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Tech Software:
Classic Shell Can Fix a Windows 10 Start Menu Problem
Posted 9 years ago on 9/3/2015 and updated 10/23/2020
Take Away:

This article describes a free utility you can download that will format your Windows 10 Start menu to give it a pre-Windows 8 look.


I recently upgraded my Windows 8.1 laptop computer to the newly released and pleasantly free of charge Windows 10. As many of you know, it brought back the much missed Windows Start button – and this version truly does have a Start menu that pops up after you click the button in the lower left corner of the screen instead of the charms screen that appears in Windows 8.1, which the computing public didn’t go for.

The software OS upgrade seemed to go fine for me. I downloaded the Windows 10 installation ISO file and then burned it to a DVD before I performed the upgrade operation on my laptop. This way, I will have it handy for customers who want to upgrade from Windows 7, 8 or 8.1.

So I was working with my new Windows 10 system when something bizarre happened for no apparent reason. I went to the “Settings” link on the Start menu and then I clicked the “System Info” link and KAPLOOWEE!!!! The Windows 10 Start menu vanished. Nothing would come up when I left clicked my mouse. However, when I right clicked the mouse, a very generic looking Start menu appeared instead. It was functional enough - just weird. I saw this happen again when I was setting up a new Windows 10 laptop for a customer – arrrrggghhhhh!!! What to do now?

Being the resourceful computer repair geek that I am, I found a free utility to download called “Classic Shell”. What it does is format your Start menu to look like the older and much better liked Start menus from the good ole’ days. It installed easily and this application is perfect for all you Windows XP/Vista/7 nostalgic types. You can get it at http://www (dot) classicshell (dot) net/.

After it is installed, just go to the blue colored shell icon next to the link for “Classic Start Menu Settings” on the Windows Start menu. Here you can customize it a variety of ways until you get it looking the way you like. According to the above mentioned company website, “Classic Shell” will work for Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10, so no one has an excuse for not using it.

This just goes to show when Microsoft does something to annoy millions of people (i.e., nuking the universally loved Windows Start menu and replacing it with the right swipe in the right upper corner thing), someone else will invent a great way to compensate for it. “Classic Shell” is free as previously stated and you can donate to the creators if you like via their website. Frankly, I’m very surprised they just don’t sell it for a nominal price – I have no doubt many people out there would gladly purchase it.


Share a thought or comment...
First Comment
Comment 1 of 13

Great article Doug. We recently had a client ask us to upgrade them from 7 to 10 and install the Classic Shell too. We did. He picked up the computer, took it home. Brought it back the next day and said, "Hey, you guys forgot to install Windows 10." We showed him the Classic Shell and explained.

In the end, he had us uninstall the Classic Shell because the computer was really for his kids and he wanted them learning the latest.

Posted 9 years ago

Comment 2 of 13

That's would think people would flock to Classic Shell after having been jacked around by Windows 8/8.1 - different strokes for different folks I suppose.

The Windows 10 Start Menu has a lot of Windows 8/8.1 in it - Microsoft didn't completely back down on that. The Windows 10 control panel is completely different and confusing. At least the control panel from Windows 8/8.1 was simiiar to its predecessors! Oh well, for what it is worth at least Windows 10 is free to Windows 7/8/8.1 users. 

Microsoft is trying to create an all unifying app ecosystem with Windows 10 - seems like a good idea, but it is still facing headwinds with the likes of iOS and Android to be sure. Time and the marketplace will determine the fate of Windows 10.

Posted 9 years ago

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