Classic Shell 3.5.0

Classic Shell is a collection of features that were available in older versions of Windows but are removed from Vista and Windows 7. It has a classic start menu for Windows 7, it adds a toolbar for Windows Explorer and supports a variety of smaller features. There are 3 major components - Classic Explorer, Classic Start Menu and Classic IE9. Look here for the full list if features.

Classic Shell features:

  • Classic Start Menu for Windows 7, 8 (with skins)
  • Toolbar for Windows Explorer
  • Classic copy UI
  • Show file size in Explorer status bar

Classic Start Menu is a clone of the original start menu. It has a variety of advanced features:

  • Drag and drop to let you organize your applications
  • Options to show Favorites, expand Control Panel, etc
  • Shows recently used documents. The number of documents to display is customizable
  • Translated in 35 languages, including Right-to-left support for Arabic and Hebrew
  • Does not disable the original start menu in Windows. You can access it by Shift+Click on the start button
  • Right-click on an item in the menu to delete, rename, sort, or perform other tasks
  • The search box helps you find your programs without getting in the way of your keyboard shortcuts
  • Available for 32 and 64-bit operating systems
  • Has support for skins, including additional 3rd party skins
  • Fully customizable in both looks and functionality
  • Support for Microsoft’s Active Accessibility
  • Converts the “All Programs” button in the Windows menu into a cascading menu (Vista and Windows 7)
  • Implements a customizable start button for Windows 8
  • And last but not least – it's FREE!

Classic Explorer is a plugin for Windows Explorer that:

  • Adds a toolbar to Explorer for some common operations (Go to parent folder, Cut, Copy, Paste, Delete, Properties, Email). The toolbar is fully customizable
  • Replaces the copy UI in Vista and Windows 7 with the more user-friendly “classic” version similar to Windows XP
  • Handles Alt+Enter in the folder panel of Windows Explorer and shows the properties of the selected folder
  • Has options for customizing the folder panel to look more like the Windows XP version or to not fade the expand buttons
  • Can show the free disk space and the total file size in the status bar
  • Can disable the breadcrumbs in the address bar
  • Fixes a long list of features that are broken in Windows 7 – missing icon overlay for shared folders, the jumping folders in the navigation pane, missing sorting headers in list view, and more

Classic IE9 is a plugin for Internet Explorer 9 that:

  • Adds a caption to the title bar so you can see the full title of the page
  • Shows the security zone in the status bar
  • Shows the loading progress in the status bar

What's new in this version:

  • Added support for Windows 8 Consumer Preview
  • Added customizable start button
  • Added a Metro skin for the start menu
  • Updated all settings for Windows 8
  • Fixed the missing caption in IE10
  • Added a setting to control the menu shadows
  • Added toolbar commands to map and disconnect network drives
  • Improved the responsiveness of the check for a new version
  • The check for new version is a separate component that can be skipped during install

Download: Classic Shell 3.5.0 | 8.5 MB (Open Source)
View: Homepage | Screenshot

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Useful for some, I guess, so well done. But calling it a "shell" is a misnomer. It's not a shell, as such - it's a bunch of apps that run on top the Explorer shell.

Xinok said,
It's an appropriate name, as it mimics elements of the shell from XP.

A proper shell can mimic, but it also takes over completely the full functionality of the Windows shell, not part of it.

Fish said,
Useful for some, I guess, so well done. But calling it a "shell" is a misnomer. It's not a shell, as such - it's a bunch of apps that run on top the Explorer shell.

It's a shell extension. But "Classic Shell Extension" isn't sexy.

Lord Venom said,
Personally, I'd like to see a new start orb image based off the Windows 8 logo.

You can make one yourself and use it. It's easier than ever to clone the Windows 8 logo because it's just 4 single color rectangles.

Lord Venom said,
I might one day when I'm not so busy.

There are dozens of free Start button replacement images on and 7forums if it helps.

Lord Venom said,
Personally, I'd like to see a new start orb image based off the Windows 8 logo.

Just grab the one out of the Start8 package ;-)

Try to make a 'System' folder in your start menu and see what happens. Long story short? Microsoft coded it so only the items THEY want in the start menu will show up so essentially this only partially addresses the issue for BASIC users only.

nik louch said,
Does this give a start menu in 8?

You can customize it and change the skin, settings etc.. The defaults are very simple and look like the Classic Windows 95 menu + a search box.

Yes and NO! Yes it gives a start menu back but Microsoft went to the extent of FORCIBLY keeping only the shortcuts they want in the start menu. I tried to make a 'System' folder instead of 'Windows System' (I KNOW I'm using Windows!) and it kept deleting the system folder (or anything else I made). Microsoft is dead set on making Windows 8 suck as hard as possible for even technical people and they absolutely will not relent.