Classic Shell: Customize Shell, Add Start Button, Start Menu to Windows 10/8

If you are using Windows 8, but missing the Start Menu and the Start Button, you might want to check out Classic Shell, which adds the start menu and several useful classic explorer’s features back to your Windows 10/8.

TIP: Since ClasshiShell is no longer being developed, you may take a look at Classic Start instead.

Classic Shell for Windows

Classic Shell is a popular software many uses on Windows 7 to get the classic start menu back or to add Up button, show title bar, get a classic feel, etc., in Windows 7 explorer. Those who have not heard of Classic Shell, let me tell you that it is a collection of features that were available in the older versions of Windows but were removed from Windows Vista and Windows 7. It has a classic start menu for Windows 7, adds a toolbar for Windows Explorer and supports a variety of smaller features. There are three major components – Classic Explorer, Classic Start Menu, and Classic IE9.

On Mar 31st, 2012, version 3.5.0 was released, with support for Windows 8. According to the developers:

Classic Shell adds a new customizable start button and some of the features have been disabled because they are not possible on Windows 8 or no longer make sense – like the status bar enhancements, the copy dialog replacement, and the Up button. That said, Windows 8 is still not final (as of March 2012), so it is possible that version 3.5.0 will not work with the final Windows 8 build.

In October 2013, Classic Shell v4 was released. This version drops support for Windows Vista but extends support for Windows 8.1 too. It adds the following new features:

  1. New “Windows 7” menu style that replicates the look and feel of the Windows 7 start menu?the programs show in a tree inside the main menu
  2. You can search for files as well as programs, using the Windows Search
  3. The menu can show the most frequently used programs
  4. Programs can be pinned directly from Explorer
  5. New programs are automatically highlighted in the menu
  6. The list of Classic Shell settings can be searched to easily find the setting you need
  7. New more reliable way to start on Windows 8 that doesn’t use a service
  8. The start menu can use the native Windows 8.1 start button
  9. A new status bar for Explorer that shows the total size of the selected files and the free disk space.

Add Start Menu to Windows 10/8


If you keep the start menu option selected it will add the classic menu to Windows 8.

Add Start Button to Windows 10/8

On Windows 8 you can also add and customize the Start button using Classic Shell.

When you right-click on the Start Menu you their settings where you can change a couple of settings and skins.

Skip Start Screen

From version 3.5.1 onwards, it also allows you to skip the Metro screen. To do so, open Settings and click on the General Behavior tab. Check the box to Skip Metro screen.

I would say Classic Shell is a must-have application for Windows 10/8. It’s an open source application, so it won’t cost you anything, though the developers definitely deserve a donation.

If you want to check it out, go to the Classic Shell’s Official website.

Go here to check out some more freeware to add Start Button to Windows.

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Shyam aka “Captain Jack” is a Microsoft MVP alumnus and a Windows Enthusiast with an interest in Advanced Windows troubleshooting. Suggestions made and opinions expressed by him here are his personal one's and not of his current employers. He blogs at


  1. costs of surgery

    Thanks for sharing. Yes it is popular and we will use it on our pc.

  2. Phrozencrew2020

    I’ve been using this excellent Classic Shell Menu since Windows 7 and until now Windows 8 CP it works great. The new version 3.5.0 is cool it works on Windows 8 CP. Love this. I highly recommend this to all Windows 8 CP user and Next Release of 8.

  3. Joe Lawrence

    Windows 8, the new Windows Vista, or is it Windows ME???

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