Tag Archives: Disability

Replacing Windows’ Ribbon UI

Or: Take the Ribbon From Windows 10

Here’s the process in a nutshell, at the top for easy reference for those of us with memory problems; I discuss it below:

  1. Navigate to \WINDOWS\System32
  2. Take Ownership of UIRibbon.dll – That link is Microsoft’s official method, which works fine if you only need it for this process after major updates, but gets tiresome if you have to do it frequently. The easier method involves a one-time registry hack that will add “Take Ownership” to Explorer’s context menu. Always be careful with Registry hacks, because screwing up your registry could make your computer unstable, or even unbootable. This is where I got the hack, and have been using it for more than a year with no problems.
  3. Add “.bak” to the end of it, confirming the popup asking for administrator permission
  4. Log out or reboot

Alternatively, Winaero has a Ribbon Disabler app for Windows 8 and 10 that should make the process effortless. I have used other Winaero apps without issue for many months, but always forget about this one when I need it, so I haven’t tried it yet and therefore can’t comment on it.

Does the ribbon toolbar in Windows 8/10’s File Explorer (or “Windows Explorer” as it’s known to us old farts) annoy you? Do you, like me, have mental or physical disabilities that make ribbons difficult, frustrating, or even impossible to use? (They actually hinder me quite a lot, reducing rather than increasing productivity.) Are you unable to use a mouse for long or at all, making it so that you need menus that can be easily navigated with the keyboard?

Whatever the case, getting a more standard menu in Explorer is simple, but does require a bit of hacking, as detailed above. You always need to be careful with system hacks, because you can cause a great deal of damage if you aren’t careful. That said, I have used this method at least a dozen times since upgrading to Win 10, and there have been no problems.

The better fix is to make Microsoft realize how important it is that they simply make the ribbon optional by including it in Folder Options. There’s already an option there for “Always show menus”, so it seems like it would be easy to add “Use Ribbon UI”. Tell them so through as many channels as you can – MS support, Twitter, facebook. I have already seen accessibility upgrades in Win10, like the return of the Start Menu’s search function, so if enough people speak up about this issue, they may well do something about it.


A Cry for Help

My parents raised the four of us to be fully independent. My brother and I do housework, and my younger sister helped Dad with car repairs after the crash made me unable to. That’s why it’s so hard for me to ask for help when I need it. Even after 16 years together, I still sometimes push myself beyond my limits rather than asking my wife Lura for help when I should – not nearly as often as I used to, but it does still happen.

I have finally admitted to myself that now is one of those times. Our surprisingly durable Kia Sedona mini-van has finally had it. Since Lura has been out of work for nearly two years, we can’t afford to replace it – not even with a cheap car. My meager Disability payments only go so far. Without a new vehicle, and fast, we will be unable to continue running our Pokémon League, nor will Lura ever be able to find a job. Currently friends are taking us to Hillside for League and D&D Adventurers’ League, but we can’t bum rides forever.

Once I finally get the new starter installed the van will run again, but we will have to put oil in it every time we want to go anywhere – in the driveway before we leave, and in whatever parking lot before heading home. Even that is only a temporary solution. It could finishing dying at any moment, leaving us stranded by the side of the road.

The situation is further complicated by my chronic pain issues. Because of them I can’t comfortably climb in and out of cars or SUVs, so mini-vans and small trucks (like my beloved late Ranger) are our only choice. Unfortunately, as we have learned from our Sedona, used mini-vans come in two flavors: expensive and lemon. Like tattoos, good ones aren’t cheap, and cheap ones aren’t good.

Thankfully, my parents have offered part of their share of the sale of my late maternal grandmother’s house, but that only gets us most of the way to a decent van and halfway to a good one. That’s where we need your help. If you can offer even a couple of dollars it will go a long way towards getting us back safely on the road. Even if all you have to offer are your prayers, we are grateful.