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Windows 10 introduced many updated and the visual design wasn’t spared. If you’ve upgraded to Windows 10 How to Upgrade to Windows 10 & Take Settings and Apps with You How to Upgrade to Windows 10 & Take Settings and Apps with You Windows 10 is coming and you have a choice to make. Either you upgrade your existing Windows installation, or you can install Windows 10 from scratch. We show you how to migrate to Windows 10... Read More to take advantage of the new functionality, but preferred the aesthetics of Windows 7, there are steps you can take to best mimic the older operating system.

From changing the Start menu to removing the lock screen, you can get Windows 10 looking more how you want it and what you’re used to. The great thing is that the majority of these tweaks can be done without using third-party software.

If you’ve got your own advice to share on getting Windows 10 looking like Windows 7, please be sure to share it with us all in the comments section below.

Start Menu

Windows 8 saw a big transformation to the Start Menu The History of the Windows Start Menu The History of the Windows Start Menu For all the pomp and ceremony surrounding the release of Windows 10, one of the most well-received features of the operating system is the return of an old friend—the Start Menu. Read More . In fact, Menu was dropped for Screen, offering users a tiled-based approach to program access, though Microsoft back-peddled on the decision and reintroduced the Start button come 8.1 2015!? No Way Microsoft! How to Get Your Windows 8.1 Start Menu Now 2015!? No Way Microsoft! How to Get Your Windows 8.1 Start Menu Now Windows 8 won't get a native Start Menu after all. But why wait on Microsoft? Here's how you can help yourself with third party tools like Classic Shell or Start8 and other workarounds. Read More . With Windows 10, the more traditional styles of 7 have been combined with the tiles of 8. But for those of us who don’t care for the new look, there’s no in-built way to return to the classic design of the Start Menu.

That’s where a program called Classic Shell comes in. Head to their website, click Download Now and then run the installation wizard. Once installed, perform a system search for classic start menu and select the relevant result.

classic shell settings

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The first screen will allow you to select the style for the Start Menu, so click Windows 7 style. You can then delve into the other tabs, which will let you customize the look and functionality of the Start Menu even further.

For example, click Start Button if you want to use a custom image in the Taskbar. Head to the Customize Start Menu tab to have full control over what quick links will appear on your Start Menu. You can personalize nearly everything and get it functioning and looking exactly how you had it on Windows 7.

Login with a Local Account

Microsoft is very keen to get everyone joining their ecosystem and making full use of their services like OneDrive and Office 365. Part of that means using a Microsoft account 5 Security Tips To Consider When Using a Microsoft Account 5 Security Tips To Consider When Using a Microsoft Account You can't use much of the new Windows 8 user interface without a Microsoft account. The account you for logging into into your computer is now an online account. This raises security concerns. Read More and it’s being pushed in Windows 10, too. It allows your settings and files to be synced across all Windows 10 devices, but those who don’t want to have their user account always connected can opt for a local account instead, like how it was on Windows 7.

local account settings

First, press Windows Key + I to launch Settings and click Accounts. If your account is a Microsoft one, you’ll see Sign in with a local account instead near the top of this window. Click this and you’ll be asked to verify your password. Do so, continuing to follow the wizard through and setting your local username and password. Everything on your account will be the same as before, expect now it’s entirely local.

If you want to add a new local user account, navigate back to the Accounts screen. From here, select Family & other users from the left menu. Then select Add someone else to this PC. A new window will open asking how the new user will sign in, so click The person who I want to add doesn’t have an email address and then on the next screen click Add a user without a Microsoft account. It’s slightly cumbersome to get here, but now you’ll be able to create the new username and password as you follow the wizard through.

Remove the Lock Screen

The Windows 10 lock screen shows things like the date, time and notifications, but it’s really just an extra step before you can get to to the login screen. While it might make sense on mobile devices, there’s no harm getting rid of it on desktop. Doing so will require minor fiddling in the registry, so only proceed if you’re confident in following the instructions.

lock screen

Press Windows Key + R, type regedit, and hit OK. If User Account Control pops up, click OK again. Once the Registry Editor What Is The Windows Registry Editor & How Do I Use It? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is The Windows Registry Editor & How Do I Use It? [MakeUseOf Explains] The Windows registry can be scary at first glance. It’s a place where power users can change a wide variety of settings that aren’t exposed elsewhere. If you’re searching for how to change something in... Read More has opened, navigate to the following section:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows

Now right click an empty space in the right pane and select New > Key. The key will be highlighted automatically; rename it to Personalization. Select the key you just created, right click in the right pane again and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name the value NoLockScreen. Double click it, set the Value data to 1 and then click OK.

Your changes will take effect immediately. The lock screen will be disabled and the relevant settings within Windows will be deactivated. If you ever want to re-enable the lock screen, navigate to the NoLockScreen value again and set the value to 0.

Notification Area

Notification icons like the speaker and calendar have seen some visual changes in Windows 10. Using the registry we can change these back to their Windows 7 designs. Again, the registry should be used with caution. Press Windows Key + R, type regedit, and press OK to launch it.

To bring back the old vertical volume control design, navigate to the following registry path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\

Select Edit > New > Key and name it MTCUVC. Then select Edit > New > DWORD (32-bit) Value and name it EnableMtcUvc. Double-click the newly created DWORD, set the Value Data to 0 and click OK.

To bring back the analogue clock and smaller calendar design, navigate to the following registry path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ImmersiveShell

Go to Edit > New > DWORD (32-bit) Value and name it UseWin32TrayClockExperience. Next, double-click the DWORD, set the Value Data to 1, and then click OK.

Disable Cortana

Cortana has been promoted heavily with Windows 10. It’s Microsoft’s alternative to Siri and Google Now, a personal assistant that will help you search How to Set Up Cortana & Remove Her in Windows 10 How to Set Up Cortana & Remove Her in Windows 10 Cortana is Microsoft's greatest productivity tool since Office. We'll show you how to get started with Windows 10's digital assistant or how to turn Cortana off for improved privacy. Read More , along with tracking packages, creating calendar events, setting alarms, and more. You might not be using it, but that doesn’t mean Cortana isn’t disabled completely.

cortana settings

Press Windows Key + I to launch Settings, then search for cortana. Select Cortana & Search settings and the relevant options will open from your Taskbar. To disable Cortana, all you need to is set that top slider to Off.

If you want to get rid of the search bar from the Taskbar, which will still be there even if Cortana is disabled, just right click the Taskbar and go to Search > Hidden. Alternatively, you can set it to show only an icon that opens the search when clicked.

Style like Seven

There’s nothing inherently wrong with change, but some elements of Windows 7 looked better than they do in Windows 10. The great thing is that you can mix and match them, picking and choosing from the best of each version.

With Windows 10 applying forced updates Pros & Cons of Forced Updates in Windows 10 Pros & Cons of Forced Updates in Windows 10 Updates will change in Windows 10. Right now you can pick and choose. Windows 10, however, will force updates onto you. It has advantages, like improved security, but it can also go wrong. What's more... Read More , we could see the visual design change down the line without getting a say in it, but hopefully these tweaks will always be available to retain the classic Windows 7 look.

Have you used any of these methods? Do you have your own customization tips to share with us to get Windows 10 looking like Windows 7?

  1. clickbait
    November 21, 2016 at 6:09 am

    I have adblock.
    Take that clickbait.

  2. charlie also enjoys privacy
    August 21, 2016 at 5:33 am

    I love and miss Windows 7. I had to install Windows 10 as Win 7 can't be used for a BootCamp install on my new Mac.

    Incidentally, being 90% a PC user for the past 10 years, OSX is great. Having to install Windows 10 to use the PC-only software for my work has been nothing short of a hassle and exemplifies how much farther along Apple is with their OS than MS. I thought I'd get Windows and never use the Mac side. It's not turning out like that.

  3. peter
    July 31, 2016 at 9:15 am

    took to long to tell us to just go to that website. put it at the top for people who dont wanna waste time

  4. Nick
    May 3, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    Tbh, Windows 7 has been amazing since the start, Windows 10 is alright, but tbh I prefer the way Win 7 looked over Win 10. That's why I came here in the first place. And @Me Sham. Windows 7 has never been obsolete, because up until now I was using it, I was only forced to switch when my computer broke due to hardware issues.

  5. xsnred
    April 12, 2016 at 11:15 pm

    Hey Me Sham, go buy a Mac and shut the Hell up!

    • Bailey Dixon
      May 23, 2016 at 11:41 am

      You might have a lot of money, but some people don't therefore they won't waste it on a mac because let's be honest they are terrible. Windows is well better because it has a good name and the logo represents a window, although mac os x has a childish name like capitan, leopard etc. which are even a two year old could come up with a better name, so maybe you should shut up

      • Grant Fitzsimmons
        June 5, 2016 at 1:00 am

        This is a really terrible argument. OS X is actually a very nice name in my opinion, the logo is fine, and the OS is very well optimized for the hardware it is released on. Refurbished Macs are actually pretty affordable (~$300) from Apple themselves and run well. Product support has improved greatly, even supporting Macbooks from as early as 2007 with OS X El Capitan, and the software library is still expanding. Windows is a great operating system, but each has their strengths and weaknesses. Both of you are wrong.

        • Troy Durica
          July 20, 2016 at 8:47 pm

          Yeah the only problem with macs is they get viruses and you need to spend hundreds to get rid of them

      • Howard Blair
        June 15, 2016 at 2:34 pm

        Yosemite and El Capitan are named after national parks. What's childish about that?

  6. Floydcm
    April 12, 2016 at 4:15 am

    Windows 7 was just easier to operate!

    "Start/disc/c:/user.......

    "Crappy memes" found.

    C:/ mycompany/.... Folders galore would pop up....

    Start, folders, "Screw Win10". The GUI SUCKS!!!!!!!

  7. Michael Blackburn
    February 21, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    Wow this better than any of the Real Housewives B.S.

  8. Christopher HasARightToPrivacy
    August 22, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    Just stick with Windows 7! It's the best Windows OS I've seen in a long while and I see no reason to "upgrade". I have a feeling Windows 7 will be the new XP one day.

    • jtjones66
      August 23, 2015 at 4:20 pm

      Amen brother, and also I I like your user name.

    • Me Sham
      August 24, 2015 at 3:06 pm

      "Windows 7 will be the new XP one day."

      Obsolete technology that luddites cling to that holds back progress? So you're the reason I still had to support IE7 in 2013.

      • Christopher HasARightToPrivacy
        August 24, 2015 at 5:13 pm

        Pompous people that think newer is always better? Your argument is only valid if Windows 10 is considered "progress".

        Also, It might behoove you to look up the definition of "Obsolete".

        • Me Sham
          August 24, 2015 at 5:26 pm

          Its ok, people like you hated Windows 7 when it came out, too. Its why you clung to XP like a pacifier for so long. Now you love 7. History will repeat itself.

        • Christopher HasARightToPrivacy
          August 24, 2015 at 8:19 pm

          Who let this troll in?

        • Me Sham
          August 24, 2015 at 8:49 pm

          Challenging your false narratives does not make on a troll.

          Accusing someone of being such, however, is a common and expected defense mechanism when no factual rebuttal can be formulated.

        • Christopher HasARightToPrivacy
          August 25, 2015 at 7:52 am

          You're right, troll - I can't argue with someone who claims to know what a complete stranger was thinking six years ago. I'm sticking with Windows 7 until something better comes along. Good luck with Windows 10, though.

        • Bailey Dixon
          May 23, 2016 at 11:45 am

          Shut up Me Sham because all you have done on this comments section is annoy people so you should just get off the internet

      • jdh
        February 4, 2016 at 5:24 pm

        It sure would be nice if we could have a whole year without anybody using the phrase "people like you".

      • skatoolaki
        April 14, 2016 at 1:22 pm

        I find it amusing that someone using Internet Explorer has the audacity to call others "luddites". ;)

  9. red_green_esq
    August 22, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    I downloaded the classic shell,and found the classic start button,but couldnt open it.Why? The page came up as a word thing. Any ideas?

    • Joe Keeley
      August 22, 2015 at 5:46 pm

      There is a help and readme that installs with the program - they're the only two word-based things that I can think of. Are you able to find 'Classic Shell' in your program list and launch it from there?

  10. Yodi Collins
    August 21, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    You may as well just stay with Windows 7.

    • Howard Blair
      August 21, 2015 at 11:05 pm

      Um, no. While I love Windows 7, it's not going to last forever.
      Windows 8.x added TRIM support for SSDs (I've just installed Win10 Pro on my first SSD), hybrid shutdown speeds up the startup process (Windows 8.x and 10, on shutdown, will shut down user processes, then "hibernates" a copy of the running OS to start up faster); DirectX 12 is coming, and many things have been sped up, including making the core OS smaller and leaner. There may also (but I doubt it) be a killer "modern app" that requires Microsoft's newest framework, the Universal App framework (which more-or-less supplants .NET).

      If you're thinking like that, then we might as well stay on Windows XP...oh, wait, XP is becoming less secure day by day, and Windows Vista and 7 will be next in line.

      One thing not mentioned (and not for the faint of heart) is use UXTheme Patcher to allow unsigned themes on any Windows from XP to 10; a Windows 7 theme, while not 100% perfect, gets rid of Windows 8's flat, ugly monochrome theme (for the most part).

      Still waiting for somebody to come up with a Universal Control Panel app, which will supplant the hideous Settings dialogs with the old Windows 7 (consistent!) Control Panel. Anybody up to the challenge?

      • Svein
        April 8, 2016 at 11:12 am

        Windows 7 has TRIM

    • Joe Keeley
      August 22, 2015 at 5:46 pm

      Sure, but some people want to use the features and enhancements that Windows 10 offers while still retaining the look of Windows 7.

      • jtjones66
        August 23, 2015 at 4:18 pm

        "Sure, but some people want to use the features and enhancements that Windows 10 offers while still retaining the look of Windows 7."

        Which would be what exactly? Almost anything you can name (aside from Cortana) can be added to Win 7 with a 3rd party tool/program, without giving up your privacy and user control.

        Windows 10 is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

        • Me Sham
          August 24, 2015 at 3:05 pm

          Your privacy is the same in Windows 10 as it is in the obsolete 7, despite what ignorant fear-mongering tech bloggers say in order to get clicks.

        • jtjones66
          August 24, 2015 at 3:46 pm

          @Me Sham: Ahh. Win 7 is "obsolete". I hadn't realized that. That must be why it isn't still working perfectly. Oh wait ... *it is*.

          Your post reads like a MS employee shill post. You accuse tech bloggers of fear-mongering, then claim Win 7 has the same privacy abominations as W10. It most certainly does not.

          The tech sites I've read plainly spell out the exact reasons W10 is under fire for for its brazen intrusiveness. None of which are a part of Win 7.

        • Me Sham
          August 24, 2015 at 5:25 pm

          "privacy abominations" yeah, you're still just reading ignorant fear-mongering tech sites that are desperate for clicks. You're even including the same fear language in your comments. Get over it.

        • Christopher HasARightToPrivacy
          August 24, 2015 at 5:15 pm

          Windows 7 is not obsolete. Please buy yourself a dictionary.

        • Howard Blair
          April 8, 2016 at 1:56 pm

          Ahh, that's why Microsoft is pushing out Windows Updates to add telemetry?

        • Klark_Kent
          June 15, 2016 at 4:28 am

          At least with Windows 7 and 8, they can be uninstalled. With Windows 10, it's built in.

        • Howard Blair
          June 15, 2016 at 2:40 pm

          With DWS (Destroy Windows Spying), or O&O ShutUp10, telemetry can be shut off. It just takes a little knowledge.

        • Howard Blair
          June 15, 2016 at 2:38 pm

          You can't use DirectX 12, quick shutdown-to-hibernate, enhanced security features, Cortana, notifications, Windows Hello (biometric sign-in), and a dozen other improvements and features that will *not* be backported to older versions of Windows.

          Well, at least Windows 7 doesn't have the "Microsoft Store." There is that.

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