How to Get Classic Windows Features Back in Windows 8?

24Aug12

Windows 7 Start Menu SearchingI was inspired by How-To Geek post on How to Get the Classic Start Menu Back in Windows 8.  I thought surely others might want features other than just the old Windows 7 Start Menu (because everyone loves waiting for a search to complete).

It’s nice that Windows 8 makes it easy to customize the Start so you can make your most frequently used programs readily available.  Being able to see your e-mail, weather, and other information quickly in the live tiles is pretty nice, too.  For me, searching Apps from the Start screen has been near instantaneous.

But is all this really necessary?  I mean, sometimes, I’d much rather drill down through a hierarchy of folders trying to remember where I need to go to find the calculator.  I really miss Windows 3.1’s Program Manager.  Sad smile

Here I’ll provide steps to get the classic Program Manager everyone loves and misses from Windows 3.1.  I found that there is actually a way to get the existing File Explorer to behave like Program Manager!

Windows 3.1 Program Manager

  1. On the Start screen (sorry, you do have to start here Crying face) click the Desktop tile.
  2. On the taskbar click on File Explorer
    clip_image001
  3. In the File Explorer window’s path type or copy and paste the following path
    %ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu
    This will take you to your Start Menu folder
  4. Right-click on the Programs folder and select Pin to Start
    image
  5. Now, anytime you want to open the classic Program Manager like folder, you can just select Programs from the Start screen!

If you want have even quicker access to the Programs folder without using a mouse, you can drag it to the very first spot in the top left of the Start screen.  This location is unique in that it is always selected by default when you go to the Start screen, so you just have to push the Enter key to open it.  How’s that for an efficiency boost!

Programs in the ready position

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