Classic Shell 4.2.5 is out, featuring a number of changes

Classic Shell, the well known, free tool which improves upon the Windows Start Menu, File Explorer and Internet Explorer got an update. The new release is available for Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10. Here are the notable changes you need to know about.

Start Menu

Folder combining

With the new version, Start Menu's cascading menus now support folder combining. It is possible to enter two folders in the Link property of an item, separated by a semicolon. You will get their combined contents in one sub-menu, including subfolders with the same name which are also combined.

Classic Shell Start menu combined folders1

Classic Shell Start menu combined folders

Classic Shell Start menu combined folders in action

Search providers

Now it is possible to add Search Providers for Windows 7 menu style. Search Providers pass on any text you type into the search box to other programs or even Internet websites. They were already supported in Classic styles; now they are added in Windows 7 style. Let's see how you can add a Search Provider.

  1. Open Classic Start Menu Settings.
  2. Tick the option "Show all settings".
  3. Go to the Customize Start Menu tab. Classic Shell settings customize start menu tab
  4. Insert a custom item under the Search box as shown below. Classic Shell customize start menu add custom item
  5. For Windows 7 style, edit the command of the Custom item to include the appropriate command line (in case of desktop programs) or URL (in case of a website) and make sure the command includes "%1" or "%2" (without quotes). "%1" is substituted by the Start Menu search box text. Use %2 if you want the URL-encoded (percent encoded text). For Classic Start menu or Classic Start menu with two columns style, you must add a custom sub-item for the search box (Custom is the last command in the right column). Drag the custom item over the Search box in the left column and then specify %1 or %2 in the Command or URL you use. For example, suppose you want to search Google Images directly from the Start Menu. Double click the custom item to edit it and in the Command field, type or copy-paste:
    http://images.google.com/images?q=%2&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en
  6. Give it a name (Label) e.g. "Google Images", and an icon if you want. Click OK everywhere to save all settings. Classic Shell custom item search with google images

The result will be as follows:

Classic Shell search with google images in action 1 Classic Shell search with google images in action 2

Here are some more examples of ready-to-use Search Provider commands you can copy-paste:

  • Search with the famous desktop search app called Everything:
    "C:\Program Files\Everything\Everything.exe" -search "%1"
  • Search with Google:
    http://www.google.com/#q=%2
  • Search with Bing:
    http://www.bing.com/search?q=%2
  • Search with Google and directly open the first search result (as if you pressed the button "I'm Feeling Lucky")
     http://www.google.com/search?btnI=I%27m+Feeling+Lucky&q=%2
  • Search YouTube directly from Start Menu:
    https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%2
  • Search Wikipedia directly from the Start Menu:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Search&search=%2
  • Search Google News directly from the Start Menu:
    http://www.google.com/search?tbm=nws&q=%2
  • Search only English pages on Google:
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&as_qdr=all&q=%2&btnG=Search&lr=lang_en
  • Search on Google Translate, auto detect foreign language and translate it to English:
    https://translate.google.com/#auto/en/%2

 

That's it. Feel free to share your own snippets in comments!

Search result caching

The search for programs and settings caches and reuses the results from the previous search if you type the same query. Thus, search results for the previous query are shown instantly until the new results are calculated for extremely fast searching.

Uninstall Universal/Modern apps directly in Windows 10 and Windows 8

This release of Classic Shell features the ability to uninstall Metro apps for Windows 8/8.1 and Windows 10 by right-clicking. You no longer need to use PowerShell to remove apps that the Windows menu does not allow you to uninstall: Classic Shell uninstall apps

Smart handling of Tablet mode in Windows 10

There is a Tablet mode option in Windows 10. The Classic Shell Settings app now provides the ability to open the default Windows Menu with the Win key or mouse left click while in Tablet mode but can open Classic Start Menu otherwise: Classic Shell tablet mode option

This is very useful for hybrid devices (like Microsoft Surface) owners.

Skin improvements

The Metro and Midnight skins support transparency in both columns in Windows 7 style bringing it on par with the Windows 10 menu: Classic Shell Start menu transparency 2 Classic Shell Start menu transparency 1

Plenty of minor changes

    • New support for per-monitor DPI. The text and menu elements are scaled independently for each monitor. The icon size is scaled as per the global system DPI setting.
    • The limit for recent/frequent apps is raised to 40 so if you have a high-resolution display or use small icons, you can fit many more programs now and use their jumplists.
    • When dropping a file on top of a program in the main menu to open the file with that program, the program is highlighted.
    • The Metro skin uses a different accent color so the menu background will change correctly when the wallpaper changes.
    • The selection in the transparent Metro skins has a border to make it more visible when using transparency.
    • Fix for the bug where All Programs didn't work with the Tab key when the touch keyboard was used.
    • Fix for the gap that appears in the Classic style when the recent list was cleared.
    • When the menu hover time is set to 0, the multiplier for All Programs delay uses a value of 100 instead.
    • Pressing Enter during the search will execute the first found result when it is available.
    • Searching the Internet works with Microsoft Edge.
    • When Edge is the default browser, Favorites folder in Start Menu shows its bookmarks.
    • Fix for jumplists not showing up in the new builds of Windows 10, including TH2 RTM build.
    • If a Metro app name fails to resolve or is partially uninstalled/corrupt, it is added to a blacklist so the menu doesn't become unresponsive while dealing with that app. If the app is later found working and installed correctly in the Apps folder, it is removed from the blacklist.
    • New way of getting the Metro app icons for Windows 8/8.1 and Windows 10.

This release makes Classic Shell more useful. It is really a must-have app for all Windows 10 and Windows 8.x users compared to the barebones stock menu. It is great that all these features are free of charge. You can download Classic Shell from its official web site.

4 thoughts on “Classic Shell 4.2.5 is out, featuring a number of changes

  1. Budgie

    For me Classic Shell is still where I am comfortable and productive. Without this software, I will stay forever on Windows 7. The new 10 SM is crap. Explorer is crap too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

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  2. Shyam

    Well summarised, Sergey! Thank you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Don’t mention it.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  3. Ivan

    Thanks for the review. No need to check release notes. :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply

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