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How to banish Metro from your Windows 8 PC forever

Brad Chacos | Feb. 19, 2013
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.

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.

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).


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