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Saturday, 22 August 2015

Classic Shell and Start10 banish Windows 10 Live Tiles, bring back Windows 7 look

While the Windows 10 Start menu brings back some elements from Windows 7, it's not exactly the same as it used to be. Here are two ways to make the menu more familiar.

For anyone having regrets about upgrading to Windows 10, there are now two good options for bringing back the look of Windows 7.
This week, Classic Shell officially added Windows 10 to support for its free Start menu and File Explorer replacement. With this program (pictured above), users can switch to Windows 7’s dual-column view, with pinned and recent applications on the left, and common folders and locations on the right. Classic Shell also includes a classic version of the Windows File Explorer, with a customizable toolbar and a more useful status bar that shows both free disk space and the size of any selected folder.
Meanwhile, Stardock has just released Start10 out of beta for $5. Much like Classic Shell, Start10 allows for a two-column view that resembles the Windows 7 Start menu, and brings back the ”all programs” menu that groups applications into folders. There’s also an option to hide Cortana from the Windows 10 taskbar, while restoring program and file search in the Start menu proper.I gave each of these programs a quick go-round, and in practice the differences between them are subtle. If you’re just looking for the familiarity of Windows 7, either one should do the trick (though Classic Shell has the advantage of costing nothing). Start10 may be more useful for people who still want access to Windows Store apps, as you can preserve them in the right-hand column while tweaking other aspects of the Start menu. Both apps have plenty of customization options, however, and are far more flexible than the default Start menu.
While Classic Shell is free, Start10 does offer a 30-day free trial, so you can try them both to figure out which Start menu replacement suits your needs.
Why this matters: Although Microsoft has dialed back some of the radical changes that it made to the Start menu in Windows 8, it can still feel pretty unfamiliar coming from Windows 7. If you’re not really using Windows Store apps, the emphasis on Live Tiles in Windows 10 isn’t much help, especially since it comes at the expense of Jump Lists, quick Control Panel access and the old Recent Items shortcut. It’s unlikely that these replacements will see the tens of millions of downloads that they did with Windows 8, but they’re still helpful for people who’d rather keep things the way they used to be.

The first Skylake laptops are Lenovo's Thinkpad P50 and P70 graphics workstations

These high-end machines sport other dream-checklist items including DDR4, Thunderbolt 3 and real USB 3.1.

Your chance to get a laptop with Intel’s newest Skylake CPU is almost here. On Monday at the Siggraph show in Los Angeles, Calif., Lenovo announced two new mobile workstations stocked with the 6th-gen mobile chip and a dream checklist of advanced features.
How next-gen? Think up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM, true PCIe SSD performance, Thunderbolt 3 and true USB 3.1 too. There’s even a new Nvidia GPU.
Of course, the new ThinkPad P50 and ThinkPad P70 both pack Intel’s Xeon E3-1500M v5 CPUs, based on the Skylake microarchitecture. We reviewed the desktop Skylake chips last week, or if you’re into the brevity thing, you can just read this short FAQ. For mobile users, beyond saying unlocked, overclockable versions would be available, Intel has been mum.
Why this matters: Few want to buy a Pentium II the day before the Pentium III comes out, so many wait for the latest CPU before taking the plunge. With Windows 10 now here, the second part of that WinTel formula just dropped, meaning it’s “safe” to buy the latest and greatest.