Microsoft knows you want to personalize Windows. That seems to be Microsoft’s message with Windows 11. It makes big changes to the user interface and continues to make it harder for users to customize. Right now, you can’t completely revert Windows 11 to the look and feel of Windows 10, and with Microsoft’s current attitude towards customizing the user interface, that may never happen. However, there are some tweaks that can make you more comfortable (the fastest way is to reinstall windows 10.
How to make Windows 11 more like Windows 10
The most obvious design change of Windows 11 is moving the Start Menu from the left to the center of the screen. Fortunately, you can easily return the Start Menu bar to its original position.
Open Start menu then go to the app Settings. In Settingsaccess Personalizationthen Taskbar and open Taskbar behaviors. In the section Taskbar alignmentselect “Left” to bring the Start Menu to the left.
Remove new icons
These new icons are also present in Taskbar of settings Personalization. You will see a list labeled “Taskbar items” that includes four options: Search, Task view, Widgetsand Chat. Use the side switches to disable all four icons.
An important note about Search: there is currently no way to restore the entire Search field from the Windows 10 taskbar. Turning off the new Search icon means you can’t access Search by clicking on a field or icon on the taskbar. However, it will still be open via the Windows + S keyboard shortcut.
Microsoft is good enough to let you easily change the location of the Start Menu and remove some icons, but the Start Menu itself is a different story. You will need to use a third-party program.
The freeware is Open-Shell, an open source program (formerly known as Classic Shell) that can replace the Start Menu. However, make sure to disable Classic Explorer and Classic IE during installation. If you don’t, Open-Shell will also modify Windows Explorer in a way that doesn’t resemble the look and feel of Windows 10.
Once installed, open the program named Open-Shell Menu Settings. Select Windows 7 and then open the Skin tab. I used the Fluent-Metro skin. In fact, it works like a Windows 7 Start Menu with a Windows 10 design.
While Open-Shell works well, it’s not perfect. It cannot properly replace the Start Menu and does not restore Windows 10 features.
Stardock’s Start11 is an easier choice. It does not have the Start menu icon problem like Open-Shell and does not require additional file installation to provide an attractive Start menu in the Metro design style. However, Start11 costs $4.99, so you’ll have to consider the pocketbook.
The taskbar icons in Windows 11 are quite similar to Windows 10, so you may not need to change them. But the rest of the icons in the entire operating system are significantly different from Windows 10.
First, download the Windows 10 icon pack. I use the Windows 10 Build 10125 icon pack. Put your icons in an easy-to-remember folder.
Let’s start with desktop icons. Open the app Settings > Personalization > Themes > Desktop Icons. A menu will appear with the usual five desktop icons. Click the icon you want to change, then select Change icon. Select the icon you want to use, then click Open. I have replaced the Trash icon in the image below.
You can also change the icons of individual folders and shortcuts. Right click on an item and open Propertiesthen go to tab Customize. At the bottom you will see the button Change Icon. Click on it and choose an icon you want to use.
Unfortunately, Windows 11 doesn’t allow you to change some icons, most notably the new icons for drives and user folders in Windows Explorer. However, you can use Drive Icon Changer to change the drive icons.
Disable rounded corners
Rounded corners are key to the new look and feel of Windows 11. However, not everyone loves them. It is currently not possible to change them through Windows 11 itself or a third-party solution.
You have an option that Windows 11 will revert to right angles if you disable hardware graphics acceleration (this will also turn off other visual features like transparency).
There is another option: you can turn off your graphics card. Open Device Managerextend Display Adapters and right click on the graphics card. Choose Disable Device. Your screen will flicker for a moment, but when Windows comes back, the rounded corners will disappear.
However, I do not recommend this. Disabling your graphics hardware will make the Windows user interface slow and sluggish, and you won’t be able to use apps or games until you turn the hardware back on.
Finally, you can restore the original Windows 10 wallpaper. This wallpaper is not included in Windows 11, but is available from many online sources, such as this 4K sample on Imgur.
Right click on the image once you download it and select Set as desktop background. Changes will take effect immediately.
If you have any other tips, feel free to comment below.