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Changing Windows 8 defaults

Posted on 2013-12-09
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Last Modified: 2013-12-09
I have recently bought 4 Laptops for my children for thier schoolwork as well as entertainment (they are getting them for Christmas).
The Laptops run Windows 8 as I could not find any with Windows 7 and the downgrade (upgrade) is too expensive.

The laptops are not Touchscreen and I would like to set them to get rid of the tiles and just have a desktop with icons.

I have been told by many people that Windows 8 is not intuative at all and I would like to set them up so the children are up and running quickly. They all use Windows 7 at the moment.

Could someone advise me on how I can set the laptops to be easier for them to use.
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Question by:jetbet
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
ID: 39707584
I recommend the excellent (and free!) Classic Shell:
http://www.classicshell.net/

I not only don't like the W8 interface, I don't like the W7/Vista and XP interfaces, so I've been using Classic Shell to give me the good old W2K (truly Classic!) interface on all of my Vista, W7, and W8 computers (on XP, I use its built-in capability to get the classic Start menu via Control Panel>Taskbar and Start Menu>Start Menu>Classic Start menu). Of course, if you prefer, you may configure Classic Shell to give you the XP or Vista/W7 interface on W8. Since all of your children use W7 now, your choice is simple – configure Classic Shell for the W7 interface. Your children won't know they're on W8! Regards, Joe
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Expert Comment

by:Paul Jackson
ID: 39707597
Frankly I don't know why people say windows 8 isn't intuitive, the start menu with the tiles is just a desktop with big icons and can be used without touch just as well as with. If you want to switch to desktop view there is a big tile on the start screen that allows you to do this.
I would have thought that the windows 8 tile layout is easier for children especially. I think it is old I.T. hands that are getting a bit uppity about the windows 8 layout, although as one of those myself I still mostly use the tile view and switch to the desktop view when I need to on occasion.
I would also recommend upgrading them to windows 8.1 (free from the windows store, another tile) which has improved windows 8 somewhat.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39707598
Also, upgrade to Windows 8.1, and when done, in the Taskbar, Properties, check (select) the first 3 Start Screen settings in the Navigation tab. Then Windows 8.1 will start on the Desktop and you can set whatever icons on the Desktop you want. It becomes just like Windows 7.

.... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:jetbet
ID: 39707599
Thanks for that but I would prefer to find a way to configure W8 to be usable without addons.

It does look like an interesting project. Myself I do like the W7 interface.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39707601
With Windows 8.1 you do not need any add-ons. I have Windows 8.1, no add-ins and it starts to the Desktop just fine. You do need to put the icons on the Desktop they need.

.... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:jetbet
ID: 39707604
Thanks for that thinkspads_user, that sounds good.

Is it easy to bring up an windows exporer and create shortcuts on the desktop for downloaded items?
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John Hurst earned 2000 total points
ID: 39707609
Window Explorer is an automatic taskbar icon lower left beside the IE Icon. You can create shortcuts from there.

Also (more for yourself) you can right click on the Taskbar and select New Toolbar. For the toolbar, select

%ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

Now you have a complete Start Menu on the right side. I use this also.

... Thinkpads_User
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Author Closing Comment

by:jetbet
ID: 39707613
That is just what I needed.

Thanks a lot.
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LVL 99

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39707614
@jetbet - Thank you and I was happy to help. I use myself what I suggested and it works great.

... Thinkpads_User
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