. The CEO and other heads have rolled. The firings have to go *far* deeper if MSFT wants to become relevant again.
  • Pokki/Start Menu Reviver & Start Menu 8 have huge conflict with Windows 8.1 Update 1 Start Button so they don't work properly. However it is Faster and has very fast File Copier, but also there's lots of drivers and Software Applications and older Games which don't work. Interface requires huge work, return real Start Menu/Update Icons on the desktop which haven't been updated for years, Redesign Control Panel and put real interface similar to Windows XP,but little better same goes to Windows Explorer. I tjust requires real work, but it's still very good OS, main issue is thar ugly Interface that's why so many people who even bought Windows 8.1 are going back to Windows 7.
  • Very helpful article, thanks, because I am trying to customise my 89-year old father's new Dell to cope with his failing eyesight, and am frustrated by the touch-screen-biased design. How the heck can I make it easier for him to use the fiddly and mostly invisible mouse-over functions, like computer shut down and sleep? So, I'm now going to investigate those Start Menu solutions mentioned above. Also, as a criticism of this forum, why was my right mouse button crippled on this page until after I had registered to make a comment?
  • Let's be honest. Nobody likes the Windows 8 Start screen, we just want Windows 7 back.
  • Thank god Microsoft have finally realized what a absolute Fail Win 8 - 8.1 was. next years release of Windows 10 is already looking so much better, no start page, boots directly to dekstop, and yes the Start Button (and menu) is back, though they are still trying to jam those ugly metro tiles down our throat.
  • After 10 minutes of searching through a pile of Microsoft garbage on my new laptop with 8.1, I too was ready to make the switch back to windows 7. And yes I'm the over 40 ( barely) guy that needs the old format of windows to be able to 'easily' navigate around my computer. Kudos to all you young folks or new to windows who like this new format(8 or 8.1) but I guarantee that people like me who have been buying windows since windows 95 or before, don't want a totally foreign format. I actually went on the net and searched ' why is windows 8.1 such a piece of crap.' And yes, the start menu is basically the whole problem or lack thereof. It's December 2014 and still no start menu so if you want the old windows back, either go buy windows 7 OR download ' classic shell' and you get most of the windows functionality back.  
  • Thanks for the information.  The Windows website was not helpful at all. I use a computer for work, and bought a new laptop recently for travel.  I do not have time to read the manual (ha! remember those?) to figure out how to reinvent the wheel.  Time is money.  I need my laptop to do what my desktop does and not get charming about it.  Imagine if you made your living driving, and every few weeks the government switched what all the signs on the freeway meant.  Sure, you could learn it, and it might actually be easy, but it takes time and effort that is better spent on actual productive work.  
  • And to the fat f*ck who wrote the article. I understand you take up the butt, by Micorsoft as well. As a proffessional "blogger", learn that expressing opinions on titles is not very smart. Just present the solution and shut up.    Thank you
  • Microsoft FPP Product keys are sensitive case, Because Microsoft provide it for only one system at the same time, I was need the windows 7 key for my laptop to upgrade from home premium to professional, So I contact to Microsoft but they denied to give me a sigle fpp key, So I searched globally to purchase it. 
    Recently, I ordered at a site from India, They provided me 3 windows 7 pro oem keys with their stickers and 2 windows 8.1 pro oem keys, Which is legal and working good. I'm happy after getting so cheap oem licenses. 
    You can also get an unused Windows 7(any version)8, 8.1 pro License key from: <a href="">ODosta Store</a>
    Otherwise, FPP keys are very costly, Usually it come with full package with DVD media, So I suggest to buy oem keys, Which has branded from Dell, Hp, Lenovo etc, As its mean "Original Equipment Manufacturer" Goods.
  • "Let us be honest, what people really want when they ask for Windows 7 back is that it be done with the modern Windows 8 Start Screen and make their machine more mouse and keyboard friendly." Lets be totally honest - what people really want is NONE of this modern interface *****. Only fanboys and weirdos with nothing better to do then check weather apps like it. EVERYONE else on the planet totally hates this vomit of a fisher-price gui. Its as ugly as your mirror, annoying, a total hinderence to actual work, and full of bugs. It was clearly designed by a fool for suckers. So while i won't make fun of the disabled and retarded, i'm not going to stand by while you promte this **** of an OS. oh yes, now that even 10 is recognised as a ****, its good to hear the quiet majority speaking up about this failure of an OS.  
  • Truth is, don't force something new to your customers without an alternative. Let people choose. Windows 8 and up are primarly touch-screen and tablet OSs. As for "in case you're weird like that..." I second what JC Lopez said. Keep you comment up yours (with your microsoft strap-on)