Classic Shell

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Restores Desktop functionality to Windows 8"

    November 12, 2012  |   By rdunn


    - Restores the 'Start' button and menus to Windows 8 Desktop Taskbar ...besides providing many other customization features (such as turning Off 'active corners' or just Start corner or none).
    - Allows choice of 'Classic', XP, or Vista/7 menus.
    - 'Skip Metro screen' allows booting Windows 8 directly to Desktop.
    - Provides for defining custom command shortcuts on old Start menus.
    - Support forum on Source Forge


    - Not always an -exact- duplicate of previous versions of Windows menus (if that's important to you).
    - Occasional difficulty with confirmation windows appearing behind menus.


    Classic Shell restores a good deal of the Start button and menus of previous versions of Windows, to the new Windows 8 Desktop. It makes Win8 Desktop enjoyable to use again, rather than having to learn the 'Modern' user interface, which may be better devoted to touchscreens still. With Classic Shell, you won't have to re-learn how to place icons/shortcuts into the Desktop... or figure out where the old Program groups went to.

    The new Windows 8 'Modern' interface lumps old software into 'All apps', which may be suitable if you're starting fresh with -new- Win8 programs... but, for example, older programs that each had their own 'Uninstall' shortcuts, now, in Win8 tend to have all those Uninstall shortcuts lumped together under broad Win8 Start labels... leaving you with a dozen Uninstall links listed together on the 'Modern' wall 'All apps', and no idea where they've come from, or to which program they belong.

    Classic Shell gives Desktop back the old program groups and sub-folders menus... allowing you to find everything directly within Desktop as you've been used to in previous Windows versions.

    Some users complain that Classic Shell Start menus don't scroll folders/programs in the leftmost column like Windows 7. Classic Shell prefers to have pop-out submenus accordion out to the right, due to limitation caused by other features provided, according to developer.

    One glitch I've noticed... when moving folders into subfolders in the old-style Start menus, a confirmation dialog window may appear, asking if you want to replace any already existing folder of the same name... but ...sometimes that confirmation window is -behind- the accordioned Start menu already on screen.
    You may be able to click the title bar of the confirmation window, if you can see it, and drag it out to confirm/cancel replacement. Alt-tab doesn't help because the menu list pops back to forefront. If you can't drag the confirmation window out, you're stuck with the 'ding' sound as you click the menus trying to close them ... you'll have to find the Explorer tile on the Taskbar, right-click it, and close the whole thing, terminating your folder move.
    A workaround is to use Windows Explorer (not the Start menus)...
    ...drill down into your User folder AppData, Microsoft, Windows, Start Menu, Programs ...and/or... ProgramData, Microsoft, Windows, Start Menu, Programs cut/paste move your folders around.

    Other than this one rare glitch... Classic Shell works very well. On a non-touch PC, it's virtually necessary to the use of Win8 Desktop with the same ease/familiarity of previous versions... until you've migrated to all-new software for Win8.

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