Classic Shell sees 4.3 million downloads since Windows 8 launch

Earlier this week, we mentioned that two Start menu programs made specifically for Windows 8, Stardock's Start8 and SweetLabs' Pokki, have had a combined total of eight million downloads since the launch of Microsoft's latest OS in October. As it turns out, another free Start menu program has also seen large amount of downloads since the Windows 8 launch, but that program was first released back in 2009 for Windows 7.

That program is Classic Shell, which was first developed by Ivo Beltchev. As stated on the program's official website, it allows users to switch from three different main styles of Start menus: Classic, Windows XP and Windows 7. It also lets users put in custom skins for the menu. In addition, Classic Shell offers enhancements and changes for Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer 9.

Classic Shell first put in compatibility for Windows 8 in January 2012, but full support didn't happen until April 2012. The program has seen its download numbers skyrocket since the official launch of Windows 8 in October 2012. Classic Shell is officially available only on the SourceForge website, and according to their own statistics, it has generated over 4.3 million downloads since the Windows 8 launch, for a total of over 6.1 million downloads. In fact, the month of April saw the biggest numbers yet for Classic Shell, with over 1.1 million downloads.

Neowin will have an interview with Beltchev soon about Classic Shell, Windows 8 and his future plans for the program.

Source: SourceForge | Images via ComputingEssentials and SourceForce

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Microsoft reveals that Windows Phone only has 145,000 apps, growth starts to slow

Next Story

Carl Icahn would like to merge HP and Dell; thinks PC industry is 'going downhill'

67 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I will list some of the pros interface Windows 7 compared to Windows 8 (on home PC).
Windows 7:
1. Aero
In addition, if you have a weak computer you can choose a simple aero or classic style. In windows 8, there is no choice. Eat something that was given.
2. The Start menu
3. Gadgets
4. Raised buttons
5. A nice looking color rendering desktop environment compared with bright in Windows 8
6. No active corners (well, as it should be in normal windows)
7. If you have a dynamic ip, and suddenly the network changed to Network 2, then in Windows 7 in Network and Sharing Center I quietly Click the network icon and change the name on Network or on something else. In Windows 8, this feature was removed and change the name of the network can only be in the registry...
8. If you turn off UAC is not necessary to run the program as an administrator because I already administrator ... In windows 8 if you disable UAC you still have to run some application as an administrator. But even if you completely disable UAC in the administration you can not even run ****ing solitaire.
9. Personally, I dispatcher tasks in windows 7 like more. The only thing that there's better, is the fact that you can go to the Startup tab and turn off unnecessary programs, but for me it is not difficult to do the same in windows 7 msconfig prescribing.
10. Copy window with detailed information and the ability to pause in Windows 8 do not think a big plus.
11. Speed ​​run windows 7 on my SSD with all applications that are loaded in the tray on the order of magnitude faster than it does in windows 8. After loading the metro screen and you tap on the desktop, have to wait until all applications are loaded in the tray. As if there is a delay.
Windows 8:
Nope
Or....
copy window and dispatcher tasks?.. Not to me.
I have listed the most visible features that are noticeable to me. I think that cut even more. And in the future you will be banned at all to customize Windows.
Bad that all basically just cry on the Start menu, but what about all the other valuable things that made the popular windows 7? Well give you the Start menu, and the rest?
Windows 7 Ultimate FTW
And the one who gave the command to make the new Windows so castrated and inconvenient to burn at the stake

Your first argument about Aero goes the other way for metro as well. In 7 I was forced to eat Aero, which in my opinion is ugly compared the cleaner looks of solid colors, and sharp corners.

In 7 you had the option to turn Aero off and get what ever flat look you desired. In windows 8 there is no option we are forced to bear ugly metro flat look everywhere.

IMaysky said,
I will list some of the pros interface Windows 7 compared to Windows 8 (on home PC).
Windows 7:
1. Aero
In addition, if you have a weak computer you can choose a simple aero or classic style. In windows 8, there is no choice. Eat something that was given.

The theme in Windows 8 is still rendered by the Desktop Window Manager, and If I recall, having only one theme makes it easier on developers. Besides, in terms of appearance, the new theme isn't *that* different.

Most people opted to use Aero anyway (instead of Basic or Classic), so what's the big deal?

IMaysky said,

2. The Start menu

A moot point at this stage. There are several third-party replacements available (Classic Shell is the best, IMHO).

IMaysky said,

3. Gadgets

The Gadgets can be reinstated in Windows 8 if desired. If you don't want to go through the trouble, then several nice third-party programs are available which offer similar functionality.

IMaysky said,

4. Raised buttons

You're kidding, right?

IMaysky said,

5. A nice looking color rendering desktop environment compared with bright in Windows 8

Your comment about color is subjective. I'm not sure what you mean about Windows 8 being bright (but I'm sure it is a customizable attribute).

IMaysky said,

6. No active corners (well, as it should be in normal windows)

Active corners...?

IMaysky said,

8. If you turn off UAC is not necessary to run the program as an administrator because I already administrator ... In windows 8 if you disable UAC you still have to run some application as an administrator. But even if you completely disable UAC in the administration you can not even run ****ing solitaire.

If I recall, one must have administrator rights to run Windows 8 applications. As for Solitaire, it's really a weird attempt to bolster the argument; most people don't turn off UAC anyway.

IMaysky said,

10. Copy window with detailed information and the ability to pause in Windows 8 do not think a big plus.

Your bias is showing. I'm sure if Windows 8 had 7's copy dialog window, and vice-versa, you would consider the new version an improvement.

IMaysky said,

And the one who gave the command to make the new Windows so castrated and inconvenient to burn at the stake

Castrated...? Please grow up. And I hope you're not serious about stake burnings; it's just an operating system.

anyways M$ recognize that there are people that want the desktop back and the proper start menu.

hopefully "blue" bring them back since M$ wont make service pack anymore it will sell them like apple, until then i guess i stick with windows 7

Assuming windows 8 has an actual install base of 59m (seems to be a commonly held number by various analysts) and assuming every single download is an actual user (14m from the article) thats only 24% of people on windows 8 are using a replacement program.

Its drastic but removing the start menu means they can move in a different direction and not be chained to 20 year old design decisions. Ubuntu Unity is moving away from the design and Apple never used it.

Still nagging about the 'loss' of the start menu..... sigh..

I have the feeling most of the people that downloaded this, are the ones who are clinging to the classic menu look since Windows 95.

Stuff evolves, deal with it.

If we add up all the programs that simulate button start, people who do not know they exist, who else uninstalled the windows and went back to windows 7, should give 100 million, the same number of windows 8 sold licenses ... LOL

So this has 6 million, the others are at 8 million, consider there are 10 other programs probably each witha few hundred k downloads, and passed around.

and Microsofts fudged "we have sold 100 million licenses" rather than how many people are actually using it, probably like 50 million licenses sold to Dell and HP sititng in a factory somwehre

its pretty obvious to see that Windows 8 is not quite the success Dot_Matrix would have us believe.

Great program. I hate that metro screen. So annoying on a desktop. I can see the use for it on a tablet but the start menu and classic desktop is just more useful for a desktop. Simple.

Anyway this program will probably go back down to 10 downloads when this new update arrives so this will be a moot point pretty much.

Just because it was downloaded that many times doesn't mean people are using it. I downloaded it only to try it, I'm back to use Windows 8 like it was designed. Its just as easy to use. Only the ignorant or lazy refuse to accept that.

Same tired argument as "just because Windows 8 sold x licenses doesn't mean that many people are using it". Unless you really believe 43 million people downloaded this and then deleted it.

People should stop getting mad just because not everyone uses Windows the same way they do.

He is a microsoft fanboy. So he will definitely get ****ed when some one says Microsoft has been at fault. So out of MS claimed 100 million Win 8 shipment, 8 million start 8 download, 6 million classic shell, approximately 7-8 million startisback and other knockoff. There we got aproximately 25-30 million downoads. 100 million shipment to OEM and other people. May be 50 million active windows 8 user and 30 million use start menu. So much success for the microsoft start screen metro crap. Now go metrotards and cry me a river.

People who do real, enterprise and low-level work on computers and who just happen to run Windows 8 do not have time for Mickey Mouse Lego Block start screens. People like you, who only visit Facebook and stream Netflix obviously do not understand this simple fact.

jd100 said,
Just because it was downloaded that many times doesn't mean people are using it. I downloaded it only to try it, I'm back to use Windows 8 like it was designed. Its just as easy to use. Only the ignorant or lazy refuse to accept that.

Your assumption that whoever disagree with your point is ignorant or lazy show your arrogant ignorance.

Auditor said,
So out of MS claimed 100 million Win 8 shipment, 8 million start 8 download, 6 million classic shell, approximately 7-8 million startisback and other knockoff. There we got aproximately 25-30 million downoads. 100 million shipment to OEM and other people. May be 50 million active windows 8 user and 30 million use start menu.

So wait... you're trying to tell me that only half of the licenses that Microsoft says they sold are being used, but 100% of the downloads from every start menu replacement are definitely being used? You call jd100 a fanboy, but you yourself present very strained logic.

A download is free. It costs people nothing to try the various programs and settle on one. Personally, I've tried all of the above, and downloaded multiple versions of each. I've downloaded Start8 at least 14 times: once for every version released since October, and again on a different machine than my desktop to try it out. I personally represent about 40+ downloads in this count across all versions, but count as a user for exactly 0. Even actual Stardock customers probably count as at least 7 downloads, as they download the new versions.

Let me enlighten you some more then. I personally know many people who bought new computer and it came win 8 preinstalled but they did not like it at all and reverted back to windows 7. MS counted that as a sale but that is not in actual use. MS number of windows 8 100 million is not the sale for active users only. It is to OEMs whose computers are sitting in warehouse collecting dust. Even with rock bottom price of windows 8 MS was not able to successfully sell their product. so I roughly said 50 million active windows 8 users. If MS is so successful with windows 8 then they should release official windows 8 sales number to real users.

You can download third party download multiple times that does not matter. people like you downloading program multiple times are not in majority. Many people does not know much about computer and try to stick with what they had initially purchased. Not to mention the fact that most important matrics of success of windows 8 or any product will be user satisfaction rather than what people are forced to use. In my personal experience whoever I talked to so far are utterly unsatisfied with windows 8 even though they are forced to use windows 8 because that is the default OS which comes when some one buys the pc.

I never said Windows 8 has 100 million active users. I said start menu replacements don't have 30 million active users. Don't you see YOU are guilty of the same thing you are accusing me if. Stardock reported 5 million downloads since windows 8 was released. Why aren't they revealing at least sales numbers? Why aren't they talking about active users? In short the comparison you make is completely biased, and you don't even seem to realize it.

Great app, had a few conversations with the guy in regards to changing the classic start button icon from the shell to the classic Windows one, something I might have to message him about again, as I forgot how to do it. -.-

I love how some ppl defend every decision Microsoft makes like they can do no wrong. New versions of Windows should be easier to use but Windows 8 / 2012 makes common, basic tasks more difficult. I've been using Windows 8 since last August. After 2 weeks I was ready to go back to 7 but luckily there was was Start8 and I've been happily using Windows 8 since.
Recently I installed Windows 2012 server at work and let another admin and IT Tech try to figure out how to reboot or log off. One condition I made was they couldn't Google it. At first it was funny but after 20 minutes of watching them fumble around it was getting painful to watch and I finally had to show them how to do it. Cmon' Microsoft! It's pretty freaking obvious that you've mucked it up! Actually they've mucked up a lot of things since Ballmer took the helm.

It's not rocket science. There are instruction manuals for things for a reason - you're supposed to *read* them. The day people started being lazy and stopped reading instructions was the day worth facepalming over. Then again not all IT people were created equal.

Are you always that smug? Windows shouldn't require you to read an instruction manual to do simple tasks that have been intuitive and obvious for decades. Hiding things is not good design.

This isn't about me being "smug" or not. This is about how people deal with new things, i.e. they've become too set in their ways that when something new comes along, they drown. Except, there are always instructions to teach you. Once you learn it, just like anything else, it becomes easy and mundane.

It's a different way of doing things. That doesn't make it harder. Learn. Adapt.

What Microsoft has done with regards to rebooting or logging off would be like an auto manufacture coming out with a new car and hiding the ignition. If you press your finger on a precise location on the dash, over by the glove box, a magical compartment will open where you can access the ignition and turn the car off.
Now is that really necessary especially on a server? What they've done, for the sake of unification of all devices, is dumbed down the PC and server in order to make them function more like tablets and phones.

orangutang said,
This isn't about me being "smug" or not. This is about how people deal with new things, i.e. they've become too set in their ways that when something new comes along, they drown. Except, there are always instructions to teach you. Once you learn it, just like anything else, it becomes easy and mundane.

It's a different way of doing things. That doesn't make it harder. Learn. Adapt.

What you miss is the fact that people will be more inclined to adapt if they perceive the changes as something useful and, or positive. If such perception is not there people will resist or just refuse to do it. It is up to the seller " to win hearts and minds" of the potential customers.

Microsoft has shills out on the Internet trying everything they can to get people to embrace Windows 8, from calling them stupid to calling them intransigent.

I would like to borrow your "learn/adapt" mantra. How about...Microsoft learns that when it tries to shove crap down our throats because it is blinding by the would-be gravy train that is Windows 8 and the 20-30% app store, they "learn" that their stunt failed, and "adapt" by firing some of you losers?

you know they wanted modern or metro ui as default fine, leave it like that but why dont make it optional settings for those who dont want or need it.

A group policy or registry setting could have fixed all this issue for enterprise.

People use windows because its easy, powerful, FLEXIBLE and customizations.

Right now we have a glorified dumbed down forced interface that its only usable on phones, tablets and touch screens, everything else its just counter productive and not worth the effort.

Microsoft should just release Windows 8 Plus Pack Start Menu Professional 2013 and put all these guys out of business.

Simply putting back the Start Button, even if it just goes to the Start Page, will make a huge dent. I honestly believe that.

Enron said,
Microsoft should just release Windows 8 Plus Pack Start Menu Professional 2013 and put all these guys out of business.

That's because they know the truth. It's all a conspiracy, fudging of numbers. Yeah, 4.3 million sounds like a lot, but it's really only been downloaded by 20 people who re-downloaded it 215,000 times each.

/s

Rohdekill said,
6 million downloads yet someone will claim the removal of the start button was a good thing.

Start8 absolutely did not exist before Windows 8, and:

"have had a combined total of eight million downloads *since* the launch of Microsoft's latest OS in October"

kinpin said,
You do realize that all these applications existed before windows 8 right?

MorganX said,
"have had a combined total of eight million downloads *since* the launch of Microsoft's latest OS in October"

That can't be right... the SourceForge stats page (and the article..) says it's had 6.1 million downloads *total*. (Or are you pulling numbers for Start8? Doesn't really apply here..)

Rohdekill said,
look at the chart. Pre-win8 is not even worth counting.

~2 million isn't worth counting?

StartIsBack existed in Win 7 ....Its called the "Start Menu" lol Well spotted sherlock , gold star for you !

The article is statin 8 million for Start8 and Pokki, 4.3 since Windows 8 RTM for Classic.

Max Norris said,

That can't be right... the SourceForge stats page (and the article..) says it's had 6.1 million downloads *total*. (Or are you pulling numbers for Start8? Doesn't really apply here..)


~2 million isn't worth counting?

Though I wonder what is the percentage of paid downloads. I tried the demo version of start8, because i felt lost at first with windows 8, but I uninstalled it 2 or 3 days later. I got used to the new way of things and voilà, No big deal.

I don't know. I've never bought these sorts of things but I bought Start8. Primarily for the search. There's no way around how clumsy and inefficient Modern UI search is. Blue looks like it may render Start8 unnecessary. All the others are free.

Whether you buy Start8 or not, the fact that so many feel the need to try it is telling. MS is doing well listening. That's just a large number of customers generated by and UI change.

wingliston said,
I prefer StartIsBack. But Classic Shell is a great free alternative.

Classic Shell is free, and offers *many* more options for customization. Why, it even works on "Blue"! Which is something StartIsBack does not do.

I still prefer Start8, but really, none of these programs should even be necessary had Microsoft done the right thing and included it as an option. Even if it was off by default, an option none-the-less.

How so? I have multiple units here running Windows 7 that use ClassicShell's start menu replacement just for the added flexibility with adding additional locations and menu items. Does that mean Microsoft f'ed up with that one too? I hated the jump from Program Manager to the start menu back in the day, was just weird and unfamiliar. Should that have been an option too? No, they had a vision and they stuck with it, but I could still put in something else if I wanted to. A developer can't possibly make an option that'll cover every possibility and make every user happy, it's impossible. You have the option to pick from a number of start menu replacements, many of which are free. You can even install the actual Windows 7 shell if you desire. Quite a few options actually.

This is a typical shill response. Elessar is right. These "fixes" should never been necessary in the first place. Furthermore, let us not forget that, after vehement protest to Microsoft, hackers figured out a way to boot to desktop via registry hack. Microsoft then told its engineers to go in and remove the desktop code altogether. So please, don't pretend like Microsoft is all about choice. It isn't. It is quite clear that they are trying to herd all of us to Metro, whether we like it or not. If that were not true, the would have left the hack alone.

Typical troll response. Once again where is your lack of choice when you can choose to replace it? You've always had to dig around to change things that weren't in Microsoft's overall design. Start menu.. themes.. the shell.. replacing various internals.. it's been like that for *years*. Ask anyone who cried and ranted about 7 losing the 9x style start menu.

And please.. "herd you to Metro?" Removing the desktop entirely? That's just talking out of your ass on that one. Take a few seconds to actually think about what that would do to Microsoft as a company if they decided "Gee, let's make Windows not run the billions of Windows programs anymore. I'm sure our customers won't mind." Not only home users, but corporate and government clients suddenly can't run the programs they've been using for years. What do you think will happen? Think about it, I promise it won't hurt. Here's a small hint, massive losses, board members getting lynched by stockholders, stuff like that.