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Forget Windows 8.1: How to get its two best features right now, for free

How to get Windows 8.1's two best features right now, for free

Windows 8 hasn’t exactly been the huge boost PC vendors were looking for to reinvigorate the slumping PC market. In fact, a few reports suggest it’s actually having the opposite effect on sales. While some users seem to really enjoy the new tile-based user interface found on the Start screen, it’s also mentioned in nearly every complaint about Windows 8 we have seen — many people would like to bypass it and boot directly to the Desktop. The lack of a Start button is also a big problem for a number of users, but both of these issues are rumored to be addressed in Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8.1 update. Of course, as we’ve discussed before here on BGR, there’s no reason to wait: You can boot directly to the Desktop and get the Start button back in Windows 8 right now with one simple, free app.

BGR noted this past August that a simple app called Classic Shell allows Windows 8 users to bring the Start button back to the Desktop screen. What’s more, the app also allows users to boot or log in directly to the Desktop, so those who don’t like the new Start screen can bypass it if they want.

Now that rumors suggest Windows 8.1 might make one or both of these features available as part of the OS, we wanted to remind you that there’s no reason to wait — simply install Classic Shell from the developer’s website, tweak a few settings and you’re good to go. Classic Shell developer Ivo Beltchev has made the software available for free, though he welcomes donations from users who enjoy the app.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content.

Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment. His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.