The Windows 8 developer preview release that was offered publicly by Microsoft a few days ago caused quite the stir. There were users who loved the new Metro UI interface and other features of the operating system like the Ribbon of Windows Explorer. Other users criticized the new user interface as to tablet and touch centric.
I for one posted my thoughts in a two posts about Windows 8 at the same day the OS was released. It needs to be mentioned that the release is an early preview version, it is not even a beta. This makes it likely that Microsoft will use feedback from users to fine tune the experience (Microsoft, if you are reading, please give me an option to disable Metro UI completely).
The first tweak that came out was a Registry hack and soon thereafter a program to disable Metro UI partially on the system. The hack would add the classic start menu known from Windows 7 to the desktop part of the operating system. It was still possible to switch to the Metro UI interface, but the tiles there were not functional anymore.
Today one of Ghacks's readers recommended a program called Metro Controller which as he puts it is the answer for all users who do not want to work with the Metro UI. And to put icing on the cake, it is developed by Ghacks regular Happy Bulldozer.
The program offers the following functionality: Windows 8 users can either disable the majority of new features including Ribbon Explorer, the new Lock Screen or the Metro Start Screen, or they can only disable all Metro features.
All that needs to be done on the user part is to select one of the options. The program will work its magic and display a prompt to restart the computer.
I personally do not really mind Ribbon Explorer, which is why I selected to disable all Metro features.
Metro was completely gone from the system after the first restart. The start menu button displayed the standard start menu, and pressing the Windows key did not lead to Metro UI Start anymore.
The program can be used to rollback the changes. When you start it again after making changes, you get a slightly different menu that offers to enable the feature that you disabled again.
A word of warning. The program makes changes to the system's Registry and dll files. It is probably not a big issue for a developer preview, as most users will have it installed in a virtual machine, as dual boot or on a test system.
You can download Metro Controller from the developer website over at Win Aero.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.