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From the Tips Box: Disable Metro Features While Retaining Windows 8 Explorer Ribbon

2011-10-20_155606

If you’re enjoying Windows 8 but you’re not a particularly big fan of the new MetroUI and/or the Ribbon interface, this reader tip will help you disable the features you don’t want.

Angie writes in with a multi-part tip. The first part of her tip highlights a simple registry hack. The second part highlights a program that goes beyond the simple registry hack:

If you want to totally disable all new interface features in Windows 8 you can open up the Registry Editor and search for the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer

Look for the entry RPEEnabled, then change the DWORD value to 0. You’ll need to force restart Windows explorer or just restart Windows to see the change. Everything should look like Windows 7 with Windows 8 under the hood. Sorta like this:

2011-10-20_160541

The only problem with that, though, is that you might want the new Explorer Ribbon. I don’t, but somebody might. I found a program called MetroController that lets you toggle the settings. You can disable only the Metro features (and keep the Ribbon) or you can disable all the new features like the Lock Screen, the Metro Start Screen, etc. It works just like promised, but you may have to jiggle-the-handle so to speak. I found that sometimes if I was making changes between the settings I would have to return everything to normal and then change what I wanted. Jumping from altered state to altered state seems to trip it up. Other than that, though, smooth sailing.

We tried it out in our VirtualBox install of Windows 8 and everything looks great. It’s nice to have the Windows 7 Start Menu back but still have the Ribbon interface while using Explorer. Thanks for sharing Angie!


Have a tip to share? Shoot us an email at tips@howtogeek.com and then keep an eye out for your tip on the front page.

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/20/11

Comments (7)

  1. grdfcsds

    The problem with that is that you lose the Metro Control Panel, which is the only way to make new accounts, change the lockscreen or pin, and stuff like that.

  2. nt0xik8ed

    just a question, not a troll. is windows 8 catching on? there doesn’t seem to be much interest by the masses. i’m even into the latest greatest tecnogadget but i also didn’t download windows 8 because of the lack of interest. just curious about the reception its getting even at this early stage

  3. lilsting10

    Can you please post some pictures of Windows Explorer under these settings (Win7 Start Menu + Win8 Ribbon)? I’m wanting to see if the borders of explorer windows look like Win7 with the colored glass, or if they resemble Win8 still.

  4. john3347

    I see mention here of disabling Metro but retaining the @#$%^& Ribbon. I would be interested in the opposite. Can one disable the @#$%^&* Ribbon and retain Metro start screen?

  5. Demonkunga

    I think this also disables the new task manager, which is the only new feature I’m interested in so far.

  6. James

    LOL John3347 yes, I would want to do that as the first job, so I could actually use explorer efficiently, as I always have done, and not waste a load of screen space on that horrid interface. If explorer can be configured to look and feel like 7 (or Vista) then great. I’d actually settle for the XP look rather than suffer the ribbon. It is still more efficient to use!

  7. Roman Berry

    Reply to nt0xik8ed…

    You asked “Is windows 8 catching on? There doesn’t seem to be much interest by the masses. I’m even into the latest greatest tecnogadget but i also didn’t download windows 8 because of the lack of interest.”

    In order:

    Windows 8 is in a developer preview release. This isn’t even beta software yet. When was the last time a developer preview “caught on”?

    Interest by the masses? More than a million downloads of the developer preview within a day or two of its release. I’d say that qualifies as interest.

    You didn’t download because of “the lack of interest”? Have you even been paying attention? There was a veritable storm of interest and inquiry over the DP release. Articles across the net. User reviews of this very early software all over.

    You said you weren’t trolling, but the best trolls are not obvious. If you were trolling (and I’m not saying that you are), I’d give your post at least a 7 on the Troll-O-Meter for subtlety and skill.

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