Windows 8 is going to be the most radically-different version of Windows since Windows 95. Windows 8 has an entirely new modern user interface that was called “Metro” until recently (reportedly as a result of a trademark dispute with a European company). With Windows 8’s impending release, is there an easy way to get the Start menu back? Surely a setting in the Control Panel? Unfortunately not. However, there is a free and open source software solution that does this for you that is available via SourceForge.
It doesn’t reinstate the good old Windows XP start button to the left, but the Windows Vista/7-style Start orb. In fact, not only that, but the software reinstates a toolbar in Windows Explorer (now referred to as the File Explorer in Windows 8) among some other things.
Windows 8 doesn’t completely get rid of the Windows Desktop experience that we’re all familiar with up to this point. However, Microsoft are placing front-and-centre emphasis on their user experience that most of us know as “Metro”; although Microsoft are now likely to reference this new user interface and experience as a modern UI. Nonetheless, all of your favourite applications will be available in Windows 8’s new user interface style.
Windows 8 is expected to be generally available to the public come late October this year. Hardware vendors are well on-board with Windows 8 and are expected to introduce new hardware for Windows 8 prior to Windows 8’s public availability. As of now, Windows 8 has been given RTM (Release to Manufacturing) status internally by Microsoft, and so it is now in the hands of manufacturers to start shipping on their new hardware for consumer availability of Windows 8 starting late October. Windows 8 RTM has already been made available to developers and other professionals via Microsoft’s TechNet network and select users on Microsoft’s DreamSpark further and higher educational network. For everyone else, you’ll need to wait until October before you are able to get Windows 8 as a standalone licensed copy or with new computers shipping with it.
You can find Classic Shell on Sourceforge.net.