Like it or not most of us now have to use Windows 10 and put up with the awful bloated new user interface (punch me if I ever say “experience”).
Just about any time you hear Steve Gibson talk about Win 10, you will hear about the nice new improvements, and then the lament of how it doesn’t behave or look like something intended for a serious PC user.
Thankfully there is a lot that can be done to peel away the mask of Windows 10 to reveal the lovelyness of Windows 7 buried underneath.
How can this miracle be done ?
Well seeing as most of the Windows 7 UI is actually still in Windows 10 taking up space, mostly all it needs is the right registry changes and a reboot.
My favoured order of de-10ification (a technical term) is in 3 stages.
1) Replace the start menu with an earlier version.
This part of Windows is the only bit you have to actually re-add.
Open Shell (was Classic Shell) will replace the start menu with your choice. This includes classic Win2000/XP menus if you want. You can also use Windows 8 style if you are insane.
The menus are completely customisable and even gives you a handy way to set a custom start button. Mainly a fun feature but I can see a use in an office space where you want a company logo to always be visible perhaps.
Open Shell can also add explorer features from previous Windows. You may prefer these customisable buttons to the spammy overload of functions we now have in explorer.
NOTE: While running Open Shell it can be bypassed very easily to access the old menu if you want it by holding SHIFT.
2) Winaero Tweaker.
This handy tweaker tool gives you access to a lot of useful GUI options, including possibly the most important fix.
The ability to put the borders back on the edges of the windows so you can actually tell where they overlap with other windows of the same colour ! (you can even define how thick they are)
Enabling the Aero Lite theme that is available by default in the enterprise version of Windows, will immediately fix much of the problems with the new flat style interface MS have opted for.
Together with the other appearance settings available you should be able to make the desktop more like home.
3) Next comes re-enabling all the Windows 7 popups and panels and windows you would rather see.
Some of this can be done with the Winaero Tweaker, but I have found Ultimate Windows Tweaker to be more complete.
Both tweaker tools include useful access to hidden or obscure privacy and security settings, though again UWT beats Winaero tweaker hands-down.
UWT is handy if you want to lock-down a system and are not sure which registry switches do what.
Both tools can be used as portable apps, and both include useful contextual help to explain what the various windows features do and what changing them may do.
This makes both very handy even for just learning a bit about what is going on in there.
What you will end up with isn’t perfect, but a vastly improved desktop environment with everything you need right where you want it.