Windows 8 optimize

Tweak Windows 8 to remove the Metro Interface

We have been saying all along that you can opt out of the tiles interface in Windows 8. Mark Kaelin shows you the registry tweak to make it happen.

The Windows 8 Developer's Preview version is our first good look at the Metro Interface and its tile-based theme. However, many of the initial reactions (overreactions?) have been anti-tile and pro-desktop. And, while there is a desktop view in Windows 8, it lacks one key feature that many users, anxious to keep their desktops, feel is a must-have: the Start Menu.

Well, there is no need to fret about that anymore. Thanks to a heads-up from okorsal, we can show you a simple Registry tweak that will restore the familiar Windows Desktop complete with the Windows 7-style Start Menu. (Thanks also to geek.com for publishing the tweak.)

Registry tweak

Note: This is strictly a tip designed for the Windows 8 Developer's Preview build of the operating system. It is likely that this tip will not apply to the retail version of Windows 8.) First, start regedit. In Windows 8, if you are in the Metro Interface, you can just type r e g e d i t and that application will appear in the search, like you see in Figure A.

Figure A

Just start typing in Windows 8, and the OS will assume you want to search for an application.

Inside the registry editor, navigate to this key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer
Double-click the key labeled: RPEnabled as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

Double-click RPEnabled.
When the Edit DWORD comes up (Figure C), change the Value Data from 1 to zero and click OK.

Figure C

Change the Value data from 1 to zero.
That's it. Now, when you click the Start Menu on the Windows 8 Desktop you will get the old Start Menu you know rather than the tiled screen Microsoft is hoping you will want to know (Figure D).

Figure D

The old Start Menu is back.

Also read:

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

40 comments
mswinupdate
mswinupdate

Thanks for this article. Really helped.

delf20k
delf20k

I have yet to see a touch screen TV.

Keith Hailey
Keith Hailey

The metro start page may be great for phones and pads but I really don't like it taking 7 mouse clicks to turn off my computer. So far so good with W8 Dev. a few little quirks and setting up a dual boot with XP turned into a fiasco but nothing non-recoverable.

selki007email-throwaway
selki007email-throwaway

Like the vast majority of home users, I use my PC primarily for Internet/email, games and word processing and, in addition to the user interface, users are interested in stability and speed. Touch screen and metro may work great on a cell phone or laptop but are less than worthless to me or most desktop PC users, especially gamers. First, I don't want greasy fingerprints all over my screen or my hands in the way of seeing the game or content. Also, while Mahjongg or Bejeweled could be played using touch screen, most the games I like simply will not work without a keyboard/mouse or game controller. Second, the search capabilities of Windows is more than adequate already. However, the Task Manager and File Extensions features do look like great improvements. Third, one double click on my desktop icon and I'm where I want to go while Metro users will still be scrolling through search. The first thing virtually all businesses and most home users will do is get rid of that totally ugly, worthless metro interface and go back to the extremely user friendly, fast and attractive desktop. So Metro should be an option only for those who want it. Try having employees be productive using touch screen and businesses will quickly return to keyboard and mouse. With a keyboard and mouse my hands and arms are out of the way and in the most comfortable position possible. Not so with a touch screen. Ok, so this is pre-beta, but now is the time to speak up and say NO I don't want, need or like what I'm seeing so far and do not want the things I DO want, need and like made incompatible!

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

It seems to me that too many of you are overlooking the fact that a touch interface is approaching ubiquity in the computer market. Not only do our cell phones now have touch, our tablets have touch, but now even many of our desktops have touch. Just go to any Best Buy or equivalent store and you'll find that many, if not most PCs there have touch, including the desktops. The problem is, Windows 7 does not know how to do touch properly. Here's the thing: Microsoft has been trying to promote touch for over a decade now and because the developers--you guys, for instance--have been so focused on sticking to the old point & click world, Windows touch has gone nowhere; allowing Apple to make a huge leap ahead with its iOS and guide people more naturally into a touch interface for the desktop. The developers, not Microsoft, are to blame for Microsoft's failure to innovate when it wouldn't have been a 'Me too' circumstance. Now, because of the developers' procrastination, Microsoft is practically having to force it down our throats and even now you're trying to stop the unstoppable. Embrace the change. Develop the software to use touch properly. Show Microsoft what touch should really look like. Because honestly, I hate their current look of Metro.

wsohplz
wsohplz

I try the tweak and it work, but a rectangular black block of Time& Date at the bottom right hand corner cannot be remove or shift to other position and also on top of all application open, how to solve this? Thanks!

rtroy56
rtroy56

Once you remove the smart phone interface (which is useless on a real PC), and you put QuickLaunch back in, looks exactly like Win 7 does on my PC's. And works surprisingly well except for the missing things like games and the few programs that companies like HP carefully write to not allow them to work under a new OS.

x-windows user
x-windows user

If you add quicklaunch to windows 8 as well as turn off metro, the start menu button turns into the round icon from windows 7

Realvdude
Realvdude

Seemed to run fine under Hypervisor 1 core 768Mb RAM. Installed size about 12Gb. Funny thing I discovered when installing at home; Windows 7 Virtual Pc is limited to 32bit guests. I loaded it under Virtualbox instead, to have the developer tools. Overall I'd have to call the Metro interface a new Start Menu, not a new interface. Our web application depends on a 32bit ActiveX viewer, which ran fine under the 32 bit IE (not the default), as it does on Vista and Win7 64 bit OSes. I was able to add a shortcut to the Metro Start Menu, but after closing IE, it returns to the desktop, rather than the Metro. I suspect that behavior will change closer to release, and may end up being selectable (for the manufacturer any). FYI - Hypervisor is an option in Windows Features. Since I am running under Hypervisor, the core option was disabled.

tiredoftechrepublic
tiredoftechrepublic

I see I have a negative vote already... Does the caster want to offer better insight or an explanation for refuting my opinion?

tiredoftechrepublic
tiredoftechrepublic

Yes, I have downloaded the Windows 8 Developers Preview, and installed it, as well. I used Oracle's VirtualBox (www.virtualbox.org) to run it in a VM. My first impression during installation was being offended at the push to link it to my MS account... the very last choice was the option to create a standard user name. During installation, I noticed the crude 'slide switches'... and then realized that this new UI for an old bloated code base, was indeed, rushed out, so that MSFT may grab as much of the tablet and smart phone business as possible. How hard could it be, MSFT? To finally get off your a$$ and have a sound back-end which would be interfaced by numerous skins? Users dont care about the code, other than it works dependably and efficiently. What they care about is the interface. These are my suggestions: 1) Fix the bloated code base that Windows has become. i.e., quit adding to it and build a robust platform. 2) Design UI's that everyone can use. i.e., use 'skins' that can make users comfortable with change (because it still looks familiar and they don't have to learn a new way to do things.) Take the 'Ribbon" interface that was forced down the business worlds throat, beginning with Office 2007. It has cost the companies that use(d) Office, quite a bit of money in lost productivity and retraining. This could all have been avoided by letting users choose the UI they wanted... "Click here to use Office 2003 interface". When they came out with Win7, most people thought it was too soon. Now Win8 is coming in so fast, it smells like greed. I already know the majority of the business world is pretty tired of the 'push tactics' used by MSFT. They (MSFT) are falling over themselves to get the latest 'new' thing out to the masses. Remember when we had a new model (major change) in automobiles about every four years? Well that didn't make them as much money, so now we have a new model every year! Thinking about buying a cell phone? Hesitant to sign up for a two-year contract, when you know that your phone will be outdated (or will be made to feel that it is) by next week? Well don't worry, that hesitant feeling is your common sense, letting you know something is wrong. As an aside, this is a post to my Facebook friends, who had an e-fit, after yesterdays latest UI change. (Which, by the way, we will probably see even more (changes), because of the Google+ rollout.) "The main thing to remember is to bitch to the correct people. Bitching to your friends or the world at large isn't helping matters. Bitch to the developers... they are the ones who are making the changes, not your friends. The world changes so quickly these days, and if you ARE pouring 100% of your energy into changing it for the good (probably with he use of a computer and its respective UI's), having to accept change in your primary tool, so often, just brings more frustration. Can you imagine a carpenter, who is trying to build a house, having to change the way he interfaces with his hammer or saw, every week or so? He would most likely give up, because true productivity comes from being familiar with the interface to the point it becomes second nature." Same goes for MSFT.

ombm
ombm

I think this will be great for touch Tablets with the Metro tiles, but I don't see that purpose useful for non-touch devices. However, I like the tweak as I love the interface of Windows7. But there is one problem, how do we get the look of the Start button from Windows7 on Windows8?? I find the new button on Win8 a bit plain as oppose to a nice fresh look of Windows7 button. That would be a great tweak!!!

mike
mike

I like both start menu's in their place. Can you get it so that when you call the desktop from Metro the start button works as it did?

carlsf
carlsf

Have to do a regeristery tweek to get what should be an option. And if they screw up the O/S then MS will say your problem should NOT be there. Na not for us WIN8

swmace
swmace

We have it running on an ASUS EEE slate. We had to delete and redetect the wireless adapter to get it to connect to our wireless networks, but after that it seems to work great.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Have you downloaded Windows 8 Developer's Preview?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

It's out of date. That trick was removed in subsequent releases.

velvetz11
velvetz11

Thank You!! For all you do for this great nation. Happy Veterans Day!

rtroy56
rtroy56

You make a good point about greasy fingerprints. You should see the screen of my wife's Moto Droid. I could shave off the grease. On the PC screen I don't want grease and fingerprints.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm not a developer. I don't have a touch device. I don't support any touch devices.

rtroy56
rtroy56

I think touch screens are great on smart phones. And on specialized larger screens, like for things like hotel check in. On other things, not so much. For instance; I have 2 new printers. One has a touch screen, the other has a context based keypad set that looks like a touch screen. The touch screen is a real pain to use, with mistakes common. The other one looks almost as nice but is so much easier to use. I don't care what developers want. I'm a former developer, and when I designed a GUI it was based on what was good for the users given the technology I had to work with. I do find it very easy to use a MOUSE. Not a mouseball, not a trackball, not a large touch screen. And I type well. So I don't need MS dictating that I change. But if they offer me a choice, with an ability to pick the best of two or more worlds of interface style, they will get my attention.

mikael_grindbo
mikael_grindbo

Some 20-25 years monitors were in some cases equipped with buttons around the screen. Th buttons quickly disappeared partly due to shoulder problems. It puts a lot of stress on the shoulders to point towards the screen to press a button. With a tablet, it's a completely different ballgame...

ombm
ombm

By the way, how do you add quicklaunch to windows 8 as well as turn off metro? I'm going through the options but can't seem to find it. Thanks!

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

The keyword is preview - this is not even a beta version of Windows 8. But even with that said, I find Windows 8 to be anything but bloated. It boots from power on to login screen in 11 seconds on my lowly Dell Studio Hybrid test PC. Perhaps it is your VM that makes Windows 8 seem bloated.

Rndmacts
Rndmacts

I wouldn't worry, the final version will either give the option of classic view with everything looking like Window 7 but with the new ribbon in explorer or it could also check the system hardware during setup and if it doesn't find any touch capable device actually installs the old desktop environment. As this prerelease is for a targeted audience I wouldn't start fretting until it gets to Beta 2 stage.

ndveitch
ndveitch

It would be good to have the option for both. I do like the Start Menu as it was, and if possible also a link back to the Metro. What is the process that starts the Metro, cause then maybe it could be placed as a Start Menu Item? All in all I must just say that I am really impressed with Win 8 and can't wait for this to finally be released :)

ombm
ombm

Well isn't a tweak an option??

egmccann
egmccann

Not Public Beta, not final (or even close to final) Release Candidate, and certainly not Final Product. It's being put out primarily so developers can adjust to and work with it and see what may need adjusting for their products. The wider release is just gravy for those of us who have to (or like) playing with early releases to get a feel for what's coming. If it's like this in the final version (which I would find rather... short sighted of Microsoft to not have the option somewhere "official,") then you'd have a point.

seanferd
seanferd

Why play with alpha or beta stage software if you plan on looking at it as if it were a finished product?

ffries
ffries

I tried running it on my Toughbook CF-29, but had a tendancy to lock up hard (power off/on). I have a dual core x64 system, just hadn't had a chance to load it up on that.

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

booger-residue, and every other thing under human fingernails. Office workers may be forced to wear latex gloves at their desks once touch-screens 'take off in the enterprise'...and until bursitis and rotator cuff problems become epidemic.

mikael_grindbo
mikael_grindbo

I thought "classic" was the standard interface of w2k or the classic option in win xp. But maybe something that is two-three years old should now be considered classic The only thing that seems to be consistent in pc-interfaces is constant change...

kevin.stafferton
kevin.stafferton

Just had a play and found pressing the Windows key twice will switch between Metro and the desktop. I also notice that it removed the ribbon. Whether that is good or bad is up to personal preference.

David A. Pimentel
David A. Pimentel

A user option would be discoverable via the UI either during or after installation. A Tweak is just a hack that is not for the common user. Of course, these definitions don't necessarily apply to pre-release versions.

brian
brian

... would be to try to encourage early developers to find interesting ways to make use of the new interface. If all of the early developers immediately turn it off with a one-click setting and work on their apps in that environment, of course it's going to be terrible once released.

selki007email-throwaway
selki007email-throwaway

Because that is exactly the best time to let MS know what you like or don't like. What are you trying to say? Wait until it's finished then gripe?