Best skins for Classic Shell’s Start Menu

Classic Shell includes one of the most popular Start menu replacements for Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10 along with a bunch of unique customization options for Explorer and Taskbar. When we cover various tips and tricks related to Classic Shell, our readers often ask us about good looking Start menu skins. Today, I would like to share a collection of excellent skins for Classic Shell to style your Start menu.


To install a skin, copy the .skin or .skin7 file to C:\Program Files\Classic Shell\Skins. Then open Classic Start Menu Settings and go to the "Start Menu Style" tab. Switch to the appropriate style (Windows 7 style for *.skin7 or Classic with two columns/Classic for *.skin). After picking the style, click the "Select skin..." blue link which will take you to the Skin tab. Pick the skin you just copied from the dropdown and adjust the skin options as required.

Here are the skins we liked.
Windows Longhorn Hillel Demo
The first skin is Windows Longhorn Hillel Demo Start Menu:01 Windows Longhorn Hillel Demo Start Menu

This is a retrophase skin which repeats the appearance of pre-release versions of Windows Longhorn. This operating system was never released and superseded by Windows Vista. However, its unique appearance and wonderful look still impress many people.
You can grab this skin here: [Skin7] Windows Longhorn Hillel Demo Start Menu

Plex Replay
Like the previous skin, Plex Replay uses ideas from Windows Longhorn. Plex was the default skin of Longhorn for many builds. The skin makes the Start menu look exactly it was in Longhorn.

This skins exists in boths variants.
Plex Replay for classic/classic two columns menu:10 Plex Replay classic

Plex Replay for the Windows 7 style menu:10 Plex Replay win7

Visit the link here to get the taskbar texture. Your desktop can look like this:10 Plex Replay full UI

Our next skin is a set of excellently reproduced Windows XP Start menus. Windows XP users might be familiar with the popular Royale skins and its Noir, Zune and Embedded variants. The "Royale" skin pack brings them back to modern Windows versions where Classic Shell runs:02 Royale

You can get it here: Windows XP Royale Skin.

Start8 Skin

The next skin is specially designed to fit the flat appearance of modern Windows versions like Windows 8 and Windows 10. It is simple and beautiful. It was inspired by Start8's look:Start8_v2.5_7 03 Start8_v2.5_5 03 Start8_v2.5_4 03 Start8_v2.5_3 03 Start8-skin

Get it here: Start8 Skin V2.5

Gray Classic
The skin Gray Classic is designed for the Windows 7 menu style of Classic Shell. It provides a dark skin which Windows 10 users with dark mode or high contrast mode will like. Definitely good work:04 Light-Dark Gray Classic

Get it here: Gray Classic

The skin WIN7LIKE is designed to be used with Windows 7 menu style of Classis Shell. It will look best on Windows versions which have glass, that is, Windows 7 and Windows 10. For Windows 10, it will look better if transparency for the taskbar and Start menu is turned on from the Settings app. This skin reproduces the exact look of Windows 7 Aero Glass Start menu. It is recommended to all Windows 7 fans who switched to Windows 10 but miss the classic menu's appearance:05 WIN7LIKE Compare OS

Get it here: WIN7LIKE

clrSharp1 2 3

This skin can be used with Classic and Windows 7 menu styles of Classic Shell. It looks clean and nice. Initially created for the Clearscreen Sharp visual style/theme on Windows 7, it can be used in any Windows version without the mentioned theme.06 Clear sharp

If you like it, read in detail about this skin here: clrSharp1 2 3

Vista Start menu
This is an excellent replica of the genuine Windows Vista Start menu. 07 Vista start menu 1 07 Vista start menu 2 07 Vista start menu 3Get it here: Vista Start menu

This flat and modern skin in dark colors will fit the appearance of Windows 10. 08 TenifiedThe author recommends adjusting Classic Shell settings as follows:

  • Enable menu glass: On
  • Override glass color: On
  • Menu glass color: 0A0A0A, although 000000 works nicely as well
  • Glass opacity: 40

You can get it here: Tenified

Two Tone
Yet another flat skin designed for Windows 10. It reminds me of the resizable Start menu we saw in early builds of Windows 10 which was replaced with the Modern/Universal Start menu which shipped eventually. Looks great:09 Two Tone Win7 style

You can get it here: Two Tone

This is our first look at some of the best looking skins for Classic Shell. If you like them, we will follow up with more skins. What is your favorite skin? Tell us in the comments.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

13 thoughts on “Best skins for Classic Shell’s Start Menu”


    I think that this newly-made flat modern skin is even better than Tenified.

    With lots of color variations.

  2. For the Windows Vista skin, it should be noted that you should use the one in the second post of the second page. This one works much better than the one in the first post on the first page.

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