6 Best Classic Shell Alternatives You Must Try

free best Classic Shell Alternatives

Classic Shell was a popular application to get the classic Start Menu back in Windows 8,8.1 and Windows 10 until its development was stopped in December 2017. If you don’t like Windows’s new take on Start Menu and Star Screen, Death of Classic Shell will leave you looking for new tools to replace the beloved app. But worry not, there are many replacements to the Windows Start Menu and in this post, we will be looking at 6 best Classic Shell Alternatives.

Best Classic Shell Alternatives

IOBit Start Menu 8

For a cheap price of Free, Start Menu 8 is probably one of the best Classic Shell replacements around. As the name suggests, it replaces the new touch start screen with a very familiar Start Menu very similar to Windows 7. It supports both Windows 8 and Windows 10, and it is very flexible, allowing you to customize the start menu to your liking. At the bottom of the menu, there is a search box too, which works very similar to Windows 7.


Start Menu 8 looks almost identical to Start Menu in Windows 7

While there are no ads on the menu itself, be careful during Installations, as the setup may try to install bundled apps which as to be unchecked before installation.


Developed by the same folks that work on well-known Fences, Start8 is designed to replicate Windows 7 style start menu for Windows 8. The application allows you to bypass the start screen of Windows 8 altogether by directly booting you to desktop and has support for pinning desktop and modern Windows Store apps to the start menu.

Start 8

Start 8 is one of the best Classic Shell Alternatives

Apart from these, Start8 supports multiple skins for start button and start menu and it has a very powerful search box directly in the Start Menu.

After a 30 day trial, Start8 is costs $5 at the time of writing. If you are on Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012, Start8 is one of the best alternatives for Classic Shell.

Start Menu Reviver 2.0

While above two apps in our Classic Shell Alternatives rundown focus on bringing the old Start Menu back, Start Menu Reviver tries to blend usability and features with a touch of modern Windows aesthetics. Start Menu Reviver certainly looks better compared to other offerings and apart from the looks, it includes some neat personalization tweaks including letting you pin any files, videos and tasks right to the start menu.

If needed, the menu can be resized very easily and because it is inspired by modern UI of Windows 8 and 10, it should be very touch friendly if you are on a computer with a touch screen.

The application is free and has a 22 MB installation footprint. It supports Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10.

Start Menu X

Start Menu X claims to be the “Replacement of the system menu for professionals”. To live up to its claims, it has a very flexible UI and it supports Virtual Groups where a user can add together similar programs to get them quickly. The Start Menu X looks similar to the classic Start Menu’s that you could enable in Windows XP, only with a facelift and some much-needed additional features such as a search box at the bottom and separate buttons for Log-off and Shut down.

The base version of Start Menu X is free, You can also buy a Pro version to get Single-click launch and tabs to easily sort groups. The free version includes shut down times and internal document searching by default.

It is one of very few Classic Shell replacements that support from Windows XP up to Windows 10. Be sure to check the free version before buying the pro version, because it may not be suitable for everyone.

Power 8


Power 8 is a powerful, open source start menu replacement for Windows 8 and Windows 10. The lightweight application looks very similar to the start menu in Windows 7 with some changes in pinning and app listing.  Apps are listed in the left half of the menu and the right half of the menu is for quick access to important folders and power buttons.

What I liked about Power 8 are its no-frills approach to installation and its simplicity. There is no need to install anything, as long as you have a recent .NET framework installed (In most cases, it should already be) it works without needing any restart or replacing system files.

The application is actively in development and its a very good Classic Shell Alternative if you need a simple and lightweight solution.


start is back

While the application is not free, it looks and feels a lot like Start Menu from Windows 7 and Windows Vista

StartIsBack is a Start Menu replacement that is completely focused on replicating the start menu experience from Windows 7. The layout is almost identical with a powerful and fast enough search bar on the bottom, a list of frequently used apps on the left and system locations on the right.

Aesthetically, it tries to blend in with the OS in use. And, it has many skins that can either look like Modern UI or look just like how Start menu looks on Windows 7. StartIsBack also lets users customize the start button with some built-in options. If needed additional buttons can be added easily.

StarIsBack supports Windows 8, 8.1 and Windows 10 and there is a free trial available. Keep in mind that there are 3 different versions of the applications and you will have to pick the one that is compatible with your computer.

Which one is your favorite?

Do you know about any other Classic Shell Alternatives? Which one do you prefer? Share with us in the comments below…