How to . . . get your Classic Windows look back

Upgraded your old laptop? Wondering if you’ll ever get used to Windows 10? Read on...

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock

 

If you got a new laptop for Christmas, it more than likely came with Windows 10 pre-installed on it. Maybe you love the new look and all the different things it brings with it; or maybe you long for the simpler times of Windows 7 and wish it could all go back to a nice, straightforward Start menu.

Either way, it’s likely you’ve got to grips with your new tech, and have definite opinions on Microsoft’s new(ish) operating system.

For many people, the Start Menu is the real sticking point. Although Windows 10 is not the first time the Start menu has changed from the familiar format we all knew - that came with Windows 8 - it’s still not quite what you would be used to if you were coming from Windows 7 or even Windows XP.

So maybe you want to get back to that look. Luckily, there is (almost) always a way. To give your new Windows machine a retro look, you’ll need to install a programme called Classic Shell. It’s free - although donations are always appreciate and accepted - but it does mean that you need admin rights for the PC you are hoping to roll back.

When I say roll back, I mean visually. Your computer will still have Windows 10 on it, unless you feel like reinstalling an older operating system you just happen to have access to from scratch. Classic Shell changes a few elements, not everything, but it certainly makes it easier to find your way around.

To get the retro look

Go to classicshell.net and download the software. When the download has finished, open the ClassicShell.exe file you downloaded, and let the programme run.

Once you have the software installed - it takes a matter of minutes - you can start to set it up. Click the Start button and you will be given a choice of three styles: Classic style, Classic with two columns and Windows 7 style. Which style you choose depends on how far back you want to roll things. You can also replace the Start button with something that looks like it predates Windows XP.

However, if you change your mind and want to see the Windows 10 style, click on the Start Menu>StartMenu (Windows) and things will go back to normal temporarily. If you decide you prefer the Windows 10 style menus after all, you can uninstall Classic Shell. Go to Control panel>programs and features and double click Classic Shell in the programmes list. You will be prompted for confirmation that you want to uninstall the software.

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