When you compare the Windows XP operating system to Vista or Windows 7, you will notice that Microsoft has changed, altered or removed features in the newer operating system. From a new start menu to a new Windows Explorer layout, new copy user interface or the new Internet Explorer 9 that looks and feels slightly different than previous versions of the web browser.
Classic Shell is a free software for Windows that brings back several of the features that were modified or dropped in newer versions of the Windows operating system. The full list of features includes:
Windows users can select which features they want installed on their system during installation. It is possible to only install the classic start menu for instance, or only classic Windows Explorer. Installation requires elevated privileges and changes are immediately available and visible without a system restart.
The classic Windows start menu for instance is available right after the installation finishes. The classic Windows Explorer menu on the other hand is only partially available.
A right-click on the toolbar and the selection of Classic Explorer Bar enables the toolbar in Windows Explorer. A click on the options button opens a configuration menu with interesting settings. Here it is possible to add or remove toolbar buttons from the Explorer toolbar and configure other features of Windows Explorer.
Some of the things that you can configure here is a different location bar layout (disable breadcrumbs), change the navigation pane style to XP classic or simple, enable sort headers in all view modes or to replace the file and folder conflict dialogs (file exists for instance when copying).
Classic Shell adds three configuration options to Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 web browser. It adds a caption to the title bar to display the page title there and shows the security zone and loading progress in the browser's status bar.
Windows Vista or Windows 7 users who miss some of the features that they used to work with under Windows XP, should take Classic Shell for a test ride to see if it resolves some of the issues that they have.
The Open Source software is compatible with both 32-bit and 64-bit editions of the Windows operating system. Downloads are offered at the program homepage over at Sourceforge.
Update: Classic Shell has been updated recently. You can read the review of the new version by following this link.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.