How to get world’s fastest Start menu in Windows 10 with Classic Shell

Many Windows 10 complain that their Start menu is laggy and slow. It opens slowly and sometimes it doesn't open at all. This is because the Windows 10 menu uses XAML and WinRT APIs. Recently, I posted a tutorial on how to speed up the Windows 10 Start menu without using third party tools, but it just cannot be as fast as a native app written in C++. Today, I would like to share with you an alternative way, which involves the famous third party app, Classic Shell. Not only does it have far more customization but it operates much faster too.


To get a super fast Start menu with Classic Shell in Windows 10, you need to do the following tweaks to Classic Start Menu settings:

  1. First install the latest Classic Shell from the official web site. At the moment of this writing, the latest version is 4.2.4 which the developer claims is compatible with Windows 10.
    Tip: If you need only the Start menu, you can omit other components from the installer. For example, the additions to Explorer, specifically, the Explorer toolbar that Classic Shell adds are intended to replace the Ribbon so you can completely ignore the Ribbon UI with its many tabs and use the far simpler toolbar. Similarly, the IE addon restores the page title and page loading progress indicator to the status bar. Personally, I didn't need these additions so I decided to not install them so I didn't have to take any steps to disable the toolbar or extra addons.classic shell setup
  2. Next, click the Start button. you will be asked to pick a menu style. Pick the option "Classic style" and go to the Skin tab.classic shell classic style
  3. On the skin tab, select "No skin" as the current skin:classic shell no skin
  4. Now, tick the check box "Show all settings". Many other tabs will appear in the Classic Shell options dialog:classic shell all options
  5. Go to the tab "Customize Start Menu" and add/remove items you want to have in the Start menu.classic shell customize
  6. Now, in the search box, type DPI and change the option "Override system DPI" to 150 as shown below (note: my screen DPI is 150 which is why I chose this setting, your display's DPI can be different):classic shell DPI
  7. In the search box, type "high" without quotes and untick "Highlight newly installed programs":classic shell new programs
  8. Now, in the search box, type "frequent" without quotes. Untick "Track frequency of use" and set the radio button option to "Don't show":classic shell track

Now you can click the OK button in the Classic Start Menu's settings. Enjoy the fastest Start menu available for Windows 10. It opens instantly and works like a charm.

classic shell super fast menu

By disabling highlighting and frequent programs and using no skin, the menu becomes blazingly fast. Just try it yourself.

Classic Shell is a free app, with an open source release model in the past. The source code is not available for recent versions but it is reliable and safe to use.


16 thoughts on “How to get world’s fastest Start menu in Windows 10 with Classic Shell

  1. Tihiy

    What about StartIsBack++? (:

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      To be honest, not tried yet.
      But we can review it :)

    2. Phil

      Classic Shell and StartIsBack are the best!
      Avoid Stardock Start10!

        1. Phil

          Because it’s buggy, slow and not a perfect clone of the Windows 7 menu.

  2. Shyam

    I would agree with Sergey! I have tried to use Windows’s 10 start menu. Its a lot polished now but still prefer Classic shell. Hands down!

    Thanks for the great article!

  3. PN

    I also wanted to add, an “IMO”. I vastly prefer Classic Shell over start10. I havent used startisback, but classic shell, has the most options to customize the taskbar to your choosing.
    I wont get into further reasons, but for my taste, classic shell is the best.

    Great write up too, ty winaero!

  4. Bill

    Seems like if you want any real performance out of Windows 10 you have to strip it at least back to the Windows 7 under its hood, and then remove a couple more things…. sheesh it really comes with tons of rented garbage.

  5. Arie Marie

    This is amazing, thank you!!

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Yeah, Classic Shell is the best Start menu alternative.

  6. Arie Marie


  7. Dale

    Classic Shell (latest version 4.27), set up the way you described, is EXTREMELY SLOW on my laptop (HP Probook 4530s with I3 processor and 8GB RAM). It works fine on my I5 desktop, but here the 5 second delay on hitting the Start button is pretty bad! I wonder if there is any remedy.

    1. Gaurav

      The slowness can be due to anything. Maybe Explorer is crashing or not responding, maybe some anti-virus is blocking its binaries, maybe icon extraction is getting slowed, maybe some other app is consuming CPU making Classic Shell slow. Make sure you are using the latest version always which at the moment is 4.3.0. Since this is not the Classic Shell support forum, you will get better support in their forum at The developer is responsive to slowness or hanging issues and will inspect any slowdown or crash dumps once you submit them.

  8. Harry Palmer

    Fantastic!!! Now to obliterate “Cortana and its’ bloat-ware. Many thanks indeed for your time, dedication
    and sharing the result.

  9. COLIN

    When I install the ClassicShell v4.3.0 on Windows 10, I lose completely the ability to reach the Windows Update center. This entry does not show in Control Panel, no anywhere else. I had to uninstall 4.3.0 just because of this issue. Any advice?
    Thank you,

  10. Smantha

    Looks like development has stopped on Classic Shell as of Dec 2017.
    But at least the code is now open source again.


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