In pictures: The desktop lover's guide to supercharging Windows 8.1

Don't like the Metro interface? Here's the best way to banish it and boost your productivity.

Install desktop replacements So you’re surfing the Web from the desktop. You double-click on a PDF file, and the furshlugginer Metro Reader app pops up, wagging its tail, tossing you over to the Metro side.

Reminds me of Clippy.

If you don’t want the stupid Metro Reader to show PDFs, or Metro Xbox Music to play songs, or the Metro Xbox Video app to play your videos, the easiest way to restore some desktop sanity is to install “legacy” programs that handle such files and let the installer take over the file associations.

My recommendations: PDF-Xchange for PDFs (don’t let it install the toolbar), VLC Player for audio and video, IrfanView for pictures, Gmail (the beta Notifier sets defaults), and Firefox.

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