Ask a Geek: Can I make Windows 10 feel more like Windows 7?


Adam Darack is the IT administrator for the town of Edgartown. He will be writing regularly about the technological issues facing Island business owners. Got a question? Send it to with the subject line “Dear Geek.”

Dear Geek,

I bought a new computer that has Windows 10 on it. I’m OK with having it, since it’s the newest version, but is there any way to make it feel more like WIndows 7? Can you help take me back in time?

Marty McFly

Dear Marty,

Thanks for contacting me. I’ve seen a lot of people struggle with the changed user interface; it presents a curveball to users familiar with the Windows XP/7 interface. Fortunately, there are a few tricks you can use to make it look more like what you were used to.

The first time you use Windows 10, you will be prompted to log in using your Microsoft account. You don’t need a Microsoft account to use Windows 10, and can select “Sign in without a Microsoft account” and it’ll be just fine. But if you have an account with Microsoft, and log in with it, your settings and OneDrive online storage can be synced across devices. Your account will also give you access to Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant. If you do use her useful electronic-helper skills, Marty, you’ll feel a long way from the days of attempting to order that Tab from Lou’s Cafe in 1955.

Once you’ve logged into Windows 10, you will be confronted with the start menu. It’s not bad, but has a bit of a different look from what you are used to. If you don’t like it, you can install a program called Classic Shell (Google it to download it) that replaces the Windows 10 start menu with something that looks more like what you had with Windows 7. I usually stick with the defaults when installing Classic Shell, so don’t worry about the other options it offers unless they look like something that would appeal to you.

For Windows 10 web browsing, Microsoft recommends Edge. Edge has some good features, including Web Note, which allows you to scribble notes on a web page if you are using a

touchscreen device. For example, you can use it to add notes on your screen if you’re shopping for an outfit for the Enchantment Under the Sea dance, Marty. By the way, I’d recommend something nice — you never know if you’ll be asked to join the band for a song or two. However, if you’re looking to take the Edge off, here’s what to do: Right-click the Edge icon on your taskbar and select “Unpin from taskbar.” Then click the Start button and start typing in the words “Internet Explorer” (you don’t need to type it into a field, just start typing). When you see Internet Explorer appear above where you are typing, right-click it and select “Pin to taskbar.” A shortcut for it will appear in the taskbar to the right of the Start button. Of course, you can install and do the same for Chrome, Firefox, or any other browser as well.

Thanks for writing, Marty. Don’t forget to let some air out of the tires if you take the DeLorean to Norton Point.