Making Windows 8 Not Suck (yes, it can be done)

Different people have different opinions about Windows 8. Personally I love Windows 8’s continued stability, the syncing between your desktop and your Microsoft online account … but what the hell were they smoking when they decided to crowbar Metro The Interface Formerly Known As Metro onto a desktop PC?

Here are just a few things that you can do if you either have trouble with your Windows 8 installation, or if you REALLY (like me) can’t bare to even look at TIFKAM.

What to do if:

You want the Start button back and don’t mind TIFKAM
Just install Service Pack 1, otherwise known by the M$ marketing department as the “Windows 8.1” upgrade. Go to the Microsoft store and you’ll find it in there.

You want the Start button back along with a proper Windows Start Menu (and/or can’t stand TIFKAM)
There are a number of pieces of 3rd party software that claim to give you a Windows 7-styled Start Menu (Start Menu 8, Classic Shell  to name a couple) but the only painless way to have a proper Start Menu on Windows 8 is to install the wonderful StartIsBack. Out of all the replacement menus I’ve tried so far, StartIsBack is the best bar none. Classic shell might have appeared to have it sussed but its keyboard handling was absolutely dire. If you use the keyboard to navigate the Start Menu, don’t waste your time trying anything else. StartIsBack not only properly behaves like the Start Menu found in Windows 7, keyboard shortcuts et al, you can’t see or tell the difference between this and a Windows 7 Start Menu. The only slight downsideto StartIsBack is that after 30 days you are required to buy the software. Seriously, just swallow your pride and pay the $3 and you will be happy forever more. I promise.

You want to create a local user account (not paired to a Microsoft online account) and it doesn’t give you the option
Enter a garbage email address (eg bjksdgteyj@fargt.com) then when it fails, it will give you the option to create the account locally.

EDIT 25/01/2014
Also, when you are asked to enter a Microsoft address, you can disconnect from your network, press Back then press Next again. The setup will see the lack of network connection and continue with the option to create a local account.

Your Windows 8 install suddenly thinks it’s a Windows-To-Go system when it’s not
This mostly happens after you’ve made a backup/clone of your Windows hard disk and then browsed the backup drive from Windows.
The quick fix is to delete this key from the registry: (yes, it’s safe, I had to do it myself)

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\PortableOperatingSystem

No need to restart. From this point on, don’t connect this old backup drive again in this copy of Windows unless you have to. If you do, you’ll have to delete the key again.

(If your ‘other’ hard drive is not a backup of your main drive, read the question and first two replies posted here.)

 

 

I’ll be updating this post as and when I find things that might be useful but the above will surely get you warming back into Windows 8 in the mean time.

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