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How to make Windows 10 look like Windows 7

Kevin Parrish

One of the frustrations Windows users experience is the stark contrast between 7 and 10. It feels like a significant design leap, and working with Windows 10 can be annoying, especially if you were passionate about delaying the upgrade.

Part of the universal appeal of Windows 10 is the fact that it’s so customizable. Making the OS look like Windows 7 doesn’t eliminate the learning curve, but it makes things easier. With this simple how-to, you’ll feel at home with Windows 10 in no time.

Change the Start Menu

Step 1: A download called Classic Shell once allowed you to change key menu aspects to look more like Windows 7. Unfortunately, support for Classic Shell ended in 2017, but the code was picked up and continued with Open Shell, which you can download here. With this free tool, you can modify the Windows 10 Start Menu to resemble the version provided in Windows 7. Once installed, you’ll see six entries on your Start Menu listed under Classic Shell. Here you will want to choose Classic Start Menu Settings.

Step 2: On the Start Menu Style tab, choose Windows 7 style as shown above.

Step 3: Next, head here to download the Windows 7 Start Menu orb (these are just image files, so you can pick them up from many different places if you prefer). Once downloaded, choose Custom near the bottom of the Start Menu Style tab and select the downloaded image. You may need to tweak the button size — we used 60 given the default setting was too large for our desktop resolution.

Step 4: On the Skin tab, choose Windows Aero.

Step 5: Hit OK and you’re done.

Change the wallpaper

Step 1: To install a Windows 7 wallpaper, download the images from here.

Step 2: Right-click on the desktop and select Personalize.

Step 3: The Settings app now appears, defaulting to the Background panel. Make sure the Background drop-down menu reads Picture and then select the Browse button to find your downloaded wallpaper.

Hide Cortana and Task View

Step 1: Right-click on the taskbar, select Cortana and then Hidden to remove Microsoft’s assistant.

Step 2: Right-click on the taskbar and select Show Task View button to disable this feature.

Change the colors

Step 1: Right-click on the desktop and select Personalize.

Step 2: Choose Colors on the left of the Settings app.

Step 3: As shown above, we selected Navy Blue.

Step 4: Next, we’ll switch the colors of the title bar. Check the Title bars option towards the bottom of the panel. You can add the Start and taskbar if you prefer as well.

Swap Microsoft Edge with Internet Explorer

Support has largely ended for Internet Explorer and there are difficulties in using it these days, so we don’t necessarily recommend this step for everyone. However, it is possible to use IE on Windows 10 — indeed, your version of Windows 10 should already have the final release of IE (Internet Explorer 11) available.

Step 1: Right-click on the Microsoft Edge icon and unpin the browser from the taskbar.

Step 2: Search for Internet Explorer using the Start Menu’s search field.

Step 3: Right-click on the result and select Pin to taskbar.

Step 4: Open Internet Explorer, select the gear-shaped Tools icon in the upper-right corner and select Internet options.

Step 5: Once the Internet options pop-up appears, select the Programs tab.

Step 6: On this panel, click Make Internet Explorer my default browser.

Step 7: Select Internet Explorer on the resulting list and then choose the Set this program by default setting.

Tweak Explorer

Here we used the free tool OldNewExplorer. It’s downloaded as an RAR file so you’ll need to install third-party software to unpack the installer. The file to use is OldNewExplorerCfg.exe, and once launched, here’s what you’ll need to change:

Step 1: Select Use classical drive grouping in This PC.

Step 2: Select Use libraries; hide folders from This PC.

Step 3: Select Use command bar instead of Ribbon.

Step 4: Select Show details pane on the bottom.

Step 5: For Appearance style, you have three options: Default, Silver cream, and Flat white.

Step 6: For Status bar style, select Gray.

Step 7: Now open File Explorer. Navigate to Tools and then Folder Options. On the General tab, select This PC in the drop-down menu for Open File Explorer.

Step 8: On the same General tab, uncheck Show recently used files in Quick access.

Step 9: Now uncheck Show frequently used folders in Quick access.