Disabling Metro in Windows 8

metro-Windows8

As someone who has been regularly using Windows Developer Preview as his primary OS, I can tell you that Metro can be a little daunting at first.

My first impression was that it was an ugly unusable mass that shouldn’t even be bothered with. For those who are probably thinking that I’m the type of user who hates change, actually I was a switcher to Mac OS X in the mid-2000s, jumped right onboard with Android, and even loved Windows 7’ interface. The problem with Metro is that at first glance it seems unnecessary.

In total defense of Metro, right now there are few real apps that show off what it can do and the ones that do exist have a bit of learning curb.

Although it is a radical approach, Windows 8 offers an experience that is designed to merge your phone, tablet, and PC experiences into one without having to remember 3 or 4 different operating systems for every function in your digital life. Metro is about simplicity of design and conformity of style, and shouldn’t be dismissed as a horrible idea.

That being said, my initial distain led me to look for ways to remove Metro and just make it a standard desktop OS. Eventually I did figure out what needed to be done, at the same time I quickly grew bored of Windows 8. Without Metro, there is no soul to Windows Developer Preview and it is simply Windows 7+.

Eventually I put Metro back to my life, forced myself to use it, and now? I actually use the browser in Metro for most of my basic email checking functions and have learned to embrace it, even despite its little quirks.
I recommend that you give Metro a chance, but if you are totally unwilling and want to play around on a Metro-free version of Windows Developer Preview I will show you how.

Almost two months ago I ran into a post on Addictive Tips that let me in on the secret to disabling Metro, and now its my turn to show others. The great part about modifying Windows Developer Preview is that it isn’t permanent and if you desire you can always bring Metro back.

If you aren’t comfortable doing some basic registry hacks, then this probably isn’t for you. That being said, if you took the time to install Windows Developer Preview than this should be a piece of cake.

  1. First, press Start +R buttons to open up the Run menu.
  2. From there, enter into “regedit”.
  3. Scroll to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE” and double click to expand the folder.
  4. Now expand the “SOFTWARE” folder, search for “Microsoft”, and open it.
  5. Navigate to Windows>CurrentVersion>Explorer
  6. Look for the value “RPenabled” and change it from 1 to 0.

Just like that, Metro will be gone and you will have a traditional start menu again. Don’t want to keep it that way? Just change the value back to 1 and Metro will greet you once more.

So why would you want to do this if the primary feature of Windows 8 is Metro? The reason is probably your own, such as testing the stability of the desktop side of Windows Developer Preview. We know its pre-beta but some curious folks want to see how stable a pre-beta is.

Overall, Metro is likely here to stay and getting used to it now is my recommendation. At the same time, considering it’s so simple to disable, Microsoft could eventually make this an option. The question is should they?

I’m still not 100% sold on Metro, and likely won’t be until I see a wider girth of apps once the Beta is here. That being said, Windows is trying to bridge the gaps that have developed among technology and not require multiple different experiences for all our technology needs.

I think this is actually a wise idea and allowing easy disablement of METRO ultimately will hurt this goal.

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Comments

  • xinu

    I still would like to see some more interface changes. It seems that Microsoft is going with the old, if it isn’t broken don’t fix it approach. I would like Microsoft to innovate more. So far Windows 8 is Windows 7+, as mentioned above. It doesn’t seem like a step forward, just a $300 upgrade (yes yes well see what prices they come up with). I always upgrade to the latest OS, but right now im having doubts whether it will be worth it. There are many new additions which you just don’t use, unless you are a power user. Although i like the metro UI concept, Microsoft have to understand that using your hands on a normal screen is not very comfortable, for a long period of time. So a touch based interface just doesn’t make sense on a large desktop screen. I will wait for the official beta to be released before I start playing properly with W8, but so far its not living up to my expectations.

  • Ivinces

    But the crappy Win8 Start Menu icon doesn’t change…

  • Im31m4n

    Great Article!