• Open-Shell Updated

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    Heads up from Martin Brinkmann at Ghacks and on Majorgeeks (links at foot of post)

    Classic Shell which went out of development in December 2017, is currently being forked by another developer for use on W7/ W8.1 and W10 (including insider previews) called ‘Classic Start’.
    Apparently the last Classic Shell is broken in the W10 insider preview and that Classic Start has fixed this issue. (although no confirmation of this is available yet)
    Something useful for many who do not like the GUI of W10/ W8.1..

    NOTE from Martin Brinkmann at Ghacks

    Windows Defender may throw a SmartScreen prompt – Windows protected your PC – when you run the program. Classic Start is not a malicious application but it is new and therefore considered suspicious automatically. Three lesser known antivirus engines flag it as malicious on Virustotal while all major engines return it as clean.

    Ghacks Link

    Majorgeeks download link with description

    Win8.1/R2 Hybrid lives on..
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    Viewing 17 reply threads
    • #202166

      I was using ClassicShell (last version) on my Insider Preview. It quit working.
      Symptoms: The first time I clicked on the Start button, the menu came up. The second time only the bottom part of the menu came up. Third time – nothing. If I ran the Repair from the install file, same thing. Three times, you’re out.

      I installed the latest version of ClassicStart. v4.4.109, and it works. The GUI is the same as ClassicShell. Life saver!!! I can’t stand Win10 menu or anything related to the UWP Apps. I had no negative response from my AV, Bitdefender, but did have to approve installation ao an unknown program (I suppose from Smart Screen).

      Homepage of the developers (Passionate-coder-team) on GitHub.

      8 users thanked author for this post.
      • #202237

        What about Classic Explorer? Is it dead too?

      • #202298

        I’m with you on the bit about not wanting anything to do with UWP apps.  That’s what makes part of the farewell announcement from (former) Classic Shell dev Ivo Beltchev so ominous:

        “Each new version of Windows moves further away from the classic Win32 programming model, which allowed room for a lot of tinkering. The new ways things are done make it very difficult to achieve the same customizations.”

        I’m not interested in a non-win32 Windows even if it did have the tinkering room Win32 has. Less Win32 just means more UWP, more “app,” more mobile user interfaces on a platform that’s nearly wholly desktop-oriented (laptops with touchpads count as desktops; it’s the discrete pointing device or lack thereof that defines the UI type).  There’s nothing in particular wrong with Win32 (or its 64-bit sibling) other than its singular suitability for the platform for which it was designed, but it doesn’t lend itself to a Windows Store or mobile devices (which is a feature, not a bug, to some of us).

        The thing about how UWP apps won’t have the problem with an inherently fragile Windows installer or the difficulties it has in fully removing programs, often leaving bits of code and registry entries behind, could well be true, but that’s not a problem with Win32 as a concept.  A more robust Windows installer with better journaling would fix that, though it would still require the existing legacy installer for older programs.  If that’s a problem, then surely the move to UWP is even worse

        You know, when I was first arguing about what was wrong with Windows 10 years ago, I remember being told I was crazy for thinking MS was going to move away from Win32 by one particularly enthusiastic MS booster (not here… it was another site).  Since then, it has become widely accepted that this is what MS is doing, but the above quote from Mr. Beltchev those months ago was the first time I’ve seen it stated in so many words as something that’s actually happening (as opposed to a prediction of things to come).


        Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
        XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/32GB & GTX1660ti, KDE Neon
        Acer Swift Go 14, i5-1335U/16GB, KDE Neon (and Win 11)

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    • #202250

      I put ClassicStart v4.4.109 on my Win10 1803. Seems to work good there too.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #202289

      Just replaced Classic Shell on W8.1 x64 desktop with Classic Start v4.4.109, no problems whatsoever AND it imports Classic Shell saved .xml settings file (saves time/ manual input of settings) so far, all good.. 🙂

      Don’t need it on W7 x64 as I like the interface.

      Note: These screen-shots are for the GUI Interface ONLY!
      (other shell enhancement options not installed at set-up)

      TaskManager for ClassicShell:


      TaskManger for ClassicStart:


      No problems otherwise, all working as intended 🙂

      Win8.1/R2 Hybrid lives on..
      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #202369

      Any idea as to why I’m getting the error shown in the attached screen shot when trying to install the download of ClassicStart (v4.4.109) on a Windows 7×64 system? It will NOT let me go beyond that error message. And, yes, I ‘unblocked’ the download in the Properties of the downloaded file.

      This is occurring on multiple Windows 7×64 systems, is not isolated to just one system.

      And when tried on a Windows 10 system, a warning comes up saying this download might endanger the system, but did allow me to get by the warning (sorry, since I went by the warning, it won’t come up any longer.

      This file was download both from MajorGeeks and the GitHub page of the developer.

      • #202388

        This looks more like you don’t have administrative rights in order to install ClassicStart and it’s not the program itself. Have you tried:

        1. Checking Group policy settings to see if it’s blocked from there?

        2. Right clicking the installation setup file and ‘run as administrator’?

        No problem here on two W8.1 devices (desktop and laptop)

        Win8.1/R2 Hybrid lives on..
        3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #202457


      In answer to question #1: One system is running Windows Home Premium, so no Group Policy editor. The other system is running Windows 7×64 Pro. I don’t mess with the Group Policy editor unless I have some good directions and a specific task is involved. I have no idea where to look for any policies that would limit installing this program. I was hoping somebody here might tell me where to look.

      Question 2: Yes, I’m the only user, which is an Administrator account. I also did try right-clicking and doing ‘run as administrator’…got the same error message.

      I’ve never seen that error message before in 9 years of running dozens of Windows 7 systems.

      Since I first posted….the plot thickens…I tried it on one other system, a Windows 7×64 Pro laptop, and it ran just fine…no error message. I stopped the install as I didn’t really want it on that system, was just testing to see if it would throw an error.

      I have other Win7 systems and Win10 systems that I can ‘test’ it on, just didn’t have time this morning (USA, west coast time).

      Meanwhile, I’ll fire up some other systems, both Win7 and Win10. The Win10 systems I have, have the last version (4.3.1) of Classic Shell on them now. I think I read somewhere on GitHub that the ‘new’ version could be installed over the top of the ‘old’ one. Hopefully I’ll find out later.

      Also, meanwhile, perhaps someone who reads this thread can suggest to me where to look in Group Policy for any settings that might be blocking the installation.

      One more thing…on a Windows 7×64 Home system, trying to run the ClassicStart setup program does pop up the information window shown in the attached screen clip. It mentions that the file DOES NOT have a valid digital signature, and clicking the “Run” button causes the error I posted earlier. So I’m guessing that has something to do with the problem, but does not explain why it will at least run on one Windows 7×64 Pro system, but not on another Windows 7×64 Pro system, and does runs with a warning that can be by-passed on one Windows 10×64 Pro system (so far).

      • #202542

        SkipH, If your current ClassicShell v4.31 isn’t broken, why fix it?
        There are no changes to the program, that I can see, other than a compatibility issue with
        W10 insider preview and has been fixed for future version development. Dunno I ain’t a coder, only advertised the fact that this program is available 🙂

        As for GPedit, you may wish to have read on: Seven Forums Tutorials

        Win8.1/R2 Hybrid lives on..
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    • #202529

      Windows 7 already has Windows 7 GUI so, why the need to install this??

      Most would find it useful on Windows 8 and 10. It works on Win10-1803

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      • #202538

        When I used Classic Start (the original Ivosoft version) with 7, it was to get the Classic Windows 95/2k style Start Menu.  Windows 7 has the Windows 7 GUI, but no one said that had to be the standard… just that it was better than anything that came after it.  The high water mark of Microsoft Windows GUIs for me was Windows 2000.  It was all downhill from there.

        Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
        XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/32GB & GTX1660ti, KDE Neon
        Acer Swift Go 14, i5-1335U/16GB, KDE Neon (and Win 11)

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    • #202613

      I wasn’t trying to put the new ClassicStart on a Windows 7 system for real, just testing to see it would even run the installation program (it failed with that error message I posted earlier). I just use the stock Windows 7 Start Menu, that’s fine for me. However, I certainly wasn’t expecting it to fail.

      As for putting it on a Windows 10 system…I’ll probably have to deliver another Windows 10 system in a week or two and I tend to put a Start Menu app on systems I deliver, for both myself, and a customer that is coming off Windows 7. Since there’s an on-going possibility that changes to Windows 10 can/will break the older Classic Shell, there’s a place for the forked version. Therefore, I am testing it on Windows 10 systems.

      I did get it installed (with no warnings) on another Windows 10 system last night, and it did remove the other older program, and kept most of the settings.

      Hopefully the new developer will be able to keep up with the changes in Windows 10 builds so Windows 10 users can continue to have a functioning Start Menu.

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #202721

      Windows 7 already has Windows 7 GUI so, why the need to install this?? Most would find it useful on Windows 8 and 10. It works on Win10-1803

      Well, to be blunt, IMHO, the W7 start menu sucks.  A 27″ monitor and I’m crammed into the bottom left corner clicking and scrolling.

      It’s dysfunctional and inefficient.

      I would use stock W8.1 (it’s not that bad once you get the hang of it) before I would use stock W7 if Classic Shell or an equivalent didn’t exist.


      I do find it odd that a W7 menu is available in a program designed to overcome the deficiency of W7’s start menu…

      • #202828

        I take the opposite approach – for me, the Windows 7 Start Menu is a very productive tool. I hated to lose it with Windows 8. Also, I sometimes eat greasy food at my computer, and I would hate to have to keep touching the screen in order to do stuff.

        It’s great that we have a product like Classic Shell / Classic Start that allows us Windows 7 fans to continue having that type of start button / start menu.

        And it’s great that you can go with the Stock Windows 8 menu / interface if that’s what you prefer.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
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        • #202925

          I think we have a slight misunderstanding.  🙂 No biggie.

          I was talking about using a mouse with the stock W8.1 UI, not a touch screen.  I want nothing to do with a touch screen on a desktop computer.

          Yeah, call me crazy, but if you put a gun to my head and demanded I made a choice, it would be W8.1 over W7 if I had to use the stock UI.



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    • #202750

      I’ve used ClassicShell for more years than I care to admit (but I am a fossil).  I use v3.6.7 in Win7 and V4.0.2 in Win10 v1703 with no issues at all.  In fact all versions later than v4.0.2 lost functionality (like being able to rearrange shortcut order in the menu for one) in Win10.  The day I can not use ClassicShell to replace Win10’s absolutely terrible Start Menu is the day the Win10 install gets formatted out of existance.  I always love reading “just type into the Win10 search box to run xyz.exe” … Say What … If I wanted to go backwards 30 years and use a darn command line I would go back to DOS!!!!

      Now you do have to rename the earlier versions of the ClassicShell installer to get around Win10 clumsy BS attemp (The software you are trying to install is not compatible with this version of Windows) to block users from using ClassicShell early on.

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    • #202874

      OK, seems I ‘solved’ the failed the installation problem (see post # 202369) with the new ClassicStart app.

      Seems I have the CryptoPrevent app by Foolish IT on several of my systems. I caught a flash of some mention that it was trying to install some files in the C:\ProgramData folder, which is protected by CryptoPrevent. Seems since the setup program for ClassicStart does not have a valid digital signature (see error message on post # 202457), CryptoPrevent was blocking it.

      I just lowered the CryptoPrevent protection level to ‘None’, and now the ClassicStart version 4.4.109 setup program runs normally on my main Windows 7×64 system.

      I haven’t had time to try installing it on my other Win10 test systems, will try to do that in the next few days.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #309441

      Although I’ve had little use for Classic Start over the years, lately I’ve suggested installing Open-Shell to clients who have moved to Windows 10 (if they miss the familiarity of Windows 7 for instance). Open-Shell was formerly Classic-Start (a continuation of Classic Shell).

      Image or Clone often! Backup, backup, backup, backup......
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    • #337848


      Now that Win7 will soon reach EOL, I’m experimenting with converting all my systems to Win8.1. Any thoughts about “Open Shell”?

      In Ivo Beltchev’s “stopping further development” message here, he mentions that source code is available on GitHub here which states future development will be made here which states that Open Shell is the rebirth of Classic Shell.

      The GitHub Open Shell menu webpage is here.

      FYI, if you go to Open Shell releases page here, there’s an inference to “Classic Start” at the bottom of the page but I believe that it’s really a reference to “Classic Shell” as it’s version number is 4.3.1 which just happens to be the last official version number of Classic Shell.

      In any event and as per @RockE’s post above, maybe another option to consider now that Classic Shell is no longer being maintained.

      edit(s) – structure & typos


      Win7 - PRO & Ultimate, x64 & x86
      Win8.1 - PRO, x64 & x86
      Groups A, B & ABS

      • #337874

        Here I am replying to my own post …

        Upon further poking around on the net concerning Classic Shell, Classic Start & Open Shell, it turns out that Classic Start was renamed to “NeoClassic-UI/Menu” as noted here, then it was renamed again to “Open Shell” as noted here.

        I guess all old shells lead to … Open Shell   🙂

        On another note: the latest version of Open Shell on GitHub is v4.4.131 while the latest version at Majorgeeks is v4.4.135 … I would expect it to be the other way around.

        Oh well … sigh!

        Win7 - PRO & Ultimate, x64 & x86
        Win8.1 - PRO, x64 & x86
        Groups A, B & ABS

        • #337967

          Well, there is a 4.4.135 linked from GitHub, through the “latest nightly” … doesn’t seem really a nightly since it’s several months old too.

          Not that there’s all that much activity there in GitHub either. Guess this might be “mature software” then? 😉

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #338070


        Now that Win7 will soon reach EOL, I’m experimenting with converting all my systems to Win8.1. Any thoughts about “Open Shell”?

        Classic Shell may no longer be supported and I’m still using it on 2off W8.1 pro devices. My thinking was that, as development has also ended for W8.1, classic shell still works flawlessly on the OS. (if it ain’t broke…) YMMV
        Open-Shell and subsequent different ‘named’ versions are mainly to address issues encountered by W10 v1809 onwards so was not needed for W8.1
        However I do use open-shell for 1803 with no issues.

        Win8.1/R2 Hybrid lives on..
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    • #337887


      I use it on all my machines and love it. Having worked on home computers since the TRS80 I find that it fits the way I’ve been working for years as I’ve always been a “clean” desktop kind of guy!

      HTH 😎

      May the Forces of good computing be with you!


      PowerShell & VBA Rule!
      Computer Specs

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    • #2293505

      Openshell 4.4.152 release available:

      Better support for Windows 10 modern settings (#57)
      Allow Pin to start for desktop applications downloaded from Microsoft Store (such as Windows Terminal)

      Fixed issue with confirmation dialog being blocked (#257)
      Fixed Invert Metro icon color option for gray-scale icons (#364)
      Respect Use multiple columns setting for all folder items (#436)
      Removed non-working update component

      Win8.1/R2 Hybrid lives on..
      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2305343

      Update: New release of Open-Shell 4.4.160 (18th October 2020)

      Support for automatic updates (including optional nightly updates)
      Support for modern app jump-list tasks (#375)
      Faster recent Metro apps enumeration (#45)
      Better handling of modern application links
      Display monochrome icons using color of corresponding text item (#466)


      Win8.1/R2 Hybrid lives on..
      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2455271

      Open-Shell 4.4.170 (May 27th 2022)
      github release notes

      Improved compatibility with WindowBlinds (#433)
      Show Settings above Control Panel by default (#23)
      Display Modern settings search results above Control Panel ones (#481)
      Added options for aligning the start menu at the edge of working area instead of the taskbar
      Easier access to taskbar options (#600)
      Don’t change Taskbar text color/texture until relaunch (#602)

      Don’t show jump list for Settings application (#487)
      Setup: Fix installer warning on Windows 7 (#507)
      Use modern Help icon in Classic/Two column menu style (#506)
      Fix Shutdown item text (#501)
      Skinning fixes

      Win8.1/R2 Hybrid lives on..
      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2577885

      24th July 2023 Openshell 4.4.190 released!

      Download link and changelog:

      A good few things fixed since the last release.

      edit: slick on Win8.1 and 10

      Win8.1/R2 Hybrid lives on..
      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2583414

      Open-Shell 4.4.191 FINAL
      Download and Info link:

      What’s Changed
      Separate taskbar icon for Open-Shell menu settings dialog
      Allow negative horizontal/vertical menu offsets (#1629)
      Fix checkboxes in settings dialog with custom themes (#1630)
      Fix search results overlapping (#1648)

      Win8.1/R2 Hybrid lives on..
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