How to disable the Metro interface in Windows 8


Updated: October 7, 2011


Super important: For up to date instructions on how to disable Metro, the new
Modern UI Start menu in Windows 8, please take a look at this tutorial! Must see!

Or rather, how to enable the classic interface only. Say you want to run Windows 8, but you have encountered a few issues with the new tile-like interface. First, it is designed and optimized for touch screens, normally reserved for smart phones and tablets. Second, you're on a desktop, and the prospect of flipping between a useless tablet interface and a classic desktop is a tedious task. Third, your machine is not coping well with the more resource hungry Metro. Lastly, you may not like the actual new looks. So how do you switch back to having only the old, classic theme?

In this extremely short and simple tutorial, I will show you the one tweak you need to do to get the Aero only looks or perhaps even the Win95 looks, if you care to do so. The best thing about this change is that it only requires logging off and on, no reboot, and it's completely reversible. So, let's take a look.

Situation report

You have this kind of interface:

Metro desktop

But you would prefer this:

Classic desktop

Well, to that end, run regedit. Then navigate to:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer

In the right pane, double-click on RPEnabled key and change its value from 1 to 0. P.S. It is also possible to tweak system files, but we don't want that. Well, that's all. Now, log off, log back in and you will be using the Aero interface only, with a few small visual changes, like the new windows borders, new fonts and such. 

Caveats

This change should boost your system responsiveness, but you will probably not see a major difference in the actual resource usage, since the fix is cosmetic only, and the new framework actually remains active under the hood.

Moreover, some functionality will be lost, like the new Task Manager with the process usage heat map, the Office 2010 like Explorer looks or the Refresh/Reset capability, which we will discuss in a separate article. But if you can live with these losses, in other words, if you're okay with having only the more classic Windows functionality, as currently provided by Windows 7, then you are all set.

Last but not the least, do note that all of what we talked about here is relevant for the Windows Developer Preview edition and might change in the final release, although you should be just fine.

Conclusion

This is a fairly trivial, no-nonsense article, so there isn't any big, fancy conclusion. you can toggle on and off the new interface as you see fit, without having to reboot, which is a blessing. However, disabling Metro will incur some functionality penalty, even as you gain on better overall system responsiveness and a more natural use of the machine in static setups, like desktops.

Well, I guess that would be all for now, stay tuned.

Cheers.

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