Classic Shell Review – Windows 8 Start Button and Start Menu

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Microsoft Windows 8 has been widely criticized for not having classic Windows features like the Start Button and Start Menu. While the latest version of Windows includes a comprehensive Start Screen with customizable shortcuts and a nifty search feature, loyal Windows users who have been using the decades old interface features have been complaining quite loudly across the web. As for the previous Windows versions like XP, Vista and 7, several UI tweaks are being offered by tech enthusiasts and developers to customize Windows 8. Classic Shell offers several amazing UI tweaks like adding Start Button and Start Menu in Windows 8, replacing the default Menu Bar by a much more user-friendly one apart from offering several improved UI features from previous Windows versions.


Let us take a look at some fantastic tweaks available for free on Classic Shell:


Windows Start Menu


Apart from enabling the usual features like Drag and Drop, Options to display Favorites, Control Panel, Administrative tools etc, Recently used documents with changeable number of displayed documents; Classic Shell offers Choice from 35 languages,including Arabic and Hebrew.


  • Shift+Click restores the original Windows Start Menu, in case you don’t like Classic Shell.
  • You can use Right-click on the menu items to delete, rename, sort etc.
  • Enhanced search box makes finding programs easier.
  • Classic Shell Start Menu offers jumplists for quick and easy access to recent documents, common tasks etc.
  • Works with both 32 and 64-bit Windows operating systems
  • Default as well as custom skins can be used for the Start Menu, making it much more customizable without going through all the customization options.
  • Classic Shell Windows Start Menu supports Microsoft’s Active Accessibility.
  • It converts the “All Programs” button in the Start menu leading to the full list of programs into a cascading menu for quicker access to the programs as available in Windows XP and earlier versions.
  • Classic Shell allows you to customize the Windows Start Button in Windows 7 and Windows 8.
  • It can be used to display, search as well as launch Windows Store apps in Windows 8 more efficiently.


The Classic Explorer plugin for Windows Explorer, developed by Classic Shell adds an amazing toolbar to the Explorer for some regularly carried out operations like: Browsing Back to parent folder, Cut, Copy, Paste, Delete, Properties, Email etc. as available within MS Office and even on Windows 8 by default.The toolbar is completely customizable and reduces the navigation and operation times by a lot.


Classic Explorer fixes a lot of missing features which were available on Windows XP and makes the Copy UI much more like the one available on XP. The navigation panel features are most conspicuously like in Windows XP, keeping in consideration various complaints and suggestions from Windows Vista and Windows 7 users.


Using Right-click within the Windows Explorer you can enable the Classic Explorer settings after installing Classic Shell.

The file copying and moving dialog box in Vista and Windows 7 is quite detailed and difficult to navigate with keyboard shortcuts. Classic Explorer fixes that by re-introducing the old XP-style dialog box, in which clicking “more..” shows the remaining options and details. You can revert back to the original dialog box at any point if the tweak doesn’t suit your needs, since the basic functionality remains untouched while using Classic Explorer.


  • The Alt+Enter shortcut for displaying file or folder properties of the selection doesn’t work in the navigation pane of Vista or Windows 7 by default. This tweak is inbuilt in the Classic Explorer.
  • In Windows 7 the status bar in Windows Explorer doesn’t display the available free disk space and the size of the selected files. In addition to adding this feature Classic Shell displays the total size of the folder when no contents are selected.
  • Classic IE9, a free plugin for Internet Explorer 9 or simply IE9, displays the full page title apart from adding the familiar progress bar in the status bar.

There are several other features I have neglected to mention, as well as new features that might have been developed in the meanwhile to be offered in updates. Even if you were to end up not liking the Classic Shell tweaks, there’s no harm in trying, since all the tweaks can be undone quite easily.

You can search for “Classic Shell” on Google or go to directly for downloading the free software program.

Let us know about your thoughts on Windows UI and Classic Shell via comments below.

We are influencers and brand affiliates.  This post contains affiliate links, most which go to Amazon and are Geo-Affiliate links to nearest Amazon store.