So for whatever reason you have ended up with a desktop PC with Windows 8/8.1 and you hate it. Now some people actually like it in its default form, congratulations to those people on trying to bring the PC desktop back 20+ years with its full screen apps and lack of actual ‘windows’ in the default metro ui, please stay away from our desktops and go buy a tablet or something.
For the rest of us fear not, Windows 8 can be saved and made useful again.
1) Upgrade to Windows 8.1
It a free upgrade, in order to get it on Windows 8 you will need to install the normal windows updates and then find this upgrade in the Metro UI Store.
The download is over 3GB and seems more of a os reinstall than an upgrade. It is essential for some of the other fixes
2) Make it boot to the Desktop
With 8.1 we also have more options now on how our system works and can make the system boot to the desktop
Right Click on the taskbar in desktop mode and click properties
Then Click on the navigation tab and tick “When I sign in or close all applications on a screen, go to the desktop instead of start
3) Add a Proper Start Button
You may have noticed the 8.1 upgrade has added a start button. It is not a true one as it does not bring up you programs (you can make it take you to you app list but as usual its just a full screen mess of limited usefulness). Fortuity there are several replacements and I started with this article here. All have a different appeal but I while I found start menu 8 to be quite fancy, it seems gear towards a purchase of the pro version. Start Menu Reviver is a new style of start and what you would call a metro title inspired start button.
I tried them all and picked Classic Shell and feel right at home. It is free with no annoying prompts and buttons asking you to buy the “pro version” and gives you the option of 3 era’s of start menu windows 98, vista, windows 7. Also you will no longer need an IT degree to work out how to shut down the computer.
In Class Shell you can always access Metro via the start screen button.
These are all installed/uninstalled as normal programs and replace the start button in windows 8.1 on the desktop
4) Automatic login (Optional)
We need to run a program called netplwiz
You can do this via the search box on our proper start menu. When it loads in the user tab, uncheck the “User must enter a username and password to use this computer”
5) Change the default Apps
For reason know only to Microsoft most things are by default opened with the Metro full screen versions of Apps (anyone who try to rotate a picture with the shipped windows 8 will tell you have awful they are; its does actually have buttons now but it is still full screen rubbish).
You will need some new programs to open some file types as they have no non-metro version.
Adobe Reader (PDF)Picture viewer (Included with windows)
And that will do for now, there are other things but hopefully this will get you the desktop you know and love back, make you PC a productive member of society again and end the dreaming that one day Linux will actually “just work” when you bring home a new game/program.