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Lead Developer of Popular Windows Application Classic Shell Is Quitting 97

WheezyJoe writes: Classic Shell is a free Windows application that for years has replaced Microsoft's Start Screen or Start Menu with a highly configurable, more familiar non-tile Start menu. Yesterday, the lead developer released what he said would be the last version of Classic Shell. Citing other interests and the frequency at which Microsoft releases updates to Windows 10, as well as lagging support for the Win32 programming model, the developer says that he won't work on the program anymore. The application's source code is available on SourceForge, so there is a chance others may come and fork the code to continue development. There are several alternatives available, some pay and some free (like Start10 and Start Is Back++), but Classic Shell has an exceptionally broad range of tweaks and customizability.

Lead Developer of Popular Windows Application Classic Shell Is Quitting

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  • by p51d007 ( 656414 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @04:23PM (#55675167)
    Only way I'll have Win10, is for classic shell putting it back to look like Windows 7
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Of all the issues with Windows 10 like the telemetry and forced updates, your primary issue is with the shell? Holy shit, get some perspective. There are other shells and it's a matter of convenience more than anything else. The bigger issues I named actually affect important issues that go beyond what you find convenient.

      • Yes, but those aren't things easily fixed by the community, whereas replacing the stupid ass start menu atrocity is relatively actionable. The best solution I see for telemetry and forced update is to never run on a machine with networking, or if you absolutely must, run within a VM that has very restricted firewall settings. Even that is sketchy.

        Of course you're right, at the end of the day the best solution is to just throw out the steaming turd and replace it with something better, which is just about ev

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Yes, but those aren't things easily fixed by the community

          O rly?

          https://www.safer-networking.org/spybot-anti-beacon
          https://www.oo-software.com/en/shutup10
          http://pxc-coding.com/portfolio/donotspy10/
          https://www.ashampoo.com/en/eur/pin/1004/security-software/Antispy-for-Windows-10
          https://www.winprivacy.de/english-home
          http://www.getblackbird.net
          https://www.securilla.com/privacy-repairer
          http://www.site2unblock.com/win10-spy-disabler
          https://github.com/Nummer/Destroy-Windows-10-Spying
          https://github.com/10se1ucgo/DisableWinTracking
          https://github.com/crazy-max/WindowsSpyBl

      • The bigger issues I named actually affect important issues that go beyond what you find convenient.

        All of those issues are important, including the start menu replacement. The Win 10 start menu, while less abysmal than the Win 8 one, is still awful enough that replacing it is, if not "critical", at least "extremely important".

        • by Anonymous Coward

          No it really isn't important. The new start menu is perfectly fine. All this whinging is just sad.

          • You sound like a typical developer who shits on the importance of user experience. Go away.

          • It may be fine for you, and that's OK. But lots of people find it seriously lacking. Your experience is not universal.

    • I don't even use the start button 95% of the time. I hit the win key and start typing the name of the application I'm looking for. It was a habit I picked up with Win 8.1, and even though 10 has a decent start menu in comparison, I like typing better.
      • Windows 8.1? That has been there since Vista. Windows 8 just made it confusing, and hid it away.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I hit the win key and start typing the name of the application I'm looking for.

        This is the retarded fuckery of Windows 8 & 10.

        The whole point of a GUI operating system (e.g. Windows) is NOT having to type the name of every program you want to run, like you did back in the days of MS-DOS.

        Nothing like going backward 25 years.

        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot AT worf DOT net> on Monday December 04, 2017 @05:52PM (#55675887)

          This is the retarded fuckery of Windows 8 & 10.

          The whole point of a GUI operating system (e.g. Windows) is NOT having to type the name of every program you want to run, like you did back in the days of MS-DOS.

          Nothing like going backward 25 years.

          No, it's good UI design.

          If you don't want to type the name of the program, you never have to. The start menu/whatever it is lets you find the application visually like you always could.

          But the search bar method lets you accelerate getting to the commonly used programs you use. For example, it's far quicker for me to hit Windows and type "calc" then Enter, than try to find Calculator by going to Start, All Programs, Accessories, Calculator. It's not much different in time - maybe one second by typing versus 2-3 using the menu, and maybe I only save a minute total every day, but it feels quicker that way.

          UI fuckery is forcing a person to use one way over all else. For example, the first Mac back in 1984 had a keyboard that lacked cursor keys. You were expected to use the mouse instead. That's awful. It's also bad if keyboard accelerators didn't exist - why do we use Ctrl/Command-Z/C/X/V for undo/copy/cut/paste? Why shouldn't we just use the Edit menu? Why not go File..Save instead of Ctrl/Command-S?

          Now, I don't do this with all programs - only the few that I use often enough that I learn their names. I wouldn't do it to start Word since I don't launch Word dozens of times a day.

          • I only use search (Windows key) for programs which are not in my $PATH.

            I use Win+R for the apps I have learned the name for, and that are in my $PATH. Its much less of a pain than the search.
            • I'm curious how that makes it faster. Using the built-in search, I don't have to use modifiers (win+r) and I don't even have to type in the full program name. Like, for Chrome: Win-C-H-R-(ENTER). If you can share how it's better, I'd appreciate it as I'm always game for a lazier or more efficient keyboard shortcut.
              • Once you've typed in the full name into the run dialog box, you never have to type the whole thing again. Effectively it works very similarly, but there are a few differences.

                One difference is since it isn't a search, it never hits the file system after it loads. Which makes a big difference in performance if you're still using a mechanical drive, or simply have a lot of files to search through. I've considered indexing the entire drive simply to avoid the slowdowns and unresponsiveness once the search f
            • I made a folder full of program shortcuts - nicely shortened such as "ch" for Chrome and "ide" for Codeblocks - and added it to my $PATH. Makes it extremely quick to open my common software. As an added bonus, the folder has a shortcut to itself, just called "path," and I can type that to add program shortcuts or remind myself which ones I have.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            The start menu/whatever it is lets you find the application visually like you always could.

            Did you ever *see* the Win 8 "Start Menu"? It's a literal junk drawer with a search bar; a giant scrolling mess of random icons that couldn't be meaningfully organized and was absolutely unusable except via text search. Looking for something by directly digging through c:\program files\ was faster than trying to find what you want in there. And I have no intention of ever exposing myself to Windows 10, but based on the screenshots I've seen the situation hasn't meaningfully improved.

            • I used Windows 8 very early in its life. I'm also using Windows 8.1, and Windows 10 Pro, and Windows Vista on a daily basis.

              The tiles on Windows 8 could be organized, but if I recall, you had to zoom out on the Start Menu to get to the grouping system. I haven't replicated the functionality on 8.1 yet, but it seems to be a step backwards.

              Windows 10 significantly improves the functionality. Anniversary seemed good, but I barely used it. I have few complaints about the Fall Creators' Start Menu. It func
          • by Gabest ( 852807 )
            Try running regedit. You start typing reg, rege, reged. NOTHING comes up, until you fully type its name.
          • You can also type the name of commonly used documents and load them straight up.

            Really handy if, for example, you have a spreadsheet that you need to update every few days. I could open LibreCalc, and go to it's recent documents list, or I can just type the first few letters of it's name and hit 'enter'

        • The whole point of a GUI operating system (e.g. Windows) is NOT having to type the name of every program you want to run

          I don't have to, I choose to because it is faster, easier, and works on any recent version of desktop or server Windows OS.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          This is the retarded fuckery of Windows 8 & 10. The whole point of a GUI operating system (e.g. Windows) is NOT having to type the name of every program you want to run, like you did back in the days of MS-DOS. Nothing like going backward 25 years.

          You sir are an idiot.

          Install 300 programs on your machine, arranged in various levels of GUI menus. Now find that one program called Foobar that you ran a year ago. You have no idea what company it's from or what menu category it's under. Your only cho

          • That's because you rely on a ridiculously designed menu that lets the software authors turn it into advertising for their company, rather than as a place to organize your programs. I organize my Programs folder in a way that's similar to what KDE 3.5 used to do, and I have no problems finding anything. Sure, it's more work, but no one else is smart enough to do it (even though it would have been easy enough for Microsoft to implement such a feature).

      • This. I used Classic Shell for a while with Win10, but quickly dropped it when I barely noticed a difference -- because I don't typically use the parts of the UI it changes. I bet most people who are aware of Classic Shell and savvy enough to be able to install and use it are in the same boat.
  • While, in the bad old times of Windows8 Applications like ClassicShell and their ilk were a must, Windows 10 start button and shell are "Pasable".

    Do not get me wrong, Windows10's start button/menu/shell leave a lot to be desired, but are functional enough to do the job.

    Therefore, the need for this sort of app is diminished. Nonetheles, thanks a lot to "ivo", as ClasicShell was my go-to app for that type of task. May (s)he have success in her/his future endeavours.

    • On Windows 10, can't you just run a proper shell? Too bad, you can only run win64 processes [angband.pl] from it, not win32. Running some desktop environment this way could be interesting.

    • by vux984 ( 928602 )

      Do not get me wrong, Windows10's start button/menu/shell leave a lot to be desired, but are functional enough to do the job.

      This is a fair statement.

      And the flipside of it is that Windows 7's start menu is itself a dogs breakfast of poor usability and poor design choices.

      Given a choice between windows 7 and windows 10, I'll take 10. Neither is perfect, but 10 is better than 7. I've removed all the tiles on mine so its basically just a menu. Hit windows and start typing works well, and there is lots of useful stuff on the right click menu.

      Win8 was an abortion with its hot corners, and full screen nonsense... and well like you sai

      • Re:Diminished need (Score:5, Insightful)

        by coastwalker ( 307620 ) <acoastwalker@hotmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday December 04, 2017 @05:40PM (#55675767) Homepage

        Anyone with a lot of software and hardware benefited from the ability to organise program shortcuts into folders. I have dozens of camera software links associated with different cameras for example. It helps being able to keep the Cannon raw file converter separate from the Sony one and to group both sets of software in their own folders. Of course modern users only need facebook and a full frontal lobotomy so won't be needing customiseable start menus. I expect I will have to create folders of shortcuts to replace this functionality once the cretins at Microsoft break Classic Shell. It was great having a full featured graphical user interface in Windows whilst it lasted but times change and the era of the general purpose computer for the public is drawing to a close. You can fcuk off if you think I am going to use an App on a smartphone to edit video. Cretins.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          All the start menus beyond Windows 7 are garbage, and Windows 10 seems FAR worse than Windows 8.x ever was.

          Windows 10 kept the tile garbage, but now added Bing results that have a negative value to the default search results. I remember searching for the control panel once... The first result (which was helpfully titled "Control Panel") opened Edge (yuck), which opened the first hit from Bing (no...) which was a page that said to search for it in the menu by typing. Yeah, so fucking helpful! It seems like e

        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by vux984 ( 928602 )

          "Anyone with a lot of software and hardware benefited from the ability to organise program shortcuts into folders"

          Ok. So your idea of the optimum way to do that was to cram everything on your computer into a popup window overloaded with tons of other unrelated functions?? Really?

          Why not just create a folder hierchy with shortcuts, documents, files, and anything you want in it organized howerver you want it, and only with what you want it.

          Then rightclick on the taskbar, select 'toolbars', add a toolbar, and

          • Windows 10 gives you as many customizable heirarchical popup menus from the taskbar as you want. You claim to be some sort of power user, yet you seem dead set against learning even the barest minimum about the operating system's power user features. Perhaps you've already received your lobotomy?

            I've used this and am very pleased with it myself, though I prefer that nice hierarchical popup menu to actually be my start menu, so I am using classic shell. As a developer who releases multiple versions of software to less power users (hardware engineering customers for example), we are so far forced to deal with windows 10 eliminating start menu folder depth by releasing gawd awful folder names with versions and other crap in the folder name to differentiate from previously released versions.

      • And the flipside of it is that Windows 7's start menu is itself a dogs breakfast of poor usability and poor design choices.

        True. But I disagree with you in that I think that Win 10's, while better than Win 8's, sucks more than Win 7's.

      • And the flipside of it is that Windows 7's start menu is itself a dogs breakfast of poor usability and poor design choices.

        How exactly would you improve on a compact, low mouse travel distance UI, with user customizable organization methods, and a built-in search feature which will return applications in the organization system, as well as those which are not?

        Windows 7's Start Menu is clearly an evolved design centered around practical application.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by vux984 ( 928602 )

          "How exactly would you improve on a compact, low mouse travel distance UI, with user customizable organization methods"

          Let's see:

          I wouldn't make it a popup window that has tendency to disappear on its under a variety of situations that don't involve the user wanting it to disappear.

          I certainly wouldn't make it fixed size and crammed into a corner.

          I wouldn't do a hierarchical tree navigation with a single vertical panel showing just one level of one branch. We have far better tree navigation GUI.

          And I defini

    • Yeah, I haven't got any machines running 10, but I've got some VMs running it. And it's honestly pretty passable even without Classic Shell. Unlike Windows 8 and 8.1, both of which were highly irritating until you installed it.

      I think if you write something like Classic Shell to bodge Windows 8 you must know that if Microsoft come to their senses in later releases, your product is going to be obsolete.

      Also you have to wonder the economics of something like Classic Shell. It's got a lot of users but how many

      • by Anonymous Coward

        And it's honestly pretty passable even without Classic Shell.

        Does your passing grade come from Microsoft telemetry? You mean they haven't told your insurance company about your shaky hand that's probably some pre-existing condition that they can use to cancel your policy?

    • It's only passable if you remove the animated tiles.

      • It's only passable if you remove the animated tiles.

        Which you can do in a relatively simple manner, without the aid of an Application.

  • by martiniturbide ( 1203660 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @04:34PM (#55675241) Homepage Journal
    You are welcome, very welcome at OS2World. We need open source OS/2 developers !!! :)
  • by Anonymous Coward

    That any mention of a Windoze (TM, R, C) would be met by derision. How times have changed.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It also used to be that Slashdot had high quality comments. Maybe there's a correlation?

  • by evolutionary ( 933064 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @04:57PM (#55675399)
    Need a more solid base of developing community. windows 8-10 still has trojan "telemetry" data collectors (header data from files accessed will certainly identify you folks sooner or later), but for those who have trouble getting Windows 7 (available from http://nerdsforless.com/softwa... [nerdsforless.com] ) for some reason, this was a god send for many. I recommended it to many people who hated the "tile" theme (which most people I know do, not a fun interface). Developers out there, let's take up the mantle. This was a quality tool. Sorry to hear that he's leaving us, but he certainly did his bit. Now it's time for the rest of us to do ours.
  • by thomst ( 1640045 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @05:06PM (#55675449) Homepage

    I fully understand the guy's frustration.

    Every time M$ releases a new iteration of Win 10 - even a relatively minor one - it breaks Classic Shell. That has forced him to play a continuous game of whack-a-bug, to the detriment of adding and refining features.

    And practically no one (including me) has donated even small amounts of money to him for his effort.

    If I wasn't dependent on so many Line6 and Digitech patch editors - none of which run properly under Wine - I'd kick Redmond to the curb without a second thought ...

  • Replacing windows shell with another is not that hard. You could make notepad your shell (I'm not saying that useful--just noting you can) as its a matter of registry setting. The hard part of making a shell is writing and maintaining all of the functionality you get/want from a shell. And that's why I gave up on it.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...that is the garbage known as Windows 10.0

  • You mean I can have the classic shell on Windows 10 and Server 2012? Really?!?

    I'll have to look into that right after I upgrade to Windows XP.
  • We understand you have to move on, Mr. Dev. Thanks for helping out untold thousands of people.

  • by frist ( 1441971 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @06:41PM (#55676251)

    This program has been the reason Win 8 and 10 are tolerable. Underneath they're decent OSs but that Metro monstrosity and the horrible "modern UI" is just garbage. I install classic shell on every PC I touch since Win 8 came out and I'm up and running. It's been a godsend.

    Thank you Ivo Beltchev for your work these many years.

    I just went and donated. I wonder how many Slashdot users also use Classic Shell. Maybe we could change Ivo's mind.

  • I hate to be the one to admit this, but the start menu just really isn't much of a thing anymore. At least not for me. I tend to put icons for my most frequently used programs on the desktop or pinned to the task bar. I really just don't use the start menu much anymore, much easier to just hit Windows-D to get my desktop and double click the program I want to launch. Or in the case of really frequent stuff, it's already pinned to the task bar.

    I think Microsoft was on to something when they ditched the S

  • by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @07:29PM (#55676563)
    From the bottom of my heart. I "upgraded" to Win10 when some other program wanted an OK, and the Win10 update msg appeared and stole my "Yes". Classic shell was the only reason I stuck with Win10. I've been using it for some 2 years now and, outside of the fucking "we've installed an update, aren't we cool?" reboots my laptop makes while I'm eating dinner, I find Win10 to be OK. Granted, get my games to run on Linux and I'm fucking out of here on a hot rocket, but, hey. Who are we kidding. If my games ran under Linux I'd be out of here so fast I'd be auditioning the the Flash TV show.

    Seriously. Close my laptop, go to bed/dinner/ vacation. Open my laptop and it's rebooted? That is serious bad mojo. Fuck you Microsoft of ever thinking rebooting my machine, without me ever clicking an "OK" button, is OK. Cuz it's not. Just fuck you and the billions of bux your executives stole due to the stock going up.
  • by FudRucker ( 866063 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @07:34PM (#55676599)
    start working on IceWM window manager,
  • Hm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xlsior ( 524145 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @09:22PM (#55677175) Homepage
    Classic shell doesn't just restore the old style menus, in the process it also gets rid of all the dynamic built-in advertising and links to bundled junk like candy crush, xbox live, headline news, the windows store, etc. -- cheaply and quickly gets rid of a ton of clutter in a corporate environment.

    I'm sure that's the main reason that Microsoft will never restore the old style start menu on their own.
  • The gHacks news item dated 4 December linked in this Slashdot article says: "The developer of the popular Classic Shell application for Microsoft's Windows operating system released the last version of the program yesterday." The Web site for Classic Shell says the latest version is 4.3.1, the version I installed under Windows 7 more than three months ago. Was a newer version really released this month?

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