List of features removed in Windows 8

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Windows 8 is a version of Windows NT and the successor of Windows 7. Several features which are present on Windows Vista and Windows 7 are no longer present on Windows 8.

Windows shell[edit]

  • Start button was removed from the taskbar (although it was re-added in Windows 8.1). Replacement methods for invoking Start screen include a hotspot in the lower left corner of the screen, where the Start screen tile pops up, and a Start button among "the charms".[1]
  • "Recent documents" menu is removed from Start screen.[2]
  • Windows 8.1 no longer automatically adds newly installed programs to Start screen.[3]
  • Unified search is removed. A category-specific search replaces the former. It can search "Apps", "Settings", "Files" or within an app-specific index (such as, for example, e-mails from the Mail app) but not all at once. The default category is Apps, but can be changed before or after performing a search.[4] Windows 8.1 restores this feature partially although unified search still does not search keywords or metadata like scoped search.
  • Windows Desktop Gadgets, first introduced in Windows Vista, are removed because of security vulnerabilities.[5][6]
  • Windows 2000, NT 4.0, Server 2003 and 2008 compatibility modes were removed.

Appearance and personalization[edit]

  • The Aero Glass theme is replaced by a new theme with a flatter visual appearance in line with Metro design language. This is intended to prevent skeuomorphism. Aside from the taskbar, the new theme uses fewer transparency effects than the previous Glass theme.[7][8]
  • Flip 3D is removed. Win+Tab now toggles between Windows Store apps and the desktop.
  • The Windows Classic theme is removed. High-contrast themes (which previously used the Classic appearance) are modified to use the new visual styles.[9]
  • "Advanced appearance settings...", once found in Personalization > Window Color and Appearance part of Control Panel is removed.[10]
  • Sample pictures, sample music clips, sample video clip and preset user account pictures (a form of avatar) are no longer available.
  • The sound schemes that were first included with Windows 7: Afternoon, Calligraphy, Characters, Cityscape, Delta, Festival, Garden, Heritage, Landscape, Quirky, Raga, Savanna and Sonata are all no longer available; only the folders remain in C:\Windows\Media, and they are empty. However, if Windows 8 is directly upgraded from Windows 7 instead of a clean install, the sound schemes that are included in Windows 7 will be preserved as well as the files relating to the sound schemes.

File Explorer[edit]

  • The Briefcase option under New context menu is removed by default, but can be reinstated by editing the registry.[11]
  • Windows 8.1 no longer shows Libraries by default.[3]



  • For dial-up networking, some of the options under "Redialing options", such as "Redial attempts" and "Redial if line is dropped", are no longer available. Although dial-up networking using PSTN telephone line is becoming increasingly rare, this could affect users that still use it to connect to 2G, 3G and/or 3.5G mobile networks and also DSL subscribers that use the system's PPPoE dialer.[12]
  • The "Manage wireless networks" option on the task pane of the Network and Sharing Center control panel is no longer available, although some of its functionality is still available through the netsh command netsh wlan.[13] Some of this functionality is reintroduced with the Windows 8.1 Update via the PC Settings app. Similarly, creating an ad hoc wireless connection via the "Set up a wireless ad hoc" option under "Set up a new connection or network" is no longer available through the GUI; users need to use the same netsh command or a third-party utility such as Connectify.
  • One can no longer save a Wi-Fi connection to a flash drive from the Wireless Network Properties box under the Connection tab.
  • Shortcuts for the Bluetooth File Transfer wizard,[14] which are added by Windows 7 on a device with Bluetooth communication, are no longer provided. The utility itself (fsquirt.exe) remains available.
  • Windows 8.x Bluetooth stack does not support Bluetooth A2DP sink role. So playing audio from other phones or other PCs using Bluetooth to a PC running Windows 8.x is not possible. Windows 7 supported both A2DP source and sink roles.
  • Network Map is removed from Network and Sharing Center

User accounts and security[edit]

Media features[edit]

  • Windows Media Center is no longer included with any of Windows 8 editions and is no longer offered as an add-on by Microsoft. It was available until 2015-10-30 as a US$9.99 add-on (and before 2013-01-31 as a promotional free add-on) from Microsoft's now discontinued Windows 8 Feature Packs web site[16][17] and through the now discontinued Add features to Windows 8 service for Windows 8 Pro (via the Media Center Pack) and Windows 8 core edition (via the Pro Pack).[18][19]
  • DVD-Video and MPEG-2 Video codecs are no longer included. Video DVDs can be played in Windows Media Center for those who acquired that add-on while it was available.[18]
  • Windows DVD Maker was removed in favor of third-party softwares, like DVDStyler.
  • Windows Media Center cannot run on startup or on top of other windows because of “new Windows OS requirements and behaviors”.[20][21]
  • Windows Media Player no longer has the Media Guide feature and the DVD tab.[citation needed]
  • Windows 2000 Display Driver Model (XDDM),[22] is discontinued in Windows 8.[23]
  • MIDI Mapper is removed; programs now need to select a specific MIDI device. No selection means device #0, which is Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth.[24]
  • Windows 8.1 removes Facebook and Flickr support from the Photos app.[3]

File system[edit]

  • Backup and Restore is deprecated and renamed Windows 7 File Recovery in favor of File History.[25][26] In Windows 8.1, incremental block-based file backup and scheduling backups is removed. Only System Image Backup remains.[27]
  • Persistent shadow copies are no longer available. Therefore, the ability to browse, search and/or recover older versions of files via the Previous Versions tab of the Properties dialog of files was removed for local volumes.[28] Configuring and scheduling of previous versions of files was also removed from the System Protection tab of the Advanced System Properties (systempropertiesadvanced.exe) dialog box.
  • CHKDSK utility only shows the progress percentage when running at startup.[29]


  • Stop errors are simplified; specifically, several paragraphs of generic advice and auxiliary error codes are removed.[30] Windows 8.1 added a Registry setting to revert the changes, which is also available to Windows 8 users after installing a hotfix.[31]
  • The sounds played upon login, logout and system shutdown were removed. The startup sound remains but is disabled by default.[32]
  • .NET Framework 3.5 is no longer installed. Windows requires an Internet connection to install it, although Microsoft has published a workaround that enables users to install it from Windows installation disc.[33]
  • .NET Framework 1.1 is not supported.[34]
  • Features like the IME Pad and the toolbars are removed in Sucheng/Quick, Cangjie and Dayi inputs, but still remain in Bopomofo inputs.[35]
  • In Windows 8.1, the Windows Experience Index score is removed.[3]
  • Drivers for OHCI-compliant FireWire 400 (IEEE 1394-1995) host controllers are removed, although they are available from Microsoft Support. Windows 8.x comes with drivers for FireWire 800 (IEEE 1394b-2002).[36]
  • DirectDraw emulation, previously deprecated, now exhibits significant performance degradation in certain legacy games.[37]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tom Warren (12 February 2012). "Windows 8 Start button removed by Microsoft in 'Consumer Preview'". The Verge. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  2. ^ Where have the "Recent documents" feature went?
  3. ^ a b c d "8.1 features Microsoft removed from Windows 8.1". PC World. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
  4. ^ Thurrott, Paul. "Windows 8 Tip: Find Anything with Search". Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  5. ^ Warren, Tom (6 July 2012). "Microsoft reportedly killing off desktop gadget support in Windows 8". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  6. ^ "Gadgets have been discontinued". Microsoft. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  7. ^ "RIP Aero Glass; Windows 8 Sticks a Fork in Familiar UI". PC Magazine. Ziff Davis. 19 May 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  8. ^ Harris, Jensen (18 May 2012). "Creating the Windows 8 user experience". Retrieved 24 June 2012.
  9. ^ "Supporting High Contrast Themes (Windows)". 2012-10-27. Retrieved 2012-12-31.
  10. ^ "How to Access "Advanced Appearance Settings" Option and Change Font Size, Color in Windows 8? - Tweaking with Vishal". Retrieved 3 Jan 2013.
  11. ^ "How to restore the missing Briefcase feature in Windows 8 RTM". 12 September 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  12. ^ "Auto Redial for Internet connections in Windows 8". Archived from the original on 2012-10-15. Retrieved 2012-12-30.
  13. ^ "Managing wireless network profiles". Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  14. ^ "Bluetooth File Transfer". Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  15. ^ Mary Jo Foley (15 February 2011). "RIP, Windows CardSpace. Hello, U-Prove". Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  16. ^ "How to add Windows Media Center to Windows 8 Pro for free". Retrieved 2017-12-08.
  17. ^ "Windows 8 and 8.1 Pro Pack and Media Pack are no longer available to buy". Retrieved 2017-12-08.
  18. ^ a b Albanesius, Chloe (4 May 2012). "Microsoft Dropping DVD Playback Support in Windows 8". PC Magazine. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  19. ^ "Get more from Windows 8.1". Retrieved 2012-12-30.
  20. ^ "Windows 8 Release Preview - Media Centre Issue?". Microsoft. 4 June 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
  21. ^ Drawbaugh, Ben (23 June 2012). "Two more nails in the coffin for Media Center, start-up options and tuner certification". Engadget. Aol. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
  22. ^ "Windows 2000 Display Driver Model (XDDM) Design Guide". MSDN. Microsoft. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  23. ^ "XDDM drivers not supported for Windows 8". MSDN. Microsoft. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  24. ^ "What happened to MIDI Mapper on Windows 8?". coolsoft's blog. CoolSoft. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  25. ^ Sinofsky, Stephen (11 Jul 2012). "Protecting user files with File History". Retrieved 24 Sep 2012.
  26. ^ "Windows 8 Tip: Picking a Backup Strategy". Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  27. ^ "Windows 8.1 Tip: Use System Image Backup". Paul Thurrott's Supersite for Windows. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
  28. ^ "Previous versions UI removed for local volumes (Windows)". Retrieved 17 Nov 2012.
  29. ^ Kiran Bangalore (9 May 2012). "Redesigning chkdsk and the new NTFS health model". Retrieved 24 June 2012.
  30. ^ O'Brien, Terrence (14 September 2011). "Windows 8 BSoD ditches confusing error codes for uninformative frowny face". Engadget. Aol. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  31. ^ "Stop error information isn't displayed on the blue screen in Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012". Microsoft. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  32. ^ "How to play Windows 8 Startup and Shutdown Sounds and why were they removed".
  33. ^ "Installing the .NET Framework 3.5 on Windows 8". MSDN Library. Microsoft. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  34. ^ "Running .NET Framework 1.1 Applications on Windows 8". Microsoft. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  35. ^ "Windows 10 Advanced Chinese features: IME Pad, desktop language bar, and hotkeys :: Pinyin Joe". Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  36. ^ "FireWire port-based device does not work correctly in Windows 8.1 or Windows 8". Support (1.0 ed.). Microsoft. 10 September 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  37. ^ "DirectDraw Emulation Is Broken In Windows 8/8.1". 29 May 2014. Retrieved 22 July 2015.

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