Ask LH: How Can I Kill Windows 8?

Ask LH: How Can I Kill Windows 8?

Dear Lifehacker, I am a Windows person, but I have to ask: Is there a way to get rid of Windows 8 before I hit my PC with an axe? I just cannot stand it any longer and would like to come back to Windows 7 to live happily after ever. Please help avoid a murder. Thank you, Windows8Murderer

Image: Alan Levine

Dear Windows8Murderer,

Have you considered Linux? That’s asked only partly in jest, because while it’s feasible to shift from Windows 8 back to Windows 7, it largely depends on the downgrade rights relative to how you got hold of Windows in the first place. For some laptops running some versions of Windows 8 it’s a feasible deal, but not every single system.

Failing that, your other option would be to make the sections of Windows 8 that are driving you towards axes less of an annoyance. If you haven’t upgraded it to Windows 8.1 yet, that’s highly recommended, if only for the option to boot straight to a desktop. If what you miss most is the actual classic start menu, then a tool such as Classic Shell might be worth checking out.

Or you could hit your PC with an axe, although that will void both your warranty and your licensing rights to that copy of Windows.

Cheers Lifehacker

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  • I spent $3 on a start menu substitute (Start Is Back in my case, Start 8 is another I liked. Classic Shell is free — I didn’t get around to trying that), and suddenly Win8 is (mostly) great. Stable, boots quickly.

    I never delve into Metro except when there’s no alternative (wifi). You will need to change default applications for various document types depending on what you do (eg open JPGs with the classic desktop Preview, not the metro version).

    Is it worth $3? Absolutely. Did Microsoft drop the ball with Win8’s start screen? Absolutely.

    • I think people tend to look at the Start Screen with the wrong idea. I was speaking with a colleague of mine (We are support techs for a Managed Services Provider) and things went something like this:

      Colleague: “You can’t even run all your programs within the Metro. What is the point of it? There are too many things on the Start Screen. RAGE! (Yes, he did yell out RAGE! )”

      Response: “It is a full screen Start Menu with big arse links I can’t miss and can read. Nothing more, nothing less.” (Trust me, the start menu of old is tiny on a 14 inch full HD screen. Large icons are a gift of the gods.)

      Colleague: “…Fair point.”

      The point is, peoples idea of Metro is that of a replacement of Windows Explorer. Microsoft didn’t help at all with this idea. Windows RT does that, but that is a different story.

      Update to Windows 8.1 Update 1 (Has Shutdown, Logoff and related options at the top right) and use it as a start menu. One massive start menu. With programs you want in a nice layout. That is it.

      • I love the start screen. Its big has icons you don’t need to read any text, just look for the icon.
        Then again people love old heavy underpowered cars, so why not love old heavy underpowered os’s

  • Would have been helpful if “Windows8Murderer” said what he/she was having a problem with in the first place…! Stating that you are a “Windows person” means squat without qualification. If from Windows 7, then use Windows Eight like Windows Seven… It’s that simple..! If from a previous version, then you clearly should just go to Linux, you are out of date, and just wasting our time…!

  • Windows8Murderer, Stop being a sook.

    Windows 8.1 has changed the OS for the better. Identify your problems and fix them.

  • Sounds like a typical “I hate change rant”. Not sure why this question was even entertained.

  • The main fix is that update to 8.1 – But i truely believe Laptops should start rolling out with this pre-installed.

    Windows 8.0 even from a veteran windows 7/XP standpoint is confusing at first – and less confusing but still annoying to work with later.

    Having that panel show up on the side making you want to flick back to the tiles is a pure pain in the ass. I help fix Windows 8 laptops and there’s nothing worse then a being handed an already slow machine running windows 8 with a virus.

    I truly wish you could quickly and completely disable the tiles and everything they bring to the desktop/laptop windows experience – Because it is NOT needed in the workplace.

    • They are rolling it out with 8.1. It just takes a while for the old stock to clear out.

  • Easy, just stop using Metro. Boot to the desktop, and use a Start Menu program like Classic Shell or Start8, and you’ll soon forget that the W8 part of the O/S is even there.

      • No, WillD is talking Start Menu not the MetroButton, so you still need one until MS finally put a menu in.

        • Sorry but I didn’t see anything to do with a Start buttonuse a Start Menu program like Classic Shell or Start8No start button mentioned..

          • You said its built into 8.1, the only thing thats built into 8.1 that has any relevance is the button. So perhaps you could elaborate about what your talking about being built into 8.1

          • You can tell Windows 8.1 to start in desktop mode without an external program. Right click taskbar, Properties, navigation, start screen…

          • Ahh that’s where the confusion was, WillD was suggesting a start menu replacement program for the start menu not the boot to desktop (thats how i interpreted it).

  • With the option to boot to desktop, I don’t see what the problem is with the metro interface. What can’t it do that the start bar could? I can see how it is annoying loading by default.

  • Why not just make it simple:
    Back up your data, format the C drive and nuke it from orbit… i mean, install Windows 7.
    That’s the only way to be sure.
    If you upgraded from windows 7 to 8, then you have my deepest condolences. If your laptop or PC came with Win8, research & download drivers, backup data, wipe disk and install Win7.

  • With boot to desktop, Win8.1 is mostly an improved Win7 with a different method for loading applications (essentially a different Start Menu). If the relatively minor changes in Win8.1 compared to Win7 are driving you to murder, I would not remotely recommend moving to a completely different platform like Linux. I’m trying to save your life here!

    If you are still on Win8, update to 8.1 and then 8.1 Update 1 immediately. It makes a big difference and offers excellent improvements for Desktop users.

    Download a start menu replacement, some mentioned above, and this will basically give you Windows 7 back with the improved elements (such as much improved file copy performance) of the Win 8.1 Desktop.

  • I spent just less than 2 hours to customized my Win 8 and now people would think I’m using Windows 7, like seriously, free programs are everywhere to “transform” Windows 8, Start Button, aero, boot to desktop, everything!
    I use the Start Screen as the place for shortcuts I don’t use often, the desktop for programs I use most often.
    Windows 8 has a significant performance improvements after 7, as well. So if you’re an actual “Windows” person, you’d have found a way to make things “work” for you, and because a lot of people have already done it! Took a bit of time and no money!

  • i was forced into using windows 8 at work, hated it at the start because it was ‘different to what i was used to’ been using it now for almost 2 years and love it. i have windows 7 at home and love that, but will shortly upgrade to 8.1. i find 8.1 much more user friendly now compared to 7 and YES, that includes METRO (although i dont bother using any apps).

    • Go to Windows 8.1 Update 1. Microsoft FINALLY put a shutdown feature at the top of the Start Screen.

      But agree. Been using WIndows 8.x for about 18 months as a Server Admin, and having no issues. Just an interface to learn.

      But make me use a MAc again and I’ll end time itself!

      • ditto on everything you said.

        although for shut downs and restarts cant go past Alt +F4 on the desktop for the pop-up options.

        and love all the windows key + xx shortcuts too. just got a learn ’em all

  • Honestly, Classicshell is the best thing you can install to get Windows back the way you like it. Everything after that is a breeze. Windows 8.1 works way better under the hood on 64bit systems too, so it’s win-win really.

  • Or you could spend the less than 10 minutes that is needed to update your I.T skills that will last you long ito the future. Then you will be wondering what all the fuss about win8 is for. Why bring back a pointless start menu? Why try and disable modernui (metro)? Cause your I.T skills suck, that’s why.

  • I can live with the Windows 8 user interface changes etc, especially with Classic Shell installed.
    However, since the the Windows 8 Preview, I have not been able to get clear text in IE and Office 2013. The problem persists with Win 8.1.1.
    None of the fixes posted on various support forums work. Nor did trying different hardware or video card drivers.

    So, I can understand the OP wanting to kill it.
    Luckily, I still have Windows 7 & Office 2010 licences, so they remain my main productivity tools.
    The only reason I occasionally boot into Windows 8.1 is to see if the awful blurry font rendering has been fixed.

  • I like the speed and reliability of Windows 8 and see no reason to change. I rarely use Metro but simply use the windowskey-s sequence to search for whatever app I want to run.

  • For the average, non-power user Windows 8/8.1/8.1update1 are fine. You never made windows work to your advantage in the first place. There is a difference between “users” and users. Kinda like the difference between a console gamer, a pc gamer, and a gamer.

    There is nothing wrong with Windows8, it’s a fine product, but I’ve never met more backward-thinking people than those who get behind Windows8 when someone says they want to use Windows7.

    It shouldn’t even be an issue, and the fact that it is, IS the issue. If someone wants to use Windows7 why can’t they? If someone doesn’t want to use Windows8, why can’t they?
    As someone who bought a laptop that was incredibly difficult to downgrade to Windows7, I understand where the OP is coming from.

    Windows8 isn’t an upgrade from Windows7, it’s a different beast. Sure on the surface (pun not intended) it seems very similar, the desktop mode is almost identical, but the under-the-hood treatment is vastly different. It’s designed with computer illiterates in mind, and if you’ve had to ask someone else how to fix or do something on a computer this includes you.

    Yes I prefer Windows7, it had a clear design ethic, it’s polished and works. I would love to love Windows8, and even used it for several weeks because I wanted the “toasts” that Windows8 offers, but it just doesn’t offer any improvements, and suffers from schizophrenia.

    • Seriously? OK how about a test. we shall both copy a file and we will see which finishes first. We will do a cold boot and see which boots first…. we will run a MSF scan against each other and see who comes up with more vulns. People are always afraid of change. As most have said, metro? wtf is that i never use it? I don’t use the 8 apps. and it runs well! go have some concrete and grab a ditro for noobs like zorin or mint.

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