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RetroUI Pro

Restore the Windows 7 Interface in Windows 8
RetroUI Pro

RetroUI Pro is more than its name suggests. Yes, it restores a Start Menu functionality, allows you to boot straight to desktop and disable hot corners. However, it also bridges the Windows 7 and Windows 8 styles, allowing you to display the taskbar and Start Menu even in the Metro Start Screen interface. Most interestingly, it allows users to run Metro apps in resized windowed mode, which means you can run them while keeping the desktop visible. On the downside, it's a paid app, but the functionality provided seems well worth it.

Verdict: RetroUI Pro restores the classic Windows Start Menu, but also adds some very interesting features of its own, such as taskbar view in the Start Screen and the ability to window newer Windows 8 apps.

Score: 4.5/5

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  • 2 Hide
    blackmagnum , February 12, 2013 1:09 PM
    If you are not ready for the change, please stay with the 'good enough' Windows 7.
  • 9 Hide
    n700a_g1 , February 12, 2013 4:33 PM
    blackmagnumIf you are not ready for the change, please stay with the 'good enough' Windows 7.

    ... how about those who are being FORCED to use Win8?
    (Those who purchased their PC with Win8 installed already)
  • 3 Hide
    harrkev , February 12, 2013 6:49 PM
    Classic Shell **DOES** have the option to boot straight to desktop
  • 3 Hide
    lradunovic77 , February 13, 2013 12:05 AM
    This is what Windows 8 should be

    but MS went for less and some square flat bs.
  • -1 Hide
    daglesj , February 13, 2013 10:52 AM
    Been using Windows 8 for a few months now and yes at first I was very much WTF!!! about 8. However, as I have got used to it (didn't take long) I now know why MS did what they did.

    If I now switch to a Windows 7/Vista/XP machine and have to ferret around in Start Menu folders and subfolders to find applications I find it really slow and old fashioned. Windows 8 is just a slicker and smoother OS experience now.

    However, I do agree that if you are on 7 then the need to upgrade isn't really there. I haven't upgraded any of my Win7 machines. But if you have an old dual core with XP or Vista then go ahead, makes a big difference.
  • 2 Hide
    kalten , February 13, 2013 1:42 PM
    Classic Shell is not only free, it lets you have the version of choice for start menu (if you want it, can give you a ie9 look and feel to ie, and a classic file explorer, again if you want it.
    It also allows you to boot directly to the desktop avoiding Metro (which I think is great, but not on a mouse and keyboard driven desktop PC).
    It also displays W8 apps in the start menu....Only a 3 out of 5? I think you need to go back and re-evaluate again!

    If you want to go the full W8 way, great, but I love that I have the choice witha free app!
  • 1 Hide
    cyberjawn , February 13, 2013 2:12 PM
    OH, Classic Shell takes you straight to the desktop too
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 13, 2013 2:21 PM
    The 3 out of 5 score is based on feature set. When compared to RetroUI and Start8, Classic Shell doesn't have the same feature set, although Classic Shell is closer to Start8 when it comes to features if what you are saying is true. But based on the total number of features, RetroUI is the clear winner here. A certain subset of people are always going to go the route of the free application - so Classic Shell has its merits. If Classic Shell really is on par with Start8, they should be charging so the owners can at least make some money off it.
  • 0 Hide
    flyflinger , February 13, 2013 4:28 PM
    Yup, no need to pay for Classic8, I tried a few shell apps and I like Classic Shell the best and it's free. I miss gadgets, so yeah, thumbs up to 8Gadget Pack.
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , February 13, 2013 10:05 PM
    Why pay for a OS upgrade and then play around with third-party tools to get back at what you already had with Windows 7. Seems a little pointless to me. Why not just stick to Windows 7 and hope Microsoft will get it right next time around. Just as many people skipped Windows ME and Windows Vista and the following OSs Windows XP and Windows 7 respectively where simply great, Microsoft just misses the target sometimes.
  • 3 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , February 13, 2013 11:44 PM
    you're still stuck with the aeroless windows though.
  • 3 Hide
    MEA17 , February 14, 2013 12:46 AM
    I upgraded to Windows 8 over a month ago. It's been unfriendly and buggy (often lost internet connection when it went to sleep - had to disable/reboot/reenable). Schitzo operating system wants to be touch and mouse but doesn't integrate very well. Wife hated it.

    I just wiped the machine and started with a clean Win 7 install. All better!
  • 1 Hide
    kalten , February 14, 2013 7:37 AM
    Marty1408 - That's a very good question...I did it to ease me into the way in which Metro works.
    I'm a Systems Administrator and really need to learn the Metro way of working, but I wanted something that would ease me into it...being able to run Classic gives me both worlds on the one operating system.
    I'm sure that soon enough I will uninstall Classic and switch completely to Metro, but on the otherhand, maybe I wont...but I'll still have both to choose from instead of being stuck in one mode only!
  • -1 Hide
    virtualban , February 14, 2013 9:31 AM
    Ribbon Disabler - did not know about this; awesome; thank you; my WinH8 virtual machine works excellent with it.

    On why I still have a W8 virtual machine after trying it out and deciding it is not for me, and with expired trial and rebooting ever 2 hours: hehe, it will still be there till I need the disk space.
  • -1 Hide
    virtualban , February 14, 2013 9:34 AM
    RetroUI Pro is how metro should have been in the first place. An icon on the desktop maybe, full screen or window, stretched or not, giving me as user the choice to use it on my phone/tablet since it works nicely on touch screens, or not use it at all.
  • 3 Hide
    Kami3k , February 14, 2013 6:25 PM
    Or just use windows 7 and make it clear to Microsoft we don't want this crappy tablet UI on desktops.

    Oh wait, sale numbers are already doing that!
  • 3 Hide
    bobzter , February 15, 2013 4:12 AM
    Tried them all. RetroUi has unique features like the Start Menu toolbar in Metro and windowed apps. But besides the cost, it takes a huge amount of memory, in fact more than all other windows services and process combined also including the antivirus/firewall and video/mouse drivers. It's bad programming, resources hogging and margin for buggy design.

    ViStart is just awful. Tried to install a couple of crapware, takes about 5 secs for it to load and then discard the Metro screen and, uninstalling it did not revert the changes to the UI.

    To cut it short, Classic Shell is the most reliable, smallest, full featured, no bullshit and yes, it does skip Metro - no need for extra software. I only missed an option to disable the silly lock screen on all of them.
  • -2 Hide
    virtualban , February 15, 2013 5:37 AM
    bobzterTo cut it short, Classic Shell is the most reliable, smallest, full featured, no bullshit and yes, it does skip Metro - no need for extra software. I only missed an option to disable the silly lock screen on all of them.

    Indeed Classic Shell is the best. I use it on Windows 7 also. I love the plus sign in windows explorer and the functional status bar.
  • -1 Hide
    tommyjones605 , February 18, 2013 3:27 PM
    RetroUI works awesome for me, I love having the taskbar visible in the live tiles screen.

    It works really well for me, worth every penny and clearly better than the others that just do a start menu.
  • 0 Hide
    Pailin , February 20, 2013 8:14 AM
    Quite happy with with my Win 7 Pro 64bit :) 

    But LEAP Motion makes me start to contemplate Win 8...

    But I am guessing that I can install plenty of good "touch" interfaces to work with Win 7
    - will be looking into this myself soon
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