How to make Windows 10 like Windows 7

The time has come: support on Windows 7 has ended. Don't you really want to say goodbye to the familiar look and feel of Windows 7? Then just make Windows 10 look like Windows 7 like two drops of water.

Security for everything

We're going to take Windows 10 a lot of work. Sometimes on the surface, sometimes on the inside. Therefore, make sure you have a backup. In the unlikely event that something goes wrong – although the chance is fortunately very small – you can always fall back on the backup that has been made. We choose the most complete backup, which is a system image. A system image is a one-to-one copy, in case of problems you can restore the image and you have the original environment again. Open Start and type Control Panel. Choose at System and Security in front of Backup and Restore. In the left part of the window, choose Create a system image. Save the backup to an external drive. In an emergency, open the settings window (Windows key + I) and choose for Update & Security / System Restore. Choose Restart now (Bee Advanced Boot Options). Windows will restart and provide instructions for restoring the system from the previously created backup.

Tip 01: No Action Center

The Action Center is a signature part of Windows 10, but can't get used to it and never missed it in Windows 7? Fortunately, we can disable it relatively easily. Open the settings window (Windows key+I) and type in the search box System icons. Choose Enable or disable system icons. Search the list for Action Center and put the slider on from. The Action Center is now disabled. That does not mean that you will miss all notifications from now on. As you are used to from Windows 7, these are neatly displayed in the system tray (near the clock in the Windows taskbar). Keep in mind that you can no longer read the messages at a later time: the archive function (which is characteristic of the Action Center) is no longer available.

Of course, we don't settle for the Windows 10 desktop background either. We long for the times of Windows 7 and therefore opt for the original Windows 7 background. You can find the Windows 7 wallpaper on Getwallpapers. Save the image. Then right click on the file and choose Use as desktop background.

Even in Windows 10 you can still use a local account

Tip 02: Local account

Windows 10 heavily relies on the use of a Microsoft account, which gives you access to the operating system itself, as well as online services such as OneDrive and Windows 7 still uses a local account, and luckily that is still possible in Windows 10. Open the settings window (Windows key + I) and choose Accounts. Make sure the section Your info is open and click on the option Sign in with a local account instead. Enter your Microsoft account password and click Next one. Then provide a name for the local account, as well as a password and any password hint. click on Next one. Now it's time to unsubscribe. click on Sign out and finish. From now on you will use a local account, as you were used to in Windows 7.

Instead of switching from a Microsoft account to a local account, you can also choose to create a second, local account in addition to the existing Microsoft account and use it as the primary account. This saves the aforementioned switching process and still gives you the flexibility of not being dependent on an online account. Open the settings window and choose Accounts / Family and other users. click on Add someone else to this PC. Choose I do not have this person's login details. In the next window, choose Add user without a Microsoft account. Now enter the desired username and password and click Next one.

Tip 03: Icons

Not happy with Windows 10's icons? Fortunately, you can change them yourself, for example to the icons as used in Windows 7. You can easily adjust a few parts by hand. In Windows 10, only the Recycle Bin icon is shown. We also want other icons, for example those of My Computer or Control Panel. Open Institutions and choose Personalization / Themes / Desktop Icon Settings. on the tab desktop icons put your check marks next to the icons you want to show. If you want to change the icon, select the icon and choose Other icon. Choose the desired replacement icon. If you want Windows 7 icons, download a zip file containing the Windows 7 icons. Extract the file and point to the desired icon in the steps described above. Then uncheck Themes are allowed to change desktop icons, so that the custom icons cannot be accidentally changed. To return to the original settings at a later time, in the main window, click Restore Defaults.

Tip 04: Customize folders

It is also possible to change the folder icons to a more Windows 7-like style. Right click on a folder and choose Characteristics. Choose the tab To adjust. Press the button Other icon (in the section folder icons). Choose the icon you want or browse to your own icon file if you have one. Confirm with a click on OK. The same method is useful if you want to customize the icon of a shortcut. Right click on the shortcut and choose Characteristics. On the tab Shortcut click the button Other icon. Then select the desired icon and confirm with OK.

With a few steps, the start menu also shows as in Windows 7

Tip 05: Start menu

One of the parts that has changed the most is the start menu. The clean and minimalist look of the menu in Windows 7 has given way to a filled Start menu with shortcuts and tiles that lead to programs. No need for that new version because you were satisfied with the Windows 7 start menu? Then replace the new start menu with the classic start menu as you know. We use the free Classic Shell program for this. You take care of the start menu and ensure that the menu works exactly as you want. You can find the software at After installation, start the program. Choose Classic Shell / Classic Start Menu Settings. The main window consists of three tabs. Click on the tab Start Menu Style and select the type of start menu you want: we choose Windows 7 Style. However, we are not there yet, because the start button could also use some attention. below Replace Start button you can just customize the home button. On the Classicshell forum you will find the signature Windows 7 start button. Now click on the tab skin and choose Windows Aero. You can find this option in the menu at skin. click on OK. The adjustments are applied.

Tip 06: Stop searching

The taskbar in Windows 10 prominently displays the search box. If you prefer a tidy taskbar, it's time to remove the built-in search box. Right click on the taskbar and choose Search / Hidden. The search box disappears. To retrieve it later, choose Search / Show search box. Do you want quick access to the search function, but find the search box too much of a good thing? Then choose Search / Show search icon. While we're cleaning up the Taskbar, the button may have People another prominent place. This relatively new feature is rarely used. Moreover, we did not miss the button in Windows 7 ... so get rid of it. Right click on the taskbar and choose Show people on the taskbar to remove the check mark. And see: this button is also gone.

Tip 07: Color scheme

Windows 7 featured a calm, blue color. We'll bring that back in Windows 10. Open the Institutions and choose Personal Settings / Colors. Choose navy blue or another blue variant. If you are not satisfied with the colors offered, click on Custom Color and create your own color. click on Ready to apply that color. After that, go back to the settings window and browse to the section Show accent color on the following surfaces. Check the option Title bars and window borders. In the same window you also determine whether Windows should use transparent effects (use the option Transparency Effects).

Internet Explorer

If you can't possibly say goodbye to Internet Explorer, you can also use this outdated browser in Windows 10. For compatibility reasons, the makers have included version 11 of Internet Explorer with Windows 10. You open the browser in the Start menu Internet Explorer to type. To say goodbye to Edge, right-click the Edge icon on the taskbar and choose Unpin from taskbar. You can then even set Internet Explorer as the default browser. In the browser, click on the button Additional (or press Alt+X) and choose Internet Options. On the Programs click on Set Internet Explorer as default browser. To also pin the browser to the taskbar, right-click the Internet Explorer icon on the taskbar and choose Pin to taskbar. By the way, it is strongly recommended to use a modern browser, such as Chrome or Edge.

The Explorer has also changed a lot compared to Windows 7

Tip 08: Explorer

Windows Explorer – known as Explorer in later editions – has also changed quite a bit compared to Windows 7 in Windows 10. We don't just allow that. We use external help for this, but we can also adapt another one ourselves. Open File Explorer (Windows key+E) and choose View / Options. By default, Explorer opens with focus on Quick access. You can change this to a focus on This computer, as was common in Windows 7. on the tab General choose you at Open explorer in in front of This PC. If you don't want to use the Quick Access section at all, uncheck . on the same tab View recently used files in Quick access and with View recently used folders in Quick access. If you do want to show the libraries (as used in Windows 7), then choose on the tab Display in front of View Libraries (in the section Navigation pane).

Tip 09: OldNewExplorer

Now it's time for some outside help in the form of the free-to-use OldNewExplorer. Extract the rar file. If you don't have a program to do that yet, you can use an unpacking program such as 7-Zip. Extract OldNewExplorer and double click on the exe file OldNewExplorerCfg.exe. With this program you can further customize Explorer. A note is in order: on one of our three test systems (with Windows 10 May 2019 Update), OldNewExplorer did not work. Keep this possibility in mind when installing the app. Unfortunately no guarantees!

Once the OldNewExplorer window opens, click the button install. You can find it in the section Shell extension. click on Yes when Windows asks for permission. After installation, the OldNewExplorer window will read 'Installed'. Now you can make File Explorer look more like Windows 7's familiar File Explorer again. In the box Appearance put a check in Use command bar instead of Ribbon. The options under this option can also be turned on and off individually and are not dependent on the aforementioned option. You can also indicate that the arrow buttons Back and Next one should be displayed in the classical style. Also check the option Show details pane on the bottom. As a result, the details are no longer shown on the right side (as in Windows 10), but neatly at the bottom as in Windows 7. If the current version of Explorer also does not show a status bar, activate it by placing a check mark next to the option Show status bar.

Classic Control Panel

The typical Windows 7 Control Panel has been replaced in Windows 10 by the Settings window. However, you can still work in the Control Panel. Open the Start menu and type Control Panel. To quickly access the classic Control Panel later, you can pin it to the taskbar: right-click the Control Panel icon and choose Pin to taskbar. It is also interesting to place a shortcut on the desktop that opens all options of the classic Control Panel at once. Right click on the desktop and choose New / Folder. Name it: Control Panel.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}. Double-click the newly created "folder" to open the full, complete view of the Control Panel.

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