What can I do to make Windows 8 less irritating?

Jalera1 April 14, 2014
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I bought a Lenovo laptop and it came unexpectedly, and unordered, with Windows 8 in September 2013. I contacted them about restoring to Windows 7 to no avail. So, 6 months on, I am still struggling. It stopped working 2 weeks ago and I did a factory restore (that was easy) but as I try to organize it effectively, I am increasingly frustrated.

I am retired. I use a computer for listservs, website building, curating, Facebook, and databases. AND I like to play parlour games (Yahoo’s term). Thats all I want. I do not play Xbox stuff, listen to music or play movies and this in-my-face Xbox stuff is increasingly irritating. Had to talk myself out of testing the missile capabilities of this machine last night. So things are serious.

I could buy a second hand laptop with Windows 7 I suppose but it will be too slow and why the ( x word) should I? How retrograde would that be!

So, collective brain, what are some solutions? Change the operating system? Downgrade to Windows 7 (Lenovo says this is not possible), eliminate any trace of Xbox off my machine?
Or is there a simple guide to sorting this?


  1. Oron J
    April 16, 2014 at 3:09 pm
    1. Upgrade to Windows 8.1 update. This makes Windows 8 more friendly to desktop/laptop users. For example, if your computer doesn't have a touch screen then it will log onto the desktop rather than the start screen by default.
    2. As per John R's suggestion, install a Start menu program, which will then give you a desktop quite similar to that of Windows 7.
    3. For some functions, you will still need to go to the Modern environment, but you can disable some of the hot corners (throught the settings in the Charms bar) so you don't find yourself switching accidentally too often.
    4. Ignore the supplied apps and install traditional applications for everything you use. It won't be Windows 7, but it will be very similar, and performance will be even better!
  2. Mary
    April 16, 2014 at 9:06 am

    I also tried Window for months,s 8 and my very good IT expert installed Windows 7 for me, and oh the pleasure of using my laptop now.

  3. Sujeewa de Silva
    April 15, 2014 at 6:04 am

    When Windows 8 first appeared, it may have annoyed many existing Windows users because it seemed like a half-baked mix of two different operating systems. However, I just can't figure out why - after all the changes Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Update have brought about - so many still continue to grumble. Rather than yearning for some non-essential features that have been dropped, isn't it time we got used to the new operating system and learned to benefit from its many strengths.

    • Hovsep A
      April 16, 2014 at 10:28 am

      Quite right, We can bypass windows 8 until Microsoft drop support for windows 7, but we have to go along microsoft way of Windows and believe in windows 8,

    • dragonmouth
      April 16, 2014 at 1:27 pm

      "Rather than yearning for some non-essential features that have been dropped"
      What is a "non-essential feature" to you, may be "vital" to others.

      "isn’t it time we got used to the new operating system"
      So, if I have a disease, I should get used to it, rather than cure it???

      "we have to go along microsoft way of Windows"
      No, we DO NOT! If users meekly keep accepting the garbage M$ provides, M$ will never really improve their products.

      "believe in windows 8"
      Belief is not going to change the fact that Win 8 is one of the worst O/Ss from Microsoft. "Belief" has place in religion, not in software.

    • Sujeewa D
      April 16, 2014 at 2:15 pm

      Well, nobody's forced to to use any version of Windows, after all. If you're not happy with the way it's going, or if you think Microsoft products are just garbage, you can always buy a product with some other operating system - OS X, Chrome OS, Linux or something. Just take it easy.

    • Hovsep A
      April 16, 2014 at 3:34 pm

      @dragonmouth you have some good points, but one thing is sure that windows 8 is faster than windows 7. Microsoft does believe in Windows, I am not saying that Windows 8 is a miracle...it isn't a bad windows version. Microsoft wont turn back even many users are upset and switch to MAC or Linux....I think the worst OS is vista not Windows 8, Microsoft does believe in Windows (they make dollars) but has hard time to make users believe in:) cure windows 8 what do you propose? not using windows 8: yes it is possible to use windows 7 for the next few years, then what? you cant stay with a version of windows not supported. Convincing Microsoft to do otherwise is difficult. Users upset with windows 8, i think it is time to go with MAC or practice Linux (Zorin OS should be a good one) and never see Windows face again at least at home:)

  4. Mihai
    April 15, 2014 at 12:12 am

    The best way I found to make Windows 8 look and feel like Windows 7 is StartIsBack ( http://startisback.com/ ). They offer a free trial after which with a mere $2.99 you can license it and continue to use it as normal.

    I've tried Classic Shell, Pokki, and a few other Start Menu replacements, but all of them seemed to be either slow, or lack features, or have extras that I didn't want. StartIsBack is the closest to Windows 7 to me.

    It not only re-adds the Start Menu, but it also removes to Charms Bar, the Hot Corners and all that nasty stuff, while still allowing you to easily access them if needed. Boots straight to the Desktop and honestly, I wouldn't go back to Windows 7 now.

    Windows 8 combined with a little fix like this, is 5 times faster than Windows 7 and has quite some nifty features in several places, such as the improved Copying/Moving dialog, and the improved Task Manager

    • Jan
      April 16, 2014 at 9:14 pm

      Thanks! Am looking into this

  5. Alan
    April 14, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    stop being a retard and learn to use windows 8.1, it's much faster than 7 and you can use it with a start menu using iobit software, NOT that i am recommending it as i have just uninstalled it from my desktop computer windows 8.1 is so good it can cure wooden legs

  6. dragonmouth
    April 14, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    In September of 2013 all new PC already were being sold only with Win 8.

    Do the "parlor games" require Windows or are they online? Do you want to keep playing those particular games? Do you run any programs that are only available for Windows? Does switching operating systems seems daunting to you?

    If you don't run any Window-specific apps and can play games on line and don't mind switching operating systems, I would recommend Zorin or Mint Linux. When you install either one, it will reformat the hard drive and overwrite whatever is on it, so you won't have to worry about Win 8, XBox or any other Windows junk.

    You can check for Linux equivalents of Windows programs at the following sites:

    • Jan
      April 16, 2014 at 9:13 pm

      Thank you to both of you ... am looking.

  7. John R
    April 14, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    The one thing you can do to make Windows 8 more like Windows 7 is to install a start menu replacement like Classic Shell (mentioned above) or Start8 by Stardock: http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/ which is more comprehensive but not free. With one of those installed, you can live on the desktop and never have to deal with the start screen or Windows Store apps.

    The enhancements made in Windows 8.1 and its latest update make using the OS on a desktop less of a pain even without those programs, but you will still need to use the start screen.

    • Matjaž M
      April 15, 2014 at 5:19 am

      At the beginning I've tried so hard to work with metro but it's so impractical for desktop ... I found Stardock Start8 and that was it. One of the best spent 5 $.

  8. Anonymous
    April 14, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    Just learn to like it.

    • Jan
      April 16, 2014 at 9:12 pm

      No, I do not have to 'learn' to like a system with a configuration that is so time-costly. I will soon have a system I can use, is time-efficient, overtly tracks me less, and that I can live with. If it still doesn't satisfy, I can look at Chrome.

  9. Ewan M
    April 14, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    Did you purchased Laptop came with windows 8 pro preinstalled. Have try conatacting lenova throgh online sales chat thats the quickest way to get hold of a sales consultant.

    • Jan
      April 16, 2014 at 9:08 pm

      No, only WIN 8 preinstalled and it was not discussed with me. Someone has said that all machines in Sept 2013 came with WIN 8. The sales consultant must have decided not to offer WIN8 PRO (which I would not have known anything about and would probably have declined). Only since the continued dissatisfaction by many people have options been offered. I had a very good talk to a consultant in October and learned that there was nothing I could do other than purchase a new machine.

  10. Hovsep A
    April 14, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    To downgrade Microsoft Windows or Windows Server software, customers must:
    •Purchase a PC preinstalled with Windows or Windows Server software.
    •Accept the End User Software Licence Terms.
    •Perform the downgrade or authorise a third party to perform it on their behalf.

    OEM versions of Windows 8 eligible for downgrade
    Windows 8 Pro includes downgrade rights to:
    •Windows 7 Professional
    •Windows Vista Business

    You can install Classic shell to get the start menu

    Remove all XBOX programs and profile name from Windows 8?

    • Jalera1
      April 16, 2014 at 9:02 pm

      Thank you for this response.
      I have gone and found web based and downloadable games and am using Chrome apps so I am ready to remove all xbox programs. Thanks.
      I am also looking at 2 startups that I will use.

      I have been thinking about the brief given to the designers. Something about... their understanding of user characteristics and needs . This product is for social Internet users, but has provided very poorly for the user that wants a system as personal system as I (and almost all my friends) do. I understand that machines for business applications now come with WIN 7? Not a surprise.
      There is clearly two groups of users and to address the needs of one and the others so poorly is at their peril.

      The other thing is... where is the manual? FAQs and forums just don't hack it!
      Thank you for your replies.

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