How To Make Windows 10 Look and Feel Like Windows 7

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Windows 7 screenshotIf you want to use Windows 10 and it's new features (or have to use Windows 10 for various reasons) but would be happier with the Windows 7 interface, then this article is a must read.
The article outlines 15 ways to make Windows 10 look and feel like Windows 7, getting you as close to the familiar Windows 7 interface as possible. Windows 10 has made some improvements over Windows 8 (bringing back the Start menu for one) but it's still quite a difference to anyone using Windows 7. With Windows 8, installing a Start Menu Replacement made Windows 8 look and act like Windows 7 for the most part. In Windows 10, it's not quite as easy.
Here's a list of the various changes that make Windows 10 more like Windows 7:

  • Windows 7 like Start Menu
  • Aero Glass Transparency
  • Disable the Lock Screen
  • Remove Cortana search box from the taskbar
  • Disable Windows Explorer ribbon
  • Disable Quick Access
  • Disable Action Center
  • Install desktop gadgets
  • Get Windows 7 like folders
  • Uninstall and remove Edge browser
  • Get rid of default modern apps
  • Use a local account to sign in
  • Enable the classic Personalization window
  • Set Windows 7 wallpaper as your desktop background

Here are two additional helpful Windows 10 articles - one on blocking Windows 10 updates (I'm not in favor of forced updates), and this article has options for Home versions of Windows 10. Windows Pro and up have some options for blocking Windows Updates that the Home version doesn't. The other one addresses six of the most common Windows 10 annoyances and how to fix them.
Block Windows 10 forced updates without breaking your machine
Six Windows 10 annoyances: How to make them go away for good

You may have noticed that there are 14 (instead of 15) items listed. I left off the "Install Windows 7 games" because the link goes to a forum where you have to register to see the information. You can find a direct link to the download listed in our article here: Get Classic Windows 7 Games in Windows 8 and 10 for Free.

15 ways to make Windows 10 look and feel like Windows 7
 

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Comments

My only concern is that after all these tweaks, will any of them break or don't work after another update of Windows 10?

Jojo,
The more you "tweak" the higher the chance of the tweak being "broken" by an update; that update does nothing but "reset" the tweak to a known good default like MIcro$oft wants it.

Yes eikelein I think it's true that chances are higher for broken parts when we have more tweaks.

The problem is that we do not know if some tweaks are interlinked in the system settings contained in the registry or hidden files and how they work together.

Micro$oft might update some of them, leaving some remaining tweaked parts untouched since they were considered or supposed to be original without needing an update. It would be perfect if the tweaked parts and the updated parts can work together :) but a nightmare if not :(

Jojo,
You are correct again.

And exactly that is why I don't like to tweak at all.

I use Classic Shell; there is at least a chance that things will eventually get fixed should an update "break" it.
Worst case I just uninstall Classic Shell and live with W10 as it is meant to be.

If I really hate it I can still switch to Linux and/or run Linux in Virtual Box... ;-)

eikelein, how different is Classic Shell from Winaero on how it instigates changes and in your opinion do you think Winaero would have problems with updates?

Ron525,
I guess it's about time to wish you a Happy B-Day.

To answer your question: I have no clue. Quite some time ago I found Classic Shell's description, I believe on Sourceforge.
I liked what I read and tried it; have never looked back and just don't have enough time and energy to make any kind of comparison. Sorry.

eikelein,
Thanks.

I found Winaero being mentioned a bit on W10, W7 threads on Whirlpool Forum AU, recommended for some tweaks, It has been around for a few years and members have used it for a fair amount of time with no issues being raised.

I don't have it installed on my daily l/top at present so will run it on 2nd l/top to see if it has problems, nothing untoward happened after latest W10 update last night.

There is another issue related to this in that many folks still insist on using so called registry cleaners for reasons beyond my comprehension. These things are coded to see a system in a certain state and chuck out anything that doesn't match. In so doing they are quite capable of trashing Windows and often do. A tweaked system is even more likely to be "corrected" to produce a nice blank screen at next boot . :) MC - Site Manager.

It appears to me as computers were evolving it was a race for the best bling i.e. good colour outstanding icon graphics.

So what happened now we have to put up with faint characters that are hard to see and often small pale colours and flat grade school quality graphics.

True, ron525, but it appears to me that technology is one thing, trend or fashion is another.

How true Jojo Yee, I see that issue on my Xiaomi phone adding a lot of fancy mods(many could be called bloat) far out weighs true enhancements, simplifications and fixing bugs.

But I think some of the W10 changes create more actions to get to things as well, or I still have to adjust to a different OS.
Maybe change is not liked but when one is used to a product and it it works so easily and smooth you start to question why it has been altered.

Will someone at MS please notice that the population is aging, in many cases (like mine) with diminishing ability for eyes to adjust to radically different light levels? I'd like to see a third party develop an appropriately intrusive "app" (shudder) to restore user control over background colors in Window 10, preferably within the next month!

Howdy, rhiannon:

Appreciate your response.

I personally am fed up with Microsoft's ANTICS... however I am dependent on Win 7 now due to software Internet Marketing software that runs on Windows only.

I have been watching Linux for years... but now able to bring myself across the threshold for business purposes... so I have to plead IGNORANCE on my part in regards to the Linux world.

Sounds to me like virtual machine or virtual box would be the way to go vs. dual boot option.

My current laptop is a:

Gateway EC5801u laptop

- Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 1.2GHz, 4GB DDR3, 500GB HDD, DVDRW, 15.6" LED, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

I am starting to look for a KILLER DEAL on a :

- 15.6 **business** laptop, Quad Core i5 (at most), 16GB DDR4, 256 SSD, 1TB...

which will inevitably come with Win 10... then I will Virtual Machine UP with Linux Mint.

Open to any brilliant comments!

Thx much... ~ Alan

Thank you, eikelein and MidnightCowboy !

Truthfully, I have neither the time or inclination to experiment with Linux.

My Linux interest does not stem from a hobby... but business application... user-friendliness and efficiency... keeping in mind I am tethered to Windows due to specialized applications needed for business.

Much appreciate. ~ Alan

Alan,
Even for your "oldie" laptop I recommend you at least look at Linux Lite (https://www.linuxliteos.com/).
I have found it to be much more efficient with computer resources than Linux Mint which for me slowed a computer (with much more Ooomph than your laptop) down to a virtual crawl.

There are many issues that determine how slow or fast a particular Linux might run on different hardware. This is a good list to experiment with although not all of these are particularly user friendly. My vote goes to MX Linux. MC - Site Manager. http://www.techradar.com/news/software/operating-systems/10-of-the-most-...

There are several virtual machine programs around, you can check out our article here:
Best Free Virtualization Solutions

I think Midnight Cowboy runs Windows 7 in a virtual machine using Linux. Maybe he'll chime in with his preferences.

rhiannon: Appreciate the reference article. Have read and will implement with new laptop. Thx. ~ Alan

rhiannon: Appreciate and reviewed this 2nd vitualization reference article. THX! ~ Alan

Thank you to Stephen Jackson and Bob Peterson for their clean, clear and intelligent comments.
Bob... based on your post... I am going take a more serious look at Linux Mint... even though much of my Internet Marketing software is all Win-concentric.
Thank you, ~ Alan

You can run Windows "inside" Linux, as our very own Midnight Cowboy does, as a virtual machine or virtual box. Another option is to dual boot Windows and Linux.

I have never looked at running a virtual machine thought it might be complicated,
I am running dual boot W7 and Mint 17.3.

It'as a lot easier than you might think. There are tons of tutorials on Youtube and the web in general, many for specific distros. This is just one example. https://www.pcsteps.com/207-windows-virtual-machine-linux-windows/. The only real issue you might encounter is getting USB recognition for the virtual system but this and anything else are bound to be documented with an appropriate fix in one of the Linux forums. MC - Site Manager.

I have W7 and 10 on partitions on a Compaq l/top to see what 10 was like have found it hard to adjust but have done a lot of retro fitting with Winaero tweaker to make it feel more usable.

My daily is a Toshiba l/top partitioned with W7 and Linux Mint, Really want to move over to Mint but I don't seem to find the time at present as I am trying to keep up on the W10"s evolution.

I could kiss all the heart ache good bye If I could convince myself to only log onto Mint but I really don't understand linux at all and had zero success getting my scanner to function which I need continuously and installing other items not knowing if they are enabled or installed even at all.

Just enter your scanner details into the Mint forum search and someone has bound to have encountered the same issue before and obtained a fix. I use a HP Deskjet for instance and it's just a matter of installing the appropriate driver using Synaptic. MC - Site Manager.

I will do that I did try google with specific for the LiDE 110 but found nothing, tried Canon but they don't support Linux for it.

Speaking of Luddites, how far back can we go with this 'make it look like the old version that looked and worked better'? I have always preferred the look and feel of Win2K/WinXP, and I was able to get Win7 to look very similar. If Win10 can be made to look like Win7, can Win10 be made to look like Win7 looking like Win2K/WinXP?

I haven't run across anything that mentions that. If anyone else knows, maybe they'll comment. :)

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