Get Great Windows 8 Features Without the Upgrade [Opinion]

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windows 8 features

Windows 8 was officially unleashed on the world on 26th October; I’m going to assume you either attended or held your own mini launch party, because that’s what everyone does every time a new version of Windows is released.

However, we understand there are some of you who can’t afford the “upgrade”, so here are 5 tips to get the best features of Windows 8 on your shoddy old Windows 7 machine, right now.

Minimum Requirement: A sense of humor…

The Essential TouchScreen Look and Feel

As you’ve probably heard, Windows 8 introduces 63 new gesture based controls for every system function from adjusting the brightness to sending an email to your aunt (not to be confused with tweeting a picture of your cat – these are very similar gestures).

So, to get that essential Windows 8 look, simply scrunch up a small piece of greaseproof paper, dip in the leftover bacon fat from your morning fry up, and follow the handy chart below to emulate the most common gesture marks.

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windows 8 features

Now when visitors see your screen, they’ll instantly exclaim “Oh! You’re running Windows 8 too!”, and you needn’t feel left out. Make sure they don’t actually try to touch the screen though, obviously.

features of windows 8

“Simple” Interface

Love the look of Metro, sorry – Modern UI – or whatever it’s called now? This one’s easy. If you have an old AOL CD lying from 1996, simply install it and do all your browsing from the kids portal; no one will ever know the difference.

features of windows 8

If you don’t have an AOL CD handy, just follow these easy steps:

  • Right click on your desktop and enable desktop “gadgets”. Drag as many as you can onto the desktop until you have a screen full of pointless crap you’ll never need (but hey, it’s dynamic!)
  • Set the background to a solid color
  • Use a high-contrast color scheme

features of windows 8

Hey presto! I bet you’re thinking “How did you ever know the date before without it being in a large sized font?” – I know, that discreet and “space saving” date indicator in the taskbar just wasn’t enough, was it? Thanks, Microsoft.

‘Un-folderize’ Your Start Menu

Is your start menu currently organised into an old style folder-style system? Yeah – get rid of that. Just move everything up to one level, and you’ll be able to browse all your applications in that new Windows 8 style in no time.

windows 8 features preview

Kill that pesky Start menu

One of the best features of Windows 8 is arguably the removal of the start menu, freeing up valuable taskbar space for all those desktop apps you’ll have running. StartKiller does the same in Windows 7 though – why bother upgrading!

windows 8 features preview

Limit yourself to Android apps only – with BlueStacks

When consumers purchase a Windows 8 RT tablet, they’ll have a pleasant surprise in store for them – in that they’ll only being able to run apps from the Windows 8 Store! You can experience this pleasure too by installing BlueStacks and then creating a limited user account with only access to that software.  Say goodbye to all your old Windows software; and make sure to mash the keys when setting the password on the Admin account just so you aren’t tempted to go back and use any of that “productivity” software you used to own. Hey, ANGRY BIRDS!

windows 8 features preview

Enable a Lock Screen

Hasn’t it always annoyed you that your PC just goes straight to your desktop when you turn it on? It doesn’t even show a big picture first, or a redundant clock and calendar. Windows 8 fixes that by introducing a great new lock-screen, which also enables you to practice the drag-up-from-bottom gesture before you can type in a password.

While you can’t actually get the gesture features (see earlier advice on using bacon fat), you can set your screensaver to lock your PC and require a password every 15 minutes, which will achieve the same kind of experience. It’s ok – you can thank me later.

Turn your Mouse 90º

Windows 8 does away with the traditional up and down mouse wheel scrolling, and instead makes things scroll horizontally. Whilst you can’t easily change your Windows 7 apps to do this, you can get the same perpendicular movement feel by simply turning your mouse 90º (either left or right is fine). Now when you scroll left and right, your application will naturally move up up and down! Any Windows 8 users who comes to visit will pick it up immediately and feel right at home on your desktop.

windows 8 features

What other tips do you have for making your Windows 7 desktop behave like Windows 8? Do share your awesome tips in the comments!

In case it wasn’t obvious – I’m just kidding guys – please don’t get so upset in the comments and start screaming bloody Mac-fanboy murder. I use an Android now anyway.

Image Credit: Twitter/Katztsu

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Comments (59)
  • Alan Craig

    I just have 4 things to say to this.
    First) Mmmmmmmm bacon fat
    Second) I kind of like the cheesy AOL layout for kids and wish I could find something a little like that for our 2 year old
    Third) I like the look of the screen covered in gadgets because it’s full of bright colors and bright colors hold my attention
    Fourth) Thanks for a funny article James :)

  • Hunbuhbhuygb Ygygbgybygb

    I rather get the cheap windows 8 and not torture myself

  • Giggity Goebbels

    I am now convinced to upgrade lol

  • Frank Zedmore

    Fun article!

  • Somaiya Ebrahim

    funny, but the suggestions are good. i like the windows 8 interface maybe i will ‘unfolderise’ and ‘kill’ that pesky start menu.. :)

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.