Diddling with defaults
Next, you'll want to make those programs the defaults for opening their associated file types--to prevent Windows 8 from opening files with the Modern apps that ship with the system. When you launch them for the first time, many programs will ask whether you'd like to make them the default; just say yes!
Now either search for 'Default programs' on the Modern Start screen (we haven't banished it yet!) or select to Control Panel > Programs > Default Programs > Set your default programs. (That's why I like to have access to Control Panel from the taskbar.) You'll see a list of all of your PC's programs. Click each of your new desktop programs in turn, enabling it as the default option for its associated file types. If you didn't download VLC, be sure to enable Windows Media Player as the default for video and audio files, or you'll be dumped into one or the other of the Modern interface's slick, vapid Video and Music apps, whenever you open a media file.
Searches and Start button replacements
Here's where things get interesting. Just how much do you hate the Modern Windows 8 interface? The answer makes a crucial difference in how you should arrange to sift through your apps and search your system.
If you absolutely, positively, soul-searingly loathe the new look of Microsoft's operating system, you'll want to download a program that restores the traditional Start button to the Windows 8 desktop. That way, you'll never have to return to the Windows 8 Start screen to search for specific software or files that aren't already pinned to your Taskbar or otherwise present on your desktop. Start8 and Classic Shell are excellent options for doing just that--and they give you the option of booting directly to the desktop. Win-win!
After months of using Windows 8, day-in and day-out--both with and without Start button Band-Aids--I recommend that you swallow your Modern misgivings in this solitary circumstance. Windows 8 has powerful search capabilities that rock, and I've come to appreciate them much more than the staid ol' Start button.
Biting this bitter bullet doesn't mean swimming in Live Tiles, though. Instead, you can create a desktop shortcut that rockets you straight to the Modern All Apps screen (or as I call it, my new and more efficient Start menu).
To do so, right-click on your desktop and select New > Shortcut. Copy and paste the following text into the Location box, and then click Next:
Give the shortcut a name--I went with the straightforward "All Apps"--and then click Finish. At once, a shortcut to the All Apps screen appears on your desktop, which you can pin to your taskbar if you so desire. The All Apps screen includes a full-screen list of all the programs on your computer, or you can start typing the name of a file to initiate a search.
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