Monday, January 3, 2011

Classic Shell Brings Back Those Missing Windows XP Features to Windows 7

Classic Shell is a collection of features that were standard in Windows XP, but many of which are now missing from Windows 7 (and also from Vista).  Such features included in this package are Classic Start Menu, a toolbar for Windows Explorer, and a variety of skins and tweaks that can be customized.

For instance, one of the changes in Windows 7 which really burns me is the removal of the toolbar buttons that previously existed in XP's Windows Explorer folders.  These buttons could be customized in Windows XP and even as far back as Windows 98.  You could right-click on the toolbar of any folder and chose "Customize" and then pick which buttons you wanted to display. Then, you could shift them up and down the toolbar so that they were located exactly where you wanted them.  Now, in Windows 7, this customization of folder toolbars is not possible.  That is where Classic Shell comes in.  It adds many of those missing toolbar buttons, plus a lot more.  Click on the link below to see exactly what it does.  This is more than a trip down memory lane to Windows XP.  It actually brings back components we've grown used to that are somehow inexplicably missing from Windows 7.

Give it a test-drive and see what you think.  By the way, if you don't like the Classic Start Menu (my only complaint about Classic Shell), which removes the built-in Search bar, you can uninstall it and all of your Start Menu items will return in their previous order.  It is a trade-out.  The Ctrl+F keyboard shorcut still works though.  I'd actually grown quite fond of the new Windows 7 Start Menu.  This is a choice you will have to make.  But the addition of the folder toolbar buttons and many other tweaks explained visually in the link above make it well worth it.

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