Updated: September 26, 2012
Listen carefully. This article offers a guaranteed way of using Windows 8 without ever having to see the Metro crap. This method works with the latest Windows 8 Enterprise RTM Build 9200 edition, and as such, ought to work with all versions of this operating system forever and ever. This tutorial supercedes the older Metro disable article that was only relevant in the Developer Preview edition but no longer true in the Consumer Preview.
I will now show you how you can use a tool called Classic Shell, a collection of features that existed in older versions of Windows and were later removed, to customize your Windows 8 installation so that it never shows the Metro screen. You will gain back the standard Start menu, the button, the options, everything. This is an absolute must and a prerequisite for wanting to use Windows 8. We did the same thing in Windows 7, but here, it's an absolute must. Please take a look.
Classic Shell installation
The installation is very simple. And once it finishes, you will have gained a lot. First, you will have a Start button restored. Second, hitting the Super key will not flip your desktop over and show you the crapola that is Metro. Instead, a standard menu will launch and you will have an option to customize it.
Customize Classic Shell
Now, you will need to spend a few minutes tweaking your menu to your liking. You can choose between classic, Windows XP or Windows 7 style menus, choose the skin, as well as configure several other settings, like shortcuts, menu size, menu delay, number of available items, recent items, favorites, and similar. By default, only a small number of options are revealed, but you can easily expand to All Settings and make desired changes.
The most important setting - you can skip Metro, so this is similar to Skip Metro Suite, only it's more powerful and extensible. Bravo. Excellent. This is the functionality that everyone has been waiting for all along. Finally.
You also get Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer extensions:
All right, after about 10 minutes of work, I opened a few documents and populated my Recent items list, I added a few shortcuts and suchlike. It looks and feel almost identical to the standard Windows 7 menu. The only difference is that search items are displayed to the right in cascading menus rather than in a standalone search page. However, I guess this will also be added in the future.
And some greatness:
Make no mistake - this IS Windows 8:
Microsoft should be eternally grateful than people like the guys developing Classic Shell exist, because they have just saved their friggin business. Instead of allowing Windows 8 to flop, these guys have heroically put together this splendid little program that will allow so many clueless, helpless users to continue using Windows. It will also help those without a choice and in need of the latest Microsoft operating system use it without ever having to worry about the nonsense called Metro intruding on their productivity and fun.
The Metro interface, the menu and all that useless would-be modern tablety crap can be undone by using the Classic Shell. You get your sane desktop back and can now focus on enjoying many windows open at the same time and no flipping 180 degrees to access the menu or worrying about huge tiled applications designed for morons.
Simply awesome. Community vs. Stupidity 1:0. Yes.