Make Windows 10 act/look like Windows NT/95

Windows 10 is a fantastic operating system. Microsoft has done a really good job at bringing speed and stability to its platform. However, Windows 10 is a bit "cluttered" in my mind. I prefer the simpler times (don't we all at this point?) and the relatively clean interface introduced by Windows 95 and used by Windows NT 4.0. So, anytime I set up a new Windows 10 box or Windows 2019 Server box, I make the following tweaks to give me that "old fashioned" experience that makes my soul happy:

  • in Settings I go to Personalize
  • for Background, I set it to something simple - maybe the original Win 95 wallpaper, maybe just a nice shade of blue, whatever
  • for Colors, I choose Light or I do Custom with Windows mode as Dark and App mode as Light, I pick an accent colour I like (ie: red!) and I check off "Title bars and window borders"
  • for Themes, I click the "Desktop icon settings" link and uncheck the Recycle Bin - I don't like ANY icons on my desktop
  • for Start, I turn everything off except for "Show app list in Start Menu"
  • for Taskbar, I turn on "Use small taskbar buttons", I set "Combine taskbar buttons" to "Never", for Multiple Displays, I set "Show taskbar buttons on" to "Taskbar where window is open" and I also set it's combine setting to Never
  • still in Taskbar, I go into "Turn System icons on or off" and the only ones I leave on are Clock, Volume, Network and Power - everything else is off
  • back to Taskbar and into "Select which icons appear on the taskbar" and I turn them all off - the only thing I want visible is the Clock
  • next, I go into the Start Menu and I delete all the big tile groups, so just a small list of apps shows in the menu (just like 95!)
  • in the Taskbar, I unpin everything and I hide Cortana, Task View and Search - I then pin a shortcut to "This PC" and PowerShell
  • finally, for PowerShell, I set the Cursor Size to "Large", the font to Consolas 20pt, the layout to 120x30 (both Window size and Buffer size - this eliminates the scroll bars), and for colours, I set the background to black and the Opacity to 85%

Windows 10 looking like Windows 95

I am just documenting this for my own use - but if someone tries it and likes it, then that is awesome too.