The developer of the popular Classic Shell application for Microsoft's Windows operating system released the last version of the program yesterday.
Classic Shell is a free program for Windows that restores classic versions of the Windows Start Menu, Explorer, Internet Explorer and Shell on user request.
It is used by many to restore the classic Windows 7 start menu on Windows 8.1 or 10 machines, and also to bring back the classic look to other core parts of the operating system.
The developer of Classic Shell announced yesterday on the official forum that he won't work on the program anymore. He provided three explanations for stopping development of the application:
- Lack of free time because of other interests.
- Windows 10 is updated too frequently (twice a year with a new feature update) which makes it difficult to keep up with the development, especially since updates break functionality of Classic Shell frequently.
- Microsoft changing the core of Windows from being based on the classic Win32 programming model, and thereby making it more difficult for developers to achieve the level of customization that Classic Shell offers.
The last official version of Classic Shell, version 4.3.1 was released yesterday as well. Users of the application can download and install it.
The latest version is compatible with all recent versions of Windows starting with Windows 7. I tested it on the most recent Redstone 4 build of Windows 10 as well, and did not run into any issues installing it on that system.
The lead developer uploaded that last version, and the application's source code to SourceForge. While he won't develop the software anymore, others may come and fork the code to continue development.
The official forums will remain open for the year 2018 but will be shut down at the end of the year.
Classic Shell Alternatives
There is a chance that no one will pick up development. There are a couple of alternatives available, especially for changing the Windows 8 or 10 start menu to a classic menu.
- Pokki -- A custom start menu for Windows 8.
- Spencer -- Adds a Windows XP start menu icon to the system.
- Start10 -- The commercial application by Stardock restores the classic Windows start menu. It is available for a one-time cost of $4.99.
- StartIsBack++ -- A free application that replaces the Windows start menu with a classic variant.
- StartMenuX -- A free and commercial start menu replacement for Windows.
- Start Menu Reviver -- The program mixes the old and new start menu.
It is always sad when a highly respected and popular program reaches end of life. There is a chance however that someone else will pick up development, and articles like mine may bring the matter to the attention of developers who did not know about Classic Shell before.
Now You: Do you know of other alternatives? Lets fill the list above with suggestions.