Classic Shell 4.0 released

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 and Windows 8, 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:

  • The first official release of Classic Shell 4.0
  • Improved support for downloading and installing language files
  • Improved compatibility with Windows 8.1

Note: Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 are no longer supported.

Download: Classic Shell 4.0 | 5.3 MB (Open Source)
View: Homepage | Screenshots | Full Release Notes

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With the improvement in Windows 8.1 is there really still that much need for tools like this? I used Start8 at first but after I got used to the start screen it really isn't so bad. With 8.1 allowing you to use your desktop's background (making the transition from desktop to start screen smoother aesthetically), adding the smaller tiles, the option to boot straight to desktop combined with the start button (giving you a clear target to click instead of having to to reach for the start button on my keyboard) I have no more complaints really. To each their own I guess...

There's still the lack of an actual "Start Menu" which seems to be the sticking point for many users. I'd say these sorts of tools will be around for a long time to come (just like they have since Windows XP)

start menu is completely useless to me, the only thing I used on start menu was the search box since windows vista. hitting the windows key and starting to type still does what I need for the most part.

Well of those three, only Classic Shell is free (if price is a concern). And of the other two, StartIsBack seems better priced: 2 licenses for $3 or 5 licenses for $5.

StartIsBack Plus now has an option to add the Windows task bar in the Start Screen when you are perusing the Start Screen.

Thanks for the hard work you put into this program. Well worth it.
Will continue to install it on customers computers that have Win8.

Raa said,
Thanks for the hard work you put into this program. Well worth it.
Will continue to install it on customers computers that have Win8.

Totally agree! Thanks for all the hard work.

Does Startisback still use the actual Windows 7 start menu code? If so I'm not sure how they are legally charging for it.

wingliston said,
Startisback has no extra services running but cost you.

Classic Shell extra services running and is free.

All Start Menus inject a DLL into the Explorer processes. Classic Shell uses an EXE to inject the DLL, StartIsBack probably uses some COM trickery. If you want to monitor performance really, see the memory usage of Explorer.exe when the Start Menu(s) are running.