I Don’t Want to Use Windows 8…

Microsoft ended support of Windows XP last year.  This means that there will no longer be any security or technical updates provided from Microsoft.  If you currently have Windows XP in your environment, it’s time for an upgrade.  While it may be hard to believe, Windows 7 is quickly approaching six years on the market.  So if you’re going to upgrade, it’s probably time to get familiar with Windows 8.1.

One concern that many IT departments may have with this process is its effect on their end users.  Many individuals will likely have significant difficulties adjusting to the new operating system.  Changes such as the new Start Menu and the Tiles can be quite confusing to users who have grown accustomed to their old operating system.  While the change is inevitable, it is possible to make the transition a little easier.  With just a few quick and easy configuration changes, you can try to make their new desktop look a little less like the scary monster that is Windows 8.1, and a little more like their old faithful workstation.

1. Replace the Start Screen with the Apps View

By default, when you press Start, you are presented with the new Start screen, comprised of customized tiles.  Many users won’t have any work related uses for these tiles.  It may be beneficial to replace the Start screen with a list of your installed applications.  In order to achieve this:

a. Right click on the taskbar and click “Properties”

b. Click on the “Navigation” tab

c. Check the box that states “Show the Apps view automatically when I go to Start”

d. Your Start button will now show a list of installed applications rather than the normal Start screen.

2. Configure Windows to Boot to Your Desktop

Normally when you login to Windows 8.1, you are thrown into the new Start screen.  You can however, set it to boot directly to your desktop.  If you’re not a fan of seeing the new metro Start screen as soon as you login, follow these steps:

a. Right click on the taskbar and click “Properties”

b. Click on the “Navigation” tab

c. Within the “Start Screen” area, place a checkmark in the box next to “When I sign in or close all apps on screen, go to the desktop instead of Start”

d. Now you will see your desktop upon logging into Windows.

3. Show Your Desktop Background on the Start Screen

You can try to make the new Start screen look slightly less intimidating by displaying your desktop background even while navigating within the Start screen.  Here’s how:

a. Right click on the taskbar and click on “Properties”

b. Click on the “Navigation” tab

c. Within the “Start Screen” area, place a checkmark in the box next to “Show my desktop background on Start”

d. Now you’ll see your very own desktop background behind the Start screen.

4. Bring Back an Old Start Menu

There are many software products available that will allow you to add custom themes to Windows 8.1 that will give you access to classic views and buttons that will be very similar to the older versions of Windows.  One such application is called Classic Shell.  You can download and install the add on by following the link below:

a. http://www.classicshell.net

Even with these adjustments, users will certainly still have their fair share of questions.  But these quick adjustments can make Windows 8.1 appear to be less of an adjustment, and appearance goes a long way.

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