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Windows 7: Making Win10 look and act like Win7

14 May 2019   #1
johnhoh

Win7 pro x64
 
 
Making Win10 look and act like Win7

I've been asked to make a thread about making win10 look and operate like win7. I currently have two identical systems, same hardware, same programs, same start menu, same desktop, same icons, same theme, but one system is Win7 and one is Win10. Other people who use my computers do not know they are different OSs other than minor details like the font in explorer, a little different look when you right-click on the taskbar, minor things like that. Here are the steps I took.

Install win10. Then immediately install Classic Shell and customize it to your liking. Reboot and let windows update do its thing to get you up to date. Then install Winaero Tweaker, get a gigantic bag of potato chips, and take your time going through every menu of the program. You will be checking boxes that start with the words "Disable Windows xxx" over and over. Its easy to use and self explanatory and would take me too long to go back and find all the boxes I checked. But some basic things I checked were Disable Windows Update, Disable Microsoft Store, Disable Cortana, Disable Windows Search, Disable Edge pre-launching, Disable UAC, Disable Telemetry and Data Collection, you get the idea. If you are a fast eater you will finish the chips before you are finished checking boxes. Okay not really. Quite a few of things I disabled were the same things I disabled on Win7, btw.

Install the current version of Sledgehammer (which is 2.6.0 as of this writing). This program is a script that does the following: briefly enables windows update from its disabled status WHILE ALSO keeping it from automatically updating in the background, checks ask-woody.com for its Win10 MS-DEFCON rating so you know if the recent win10 updates are likely to create an issue for you, then prompts you to proceed (I only proceed if Defcon isn't level 1 or 2), at which time it loads WuMgr or WUMT, two very similar programs that give you manual control over windows update. As soon as you do your updates (or not - up to you) and exit, Sledgehammer then re-disables windows update. It does several other things I have not mentioned, but suffice it to say keeping MS from doing things automatically behind your back is an extensive process and Sledgehammer does a superb job of keeping MS from reaching your system.

Install your favorite wallpaper, themes, programs, customize your Explorer interface, change your deskop icons (mine are taken from Win98), all the same things you would do when you install win7. I didn't discover winaero tweaker until late in my customization process, so can't be sure it can do everything as most of my changes were done via regedit, but it appears that it may have everything I need if I had to do it all over again, so perhaps would not need to touch regedit. There was NOTHING I wanted to do to Win10 that turned out to be impossible to do, or even difficult to do. The amount and the quality of user programming that has gone into making it easy to correct Win10 annoyances with these three programs is amazing, and the process was miles easier than I expected.

One caveat. Out of the box Win7 treats you like a mindless 6th grader who is about to walk off a cliff if you are not warned constantly to be careful. Win10 takes that to a whole new level with its helicopter parenting. I hated that about win7 and also hate it about win10, so many of my customizations remove those warnings and give me total control over the machine, such as disabling UAC. If you want to make win10 look like win7 YET ALSO keep all those warnings intact, its on you to be smart about what you disable when using winaero tweaker.

Once the interface looks like win7 and MS is exiled from probing your system, you will find a few small benefits to Win10 vs Win7:

a handy settings app that is a gateway into system settings. I created a shortcut on my start menu ("powershell start ms-settings:") which goes straight to it.

a more customizable tray clock, with month date, seconds, etc.

native multi-monitor taskbar support

smaller hard disk footprint

faster program loading (no idea why, perhaps smarter caching?)

driver support for any and every piece of hardware you buy

things like task manager and network settings are fuller featured and more informative

every command prompt command you ever used on win7 will work on win10

After you've taken a couple days to finalize your setup, make a clone of your disk or a system image backup. You're done.

This post is not meant to be comprehensive and maybe folks are looking for more detail. Sorry. I wanted to take 15 minutes to do this and my time is up.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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4 Weeks Ago   #2
RoWin7

Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

But the big question is: is the bag of potato chips big enough to last through the whole task?

Good tutorial, thanks. I made my Win 7 look like XP, but I had made my XP look like Win 98. So my 7 looks like 98. Only the UI, of course, not the internals.

Classic Shell stopped its development at 7. Has someone forked a Win 10 version?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
4 Weeks Ago   #3
johnhoh

Win7 pro x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by RoWin7 View Post
Classic Shell stopped its development at 7. Has someone forked a Win 10 version?
It actually supported Win10 for several years and the final release was 8/2017. Its now been taken over as an open source project called Open Shell. I tried open shell on Win10 but it was buggy in multi-monitor mode so I went back to the final release of classic shell.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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4 Weeks Ago   #4
RoWin7

Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

I've bookmarked this thread in case I ever get forced into 10. Let's break out the potato chips and iced tea!

Do you think Brink will let you post this in the official tutorials? Maybe with numbered steps and a little more use of Bold and color to highlight items?.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
4 Weeks Ago   #5
ian50

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 
Win10 control

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by johnhoh View Post

Install Sledghammer 2.6.1 (or current version).

.

I'm clearly being dumb, but I cannot find this program. I do suspect Google is deliberately "losing" links to it, but nonetheless ...


It's so critical. The strongest dealbreaker for Win10 is the sheer rudeness of enforced "updates" that continually destroy your installation - and the complete loss of your machine while this mayhem occurs, nightly.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
4 Weeks Ago   #6
johnhoh

Win7 pro x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ian50 View Post
I'm clearly being dumb, but I cannot find this program. I do suspect Google is deliberately "losing" links to it, but nonetheless ...
That's on me. I had thought 2.6.1 would be out by now (its due any day), but 2.6.0 is actually still the latest release. And I misspelled it, forgot the e after the g, so I just fixed that in the top post.

Google Sledgehammer 2.6.0 and you'll find it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
4 Weeks Ago   #7
ian50

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

Thanks - now I don't feel so dumb.


Your post, apart from minor (!) glitches, is very helpful.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
4 Weeks Ago   #8
Megahertz07

Windows 7 HP 64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by johnhoh View Post
Install Sledgehammer 2.6.1 (or current version). This program is a script that does the following: briefly enables windows update from its disabled status WHILE ALSO keeping it from automatically updating in the background, checks ask-woody.com for its Win10 MS-DEFCON rating so you know if the recent win10 updates are likely to create an issue for you, then prompts you to proceed (I only proceed if Defcon is level 1 or 2), at which time it loads WuMgr or WUMT, two very similar programs that give you manual control over windows update. As soon as you do your updates (or not - up to you) and exit Sledgehammer re-disables windows update. It does several other things I have not mentioned, but suffice it to say keeping MS from doing things automatically behind your back is an extensive process and Sledgehammer does a superb job of keeping MS from reaching your system.

From https://www ask woody.com/ms-defcon-system it says that you should only install the patch if Defcon is level 4 or 5
My System SpecsSystem Spec
4 Weeks Ago   #9
johnhoh

Win7 pro x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Megahertz07 View Post
From https://www ask woody.com/ms-defcon-system it says that you should only install the patch if Defcon is level 4 or 5
thanks for pointing that out, I meant to say isn't level 1 or 2. Level 3, while usually a new and unproven patch, is often an environment where not having the patch is also a risk. The ZombieLoad is a level 3 for instance.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
4 Weeks Ago   #10
GEWB

Linux (Mint is primary) / XP, Win7 Home / Win7 Pro, Ultimate / Win8.1 / Win10 archived VM
 
 

I might downgrade to Win10 if your "disable" entries were actually "uninstall."
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Making Win10 look and act like Win7




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