First Impressions: RetroUI

I am sure that people that read recent posts, and connects with my Twitter account will find that I hate Windows 8. However, if I downgraded to Windows 7, I will have to purchase Windows 7, and according to HP – there is no guarantee that the hardware will work properly. At first, I tried to use the standard design where I am pushed into the Tiled UI (as I call Fisher Price), but find that almost all activity is pushing me into the Desktop which is rather pointless. There are some “Apps” that works in the tiled interface, but my experience is that most of this is a waste of time.

I purchased RetroUI to get Windows 8 to behave much as one would expect if they had a Windows 7 system. While a UI may not seem like much to most people as long as it is a GUI, it is a very important feature, and something that is intuitive is vital with an Operating System, I simply could not see Windows 8 being intuitive, and found it to require more work than it should when using a non-touch screen device.

The Good

While not completely doing everything I would want for a near Windows 7 experience, it is doing good enough. Selecting the circle with a modified Windows look will bring up a lot of Apps (from the tiled interface) and one could select Programs to get access to everything. There is also the access to shut down or sleep the system (as well as all other terminate actions), and access to the various system components that one who used Windows 7 or XP will expect.

The software will ideally bring people to the Desktop environment which is good. I only restarted the system once and this didn’t happen, but I will give for a benefit of a doubt in the first impressions. In addition, it can bring the tiled apps into the Desktop environment as a window rather than the full screen.

The Bad

During the 7 day trial, it was nagware. I find this as counter productive for having trialware. In addition, for the $5 that the software is for personal use, I will not get any real technical support, but instead will have to rely on a forum which is good for help in using the software, but not so good if there is a problem with the software. I would have wanted to get the Business license which would have given me 3 year of upgrades/updates as well as support, but budget would not allow for that.

So far, the frequently used programs do not show in the list. Instead, I get all of these tiled apps, and some applications I never started, nor used showing. This should hopefully solve itself, but for the time being, I have to consider this as a flaw, and a waste of time. This should really be addressed.

The Ugly

There is no auto-hide on the taskbar. It’s not a game changer, but it can be annoying otherwise. However, there is not much about the ugly in regards to this software.


If you are like me, and not fond of the tiled UI of Windows 8, this can be a lifesaver. Unless you are buying a business license, don’t expect to be treated as a customer after you bought it. There are free alternatives such as Classic Shell, but my research has pointed me to this as the best option. I will just have to hope I will not require technical support for something serious. With exception of the support problems, it is worth the $5. If you can afford it, the $15 Professional License is better. You will get 3 years of updates/upgrade as opposed to one, so you can think of the technical support as a freebie.

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