Its no mystery if you've browsed my site for any period of time, I have a deep fondness for the aero style of Windows 7. Growing up with the operating system with the occassional Vista thrown in.
I'd say my family isn't the most tech savvy of people, (Apart from me and my mom being the families IT people lol) but taking care of our items is something we certainly do. The old family computer I mention in my long winded childhood memories was only quite recently thrown out when I was about 14! And that was because the graphics card had finally started to hit the shitter, and it was loading at a snails pace.
(That thing survived me downloading Minecraft mods loaded with malware and my moms days long Everquest sessions!)
My previous computer before the one I'm using primarily now (My Windows 10 tower, "KAITO".) was my Windows 7 laptop ("Sweet Ann"). And boy was she well loved! I used her all thru out my early teens (10-11 onwards) until I was about 15. And thats because I think her BIOS finally started to die!
(She was always a bit weird- I could never get the Discord app downloaded on her and had to be a caveman and use the web browser. She'd even blue screen if I did too much in Minecraft! I BSOD'd twice when a guy I was helping was messing with the end portal frames.) And I got my current one on Christmas (My mom also got herself one too to replace the old family computer haha)
So to say I was "happy" about swapping over to Windows 10... I was quite salty.
Don't get me wrong, Windows 10 is actually quite a solid operating system
(Atleast I was taking it for granted before I used my Windows 11 laptop but... more on that beast later.) but I never fully enjoyed the UI or the general feel of it. Not that it was "foreign", just.. wrong! All wrong to me!
So after a few nights of researching, I decided to try and mod some of my systems a bit to get back the good ol look I adore so much. But before we get to the main star of the show (Windows Blinds) lets talk about some of the options I tried.
Originally "Classic Shell" before being abandoned and then picked up by a new group of devs and made open source,
(Or something like that) I actually did quite enjoy Open Shell!
The installation is simple, and the most work I had to put in was just simply finding the custom buttons and toolbar textures. Below is a test on my Windows 11 laptop, which I usually use as my dummy for most programs to see how they function.
(As I don't use it for much serious business, so doing a factory reset if something goes wrong won't have much damage)
But... sigh... this is where I began to notice the issues with Windows 11...
First off, I couldn't manage to make the taskbar transparent no matter what options I did. It was either solid, or COMPLETELY transparent. And secondly, I had to resize the start button multiple times in order to get it to cover up that blasted Windows 11 start button. And sometimes, the taskbar would have a strange little "bumps" and programs would sort of blend over the taskbar as seen below.
So I went back to looking at the many tutorial videos I researched before even installing Open Shell
(Very picky about what programs I allow, I sit on them almost like a big purchase xD) And found that many of them would go into the personalizations settings, and set the taskbar icons to be smaller. Huzzah! This should be my fi- Its not in Windows 11.
"Why" was the only word I could mutter. WHY would you remove that!? And then... thats when I realized.. This is just a dumbed down version of Windows 10!!! There are barely any customization options here beyond the background and colors!
(And when I researched how to make the taskbar icons smaller... IT BROUGHT UP TUTORIALS NEEDING REGEDIT! No thank you!!)
I was quite furious with this, although overall using the taskbar was fine with its quirks in mind. Later that day I opted to try it out on KAITO, which had much better results.
Quite snazzy if I do say so myself! Exactly the result I wanted.. somewhat
(More on that in a minute) But this made me realize.. the issues I had weren't with Open Shell as a program but WINDOWS 11!!
(Curse you Microsoft !!!!!!!!! And curse whatever executive thought this was a good idea !!!!!!!! Curse you and your family for a thousand moons !!!!!!!!!!!!)
Open Shell is a very nice light weight program... but not exactly what I wanted. Apart from the taskbar and classic start menu, you need the windows style! Which Open Shell doesn't provide.. so I went back to the drawing board of the Youtube search engine at 2 AM.
WINDOWS BLINDS! When I saw this program in action, I was thinking it was too good to be true. A Windows 7 look for Windows 10!? A match made in (insert your religions version of a cool afterlife here)
One small issue however.. although the program has a 30 day free trial, its mostly paid. And although I still had my birthday money, I didn't wanna blow it all onto this.
And I can't believe I'm saying this- but my terrible grandma came in handy!
(Thank God all my relatives haven't seen me in so long they just opt to give me money - atleast she pays to misgender me and make me uncomfortable!) With my little visa gift card in my tiny grubby metal hands...
Its not EXACTLY Windows 7 (
The theme I found for it wasn't optimized for Windows 11- You ever install something and immediately go "Oh God undo that") but CERTAINLY much much better then that stinky Windows 11 theme.
I ended up uninstalling Open Shell as the taskbars conflicted, and gave it a good reset. Its been working very good so far!
I notice that for whatever reason, my snipping tool suddenly glitches out when I use it and I have to task manager end it.
(I think I have to exclude it in programs to Not Style, but I can't find the pathway for some reason and shortcuts don't appear so I can't just click the one on my desktop... Things to fight with on a rainy day) So I have to resort back to caveman ways of using prtsc.
Over all, apart from the occassional finicky things, it works very well! I even ended up redoing this and making some custom ICO files for my Cog self.
My idea with working with these programs was "If it works on Windows 11, it'll work a hell of a lot better on Windows 10."
So after using Windows Blinds on my laptop (MEIKO) for a few weeks, time to use it on KAITO!
Turned the transparency a bit down on the toolbar and windows, but otherwise looks fantastic!!!
This certainly works alot better on Windows 10 then it did Windows 11. The titlebars look alot better and less off centered.
So far I haven't had any problems with using Windows Blinds. Both of my computers, apart from occasionally some barely noticable lag, have been running smoothly still! I completely recommend either programs I mentioned here today for anyone wanting to pimp out their computer.