“Classic Shell: Restore the Start Button for Windows 7 and Windows 8,” by Ivo Beltchev et al.

For all of you out there in Windoland that miss your rather useful Start Button, there is a rather straightforward and FREE solution for both Windows 7 & 8. That solution is the Classic Shell shell script.

The project started simply enough; replace the copy UI for Vista. Later, it was desire to add the Up Button, that would take the user in the directory up one folder level, back into the Windows Vista OS. Then came Windows 7, and its complete removal of the Start Button, at which point, the project went public.

I have been using Classic Shell for about two years now, on my Windows 7 laptop. It is stable, for the most part. About once in every 30 start-ups, it will freeze for a moment, need to be closed, and then immediately start right back-up as if nothing at all happened. Why it does this, I don’t now. I suspect it is a conflict with another program in my start-up sequence as it has never done this on my wife’s laptop, and she has been using it just about as long as I have. I consider this very slight annoyance to be well worth the added, or restored, features the Classic Shell provides:

* Highly customizable start menu with multiple styles and skins

* Start button for Windows 7 and Windows 8

* Toolbar and status bar for Windows Explorer

* Caption and status bar for Internet Explorer

You can download Classic Shell through SourceForge.net here.

In a related side note, I also recommend to those middle-school folks (DOS being the “old school”), the Word add-on: Classic Menu for Office 2010 and 2013. Unfortunately, this solution is not free. But depending on how annoying you find the newest version of Word’s menus to be, it might be worth the investment. I shudder to think what Micro$oft will do to the next version of Word in order to make it fit into the Metro design.

Oh well, one of these days I really will, absolutely and truly, learn how to live in the Ubuntu Linux world. The real problem I’m faced with on that score is not so much the usability of the OS, which is fine. It’s really more about some of the independent software that I occasionally use, and due to there being no alternative platforms- not even Mac, for me to use. It is vexing to say the least. But for the moment, inertia is still wining.

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