Is there any way besides using a 3rd party email application to revert Gmail to the old-style compose and reply email boxes - the style that allows you to use your full screen?

It drives me absolutely insane when a company makes an 'enhancement' and reduces usable window space. If I am writing a long email I want to be able to use the maximum amount of window space and not be crammed into something that is 25% of my monitor size.

Compose window example


I am afraid Google has made the change permanent. As per the FAQ, the previous experience will go away eventually. It was inevitable.

Although you can still use the old style compose on IE 8, because it does not support the newer Gmail interface. Maybe one can trick it to behave like IE 8 on other browsers too.

You don't have to change browsers, just tell ie9 or ie10 to pretend to be ie8. To do this press f12 to get the developer tools. Then chose both "Browser Mode: IE8" and "Document Mode: IE8 standards"