How to Make Windows 10 Look Like Windows 7

Get the classic look you want on your desktop

The Windows 10 interface has become the standard for PCs, but you may prefer the look and feel of Windows 7. If you recently purchased a new computer or upgraded to Windows 10 and miss the old look, here's how to get the look of the Windows 7 interface for your Windows 10 computer.

You can implement some or all of the suggested modifications, depending on how much you want Windows to look like the classic version.

Hide Cortana

Microsoft's virtual assistant is an integral part of Windows 10, designed to make everyday tasks simpler. Cortana was not in Windows 7, so you may want to hide it from the taskbar.

To hide Cortana, right-click a blank space on the Windows taskbar, located at the bottom of the screen, then select Show Cortana Button if it has a check mark next to it.

The Show Cortana Button option

Hide the Task View Button

Also found in the taskbar, the Task View button displays all open windows in a slimmed-down, tiled format. This button was not part of Windows 7. To hide it, right-click on the taskbar and select Show Task View button to clear the check mark.

The Show Task View button command

Modify the Start Menu With Classic Shell

The free-to-use Classic Shell application allows you to customize the Start menu and other components so that your desktop closely resembles the Windows 7 version.

  1. Download the Windows 7 Start Button icons from the Classic Shell forums.

  2. When the download is complete, extract the Start Buttons.zip file into a separate folder. 

  3. Download and install Classic Shell, available in several languages.

    Windows Classic Shell download page
  4. Classic Shell launches automatically, and the Start Menu Style section displays. If not, manually open the application and go to the Start Menu Style tab.

    The Start Menu Style tab
  5. Choose Windows 7 style.

    The Windows 7 Style option
  6. Select the Replace Start button check box.

    The Replace Start Button option
  7. Choose Custom, then select Pick image.

    The Custom option and Pick Image button for a new Start button
  8. In Windows Explorer, navigate to the Start Buttons folder, and select the WindowsStartButton medium file.

  9. You're returned to the Classic Shell interface, with the Windows 7 Start Button displayed under Custom. Go the Skin tab.

    The Skin tab
  10. Select the Skin drop-down menu and choose Windows Aero.

    The Windows Aero option
  11. Select OK.

    The OK button
  12. Classic Shell closes. Your new Start Menu and skin settings are applied immediately.

Download Windows 7 Wallpaper

If you're aiming for the genuine Windows 7 look, replace your wallpaper with the classic logo on a sky blue background.

  1. Download the Windows 7 background image, compressed as a ZIP file named img0.zip.

  2. Locate the downloaded file and extract it into a separate folder.

  3. Right-click a blank space on the Windows 10 desktop.

  4. In the pop-out menu, select Personalize.

    The Personalize command
  5. In Windows Settings, go to the left menu pane and choose Background, then select the Background drop-down menu and choose Picture.

    The Picture option on the Background tab
  6. In the Choose your picture section, select Browse.

    The Browse button
  7. In Windows Explorer, navigate to the extracted img0 folder, and select the img0 file.

  8. Select Choose picture.

  9. Your desktop wallpaper is replaced by the Windows 7 background.

Modify the Windows Color Scheme

The default color scheme in Windows 10 is darker than the Windows 7 color scheme. Take the steps below to lighten things up and better mimic the classic colors.

  1. Right-click any blank space on the Windows 10 desktop.

  2. In the pop-out menu, select Personalize.

    The Personalize command
  3. In Windows Settings, go to the left menu pane and select Colors.

    The Colors heading
  4. In the Windows colors section, select the blue that most closely resembles the Windows 7 default shade.

  5. In the Show accent color on the following surfaces section, select the Start, taskbar, and action center check box and then select the Title bars and window borders check box.

    The Show accent color options
  6. Your new color scheme is applied.

Revert File Browsing Settings With OldNewExplorer

The Windows Explorer file browsing interface underwent a significant overhaul in Windows 10, with multiple changes from what is now known as the classic version.

While these upgrades were meant to improve the overall user experience, many Windows 7 purists do not see these upgrades as improvements. If you're one of these folks, follow these instructions to revert some of the settings to the old state.

  1. Download the OldNewExplorer application, compressed as a RAR file, and extract the file into a separate folder.

  2. Navigate to the extracted OldNewExplorer folder and double-click the OldNewExplorerCfg file.

  3. The OldNewExplorer configuration interface appears, overlaying the Windows desktop. Go to the Shell extension section and select Install. When prompted to allow the application to make changes to the operating system, select Yes.

  4. In the Behavior section, select Use classical drive grouping in This PC to activate the feature. In the Appearance section, select the Use command bar instead of Ribbon check box.

  5. Select Close, located in the lower-right corner of the OldNewExplorer window. You may need to reboot your PC for the new settings to take effect.