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 Jul 14 '14 at 19:43
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    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? – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jul 14 '14 at 19:50
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    @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 Nov 1 '14 at 13:00

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 Sep 21 '16 at 14:22
  • @Bass for Chrome the problem is also quite solvable. – Anixx Sep 22 '16 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 Sep 22 '16 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 Sep 22 '16 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 Sep 27 '16 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 Jul 14 '14 at 20:43

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