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Editors' Rating:
Editors' Rating:
Average User Rating:
out of 66 votes out of 66 votes

Quick Specs

  • Version:
  • Total Downloads:
  • Date Added:
    Aug. 14, 2017
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Editors' Review

Classic Shell is a free desktop-enhancement tool for customizing your Windows Start menu, plus the task bar, file manager, and other parts of the interface. When Windows 8 launched in 2012 without a Start menu, several developers found a way to put a replacement back in, and Classic Shell is one of the most popular choices.


Truly replicates the Start menu: While most other developers created their own spin on the Start menu, Classic Shell makes a lot of effort to look and feel exactly like the classic Windows 7 menu. This is beneficial if you want to minimize your learning curve and get back to a familiar environment.

Loads of customization: If the regular Windows Start menu does some things that have always bothered you, Classic Shell has 15 tabs of settings to tweak it to your liking -- far beyond anything that Microsoft ever provided for this part of the interface. You can also save your settings to a file, restore settings from another file, and reset everything to its default if you lose track of which levers you were pulling.

It's free and doesn't spy on you: Classic Shell relies on donations to fund development. There are no mandatory fees, no subscriptions, and no user data collection.

Windows Explorer tweaking bundled for free: You also get Classic Explorer, which has a number of tweaks for the OS's file manager. Every tweak has a tool tip that explains what it does. A setting becomes bolded when it's changed from the default, so you can quickly scan what you've done.


May not get patched quickly: As of this review, it's been eight months since Classic Shell was last updated. Granted, sometimes there aren't enough issues to justify a patch. But with the Windows 10 Creators Update arriving imminently, Classic Shell users with this OS wouldn't be blamed for wondering if they're going to encounter some bugs.

Bottom Line

Even if you already have Windows 7 or Windows 10, Classic Shell offers loads of customization that you won't get from Microsoft, so it's worth a download, especially since it's free.

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Full Specifications

What's new in version 4.3.1
  • Official support for the Creators Update version of Windows 10
  • Added a setting to clear icon cache
  • Multiple minor improvements and bugfixes
Publisher Ivo Beltchev
Publisher web site
Release Date August 13, 2017
Date Added August 14, 2017
Version 4.3.1
Category Desktop Enhancements
Subcategory Desktop Customization
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Windows Vista/Server 2008/7/8
Additional Requirements None
Download Information
File Size 6.85MB
File Name ClassicShellSetup_4_3_1.exe
Total Downloads 679,849
Downloads Last Week 575
License Model Free
Limitations Not available
Price Free
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