Windows 11 had the most significant design changes compared to all the previous iterations. Microsoft completely changed the Windows design language. While the changes were very welcoming by some, others missed the good old Windows 1o design.
If you are also one of the people that wish to get back to Windows 10-style menus and visual appearance, Explorer Patcher is a third-party software that can help you without downgrading your OS. Created by Valentin-Gabriel Radu, this lightweight software is safe and straightforward to use. The best part might be that it changes the Taskbar back to Windows 10-style the moment you install it.
Download and Install Explorer Patcher
First, head to github.com/ExplorerPatcher and click the 'Setup program' link. This will bring a File Explorer window to your screen, which you can use to select the directory where you wish to save the setup file.
Once downloaded, double-click on the
ep_setup.exe file to run the installer.
If you receive a Smart Screen alert, click the 'Run anyway' button.
No visual dialog box will be visible, but your screen might turn completely blank momentarily. That is entirely normal, and once your screen is visible again, you should be able to notice the changed appearance of the Taskbar on your computer.
To access the settings menu of Explore Patcher, right-click on the Taskbar and click on the newly appeared 'Properties' option.
You will now see the Explorer Patcher's main settings window.
There are many options for various UI elements that you can configure using the Explorer Patcher. For your convenience, we have listed the tweaks you can perform by UI elements.
Tweak Taskbar Appearance
To change the Taskbar location on the screen, click on the 'Primary Taskbar location on screen' option and choose the one from the drop-down menu. This will require you to restart the File Explorer, so click on the bottom left button.
To toggle the 'Search' and 'Taskview' buttons, click on their respective options to make them visible or remove them from the Taskbar. Similarly, click on the 'Automatically hide the taskbar' option to toggle the setting.
The changes should reflect instantly on the Taskbar.
To change the taskbar alignment, click on the 'Primary taskbar alignment' and choose the suitable option using the drop-down menu. Use the' Secondary Taskbar location' option if you have multiple monitors connected and wish to change the Taskbar placement on secondary monitors.
Again, you will be able to see the changes effective immediately.
To combine taskbar items (of the same program), click on the 'Combine taskbar icons' option and either select 'Never combine' to have individual icons for apps or choose 'Combine when taskbar is full', which will act as the 'Never combine' option until the Taskbar is entirely full and cannot display individual icons.
There are many more configurable settings, and since they are pretty self-explanatory, feel free to explore them.
Configure System Tray Options
To toggle tray pop-up menus, center tray icon pop-menus, and flyout behavior for pop-up menus, click on each option from the list. Enabled options are denoted by a 'tickmark', and disabled options are marked by a 'cross (X)'.
To change the target location window when you click on the 'Open Network & Internet settings' option when right-clicking on the 'Network' icon, click on the respective option, and select the suitable target location.
You can also change the flyout style when you click the tray icons by clicking on each icon option and selecting a suitable option. The 'Network' icon has many options, and you can also configure to open a settings window. For the other options, you can choose a flyout style of Windows 10 or Windows 7.
Change File Explorer Settings
To disable the navigation bar, and search bar, change the address bar height, or completely disable the modern search bar in File Explorer, click on the 'Register as shell extension' option.
Once you have enabled the setting, you can toggle the options by clicking on them respectively.
To change the ribbon menu style, click on the 'Control Interface' option and select the 'Windows 10 ribbon menu' option.
You can also disable the Windows 11 context menu or use Windows 10 file transfer dialog box by clicking on the individual options. As stated above, enabled options are denoted by a 'tickmark', and disabled options are denoted by a 'cross' prefix.
Modify Start Menu Appearance
To change the Start Menu style to Windows 10, click on the 'Start Menu style' option and then select the 'Windows 10' option from the drop-down menu.
To change the Start Menu position and the number of frequent apps shown, click the 'Position on screen' option to keep the Start Menu in the center or at the edge of the screen. Use the drop-down menu for a number of frequent apps shown in the Start Menu ranging from zero apps to unlimited.
If you have multiple screens and want to change which Start Menu pops up when you press the Windows key, click on the option stating that on the list and select the monitor number from the list.
To disable the 'Recommended' section or to open the Start Menu in the 'All apps' section, click on the respective options to toggle the setting.
Change Other Miscellaneous UI Elements
To change the Windows switcher back to Windows 10 style, head to the 'Window switcher' tab from the sidebar and click on the option on the right section of the window. Then, select 'Windows 10' from the list.
If you wish to have the Weather widget on the Taskbar, click on the 'Weather' tab from the sidebar and then click on the 'Show weather on the Taskbar' option to toggle it.
Once enabled, you will see many options to configure the preferences as per your taste.
You can also disable the quadrants when snipping by clicking on the 'Other' section from the sidebar. Then, click on the 'Disable quadrants when snapping windows' option. Since you will need to restart the explorer for this to take effect, click on the 'Restart File Explorer' option at the bottom left corner.
To go back to angular corners and disable round corners of app windows, click on the 'Disable rounded corners for application windows' option under the 'Other' category.
To turn off the
C shortcut to Microsoft Teams and open Clock instead, click on the 'Open clock flyout when pressing
C instead of Microsoft Teams' option.
Roll Back to Default Windows 11 Appearance
In case you wish to go back to the default Windows 11 appearance and roll back all the changes you have made, you can uninstall the Explorer Patcher from your computer.
To do so, head to the Start Menu and click on the 'Settings' tile.
Then, click on the 'Apps' tab from the left sidebar to continue.
Next, click on the 'Installed apps' tile to proceed.
Now you can either search for Explorer Patcher using the search bar or manually scroll down.
Once located, click on the 'Ellipsis' icon and choose the 'Uninstall' option.
Afterward, an alert might appear on your screen asking for uninstallation confirmation. Click on 'Yes' to remove the software permanently. Your screen might flicker or go black for a few seconds, which is normal. Upon successful uninstallation, the appearance should roll back to the default Windows 11.
Explorer Patcher is the best way to go if you have been looking for a way to restore Windows 10 UI elements but didn't want to downgrade the operating system. The software is lightweight and portable, and its actions can be easily rolled back without much fuss. And using the guide above, you can easily navigate the app to help you tweak the UI the way you want.