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Classic Shell is an Open-Source application (initially released under an Open Source license, freeware and again Open-Source) that allows you to restore a set of features (such as the classic start menu, start button, toolbar for Windows? Explorer, etc.) that were removed from the newer versions of Microsoft? Windows? OS.
Although the primary purpose is to offer you access to missing features (available on older Windows? versions) through its interface, this program does not modify your Windows? registry settings or replace your original OS files. Here you can check the main features (new features are being added and improved with each new version: check release history here):
Trademark Note 1: Microsoft?, Windows? and other product names are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
Classic Start Menu main features
- choose between “Classic style” (or classic with two columns) and “Windows 7” styles
- drag and drop to organize your applications
- show "Favorites," expand Control Panel, etc.
- show recently used documents; you can customize the number of documents that you want to display
- the program is available in 35 languages.
- the original start menu in Windows? is not disabled; you can launch it using "Shift+Click" on the start button.
- support for both 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems.
- support for 3rd party skins (you can customize your skin).
- you can show, search and launch Windows Store? apps in Windows? 8.
- customize the start button etc.
Classic Explorer main features
- add a customizable toolbar to Explorer for common operations (cut, copy, paste, delete, properties, etc.)
- replace the copy UI in Windows? 7 with a more user-friendly “classic” version similar to Windows? XP.
- options to customize the folder panel to look like the Windows? XP version.
- show the free disk space and the total size of selected files in the status bar
- ability to disable the breadcrumbs in the address bar
- fixed a list of features broken in Windows?: missing icon overlay for shared folders, jumping folders in the navigation pane, missing sorting headers in list view, etc.
Classic IE main features
Note: this plugin won't be available if Internet Explorer 9 or a later version is not installed on your operating system.
- a caption has been added to the title bar so you can see the full title of the page
- view the security zone and also the loading progress in the status bar.
Classic Shell Review
Installation: Download the latest Classic Shell version and launch the setup file. There's nothing malicious or bundled in this app, so just hit the "Next" button. The application will install in a few seconds.
Configuration: Next time when you will click on Windows? start button a new window named "Settings for Classic Start Menu" will appear. From this window, you have multiple tabs that allow you configure your Microsoft? Windows? OS. For example, the first tab named "Start Menu Style" allow you to choose between a "Classic style," "Classic with two columns" or the "Windows 7 style".
You can even replace or customize Windows? start button. The second tab - "Basic Settings" allows you to customize several keyboard shortcuts and other Windows settings. Other tabs such as "Skin" or "Customize Start Menu" allows you to customize Windows? even more.
If you don't think you have enough options available, uncheck the box named "Show all settings" (located on the right-side of the search box), and there you go: you have access to all Classic Shell settings. That would be it - everything is intuitive but if you encounter a problem, check the FAQ section and if there's no answer, feel free to post or search your issue on Classic Shell forum.
Note: You can access Classic Shell settings anytime. Just type the word "Classic" in the search window, and you should be able to see both "Start Menu" and "Explorer" settings.
Conclusion: There's nothing complicated regarding both steps: setup and configuration. Everything is intuitive, and the software fulfills its promises (eliminates frustration for people coming from an older version of Windows?): adds some missing features to Microsoft? Windows? 7 and Windows? 8 (once again, a life saver). Finally, if you like this application (I did - especially since Windows? 8 and now as a 10 user), I am sure that the author will appreciate each donation as a thank you for his work.