How to change the font or font size in Classic Shell Start Menu

Classic Shell

If you use the Classic Shell Start Menu, you are not restricted like other Start Menus to a limited number of customization options. Classic Shell was built for letting you customize every aspect of it. While most settings in Classic Shell are present in the graphical settings user interface, some settings are part of the Skin files. One of them is the Start Menu font and font size. As screen resolutions and pixels per inch increase, there is a need to make the font larger if the default size is too small for you at 1080p and higher resolutions. While the Skin options in Classic Shell allow you to make the font size larger at 1 pt, if you want to make it still larger or completely replace the font with your own favorite font or change its formatting such as Bold, Italics, follow this guide.

To change the font, or font size of the Classic Start Menu, you need to edit its skin. For that we need a freeware tool called Resource Hacker. Skin files are regular Windows DLLs with skin resources and other info. Editing this skin information is necessary to change the font.

  1. Download Resource Hacker 3.6.0 from this page and install it.
  2. Copy the skin whose font you want to edit from C:\Program Files\Classic Shell\Skins\ to some location like the Desktop. You can see which Skin you are using by going to the Skin tab in Classic Start Menu settings. For Windows 7 style of the menu, the skin has the extension .skin7 and for the Classic styles of the menu, the extension is just .skin.
  3. After you have copied the Skin file to the Desktop, rename it to give it some other name so it doesn't get overwritten when Classic Shell is updated.
  4. Start Resource Hacker and then open the skin file you have on the Desktop inside it by going to File -> Open -> <name of skin>. (You may need to change "Files of type" to "All files" in Resource Hacker's Open dialog).
  5. Once the skin file is opened in Resource Hacker, locate the resource type called SKIN. Expand it by clicking + sign. Expand the resource named 1 under it. Click 1033.
  6. Now press Ctrl+F or click "Find Text" from View menu of Resource Hacker. In that dialog, type: font and click Find Next. A single skin has many different fonts - for the main menu, for the sub menu, for the user name text and for the caption. Whatever values of fonts you see e.g. Main_font, Submenu_Font, Caption_font, User_font etc, change them as desired. e.g. if Main_font="Segoe UI",normal,-9, you can change it to any font name and size you want e.g. Main_font="Tahoma",normal,-15. Press F3 to find all instances of "font" in the skin and change the ones you want.
  7. Click the 'Compile Script' button and then save changes by doing File menu -> Save. Resource Hacker save the changes to the skin and will also automatically create a backup copy of the original skin should you wish to revert to it.
  8. Copy the modified skin back to C:\Program Files\Classic Shell\Skins\ and set it from Classic Start Menu Settings -> Skin tab. On the Skin tab, you will need to switch to the new skin which you modified to see the font you specified.
The changed font in the modded skin

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Author: Gaurav Kale

Gaurav is a software enthusiast from India and Classic Shell tester & UX consultant. He started with Windows 95 and is good at software usability testing. He firmly believes that user experience is just as important as software code quality and architecture for software to be successful.

3 thoughts on “How to change the font or font size in Classic Shell Start Menu”

  1. Is Resource Hacker still being maintained?
    This prcess doesn’t appear to work with Windows 10 v 1909 and Classic Shell v 4.3.1.

    1. It works but if you didn’t copy the skin somewhere else like Desktop or Downloads, or if you didn’t run Resource Hacker as administrator, it won’t work.

  2. Downloaded Resource Hacker. Read this article thoroughly. Brain exploded. Decided to carry on squinting. This kind of thing can only be achieved by tech-heads. Not little old ladies with poor eyesight :(

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