Solved: Making Windows 8 Tolerable on a Laptop or Desktop

Discussion in 'Operating Systems' started by lakedude, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. lakedude

    lakedude Golden Member

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    The Metro interface is not so bad if you have a touchscreen but it is not ideal for a desktop or laptop user. After some digging I found some "secrets" that can make your W8 user experience much more pleasant.

    Quick version:

    1) Download a start replacement program like Start 8 or Classic Shell.

    2) Edit the registry or touch pad drivers to eliminate "Edge Pull" or "Swipe".

    3) Add "Computer" to the desktop.

    4) Add shortcuts for shutdown and restart.

    5) Set "Task Manager" to "always on top" (don't know if this one works yet).

    In more detail:

    1) Classic Shell is free and it makes life with W8 so much better. It allows you to bypass Metro on start-up and boot straight to the desktop. It restores the W7 (or earlier) style start button and it allows you to disable hot corners to keep Metro/Charm stuff from popping up. It even allows you to change the look of explorer back to a more conventional style. This one simple free program solved many of the issues I had with W8. It or similar programs like Start-8 are a must have for W8. http://classicshell.sourceforge.net/

    2) Edge Pull was making me crazy while using my W8 laptop's touch pad. Unwanted Metro or Charm stuff was popping up all the time and I didn't even know why. Even with the Hot Corners disabled by Classic Shell the Edge Pull was still functioning and popping stuff up seemingly at random. Edge Pull can be turned off by editing the registry. Make a backup before you tinker around in the Registry. After getting Classic Shell running, go to Start/run and type regedit. Setting the value to zero disables Swipe:

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Synaptics\SynTPEnh\ZoneConfig\TouchPadPS2\Top Edge Pull] "ActionType" =dword:00000000

    Repeat for each of the 3 remaining edges (left, right and bottom)...

    Swipe feature is now disabled! Life with W8 is getting better!

    http://superuser.com/questions/494705/modify-or-disable-windows-8-swipe-gestures-on-touchpad-laptop

    Note: With Hot Corners and Swipe disabled you can still get to the Charms Bar by hitting the windows key and "c".

    3) I like right clicking "Computer" on the desktop for things like "Manage" and "Properties" (which brings up "System"). With W7 you can get "Computer" on the desktop by going to Start, right clicking on Computer and checking "show on desktop". With W8 there is no start menu (actually this might be possible once you install Classic Shell) so there is another way.

    To get "Computer" on the desktop with W8 right click on the desktop and then left click on "personalize", left click "Change desktop icons", now put a check in the box by "Computer" and then hit OK or Apply.

    4) Add shortcuts to shutdown or restart in just one click by making a short cut with "shutdown /p" to turn you computer off or "shutdown /r /t 0" to reboot. Full directions:

    http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39...eate-a-shutdown-and-reboot-tile-in-windows-8/


    http://www.redmondpie.com/how-to-ad...hortcuts-to-start-screen-taskbar-and-desktop/

    5) I had trouble with the Task Manager falling to the back and not allowing me to use it to kill an offending program. Task Manager has an "always on top" option that I'm hoping fixes that problem. I've not tested this one yet because it depends on a program messing up and it does not mess up all that often.

    Anyhow hit ctrl-alt-del, and click on Task Manager. Under "options" check "always on top".

    That is it! W8 moar better now!
     
    #1 lakedude, Jan 3, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  2. biostud

    biostud Lifer

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    had the same problem with task manager, and always on top fixed it.
     
  3. lakedude

    lakedude Golden Member

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    Cool!

    I just checked W7 and the "always on top" option is unchecked yet this was never an issue on W7?? Not sure why it is an issue with W8?

    Of course you need to do this before you have a problem while the computer is working properly. After you have the problem you won't be able to get to the Task Manager and you will need to do a reboot (AFAIK).
     
  4. wiin

    wiin Senior member

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    No cmpelling reason to add gunk on your win8 computer. Win8 is fine as it is. You do not need any "secret" to use it.
     
  5. Arkaign

    Arkaign Lifer

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    That's not really constructive. It may be fine to you as is, but to many it isn't, and to gain the best value and usability from it many many choose to enhance/modify it.

    It's not an uncommon perspective either :

    http://www.nngroup.com/articles/windows-8-disappointing-usability/
     
  6. dagamer34

    dagamer34 Platinum Member

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    Are we going to have a post about Start Menu replacements every week? -_-
     
  7. FrankSchwab

    FrankSchwab Senior member

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    You only have to read the first one. After that, forum rules permit you to ignore all others.
     
  8. lakedude

    lakedude Golden Member

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    I made this post for a couple of reasons.

    1) To help others.

    2) There are several things besides just the Start Menu replacement that make a big difference. I had "Disable Metro Features" checked in Power 8 but hidden triggers were still causing Metro popups. Power 8 was really slow as well so I switched to Classic Shell. Classic Shell disables Hot Corners but what really did the trick was using regedit to disable edge swipe. Figuring this out was a process. If I or someone I know gets a computer sometime in the future this thread will serve as a reminder as to what steps to take to make W8 better for a non-touch screen user. It is my personal online reference.

    All of these tips are available elsewhere on the inter-web but this is a nice list of things to do all in one place. Worth having if you ask me.
     
  9. tommo123

    tommo123 Platinum Member

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    ftfy :thumbsup:
     
  10. dguy6789

    dguy6789 Diamond Member

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    This. /thread.
     
  11. lakedude

    lakedude Golden Member

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    Some of y'all must have had a different user experience. W8 was completely intolerable on a touch-pad until I disabled edge swipe. Having stuff pop up full screen seemingly from nowhere every couple of minutes was very annoying.

    Having to hunt down features that were moved for no good reason has not been fun either.

    Making extra motions or extra clicks is a step backward IMHO. I don't want to click on something to call up the desktop, I just want the stinking desktop to be there.

    I don't want to hit a hot corner to call up charms, click settings, click the off menu and finally click shutdown to turn of my computer. That is 4 things you must do just to turn off or reboot your computer. With shortcuts on the desktop one click cuts the computer off or reboots eliminating 75% of the effort it takes with unmodified W8. It is 4 times "faster" now.

    Not being able to kill off a malfunctioning game was also annoying. There is plenty wrong with W8.
     
  12. Mem

    Mem Lifer

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    One click for desktop unless you install a third party start mod,is it really that hard?...As to ShutDown,Reboot etc try adding it to Win+X menu,http://www.howtogeek.com/113775/add-shutdown-and-reboot-to-the-windows-8-winx-menu/


    [​IMG]


    You can add Shut Down,Reboot etc to Metro tiles as well http://www.howtogeek.com/77061/how-...rt-sleep-to-the-windows-8-metro-start-screen/


    [​IMG]

    Basically Win8 is very easy to use and customize, you don't really need to any serious mods,yes that's my opinion only before some of you disagree.

    I will say if you going to change a lot via mods etc.. then you might as well stick with Win7 IMHO.


    QFTT
     
    #12 Mem, Jan 4, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  13. lakedude

    lakedude Golden Member

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    I don't know where you are getting this garbage. This is not really a 3rd party start replacement thread. Only 1 of the 5 things I did to make W8 more to my liking involved a start replacement program.

    I did not use any program to edit the registry and disable edge swipe.

    I did not use any program to add shortcuts (desktop) and tiles (Metro) for shutdown and restart.

    I did not use any program to add "Computer" to the desktop,

    and

    I did not use any 3rd party software to enable "always on top" for Task Manager.

    Classic Shell was listed first because it (along with disabling edge swipe) was relatively more important than the other items that follow.

    Classic Shell disables hot corners, allows booting straight to desktop and adds the more traditional start menu. All those are good things IMHO.

    Do you use W8 with a touch-pad? If not, you don't really understand how terrible edge swipe can be.
     
  14. Mem

    Mem Lifer

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    Desktop user here with NO touchscreen,my point was only one click from Metro Start to Desktop which takes less then a second,I have been on Desktop all day ,I find Win8 quite natural now,IMHO I would not say edge swipe is awkward,maybe its because I've got use to it now,like any new OS does not take long to adapt or get use too(ie trying to use Win8 the way it was intended).

    What happens down the road when you get a Windows Update and Classic Shell messes it up ie causes issues?....http://7pmtech.com/topic/2275-classic-shell-for-windows-8-warning/ ,I advise using any 3rd party mod (like Classic Shell)with caution.
     
    #14 Mem, Jan 4, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  15. lakedude

    lakedude Golden Member

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    Using a mouse in W8 is not so bad really. It is the touch-pad on my W8 laptop that was really causing the most annoying issues. All the other stuff is minor compared to the edge swipe and/or hot corners kicking in unexpectedly while using the touch-pad. I'm sure I could have got accustom to the hot corners but that edge swipe had to go.

    If I was using W8 on a desktop with a mouse I might have a completely different opinion.

    W8 does have some nice new features. The drive pooling seems like a neat addition.

    BTW I'm not some Windows only user who just can't stand change. I've used dozens of Linux distros over the years and I generally don't find them hard to use at all. Sure every once in a while something is troublesome to figure out but the basic functionality of the FatDog-64 desktop (as an example) is very user friendly.
     
  16. poohbear

    poohbear Platinum Member

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    lol people "upgrading" to win8 only to hack it to make it work like win7. what's the point? just stay with win7 like the rest of us! i mean seriously how much of a "performance increase" are u getting on a modern computer? an i3/i5 with 4gb of RAM is overkill for win7 performance wise, let alone win8.

    Why exactly did you "upgrade" if you're just changing back into win7?
     
  17. lakedude

    lakedude Golden Member

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    I didn't "upgrade", my laptop came with W8 installed.

    Got it sorted out, thanks for your concern.
     
  18. Zaap

    Zaap Diamond Member

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    Remember man, Windows 8 is perfect, and any discussion about any flaws it has means you'll be pounced on by nattering MS lapdogs compelled to white knight for their team.

    Remember: the pinnacle of technology is driven by people that accept without question anything a large company throws some marketing hype behind, not by people that actually examine things critically, and have any sort of perspective on what's actually useful and well designed as opposed to just crapped out in pursuit of a corporate hoop-dream. Shut off your brain, click on your candy-colored *charms* and just drink the MS coolaid. That's always how technology evolves best; blind acceptance.
     
  19. lakedude

    lakedude Golden Member

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    Once a long time ago in a state far away I installed a car stereo for a friend. The odd thing about this stereo was that it just worked. It was not fancy in any kind of way but the buttons were all logically laid out, labeled with large easy to see symbols and big enough to push while bouncing down the road. Instructions were pointless because you could easily figure out how to do everything you needed to do without any stinking instructions.

    That stereo actually came with a signed note from the designer which explained how they did their best to make the unit user friendly. I kept that note for years hoping I would run into the guy. Excellent work my man!

    If I found out who designed the W8 UI I wouldn't have so many nice things to say...
     
  20. Mem

    Mem Lifer

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    No OS is perfect,I would not advise anybody to do any severe changes to ANY OS that includes Vista/Win7,Win8 etc.... or even Linux Distro.


    I never liked touchpad on a laptop even back in XP days,I always ended up using a mouse on laptop/notebook regardless of OS even if it was a Linux distro.
     
    #20 Mem, Jan 5, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  21. luv2liv

    luv2liv Platinum Member

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    so it looks like you made win8 into win7?
    lol
    the simple solution is to keep win7, dont upgrade then. which is what im doing.
     
  22. Mem

    Mem Lifer

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    It came with it preinstalled,personally I would of used a mouse on my lappy ;) .
     
  23. biostud

    biostud Lifer

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    Win8 is faster, safer, less power draw, has a better explorer and better integration with windows phone than win7 and for only $39.99 I think it's a good deal. Then installing one little mod, to make it look like win7, doesn't remove the other reasons to upgrade to win8.
     
  24. poohbear

    poohbear Platinum Member

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    Compared to win7?? Compared to XP & Vista sure, but def not to win7. I noticed no difference at all personally.
     
  25. biostud

    biostud Lifer

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    I did (not a whole lot, but a little), but see it more like win7+. If I had to pay full price I would never do the upgrade.

    But I'm pretty sure my laptop has gotten better battery life.