This quick tutorial shows you how to change Windows 8 Start Menu to look like Windows 7 Start Menu.  If you’re tired of the Windows 8 Start Screen (which is designed for tablets, not PCs), then install the free Classic Shell program for Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and even Windows 10.  The Classic Shell Windows app / program gives you a full Windows 7 Start Menu on Windows 8.  See how to set it up with these steps:

How to Change Windows 8 Start Menu

  • In your browser, go to http://ClassicShell.net.
  • Click the Download button after you arrive at ClassicShell.net
  • Open the File that your browser downloads
  • If your computer asks for your password, enter your password to let Windows know you’d like to proceed with Opening the installer file.
  • Now click through any on-screen prompts, by clicking “Next“, “Yes”, “I agree” or whatever other prompts it may ask during the install process.
  • After the Classic Shell program installation has finished, click the start button.
  • You should now see a Windows 7 Start Menu in place of your crappy Windows 8 Start Menu.  Voila!
  • In addition to the default start menu functionality (which is based on Windows 7 Start menu), you can go to Programs > Classic Shell > Classic Start Menu Settings.  Then change any options you see fit.

Explanation of Windows 8 Start Menu

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The reason for Microsoft’s decision to include the “Start Screen” in Windows 8 as opposed to a Start Menu is because of the release of Microsoft Surface tablets, which coincided with Microsoft’s release of Windows 8.  So Micro$oft decided to put Windows 8 on it’s Surface tablets, which they thought would work well with a Start Screen instead of a start menu.

Sure, this might be okay for tablets, but what about the millions of people using Windows 8 on their PCs?  For us, thankfully, a third-party software creator has solved this issue with the Classic Shell program (install steps mentioned above).

Classic Shell Windows 8 Start Menu Options

  • The Single column option is exactly that: One column with all your Start Menu inside.
  • Two column gives you programs and recent apps on the left column of the start menu, and “control panel” type items on the right column of the menu.
  • Windows 7-style is essentially an enhanced two-column menu, with a file browser / explorer-type panel in the left column and a standard control-panel assortment of options in the right column.  We suggest Windows 7-style for the best productivity speed.

Classic Shell Compatibility

Classic Shell is compatible with both 32-bit (aka “x86”) and 64-bit (“CPU”) system artchitectures:

  • Windows 7
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 10
  • Windows
  • Server counterparts such as Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012, 2012 R2, and Windows Server 2016.
  • Use the same installer file for all versions of Windows!

Class Shell is not compatible with Windows RT.

Related Videos & Tutorials

Wrap Up

Enjoy the “retro” start menu!  I know I do.  What other apps do you know of that can make Windows look / feel better?  Let us know on the KFire YouTube Channel.

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