Tag Archive for 'start screen'

Start Screen Alternatives

While many are trying to get used to the new Start screen, others immediately want to get the classic Start menu back.

The list of alternatives for the Start screen can be found here and is maintained by forum member hoak.


Boot to Classic Desktop

After installing the Desktop Experience feature, Windows Server 2012 will automatically boot to the Start screen. Thanks to Igal Tabachnik with his post at the hmemcpy Blog, it is possible to automatically boot to the classic desktop although the Desktop Experience feature is installed. The installation can be done either automatically or manually.


Automatically

1. Download boot_to_desktop.zip (171 KB) from win2012workstation.

2. After downloading the zip extract the zip, run install.cmd as an Administrator and follow the instructions on the screen.
Extract boot_to_desktop.zip and run install.cmd


Manually

1. Open the Start screen, enter regedit and press Enter to start the Registry Editor.
Open the Registry Editor via the Start screen

2. In the Registry Editor navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Server, right click the Server key and choose Permissions.
Open Permissions of the "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Server" key

3. At the Permissions window, click the Advanced button, next on top click the Change link behind the Owner: TrustedInstaller line, enter Administrators in the objects text area and click OK twice to get back to the Permissions window.
Change ownership of the Server key

4. Now click the Administrators group and in the lower section check the Allow checkbox of the Full Control Permission to give the Administrators group all permissions to edit values within this key.
Give Administrators group full rights to Server key

5. Double click ClientExperienceEnabled to open its value editor, change the value to 0 and click OK to save the change. Close the Registry Editor and reboot, and voila, your Windows Server 2012 with Desktop Experience enabled will automatically boot to the classic desktop! :-)
Change ClientExperienceEnabled DWORD to "0"

 

Continue to install the Windows 8 Aero cursors…


Windows 8 UI Internet Explorer

Even after installing the Desktop Experience feature, the Internet Explorer tile in the Start screen still runs Internet Explorer on the classic desktop. This registry hack will make Internet Explorer run as Windows 8 UI application when started from the Start screen.

Download MetroIE.reg and import it into the registry. Next time you click the Internet Explorer tile in the Start screen, it will start with the Windows 8 interface. Make sure you also followed the Windows 8 Apps and IE Enhanced Security Configuration steps. The classic Internet Explorer can still be accessed by starting Internet Explorer from the classic desktop.
Metro Internet Explorer in Windows Server 2012

 

Continue to install dll’s required for some games and applications…


Visual Effects and Thumbnails

By default Windows Server is not really configured for visual glamor. The Start screen and menus aren’t animated and in Windows Explorer no thumbnails of images are shown. This page will guide you through the steps of enabling thumbnails and having visual effects in Windows Server 2012.

No preview thumbnails in Windows Explorer

1. In the Start screen enter performance, change the search scope to Settings and click the Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows icon.
Performance settings in Start screen

2. In the Performance Options screen, check the checkboxes of the improvements of the graphical user interface (GUI) you want to have. Most have to do with smooth animations and graphical improvements, however the Show thumbnails instead of icons will generate small previews of images in Windows Explorer. The default configuration of visual effects in Windows 8 is shown below.
Default Visual Effects configuration of Windows 8

Enjoy thumbnails in Windows Explorer and the visual effects of the Start screen and at other locations!
Thumbnails in Windows Explorer

 

Continue to get the ‘Performance Information and Tools’ page in the Control Panel…


Desktop Experience

To fully get the Windows 8 experience to Windows Server 2012, Microsoft added the possibility to install this as a feature. This will install additional desktop applications and add several GUI improvements.

Installing this feature will have the following effects:

  • Applications added to the Start screen: Windows Store / Default Programs / Windows Media Player / Character Map / Disk Cleanup / Snipping Tool / Sound Recorder / Math Input Panel.
  • At startup, the Start screen will automatically appear instead of the classic desktop.
  • Charms bar (bar on the right side of the screen) will beside the buttons ‘Search’, ‘Start’ and ‘Settings’ also have ‘Share’ and ‘Devices’.
  • The Settings option of the Charms bar will also have the ‘Change PC Settings’ option which is a Windows 8 version of the Control Panel.
  • The context menu of the classic desktop will have the ‘Personalize’ option added.
  • Applications: Windows Mail, Windows Photo Viewer
  • Services: ActiveX Installer, Offline Files, Windows Image Acquisition (WIA), System Events Broker, Time Broker, WebClient, Still Image Acquisition Events, Microsoft Account Sign-in Assistant
  • Miscelanous: Various screensavers, Ability to burn .iso’s from Windows Explorer, Sync Center in Control Panel, Adobe Flash Player

 

1. Start the Server Manager and click the Add roles and features link in the Welcome Tile. If you already closed the Welcome Tile, make it visible again via the View menu or in the left panel navigate to Local Server, then in the right panel scroll all the way down to ROLES AND FEATURES, click the TASKS dropdown and choose Add Roles and Features.
Add Roles and Features in Server Manager

2. Skip the information page by clicking Next.
Beginpage of Add Roles and Features wizard

3. Select Role-based or feature-based installation as installation type and click Next.
Installation type in Add Roles and Features wizard

4. We want to install the Desktop Experience feature on the local server which is also selected by default so choose Next.
Select Destination Server

5. The Desktop Experience feature is not a Server Role, so skip the Server Roles page by clicking Next.
Skip the Server Roles page

6. At the Select Features page, expand User Interfaces and Infrastructure and check the Desktop Experience checkbox. Probably it will now ask you whether you also want to install the features required by Desktop Experience. Click the Add Features button to proceed. Now, click the Next button to proceed.
Desktop Experience feature in Add Roles and Features Wizard Features required for Desktop Experience

7. At the confirmation page, optionally check the Restart the destination server automatically if required checkbox as the Desktop Experience feature will need a restart to complete. You can also manually restart the server after the wizard completed.
Confirmation page

8. Wait while the features are being installed. You can also close the ‘Add Roles and Features Wizard’ window if you want; it will continue in the background.
Installation progress of Desktop Experience feature

9. After the installation has completed, your system will automatically restart if you checked the checkbox at step 7. Otherwise you can close the wizard and restart the server manually. In case you don’t know yet what possibilities there are to restart Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012, read the essentials page.
Installation finished

10. Wait while your computer finishes the installation and restarts.
Finishing installation of Desktop Experience feature

11. After logging in, the Start screen will appear with the new applications installed.
Start screen with Desktop Experience installed

12. If you now click the Desktop tile, right click somewhere at a blank spot and choose Personalize, the Windows 8 Theme can be selected. Everything will however still remain gray because the color schema is by default determined by the overall color of the desktop background, which by default is the gray Windows Server 2012 background. This behavior can be changed by clicking the Color option in the Personalization screen.
Personalization of classic desktop

13. Install a custom theme via the Get more themes online link in the Personalization screen.
Desktop Experience with custom theme

 

Continue to configure Windows Server 2012 to automatically boot to the Classic Desktop…