Setting up to shut down
Can you taste your future Metro-free life? We're almost there. The final step involves creating a custom Shutdown button for your desktop, so that you won't have to "Swipe the charm bar"--the teenager in me just giggled--ever again.
Right-click any empty space on your desktop, and choose New > Shortcut. Copy and paste the following text into the Location field, and then press Next:
shutdown /s /t 0
On the next screen, name the shortcut "Shutdown" and click Finish. The shortcut will appear on your desktop, sporting a generic icon. Swap the icon out by right-clicking the shortcut and choosing Properties. Open the Shortcut tab and click the Change icon button at the bottom. A big list of available icons will appear--I recommend using the Power button icon.
I also recommend placing the Shutdown shortcut far away from any other files on your desktop. The shortcut shuts your computer down immediately, without any warning or additional prompts, and it's a major pain if you click it by accident.
That's it: You've banished the Modern interface from your Windows 8 life! If you've followed all of the instructions above--and opted to go the All Apps route rather than installing third-party Start button software--your desktop should look something like the one showwn in the screenshot. (The folder with the green arrow in the taskbar is the All Apps shortcut.) Enjoy Windows 8's lightning-fast boot times and extensive improvements under the hood, without the annoying new interface.
Extra credit: Buh-bye, lock screen
Still feeling frisky? Technically, the Windows 8 lock screen doesn't have anything to do with the Modern interface; but it's superfluous on a nontouchscreen computer, and frankly its default inclusion simply serves as a reminder of Windows 8's tablet-first design. Terminate it with extreme prejudice (or at least with some quick configuration tinkering).
Search for "Run" or press Windows + R on your keyboard to open the Run command. Type gpedit.msc and press Enter. Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Control Panel > Personalization in the Local Group Policy Editor's left-hand menu pane. Click the Do Not Display the Lock Screen option that appears in the main pane, select the Enabled option in the new window, and click OK to save your changes and never see the silly lock screen again.