How to banish Metro from your Windows 8 PC forever

Windows 8 is great--if you ditch its Live Tiles and silly swipe gestures. Here's how to do just that and get back to clean desktop living.

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Searches and Start button replacements

Here's where things get interesting. Just how much do you hate the Modern Windows 8 interface? The answer makes a crucial difference in how you should arrange to sift through your apps and search your system.

If you absolutely, positively, soul-searingly loathe the new look of Microsoft's operating system, you'll want to download a program that restores the traditional Start button to the Windows 8 desktop. That way, you'll never have to return to the Windows 8 Start screen to search for specific software or files that aren't already pinned to your Taskbar or otherwise present on your desktop. Start8 and Classic Shell are excellent options for doing just that--and they give you the option of booting directly to the desktop. Win-win!

After months of using Windows 8, day-in and day-out--both with and without Start button Band-Aids--I recommend that you swallow your Modern misgivings in this solitary circumstance. Windows 8 has powerful search capabilities that rock, and I've come to appreciate them much more than the staid ol' Start button.

Biting this bitter bullet doesn't mean swimming in Live Tiles, though. Instead, you can create a desktop shortcut that rockets you straight to the Modern All Apps screen (or as I call it, my new and more efficient Start menu).

To do so, right-click on your desktop and select New > Shortcut. Copy and paste the following text into the Location box, and then click Next:

%windir%\explorer.exe shell:::{2559a1f8-21d7-11d4-bdaf-00c04f60b9f0}

Give the shortcut a name--I went with the straightforward "All Apps"--and then click Finish. At once, a shortcut to the All Apps screen appears on your desktop, which you can pin to your taskbar if you so desire. The All Apps screen includes a full-screen list of all the programs on your computer, or you can start typing the name of a file to initiate a search.

Boot straight to the desktop

After you've set up your desktop programs as defaults and sorted out your Start button dilemma, you need to configure your PC to boot straight to the desktop, bypassing the Windows 8 Start screen.

First, open the Task Scheduler by typing Schedule task in the Settings search on the All Apps screen, or by deep-diving to Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools > Schedule Tasks.

Once the Task Scheduler is open, click Create Task under Task Scheduler Library in the Actions pane. Name your task "Boot to desktop" or something similar. Open the Triggers tab, select New, and choose At log on in the 'Begin the task' drop-down menu at top. Click OK, and then open the Actions tab, select New once again, and enter explorer in the Program/script field.

Save the action and the task, and you're done! From now on, every time you log in to Windows, you'll automatically jump to the desktop, where an open Libraries folder will greet you.

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