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Windows 8.1 desktop with no icons

Posted on 2014-11-25
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Last Modified: 2014-12-23
What's worse than Metro? Possibly an alternative shell that consists of an empty desktop with no icons and a largely empty taskbar save for a little a Windows key icon on the far left (dead) and caption 'Desktop' on the far right that opens a sluggish menu that only works on its leaf nodes - e.g. you can't open Control Panel, only items in Control Panel.

I thought this was a 'start menu' by an outfit called 'IOBit' but it certainly didn't change a thing when i uninstalled it.

I never thought i'd pine for Metro, but can someone tell me how to restore the default UI?
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Question by:CEHJ
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40465846
If you uninstalled IObit Start Menu 8, you should have the W8 UI back. Try rebooting — if the W8 UI doesn't come back after that, I don't know how to get it back. That may mean that IObit Start Menu 8 has hosed things and you may need to do a Repair install of W8.

Once you get Metro back — or even if you don't, as long as you can get to the web and download something else — you may want to consider 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 interface, 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. Of course, if you prefer, you may configure Classic Shell to give you the XP or Vista/W7 interface on W8.

Here's a 5-minute EE video Micro Tutorial that explains how to download, install, and configure Classic Shell — all of which happens in the 5-minute video, although you may want to spend another 10-15 minutes configuring its large number of options:

http://www.experts-exchange.com/VP_211.html

Regards, Joe
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40466086
Another possibility is to uninstall these third party products and just use Windows 8. Make sure you are at Windows 8.1 and with only Windows 8.1 you never need to look at Metro. I don't.

See my article on Ways to improve Windows 8

http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/A_16620-Ways-to-improve-Windows-8.html
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by:CEHJ
ID: 40466371
Thanks Joe. Actually i'd already thought of just installing a shell 'over the top' so Classic Shell is a good start. It's a 'no-lose' option prior to reinstalling the OS. I'll let you know how i get on.

John - as i've already explained, there's no sign of anything installed any more. Having said that, there is 'IOBit Uninstaller' installed. Wouldn't it be priceless if you have to uninstall the IOBit Start 8 stuff with that? ;)
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by:CEHJ
ID: 40466498
OK, fyi the attempt to install Classic Shell failed. It didn't alter the desktop one bit, which i show below (admittedly viewed through VNC but if you ignore the title bar the scene is identical)Fluxbox for Windows?
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Author Comment

by:CEHJ
ID: 40466508
The left hand side of that desktop (fwiw) is shown below. The logo, as i mentioned earlier is inert

Start doesn't
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40466661
Try System File Checker. Open an admin command prompt (from wherever you can run a command prompt) and run SFC /SCANNOW twice. Allow to complete, restart and test.

If that does not work, try DISM:

Open cmd.exe with Run as Administrator.
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /Scanhealth (takes 15 - 20 minutes).
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /Restorehealth (takes 15 - 20 minutes).
Restart the computer and test.

If the above ways, go to Metro, PC Settings and run a Windows 8 Refresh. This keeps data but will make you reinstall most software.
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Author Comment

by:CEHJ
ID: 40466712
I did actually try sfc John - the usual (for me) outcome "Windows could not repair some files" or words to that effect.

DISM i shall try in the future

Actually i've now reset the machine after setting it to restart in safe mode. When i was not in safe mode it had told me it couldn't reset in fact. So i'm now back in Win 8.0 with a mass of updates to be done. At least Metro is back though
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Expert Comment

by:Tuan Massey
ID: 40471050
Run hardware diagnostic tools when you get a chance. Even if it's pretty new, It could be a failing hard drive. It's always good to know if your hardware is stable.

Hopefully your machine came with some kind of diag tool such as PC-Doctor.
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40471057
> Metro is back though

That's good news! And should mean that you can install Classic Shell, which I've done on many computers without a single problem. Regards, Joe
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Author Comment

by:CEHJ
ID: 40471089
Hardware is fine - full diagnostics all passed

I'll leave the choice of whether to have classic shell with the user. Back soon
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Accepted Solution

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Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 350 total points
ID: 40515837
Did the user go with Classic Shell? If not, did he stick with native W8 (Metro) or go with some other product, like IObit's Start Menu 8 (free), ReviverSoft's Start Menu Reviver (free), Stardock's Start8 (not free, but currently just $4.99), and SweetLabs' Pokki (free)? Regards, Joe
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Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 150 total points
ID: 40515849
So I'm now back in Win 8.0 with a mass of updates to be done. At least Metro is back though

Is your machine working more or less as it should work?
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Author Closing Comment

by:CEHJ
ID: 40515875
Thanks folks. afaik the user was happy enough to stay with the default Win 8 UI
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40515879
> the user was happy enough to stay with the default Win 8 UI

Interesting decision! Thanks for the update. Regards, Joe
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