Published March 09, 2012
As installed, the Windows 8 Consumer Preview forces users to navigate through two attractive, but disparate UIs: the tile-based Metro Start Screen and the traditional desktop, which now comes without a start menu. Even though 99.9% of Windows programs run in desktop mode, the new OS effectively forces you to return to Metro when you want to browse through your applications and launch one. Fortunately, with a few tweaks, you can live 100% of your Windows 8 life in desktop mode, without even setting foot in Metro.
Editor's Note: It almost goes without saying, but if you want to run a dedicated Metro app like Bing Weather, you'll have to launch and run it in Metro.Boot to The Desktop in Windows 8
The first and most unavoidable time you'll see Metro in a given Windows 8 session is upon start-up. There's no way to disable Metro, but you can force the desktop mode application to load as soon as you log in, effectively covering over Metro, before it even has a chance to draw. Here's how.
Save the file as showmydeskop.scf and put it in a location you'll easily remember.
The next time you log in, whether at boot up or after signing out, the desktop will launch before you can even see Metro.Prevent Your Media Files From Launching in Metro
By default, Windows 8 launches your images, music files and videos in its Metro photo viewer and media player. So, even if you are just minding your own business browsing your picture library in Windows Explorer, you'll be shoved head-first into the Metro UI as soon as you double click to view a file.
Fortunately, there's an easy way to prevent your media files from opening into Metro. All you have to do is associate the appropriate file types with Microsoft's desktop media player and photo viewer.
Though there's no way to enable Microsoft's own old-school Start Menu in Windows 8, a number of third-party utilities provide alternatives that are almost as good. Here are three of our favorites: