I would like to change the theme of my Windows 8 install to the Windows Classic theme:

classic theme.

  • 2
    That is not windows 8
    – Chiba
    Commented Jul 14, 2014 at 19:43
  • 2
    The short answer is "there is no Classic Theme for Windows 8" because since Vista the window drawing libraries are CONSIDERABLY different than the 2000/XP days. So when you went and tried what was suggested in the accepted answer in the possible duplicate, what were the results? Anything else you have tried already? Commented Jul 14, 2014 at 19:50
  • 1
    @Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Actually, there's CLassic Theme in Windows 8, and it still exist even in Windows Technical Preview 10. A programmer on thinkpads forum figured it out. He figured out that the classic theme can be restored for new processes by closing the handle to a shared memory section named "\Sessions\<Session ID>\Windows\ThemeSection" in the WinLogon process. He had written a quick and dirty program to automate the task at startup. More details, go to forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?f=67&t=113024
    – Edward
    Commented Nov 1, 2014 at 13:00

2 Answers 2


If you want DWM disabled, try this program:

Windows 8 no DWM

After using it, rename the Resources folder.

But do not forget to enable Auto-login to desktop because both login screen and StartScreen need DWM.

This method makes Metro apps not working because they need DWM.

A third method is somwhat similar to the first one, but is reported not to work with the taskbar (or the taskbar needs to be restarted). It uses a batch file and the handle utility by sysinternals. As the first method, it keeps DWM running.

Use this

@echo off
FOR /F "delims=^T" %%G IN ('Handle Theme') do set output=%%G
FOR /F "tokens=6" %%G IN ('echo %output%') DO set handleid=%%G
FOR /F "tokens=3" %%G IN ('echo %output%') DO set pid=%%G
echo %handleid%
echo %pid%
Handle -c %handleid% -p %pid% -y

or this script

FOR /F "tokens=3,6 delims=: " %%A IN ('Handle Theme') DO (
ECHO handleid=%%B
ECHO Pid=%%A
Handle -c %%B -p %%A -y

or, alternatively a one-liner:

@FOR /F "tokens=3,6 delims=: " %%A IN ('Handle Theme') DO Handle -c %%B -p %%A -y

and you'll get something like this: enter image description here

Source: http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/173367-simple-hack-enables-classic-theme-in-windows-10-and-8-too/

With all three methods the task manager stops working so you have to install the classic task manager from Windows 7.

For advanced users I recommend this method though.

Additionally, one can apply this tweak to make the menus looking more classic.

  • 1
    Not only the Task Manager stops working, but also other applications which replace the standard window title bar (Internet Explorer, Opera 12.x, Google Chrome, MySQL Workbench) start exhibiting a semi-transparent title bar and/or semi-transparent toolbar. The theme executable allows to patch the Internet Explorer binary, though.
    – Bass
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 14:22
  • @Bass for Chrome the problem is also quite solvable.
    – Anixx
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 15:50
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    @Anixx on Linux, where Chrome can be configured to use window manager decorations — yes. How do you solve this on Windows? Google guys removed that appearance switch years ago.
    – Bass
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 18:37
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    @Bass either changing the theme to something like this chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/windows-classic-theme/… or start it with --disable-dwm-composition key or both.
    – Anixx
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 18:42
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    @Bass or on a per-application basis, use SetWindowCompositionAttribute.exe class WindowClass accent 1 0 0 0, where Window Class is the class of the window you want to fix (or you can use "name WindowCaption"). Download the utility here: www.glass8.eu/files/SetWindowCompositionAttribute.7z
    – Anixx
    Commented Sep 27, 2016 at 16:09

I'm guessing you want to bring back the start menu and make it so that at start-up you default to the desktop.

I'd start by getting Windows 8.1 at the Windows store, it gives more Windows 7 type functionality and if you don't have a touch-screen it defaults to the desktop.

Then you can bring back the start menu with classic shell from here.

  • I had to change a setting in 8.1 to start to desktop when I upgraded on my PC that does not have a touch screen, but this was shortly after it was released and things could have changed.
    – Cfinley
    Commented Jul 14, 2014 at 20:43

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