A Week With Windows 8: Day Six – Making 8 Work For Me

First off guys, I’d like to apologise for not updating this series sooner. I went out last night with a really good friend of mine for a belated birthday celebration as it was my birthday last week but he was on holiday. Unfortunately we didn’t get home until around 04:30 in the morning, at which point I was in no fit state to even talk, let alone write a post. So I’m really sorry guys!

Now, on with the Windows 8 saga…

So I finished ‘hacking’ Windows 8 in order to make it work how I want it to work. I was expecting it to take a long time to have Windows 8 working even close to how I want it to work. The good news is that I now have Windows 8 pretty much working in the same way that Windows 7 would work and the even better news is that it only took the installation and configuration of one application – Classic Shell. Here is a quick peek at my customised Windows 8 ‘classic’ desktop:

Yes you are right, that is a start button and start menu!

What is Classic Shell?

Classic Shell is an Open Source project that allows you to create a custom start menu that can look like the classic Windows start menu, Windows XP or Windows Vista/7 style. The settings in Classic Shell allow you to bypass the Windows 8 metro launcher, so straight from logon you get your traditional desktop back.

Furthermore, Classic Shell binds itself to your Windows key (you can get Metro up by pressing shift+Windows key) and it has Windows Explorer integration. Basically, in this single, fantastic, Open Source application you can have your ‘normal’ Windows back.

What I really like about Classic Shell is that it still has the new Metro features installed like the corner hot spots and the ‘settings panel’. So Classic Shell turns Windows 8 into what I believe it always should have been. A typical desktop with some great new features like the ribbon interface on Explorer.

Oh yeah, Classic Shell also patches Internet Explorer to make it work like IE9 normally works instead of the stupid right-click centric user interface that is default in Windows 8. Here is a video tour of my new look Windows 8 desktop:

[youtube id="fWaZu8ql4fI" width="600" height="350"]

Conclusion

Now I have Windows 8 working for me instead of the other way around I am much, much happier. I can work again without having to work out where things are, wasting time and generally annoying myself. There are other such applications out there that do a similar thing to Classic Shell, but this is the most comprehensive application that doesn’t take a lot of system resources (hardly any in fact) yet works exquisitely.

Over the next few weeks and months, I think applications like Classic Shell will be seeing a huge rise in downloads. Remember, Classic Shell is an Open Source project that relies on donations to keep it up and running. So if you decide to install Classic Shell and you like what they do, why not consider donating to them to say thanks.

Today is my final day with Windows 8, so come back tomorrow to see a final summary and my final thoughts on Windows 8.

Day Seven – Ubuntu how I have missed thee —->

A Week With Windows 8: Day Six – Making 8 Work For Me
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