|Initial release||November 2009|
4.3.1 / 12 August 2017
|Written in||C++ |
|Operating system||Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2|
|Available in||English and other|
Classic Shell is a computer software for Microsoft Windows that provides user interface elements intended to restore familiar features from past versions of Windows. It focuses on the Start menu, File Explorer and Internet Explorer — three major components of the Windows shell. In particular, it can serve as a Start menu replacement for Windows 8 and Windows 10 systems.
Development by Ivo has ceased, and the project's source code has been released. A team has picked up development on GitHub, where the project can now be found.
Features and architecture
Classic Shell is packaged as a suite of three components, all optional and independent of each other:
- Classic Start Menu — A re-implementation of the Start Menu, replicating features from several different generations of Windows
- Classic Explorer — An add-on to File/Windows Explorer, restoring and extending features present in various Windows releases
- Classic IE — An add-on for Internet Explorer 9 and later, it restores the web page title to the window title bar, and various details to the status bar
Classic Shell is programmed in C++. Although it modifies Windows behaviors, it does not do so by modifying or tweaking Windows registry settings or replacing or patching system files — all modifications are done using Windows APIs. It is localized into more than 30 languages, including right-to-left support for Arabic and Hebrew.
Classic Start Menu
Classic Start Menu is a replacement for the Windows Start Menu. Features include:
- Customize appearance of the Start button and Start Menu, and menu and submenu items
- Show recently, or most frequently used, apps
- Show recently opened documents, with sorting, jumplists, and pinning
- Highlight newly installed programs
- Separate traditional desktop apps from Universal Windows Platform apps
- Sort menus alphabetically, by date, or custom order with drag-and-drop
- Windows Search integration
- Customize settings such as menu opening delay, tooltip timing, sub-menu column style, menu width, icon size, animation, scroll speed, font smoothing, etc.
- Skinning to more completely customize the appearance
- Scales icons and menu background to higher resolutions and/or pixel density (PPI)
Besides restoring past behavior, there are several new features. These include showing the menu next to the taskbar when it is vertical, multi-monitor support, launching multiple programs at once, custom shutdown-related actions, Universal app launching, expanding any file folder as cascading menus, and additional keyboard shortcuts. The search box can search the system path, can show partial matches, and can show all results inside the menu.
Classic Start Menu can also modify Windows 8's new UI features, such as hot corners only on the desktop without disabling them inside Universal apps.
Classic Explorer is an add-on to Windows File Explorer, implemented as various shell extensions. It does not replace
EXPLORER.EXE. Features include:
- A toolbar that can include built-in commands, custom commands, or dropdown menus for arbitrary folders.
- Customize the behavior and appearance of the left folder navigation pane, including whether folders expand with a single click or double click, connecting lines, subfolder indicators, horizontal scrollbar, tree item spacing, and keyboard shortcuts
- The breadcrumb bar can be replaced with a traditional address bar, and the associated dropdown modified to show the hierarchical path instead of recent folder history
- Sort headers in all views
- Overlay icon for network shares
- Status bar can show disk free space, total size of current folder
- Tooltip of selected item
- "Up" folder navigation button
- Show the current folder in the title bar caption
- Copy progress dialog can be automatically expanded to show more details
- Replace the copy conflict dialog with one like Windows XP
Classic Shell began as a tool for personal use, and saw its first public release in 2009. Over time, the Start Menu component evolved to be a customizable launcher that also integrated a search box and other features of the Windows 7 Start Menu. The Explorer and IE components appeared later.
Founder Ivo Beltchev announced the end of development in December 2017.
As of June 2018, another team has forked the code on GitHub (https://github.com/passionate-coder/Classic-Start) and resumed development.
- "Classic Shell". Retrieved 19 January 2014.
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- Classic Shell no longer in development. Source code released
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- Martin Brinkmann (2 April 2012). "Classic Shell Adds A Start Menu Back To Windows 8". gHacks Technology News. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- Adrian Kingsley-Hughes (13 December 2012). "Two must-have downloads that make Windows 8 more bearable". ZDNet. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- Erez Zukerman (31 January 2013). "Review: Classic Shell brings the Start menu to Windows 8 for free". PCWorld. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
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