How To Get Novel Windows 10 Features On Windows 7 Or 8.1

Tina Sieber 03-12-2014

Among geeks, Windows 10 is all the rage Windows 10 In Pictures - A Guided Tour Of The Technical Preview The Windows 10 Technical Preview is now available to everyone. Some bugs aside, it does look promising. We'll guide you through the new Windows one screenshot at a time. Read More these days. Yet most of its novel features have been around for a while, either as third party applications or within other operating systems. Instead of installing the Windows 10 Technical Preview 3 Easy Ways To Install Windows 10 Technical Preview You can try Windows 10 Technical Preview for free and help Microsoft polish its new flagship operating system. Before you install it, make sure you choose the best method for your needs. Read More , you can get some of its best features risk-free in your current Windows setup.


Tiled Start Menu

Windows 10 brought the Start Menu back. Of course they didn’t leave it at that. The new Start Menu incorporates the Start Screen. Adding a Start Menu to Windows 8.1 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 is a must and if you’re using Windows 8, you’ve probably done that already. And if you’re using Windows 7, maybe you’d like to try something new?

Start Menu Reviver 2 is a stylish alternative Start Menu for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 that looks a lot like the new Windows 10 Start Menu. It comes with tiles that you can customize to your liking.

Meanwhile, fans of the traditional Windows look should stick with Classic Shell for a customizable Start Menu experience Make Windows 8 Suck Less With Classic Shell Make Windows 8 usable for people who think it's not. Add a start menu to the desktop and tweak the way Explorer and Internet Explorer behave, all thanks to a piece of software called Classic... Read More .

Classic Shell Start Menu

Better Window Snapping

Snapping windows has been a thing since the introduction of Windows Aero How To Enable & Troubleshoot Aero Effects In Windows 7 Read More in Windows 7. Dragging a window to the left or right of the screen would dock it to the respective side. Windows 10 takes this handy feature a little further in that it lets you select which windows you’d like to see next to the window you just snapped, a feature called Snap View.


Aqua Snap (our Aqua Snap review How To Enhance Your Windows Experience With AquaSnap (Not Only in Windows 7!) Aero Snap is a cool feature in Windows 7 that allows you to easily view windows side by side simply by dragging the window to the side of the screen. AquaSnap is a free utility... Read More ) for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 builds on Aero Snap. While it does not offer Snap View, it does come with handy resizing and windows docking options that you won’t otherwise find in any version of Windows.

Windowed Modern Apps

One reason why modern Windows apps fail to appeal to a larger audience — in addition to a poor selection — was how they interfere with multitasking on Windows 8 Manage Start Screen Tiles & Modern Apps Like A Pro Some things take time to grow on you. The Windows 8 Start Screen is one of them. I bet you'll appreciate it more after learning about these tips and tricks. Read More . Although Windows 8.1 Update Windows 8.1 Update Is Here! What It Is & How To Get It Now Curious about the latest Windows 8.1 Update or not sure what this is about? KB2919355 is a cumulative update that comes with useful features. It can also be removed in case it causes issues. Read More introduced some improvements, modern apps still behave oddly compared to desktop software.

In Windows 10, the modern interface moves further to the backseat, at least on a laptop or desktop PC. Consequently, modern apps launch in windowed mode on the desktop, and you can resize the windows, to some degree. You can emulate that same behavior with ModernMix, a member of the Stardock fleet of applications for improving Windows.

You can try ModernMix free for 30 days. To keep the app after the trial period expires, you’ll need to pay US$3.99 (discounted from $4.99).


Windows Package Manager

The OneGet package manager Windows Gets A Package Manager - Download Software Centrally Via OneGet Microsoft is adding yet another Linux feature to Windows. Package management can seriously boost productivity, increase security, and ultimately save you a lot of headache. We show you how it will work. Read More is part of Windows PowerShell Boost Your Productivity With Windows PowerShell Scripts What if you could bring the productivity of Linux over to Windows? Most Linux distros come packaged with the powerful Bash shell. PowerShell is an equally powerful terminal for Windows. Read More , which comes with Windows 10. Briefly, a package manager is a pre-installed software repository or library from which you can pick and install and update software. It’s a little like the Windows Store, but with software available via packages of specifically curated content Don't Be Fooled! 5 Tips To Avoid Fake Apps In The Windows Store The Windows Store has been spoiled by useless junkware and scams. Microsoft recently purged many fake apps, but the store still features questionable apps. We show you how not to get scammed. Read More .

OneGet Package Manager

Originally, OneGet came with the Chocolatey repository. This package manager is also available as a standalone application, although — like PowerShell — it’s operated via command prompt 15 Windows Command Prompt (CMD) Commands You Must Know The command prompt is still a powerful Windows tool. Here are the most useful CMD commands every Windows user needs to know. Read More .

A more user-friendly alternative is Allmyapps [No Longer Available], a Windows App Store for desktop applications. Software installers can be downloaded via the Allmyapps web interface. To get the proper package manager experience Before the Windows Store: Package Managers and Software Repositories App stores are everywhere these days. Whether you’re using iOS or Android, you can get all your apps from a single location and have them automatically update in a consistent way. If you’re using Mac... Read More , however, you should install Allmyapps’ desktop application, available for Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 8.1.


Another option is Ninite, which Chris Hoffman recently described as the only safe place to get Windows freeware. You can select all the applications you’d like to install and download a single installer from the Ninite website. When you re-run the installer at a later point in time, it will update your already installed apps to the latest versions. For automatic updates, you can purchase the Ninite Updater, which will set you back $9.99 per year.

Ninite Installer

Virtual Desktops

Mac and Linux had it for years How To Get The Best Features Of Mac, Linux & Co On Windows Operating system envy: You admire certain Mac and Linux features, while using Windows. What if Windows was a canvas and you could add all the neat gimmicks you like? Here's how. Read More . The ability to manage multiple virtual desktops finally appears in Windows 10. To compensate for the lack in earlier versions of Windows, countless third party apps offer this functionality, of which we have reviewed almost all (see below).

My personal favorite is Dexpot (free for private use, find out more in our Dexpot review Expand Your Desktop Workspace With Dexpot - Cool Virtual Desktop Software [Windows] I was talking to one of my friends, who is an avid Linux user. He told me that one of the Linux features he simply can’t do without is "virtual desktops". I can now tell... Read More ). It supports up to 20 virtual desktops, you can save individual desktop settings, including background images and startup options, and you can drag and drop open windows from one desktop to the other via the full screen preview. As a matter of fact, Dexpot is more advanced than the virtual desktop feature that was built into Windows 10.


Microsoft developed a virtual desktop app called Desktops (our Desktops review How To Use Four Desktops At Once & Boost Productivity [Windows] Read More ), available via Windows Sysinternals. Other options include VirtuaWin (our VirtuaWin review VirtuaWin - A Lean Mean & Free Virtual Desktop Manager [Windows] When I covered Dexpot some time ago, readers Colugo and Mick were quick to point me in the direction of VirtuaWin as a lightweight, fast alternative virtual desktop software. Encouraged by their feedback, I decided... Read More ) and BetterDesktopTool (our BetterDesktopTool review Bring Mac's Best Window Management Features To Windows Bring Mac-style window management to Windows. If you've ever been jealous of features like Expose and Spaces, BetterDesktopTool is here to bring them to your PC. Read More ).

Why Get Windows 10 If You Can Get The Same Features Elsewhere?

Third party applications can mimic functions, but they can’t recreate the full experience. Although often, as we’ve seen above, they are actually better than native features or applications.

That said, Windows 10 will be a major improvement to Windows 8. If first impressions of the Technical Preview can be trusted, it’s promising to be a stable operating system with great performance, even on older hardware. Many are hoping that Microsoft will continue to develop Windows 10 based on user feedback Want New Windows Features? Share Your Ideas With Microsoft & Vote Microsoft wants to know what you would like Windows to look like! Propose and review Windows features to shape the next version of Windows. Read More , meaning that new features will address what users like you and me are really looking for in this operating system.

What are you looking forward to in Windows 10? And which other features do you think are lacking in Windows and should be integrated by default or upgraded with advanced features?

Related topics: Install Software, Multitasking, Start Menu, Windows 10.

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  1. Andrew
    December 18, 2014 at 2:04 am

    If I never see the Metro screen again, it'll be too soon!

    • Anonymous
      August 25, 2015 at 4:58 pm

      I think several hundred million people feel the same way. Good riddance to the metro interface.

  2. Tim
    December 11, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    You shouldn't be recommending "AllMyApps". It contains malware and the advertisements plastered all over the main program window are links to other malware.

    Do your homework before recommending products to your readers.

    • Tina
      December 13, 2014 at 5:58 pm

      Not sure you can call those ads and the programs they link to malware; I'd call them bloatware. While bloatware is annoying, AllMyApps only installs what you ask for.

      Meanwhile, installers from several popular download pages sneak in bloatware and the download pages are truly plastered with crappy and misleading ads. It's unfortunate that the only sustainable way to finance valuable services is with ads.

      I've only spotted one add in AllMyApps. When used to only install and update software you know to be trustworthy, AllMyApps works exactly as advertised.

      If all that doesn't satisfy you, which alternative do you suggest?

    • tim
      December 28, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      I'd recommend "PatchMyPC". But to your evaluation that it is only bloatware.... I found a trojan virus in the appdata folder that belongs to "AllMyApps". Also the advertising is almost exclusively for driver updater programs and pc fixer utilities which are not bloatware.. they are malware! They do not do anything they claim to do, they hijack your web browsers, and are persistent apps that have no useful purpose. Allowing this form of adware onto your system is extremely dangerous, especially for novice users.

  3. lott11
    December 8, 2014 at 4:42 am

    There is only one reason that still compels me to use windows, gaming.
    consoles have crap for hardware and they will always be the same.
    Years back when win95 was just out, all my top off line hardware was not supported by windows.
    I purchased Suse and Mandrake & BSD to make this short all Unix base hardware worked fine.
    And to say the least I was more impressed with the amount work that I could do in UNIX then windows.
    I was hooked and never looked back, but for one thing gaming.
    I started dos and went along for the ride till today, I have server on windows and was never impressed.
    They where always loosing data or down for some reason,
    will on Unix BSD, Solaris, or Debian, Suse, & Red Hat, they hardly faltered.
    On the normal user windows was always behind times, and too bloated and slow.
    Now windows is still copying Linux multiply desktops the unity interface of canonical single interface.
    As Insipid that Gnome was we all love it for it's simplicity and ability to made very personal.
    When Gnome2 came around it was the most disturbing its lack of fulness or friendly to personalize use.
    Linux It still is 2 years in front of windows users, this is what we want & what we need.
    So would I update to Windows 10, NO!!
    all of the above using NINITE or multiply desktops I have been using since windows XP.
    for eye candy I use on PC with less them 8GB of ram fences and 16GB and gizmo drive.
    So all that windows 10 is adding to improvements, I have already done it with freeware since XP.
    I have been using meta data gloves since 2007, and touchscreens since 2009 one is 32” 3D TV the other is 40” TV.
    The touchscreens are made by company in Taiyuan that I saw in C.E.S. 2009.
    it is an accessory place in front of the screen, and can be reconfigure to any PC.
    The gloves I use in all my gaming they are faster then a mouse keyboard or any gaming control.
    With one gesture I move out of the way and fire at same time and not miss my target.
    all that I am waiting for is Steam OS for prime time to say good by to windows.

  4. Logan MacBride
    December 6, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Did I miss Windows 9?

    • Tina
      December 7, 2014 at 4:20 pm

      Not really. Microsoft decided to jump version 9 because of overlap in the name with Windows 95 and Windows 98 and also because they felt this version of Windows was so grande, it deserved a solid 10.

      And of course this brings them up to par with OS X, i.e. Mac's roman 10 version of their operating system. :)

  5. redsnappa
    December 4, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    I am so embarrassed about being a Windows user.
    I seems the most windows users are struggling to user Windows 8 without an add on start menu. It stands to reason that Linux and Apple users are much more intelligent than their Windows counterparts as they use their OS without a start menu and without difficulties.
    I am ashamed.

  6. retired trebor
    December 4, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    I have been running technical preview of Windows 10 for a month or so. I haven't found anything in it that I want on my daily Win 7 machine. In fact, nothing in it to make it worth purchasing. It doesn't seem to run any faster, takes forever to shut down, no built in games, and, at this time, doesn't play well with my video card drivers.

  7. Gavin
    December 4, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    I rarely use Windows Modern Apps and I don't use virtual desktops. My most favorite feature of Windows 10 is the Snap View. I use both Windows 8.1 and 10 and often have windows side-by-side. I opened the article see if Snap View was available in a 3rd party app. Aero Snap sounds like an interesting app, I may try it on my Windows 8.1
    I liked the recommendation from Chris Hoffman about using Ninite for installing multiple apps and keeping them up to date, but I am a user of Portable Apps which only need to be installed once and updated as they can be backed up to a flash or cloud service and restored quick and easy.

    I am neutral when it comes to the startmenus. Each upgrade of the start menu has neither been better nor worse than the previous one. I have accepted the change and haven't installed anything to change it.

  8. Jeff Beam
    December 4, 2014 at 11:32 am

    I personally LOVE Windows 8.1 and am frustrated whenever I see people complain about the Start screen. Although I'm looking forward to Windows 10, I'm going to miss a lot of the experience I've grown accustomed to in 8.1.

    • Tina
      December 4, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      You can still opt for the Start screen in Windows 10. Unfortunately, it's either the Start menu or the Start screen, you can't use both interchangeably, at least not right now. Can't wait to see how Continuum will work.

  9. Thomas Lawrence
    December 4, 2014 at 11:13 am

    I use Windows 7 Pro, Windows 8.1 Pro, and Linux multi boot and think Windows 10 seems to be copying Linux quite a bit. I am not impressed in the least with the new features. To me this is not a selling point.

    • likefunbutnot
      December 4, 2014 at 7:27 pm

      @Thomas Lawrence,
      Windows has gained many Unix-like features as it has matured, both because many of those features (symlinks, a real scripting shell, application repositories, GUI-less installs) are well understood by IT Pros and because those things would be good ideas whether or not they were lifted from Unix.

  10. ZoNi
    December 4, 2014 at 8:39 am

    I use WinXP at office and Win7 at home. I don't have plans to "upgrade" to those uglier Windowses ;) like Win8 or Win10. I just hate flat design.

    • Tina
      December 4, 2014 at 9:31 am

      Apart from the flat design, what do you think of the new features coming to Windows 10?

    • ZoNi
      December 4, 2014 at 10:39 am

      To be honest - nothing :) I just don't need any of them. Well, for me, WinXP is still very, very nice OS ;) I don't like package managers (on Win or Linux); I don't care about virtual desktops; window snapping is, for me, more annoyance than useful feature... Even in Win7 I use Classic Start Menu (I still prefer XP-like start menu), but I will test Start Menu Reviver 2 (I am just scared that it may be to flat for me :) )

  11. svenske
    December 4, 2014 at 2:04 am

    Windows 10 will be just an annoyance to me as I am using windows to do productive work. Fiddling around with new novelties is just a distraction. I will avoid upgrading as long as I can.

    • Tina
      December 4, 2014 at 9:36 am

      I think Microsoft understands that and hence Windows 10 -- so far -- is very careful about forcing new stuff on desktop users. It's there if you need it, but you can continue to use the desktop as if it was Windows 7, only that it's better.

      I dual boot Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 on my laptop. Like most people, I love Windows 7. It's stable and just works. That said, I admire what Microsoft has done with Windows 10. Of all three Windows versions installed on my laptop, it runs the smoothest, shows better use of resources, and I simply like the features.

  12. Solrac
    December 3, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    Microsoft "Windows" Linux Distro, Coming Soon./

    • Doc
      December 4, 2014 at 10:07 pm

      While China's "Red Star" Linux distro "looked like" XP, you can't get a full Windows compatibility on Linux - the filesystems and APIs are just too different. The best bets are Cedega or WINE, although a great many apps require massive amounts of tweaks to run. DirectX/Direct3D are the biggest headaches - they need a conversion layer to convert to OpenGL, which is a major hurdle and performance hit.
      In case you were being sarcastic...nah, you need Windows to run a huge amount of games. The SteamBox and Android gaming boxes like the Ouya have barely made a dent in "top of the line" gaming, and even the PS4 and XBOne, while using Windows-compatible hardware, can't compete with a top-of-the-line Windows gaming rig; they cut too many corners to make affordable boxes.

  13. tamie
    December 3, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    Allmyapps is interesting