Change Windows 7 Start menu to classic view

Updated: March 5, 2010

You may be using Windows 7. Everything seems fine, except one thing. You simply hate the way the Start menu has changed. You tried the old trick of using the classic theme, but it did not help you really. You are stuck with the dual-column Start menu and it annoys the very fungus between your toes. In other words, you do not like this:

You would prefer to have the good old, linear Start menu and access programs in a cascading manner. As someone who suffers from a mild case of OCD and prefers functionality over eye candy to the uttermost limit of efficiency and productivity, I fully understand and share your pain. Which is why I spent quite a bit of time trying to find the solution to this irksome issue. Luckily, the remedy to the problem is rather simple.



This is what you're facing:

New start menu

Even with the classic theme in use:

Start menu classic theme


The solution is called: Classic Shell. Classic Shell is a a small, simple tool that re-enables a collection of features that were available in older versions of Windows but do not exist in Windows 7. Most importantly, it brings back the classic Start menu, adds a Windows XP style toolbar for Windows Explorer and powers on a few smaller, less noticeable features. Sounds like exactly the tool we need! Let's install Classic Shell!


You will be asked what kind of features you want enabled:


And after a few moments, you will have the normal Start menu enabled:

Classic shell



If the Start menu was the one thing keeping you from either using the classic theme in Windows 7, forcing you to stick with the sick-baby-blue default, or prevented you from considering Windows 7 in the first place, the issue has now been removed. You can happily migrate or make your desktop work as you desire.

On the other hand, you may be interested in pimping up your Windows XP to look more like Windows 7. Hence, this tutorial of mine. Moreover, if you need help getting your Windows 7 desktop tamed, you might want to consider reading my Windows 7 customization article. Finally, to get Windows 7 installed in the first place or have it boot alongside other operating systems, you may want to peruse my Windows 7 installation guide and the dual-boot tutorial. Well, I guess that would be all for today.

See you around! Many thanks to DOSawaits for this jewel.


You may also like: