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Windows 8, 8.1 (and now Windows 10)

If you have purchased a new computer recently, it most likely came with Windows 8 or 8.1.  Like it or not, this is the new Windows.  And Windows 10 is now here (regarding Windows 10, I am recommending this upgrade).  The problem with Windows 8 is that some people still like the desktop operation and navigation of XP/Vista/7 and prefer a mouse and keyboard.  Windows 8 is good for some users on appropriate computers, but many users want a familiar operating system for what they do daily.  In response to this need, I've learned some configuration changes that will make Win8 look and behave like older versions of Windows.

Why did Microsoft change Windows?
Someone at Microsoft saw a seemingly imminent future with consumer demand turning toward smaller touch-screen tablet-style computers like iPads and moving away from desktop towers and conventional laptops.  Tablet computers are compact, have nice graphics, use energy efficiently, come with relatively fast processors and have touch-screens instead of mechanical keyboards.  The operation of touch-screen tablet computers is done best with a finger touch to start apps (programs) and wiping with a finger to scroll the screen.

So in anticipation for all of us to buy touch-screen tablets or all-in-one computers, Microsoft tailored Windows 8 to be conducive to computers with touch-screens.  An issue that they apparently did not foresee is that there are still a lot of home and business users who are comfortable with past Windows systems and will continue to need computers with larger conventional displays, dual monitor connections, multiple powered USB ports, CD/DVD drives, Ethernet ports, and full-size keyboards with a mouse.

These computer users do not necessarily want to switch away from an operation method that they already know where they can quickly activate familiar right-click menus, open small-font Internet links without "reverse pinching" and view individual emails from a list using effortless mouse clicks.  These users also might want their old familiar Start button in the bottom left corner that allows them to use their mouse to quickly access data folders and navigate their features and programs list.

In my opinion, Microsoft certainly took something away from their customers by removing the Start button as it was configured in previous versions of Windows and tablets are not going to replace the home and business workstation anytime soon.

The two modes of Windows 8:  "Metro" and "Desktop"
As it comes out of the box, Windows 8 starts in the Metro mode which has the large floating tiles that when clicked or pushed, opens the respective Windows 8 apps.  One of these tiles will take the user to the Desktop mode but the Desktop screen that comes with Windows 8 doesn't work quite like older versions of Windows.

Windows 8 "Metro" Screen

Windows 8 "Desktop" Screen with Custom Start Button

My Windows 8 Solutions

First - if you prefer the Metro mode (now called "Modern" mode), more power to you.  It works great for what it was meant which are touch-screen tablets.  The solutions presented here are for residential and business customers who like their mouse and do not want to smear their monitors with their fingers, prefer navigating with a mouse instead of keystrokes, have no desire to switch to an app-based system on their full-sized computers, do not want to be unexpectedly taken to a Windows 8 app when opening a document they were emailed, and do not want to be forced to learn the Metro side of Windows 8.  At least not right now.

The changes I make to Windows 8 systems do not remove the Metro interface - my changes and training allow you avoid it unless you want to purposely use it and the related Metro apps.  Upon startup, the system will begin in Desktop mode but there will be the option to use the Metro apps.

Windows 8/10
setup by A-Tec Computer:

  • If desired, convert the user account to a Local account instead of a Microsoft account.
  • Manually update to 8.1, verify auto-updates are enabled and OS is current on incremental updates.
  • Manually upgrade to Windows 10 (recommended)..
  • Change the startup routine to go directly to Desktop mode.
  • Add a conventional Windows 7 type Start button on the bottom left side so programs and directories can be accessed easily with a mouse.
  • Install additional software and configure the system so that common files (images, music, videos, documents) open with the appropriate Desktop programs instead of the default Metro apps.
  • Test thoroughly to make sure all common file types are handled by Desktop programs and not Metro apps.
  • Instruct the user on their system including Start menu and Desktop configuration, switching to the Metro interface and back to the Desktop.
  • Install the Windows 7 version of Microsoft games (Solitaire, Hearts, et al.) which are not included with Windows 8.
  • Remove bloat-ware, disable unneeded add-ons, and install a free, self-updating antivirus.


Call me today if you are dissatisfied with your new Windows 8 computer.  I can get you back to something that looks familiar.


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