Previous builds of Windows 8 featured a registry setting that made switching back to a Windows 7-style interface, complete with Start Menu, a simple task. Sadly, this tweak doesn't work in the recently released Consumer Preview. However, there is a way of getting it back, if you don't mind using a third-party tool.
ViStart began life as a app for Windows XP that provided a Vista-style Start Menu for the older operating system. It's since grown to include a bevy of customisation features and enhancements, and it can now be used to replace Microsoft's own implementation in Windows Vista and 7. The program is compatible with Windows 8, but you'll need to make a small adjustment once it's installed to fix a visual anomaly related to overlapping taskbar icons.
According to ghacks.net, these are the steps you should follow after installing ViStart:
- Create a new folder on the desktop or another location.
- Right-click the Windows Taskbar and select Toolbars > New Toolbar from the context menu. Select the newly created folder. You will notice that the new toolbar is placed on the right end of the taskbar.
- Right-click the taskbar again and select Lock The Taskbar. This unlocks the Windows Taskbar so that you can move the taskbar elements around.
- Now drag the new toolbar to the very left of the screen so that starts before the original toolbar with the pinned taskbar items.
- Right-click the taskbar again and uncheck Show Text and Show title in the context menu.
- Now move the original toolbar with a double-click on the separator near the start menu orb.
The Windows key will also be remapped from the Metro interface to the Start Menu.
Note that the bundled app that attempts to install itself with ViStart can be safely skipped. ViStart itself can be downloaded here.
If you give the app a try, let us know how it goes in the comments.