How To Make Windows 8.1 Look Like Windows 7

Not everyone loves the default look of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. There are millions of Windows users who have been forced (or, at least they think so) to use the latest version of Windows operating system and its modern features such as Start screen and apps.

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The best thing about Windows is that you can configure and customize it to your liking. If you are a Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 user and don’t like the default look of Windows, you can easily transform your Windows 8/8.1 into Windows 7 in a few minutes. You will need to download some free tools and change some settings to get back Windows 7 look and feel in Windows 8/8.1.

Just follow the below mentioned instructions to make your Windows 8/8.1 look and feel like Windows 7.

NOTE: We advise you create a system restore point so that you can quickly revert to original Windows 8/8.1 look.

Disable Start screen: Start screen is the first thing that you see when you log-in to your account. While Windows 8.1 users can configure Windows boot directly to desktop, you might just want to completely disable it and replace it with a Start menu.

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In order to disable the Start screen, and other Modern UI features, you need to use a free tool named Metro Killer. The beauty of this tool is that it completely disables the Start screen and also helps you disable all hot corners. However, the catch is that it will enable all Metro features again during the next restart.

Disable Charms bar and hot corners: Again, you can use the excellent Metro Killer software to disable Charms bar. Since Metro Killer (use the above mentioned link to download it) turns on all charms again after a restart, you can use Skip Metro Suite program to permanently disable one or more hot corners in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.

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Install a Start menu: Even though Microsoft has added the Start button back in Windows 8.1, it doesn’t help you open the Start menu. So you need to either install Classic Shell, ViStart, IObit Start8 or any other program (there are plenty of them) to enable the Start menu in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.

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Once installed, configure it to show Start menu when you press the Windows logo key and also when you click on the Start button.

Disable lock screen: Disabling the lock screen is fairly simple and you don’t need to download any tool for that. You can follow our how to disable the lock screen in Windows 8 guide to turn off the feature in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.

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Enable Aero: There are a couple of tools out there to enable Aero glass transparency in Windows 8. You can either use WinAero Aero Glass Enabler or use Aero Glass tool. While WinAero Aero Glass Enabler is easy to use, installing Aero Glass isn’t very straight-forward but it enables native Windows 7 Aero with blur effect. You can go through the instructions provided on the developer’s page to see detailed instructions to install Aero Glass.

Please note, that separate downloads are available for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. Be sure to download the right one.

Install Windows 7 visual style: Now that you have enabled Aero, you might like to install a Windows 7-style Aero visual style as well. There are a couple of good Windows 7-style visual styles available for Windows 8.

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We recommend you visit this page of DeviantArt website to Aero8 (Windows 7 visual style for designed for Windows 8). As you may know, just like its predecessors, Windows 8 doesn’t support installing third-party visual styles. In order install downloaded visual style, you need to first install UxStyle Core software and then follow our how to install third-party visual styles in Windows 8/8.1 guide.

Change default programs: By default, Windows 8 opens your photos with the Modern Photos apps, music files in Music app and your video files in Video app. As these default programs aren’t as powerful as the desktop programs, we suggest you set your favorite desktop software to open audio, video and photos. Follow the given below instructions to set a desktop program as your default program to open pictures, audio and video files.

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Right-click on a picture file, click Open with, click Choose default program and then click Windows Photo Viewer to set it as the default one. Likewise, right-click on an audio file, select Open with, select Choose default program and select Windows Media Player or any other installed third-party media player.

Next, right-click on a video file, click Open with, click Choose default program and select your favorite media player.

Disable Explorer Ribbon: Microsoft has introduced Office-style ribbon in Windows 8’s explorer. It lets you quickly access various explorer features without having to open Folder Options. If you want to restore the old style explorer, simply download and run Ribbon Disabler tool to get Windows 7-style file explorer in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.

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Windows 7 wallpaper: Finally, if you are really serious about getting Windows 7 look in Windows 8 or 8.1, you will have to download the original Windows 7 desktop background as well. You can visit this page to download the wallpaper.

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Right-click on the wallpaper and then click Set as desktop background to apply it as your desktop wallpaper.



  1. heather says

    after my trusty laptop died I was forced into a windows 8.1 replacement. Nothing but problems! The cpu runs at 80-90% for no particular reason, apps are near impossible to remove, as are the random corners, despite spending days trying to remove/fix the above. Note, never use the windows apps store as then it takes over every aspect of your computer, forcing login etc. Finally managed to get the system simplified when it completely crashed and has forced me to go back to factory settings. Here we go again! Beyond frustrating, timeconsuming and pointless! Avoid, avoid, avoid!

  2. sumncguy says

    Windows 8 sucks period. It takes forever to boot and the interface, the entire interface with maybe the exception of the “desktop” is cumbersome. Id like to know what technical lead ok’d this interface.

    I think Im going to load Linux on all three of these new laptops my girls got for Christmas. Good by Windows, your run will soon be over if you keep this kind of slop up …. guess you didnt learn from 98 and Vista.

  3. Rochina Paoletta says

    absolutely hate, hate, hate window 8. the mouse flickers and goes all over the place, it changes sites by itself, etc. without doing it purposely.

    OMG, the worst windows ever made!

  4. Flynn Warren says

    I was given a Windows 8 laptop to use by my company. After total frustration of even trying to start PowerPoint and find my presentations, I turned it back into the company. I am keeping my XP machine because at least all my software works on it. It seems like the last couple of Windows upgrades have been downgrades. Watch out Apple or Linux; I may be coming.

  5. Mik says

    Thank you. If I’m ever forced to upgrade to 8, I’ll try this so that it’s not such an eyesore.

  6. Techland says

    Thanks for this summary. However there seems to be something wrong. The AeroGlass tool is as dead as can be. The link to the ‘developer’s page’ of that tool IMHO points to a new and totally different software (thanks for that) which seems to be better than anything else released so far (namend ‘Aero Glass for Windows 8’).

    And how could you miss to include Gadgets? There are now two tools available to bring them back. I ported my existing gadgets from W7 to W8 (by simply copying the gadgets folder), then enabling them with those tools – perfect!

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