Unhappy with Windows 8? Here are your options

If you're having a rough time with your new Windows 8 computer, you have several options to smooth the ride

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Consider also a number of Windows 8 features you may really want or need. As Jim Fikes, a commenter to Bill Snyder's post, says, "I've come to not-quite-love Win8, but it is much faster than Win7."

Plus, you get great integrated antivirus software, Windows to Go, much better wireless networking, and support for UEFI. The allure of Windows 8's improved security, detailed by InfoWorld's Roger Grimes, was apparently strong enough to spark a $617 million Windows 8 deal between Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Defense last week. Feel better now?

If by chance you have a system with Windows 8 Pro, then you also have the benefit of Microsoft's Client Hyper-V, which InfoWorld's Serdar Yegulalp reviewed at length in "5 excellent uses of Windows 8 Hyper-V." Use case No. 1: Running an instance of XP, because Windows 8 does not have an XP Mode.

Option 2: Get a Start menu add-on
Another InfoWorld review written by Serdar Yegulalp has enjoyed a surge of traffic since the holidays: "9 Windows Start menus for Windows 8." Yes, these add-ons bring the Windows Start menu back to Windows 8, which you can use in place of the Modern UI.

In fact, most of these Start menu apps enable you to log in directly to the desktop and bypass the Modern UI entirely. Four come very close to restoring the Search functionality of the Start menu as well, according to the review. There are a number of different styles, but most of the Start menu apps are free and none cost more than a few bucks, so you can download and test-drive until you find one you really like.

Remember, people who say "the desktop is just one click away" from the Windows 8 Modern UI ignore an important point: You have to keep going back to the those tiles to do the things you once did with the Start menu. Can't stand the Modern UI? Then get a Start menu add-on.

Option 3: Nuke it -- or better yet, take it back
If you're thinking about downgrading a system that came preinstalled with Windows 8 to Windows 7, you have some issues to confront. For one thing, only Windows 8 Pro computers officially support the downgrade. Odds are that's not your computer.

This is a moving target. Some PC manufacturers, including HP, say they will "support" downgrading from plain old Windows 8 to Windows 7. By this, HP means support for your hardware, not for Windows. (Say what?) And when you consider that Windows 8's driver model is different from that of Windows 7, you can imagine what sort of trouble you might bring on yourself. I can't imagine that taking the risk would be worth it.

If you're that bent out of shape about Windows 8 and you got your Windows 8 computer over the holidays, take it back -- you're well within the standard 30-day return period. Manufacturers want to sell computers. They'll find a way to get you a Windows 7 system if you really want one.

This article, "Unhappy with Windows 8? Here are your options," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Eric Knorr's Modernizing IT blog. And for the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld on Twitter.

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