Thursday, August 1, 2013

Make Windows 8 Look Like Windows XP or Windows 7 - Yes it Can!

Unfortunately, but a stark reality, many people don't want to give up their Windows XP or Windows 7 (sorry Vista) for Windows 8. I read a nicely done blog post, The Metro Haters Guide to Windows 8.1 Preview by ZDNet writer, Ed Bott that makes that change smoother.

Personally, I just helped my mother-in-law get a new laptop and followed Ed's instructions so she would feel more comfortable and not have to work hard to get through the new look of Windows 8.

First of all, the Windows 8 Desktop looks just like Windows 7 but without a Start Button. So if this is your only complaint about Windows 8, then stop right here and just click on the Desktop tile and work from there. That's what I do but I digress.
However, go backwards just a little, the first thing I did was to get the Start Button back and I used Classic Shell which is FREE by the way. Classic Shell will indeed put the Start Button back, but unlike Windows 8.1 Preview, it will put the Start Menu with it! Classic Shell does a couple more things but we'll stop here. See a previous blog post of mine about bringing back the Windows Start Button

Next was to force Windows 8 to skip the new ("metro") Start Screen and go right to the Windows Desktop, like XP or Windows 7. Here I used Skip Metro Suite which is also FREE. Again, Windows 8.1, when it comes out, will do this but in the meantime Skip Metro Suite will do the trick.
Lastly, my mother-in-law didn't like the idea of having to logon to her laptop. I know many of you agree but there are very good reasons to do this, least of which is laptop and data security. Windows 8 has 2 things than take place when it starts. One is to log into Windows Live, an account you will create or log into when you first install or start up that new machine. And secondly there is a Lock Screen (like the old screen saver) that requires a password to get past. Again, all for good and just security.

Turning off the Lock Screen is a bit "geeky" so here goes. Hit Win Key + R and type gpedit.msc into the space and hit Enter. If Windows 8 says that gpedit.msc cannot be found is is really because you don't have the Pro version of Windows 8-you have Windows 8 Home Premium which is fine. . Don't worry though. If it opens, follow the instructions from Disabling the Windows 8 Lock Screen by Paul Thurott, a tech writer who closely follows Microsoft. If you cannot open gpedit.msc, then the Windows Registry is the place and this is "geeky" to the max.   To avoid having to go into the Registry and navigating the very long folder names, here is a link to a program that does the work for you.  See How to Disable the Windows 8 Lock Screen Without Using the Group Editor. Click the program to Disable the Lock Screen. There is also  program is to Enable the Lock Screen if and when you desire.
The second required logon, the Windows Live or Local Sign On if you don't want to do the Windows Live portion can be bypassed in Control Panel. I do NOT recommend this personally but here is what I did. Caution!--this too is a bit "techy". I went to Change her Password and instead of typing in a new password I left the password blank. See the precise steps below.

  • Go to the Control Panel
  • Choose User Accounts and Family Safety
  • Choose User Accounts
  • Choose Manage Accounts
  • Choose Change an Account
  • Choose the Account (typically just yours as Administrator)
  • Change the Password
  • Enter the Current Password
  • Leave the two password spaces blank.
  • Leave the Hint blank
  • Hit Enter or Click OK.
I really apologize that these last few steps are lengthy and techy in nature and many of you won't attempt them for fear of messing something up. Frankly all, this is a good thing. However, if the result is more important, then go for it. I am not responsible for mistakes made or how your PC responds. Just a friendly disclaimer folks.

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