Get back the old classic Start menu on Windows 10 with Classic Start

Its always a trend that people like to go back to the old look, and feel of Windows. When we moved to Windows 7, people wanted Windows XP looks. The same went for Windows Vista, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. The urge to go back to Classic Start Menu is even higher among Windows 10 users. Not everyone is a big fan of Tiles and expanded Start Menu. So in this post, we are going to introduce you to Classic Start – a Classic Shell alternative.

Get classic Start menu on Windows 10

Get back the old classic Start menu on Windows 10 with Classic Start

This software not only gives you back the old Windows Start menu, but it does a lot more. You can change the configuration to the extent, that everything might look like Windows 7. It also reels in features of Windows Vista, XP at places. To what I have seen, having a very simple Start menu actually helps to get things done faster.

Here are the main features:

  • Highly customizable start menu with multiple styles and skins
  • Quick access to recent, frequently-used, or pinned programs
  • Find programs, settings, files, and documents
  • Start button for Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10
  • Toolbar and status bar for Windows Explorer
  • Caption and status bar for Internet Explorer.

Classic Start Menu on Windows 10

That said, let’s take a look at all the features of Classic Start:

Start Menu Customizations

It offers exhaustive options which let you customize right from the Start Menu to Taskbar to Search Box to the context menu, and so on.  You can customize to an extent where you can choose taskbar thickness, add delays to actions, change them, and so on. I am sure you want to, but take this as a challenge, that you will not be able to use all of them.

Classic Start menu style

Note: Any modifications you make in the program are highlighted in bold.

Here is the list-

  • Start Menu style: Classic, 2 column or Windows 7 Style
  • Change Start Button
  • Change the default actions to left click, right click, shift + click, Windows Key, Shift + WIN, middle click and mouse actions.
  • Customize Main Menu option lets you change All Programs style, choose Start menu folder over the pinned menu, remove recent programs completely, change order for recent programs, and lastly enable jumplist.
  • Change Delay timer: Any action you take on your PC is delayed a bit mostly for visual experience. You can change that timer here. It lets you change timer for Menu, infotip, drag, and drop, and so on. Classic Start menu Settings
  • Search Box Customization: You can either choose to completely remove it if you like to use Cortana to further customize it according to your choice.  It lets you change the preference for keyword tracking, autocomplete, search inside apps, and programs, files, and internet.
  • Menu Look: Are small icons your style? Do you hate animated transition? Do you want to speed up the animation speed of the menus? This is the place where you need to change.
  • Skin: Choose between Metallic, Metro, Midnight, Windows 8, and Aero.
  • Taskbar: You can choose between transparent, opaque, and glass look. It also lets you select a color of your choice and texture.
  • Customize Start menu Item: Choose between display as a link or menu item or keep it hidden.
  • Context menu options let you
    • Disable/enable right click with cascading option.
    • Hide new folder, and shortcut
    • Disable to prevent opening folders in Windows Explorer
    • Disable Pin shell extension.

Explorer Settings

This section manages settings for Navigation pane,  Title Bar, Toolbar settings, Status bar, and File Pane.

Navigation pane:

  • Choose between XP or Vista style navigation pane.
  • Eneable or Disable horizontal scrollbar
  • Disable fade buttons.
  • Increase item spacing in tree style explorer.
  • Auto navigates to a selected folder either using the keyboard or automatically.

Classic Start Menu Explorer Settings

Title Bar: You can disable breadcrumbs, hide search box, choose additional shortcut for the address bar, and up button.

Toolbar Settings: Change icon size, and text placement, and so on.

Create, and customize toolbar buttons either to add a new item or remove what you don’t use often.  You also have the option to customize status bar and File Pane. The software also offers IE Settings. However with Windows 10, and Edge, IE is gone for good.

Classic Start download

Classic Start is a brilliant program. I have rarely seen software offering so many customizations, and at this level. If you want to get the Old Start menu back, this is what you need to install. You can download it from Classic Start was renamed to NeoClassic-UI and then renamed to Open-Shell.

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Ashish is a veteran Windows, and Xbox user who excels in writing tips, tricks, and features on it to improve your day to day experience with your devices.


  1. Peter Alexander London

    Although Classic Shell is no longer supported, it still works on build 17134.167
    It is however very good to know that probably someone else has taken over according to the version number. I will try this one out asap. I have been using Classic Shell since win 8, and I would not use anything else.
    Thank you for picking this up.

  2. Yes, Totally love the experience right now. Things are actually simple!

  3. Peter Alexander London

    Did you try the development release?
    If so, is it stable?

  4. Peter Alexander London

    Btw keep up the good work

  5. Peter Alexander London

    I checked the version number and apparently you use the hotfix version. So: is it stable for it is a pre release/beta.

  6. If you meant why use this instaead of the start menu that comes with Windows 10, I guess its only matter of choice. While most of the people just use as is, I like how well I can customize in the Classic Start menu. Also, Tiles are useless for me.

  7. AL

    Looks horrible. Jump back in the 90s

  8. AL

    I do not see any good reason too. Tiles actually offers a functionality that is access some info without having to open the application. That makes it useful to have something pinned somewhere. Having a useless icon hidden in some sub menu.. Way faster to use the command line or Cortana bar to lunch what you need.

  9. sgrandin

    One thing I don’t find with Classic Start vs. Classic Shell is the relatively translucent taskbar. The small utility Translucent doesn’t quite cut it as a fix, so I went back to Shell.

  10. WallyWalters

    One thing you can’t do is access recent Office files directly from the Start Menu. That’s a great feature, much easier than opening the app then going to the Recent File list.

  11. AL

    Something similar can be introduced for tiles too.. Being a developer I don’t use office or similar stuff so I do not care much about it. But if you use a program a lot pin it to the taskbar. Then right click on it. You ll see all recent files there

  12. WallyWalters

    A workaround is pinning Recent Files to the Start Menu. BTW, far more computer users use Office than are developers. Problem is, even more play games and use tablets than work or use PCs, so Microsoft is trying to drive commonality in platforms supporting most users.

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