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.
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
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.
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This skins exists in boths variants.
Plex Replay for classic/classic two columns menu:
Visit the link here to get the taskbar texture. Your desktop can look like this:
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:
You can get it here: Windows XP Royale Skin.
Get it here: Start8 Skin V2.5
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:
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:
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.
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. Get it here: Vista Start menu
- 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
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:
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.