Classic Shell update brings Windows Store apps support

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 29, 2012
Updated • Oct 29, 2012
Software, Windows, Windows software

More than a dozen different companies and individuals have created programs that bring back the start menu to Windows 8. What set my favorite replacement Stardock's Start8 apart from the rest was the integration of Windows Store Apps in the start menu, which all the other start menu alternatives did not offer.

This changed with the most recent release of Classic Shell, an Open Source program that is bringing back features to Windows that Microsoft has removed. It is more than a start menu replacement, as it can also take care of Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer on systems it is installed on. You can however select to only add or replace the start menu on your system if you prefer that.

When you have installed the latest version of Classic Shell or updated your existing installation, you will immediately notice the new Apps folder in the start menu. The folder lists all Windows Store apps that are installed on the computer. A click on one of the apps loads it just like any other program on the system.

classic shell windows store apps

Classic Shell recognizes new app installations or removals automatically and changes the start menu accordingly to reflect those changes so that you always work with an up to date listing of apps in the start menu.

The search covers both classic programs and new Windows Store apps and will display suggestions the moment you start typing. The programs folder lists all desktop applications installed on the system plus links to the Windows Store to quickly open the store on the start screen.

You can remove or move the Apps folder in the program options if you do not want it to be displayed in the start menu at all. The program is versatile in this regard, making available a number of options to change which items the start menu displays. You can for instance use it to remove shut down items or system folders that you never use from the start menu.

The program maps the Windows-key to the start menu and Shift-Windows-key to the original start screen of the Windows 8 operating system. You can change that and other features in the - extensive - preferences the program makes available. Here you can for instance change the start menu style to Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7, change the look and feel of the start menu button, or change the skin of the start menu.

The integration of apps shortcuts in the start menu is a big step for the project as it sets it apart from the majority of programs that aim to bring the start menu back to Windows 8. Definitely a step in the right direction and something that moves the program right next to Start8 in terms of functionality.

You can download the latest version of Classic Shell from the official project homepage over at Sourceforge.


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  1. sgr said on October 29, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    Hi Martin,
    please do discover “POKKI” start menu as it might be the best alternative to Windows’ Start Screen.They do not attempt recover Windows 7 start and in fact they have done something what Microsoft should have to be modern and useful.
    Plus, what makes that project even more interesting is the fact that it had been written for the standard limited user so you don’t have to elevate installation :))


  2. bungeshea said on October 29, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Why switch to Windows 8 if you want to disable its primary new feature, the metro UI. Why not just stay with Windows 7?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on October 29, 2012 at 9:51 am

      You do not disable the Metro UI, you just add the start menu to it again. You can still use the start screen if you want to.

      1. bungeshea said on October 29, 2012 at 10:44 am

        Okay, thanks. I guess I was just wondering how Windows 8 differs from Windows 7, aside from the Metro UI.

  3. Gaurav said on October 29, 2012 at 9:27 am

    @anony, why do you want to perfectly mimic the Windows 7 Start menu which shows programs in a really small area and requires scrolling when you can view All Programs on your screen, even in multiple columns, without scrolling? Cascading style menu is better as it eliminates scrolling and can display more programs on your screen.

    1. anony said on October 29, 2012 at 10:02 am

      Yes, since I prefer scrolling to moving mouse to small and moving area.

  4. anony said on October 29, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Can Classic Shell perfectly mimic Windows 7 start menu (i.e. no cascading XP style).

    1. anon said on October 29, 2012 at 11:38 pm

      Scrolling vs cascading is less of an issue in my book. The real improvement in Win7’s start menu vs XP’s is the search box, which Classic Shell seems to have.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on October 29, 2012 at 9:00 am

      I’m not sure what you mean by cascading Windows XP style. You can select the Windows 7 start menu theme after installation and it looks nearly identical to my Windows 7 start menu.

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