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How to Make Windows 10 Feel More Like Windows 7


How to Make Windows 10 Feel More Like Windows 7

Windows 7 is finally riding off into the sunset. On Jan. 14, 2020, Microsoft's Extended Support will cease, meaning you won't get bug fixes or security updates, and Microsoft won't provide tech support for computers running the now-outdated software. So it's pretty critical to upgrade if you want to avoid malware and other issues.

Windows 10 is still available as a free upgrade from Windows 7, but it comes with a few changes and additional features that 7 loyalists may not like. With a bit of tweaking, though, you can make yourself feel at home.

(Note that if you really don't want to upgrade to Windows 10, Windows 8 is still in extended support for a few more years. However, you have to pay for a license, and they're a bit harder to come by. Some of these tweaks may work for 8, but we'll be focusing on Windows 10 for this guide.)

Spruce Up the Start Menu
Spruce Up the Start Menu
When you first click on Windows 10's Start menu, you'll be greeted with a slightly more modern interface stuffed with junk apps like Candy Crush and Disney Magic Kingdoms. You can take a trip through the Uninstall menu to get rid of some pre-installed bloatware, but built-in apps like Mail will still be present.

If you prefer a cleaner, tile-less Start menu, clean it up by right-clicking on any tile and choosing "Unpin from Start." If you unpin all the tiles, you'll be left with something a bit simpler.

If that isn't enough, you can bring back a much more Windows 7-esque Start menu with a program called Open Shell (formerly known as Classic Shell). Not only does it recreate the Windows 7 Start menu in Windows 10, but it lets you fully customize the Start button, bring back the old toolbar in Windows Explorer, and revive the old File Copy UI.

Give it a more modern theme or go with something more old-school, and customize every inch of it so each button does exactly what you want. If you're really hell-bent on making Windows 10 feel like Windows 7, Open Shell is a must.

Fix File Explorer
Fix File Explorer
Windows 10's File Explorer isn't hugely different from its Windows 7 counterpart, but Microsoft did make some weird decisions here. For example, the new Quick Access menu feels more like clutter than a set of useful shortcuts, yet it's front and center in Windows 10.

If you head to File > Change folder and search options, you can put things back in their rightful place. Change the "Open File Explorer To" drop-down to "This PC," and uncheck both boxes under Privacy regarding Quick Access. You can then unpin items under Quick Access to clean up the sidebar.

Then there's the ribbon menu...the oh-so-controversial ribbon, with its weirdly sized buttons and clunky-to-navigate layout. Minimize the Ribbon by clicking the arrow in the upper-right corner, and you'll rarely need it since most of its options are available in File Explorer's right-click menu.

If you truly want to banish the ribbon from your system, Open Shell can do it, but so can a small tool called Ribbon Disabler. Just be careful with software like this, as it can occasionally break things—thankfully, there's an option to return the ribbon to its original state if you change your mind.

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