How-To Geek

Get the Classic Start Menu in Windows 7

Like the new Start Menu in Windows 7, but wish that you could have the Classic Menu too?  Now you can have both with CSMenu.

Note: CSMenu comes in exe install file and portable versions.

CSMenu – Before and After

Here is a quick look at the default Start Menu in our Windows 7 example. Time to get that Classic Menu!


Double click the CSMenu exe file to get things started. The install process for CSMenu is quick and straightforward.

After finishing the installation, you will see a message window that will say that CSMenu is going to index your Start Menu. While it is indexing, you will see the following window showing the progress of the indexing process.


Once it has finished indexing, you will need to log off and then log back into your User Account.


After logging back in, go into the Start Menu to locate the CSMenu folder. Right click on the “Show CSMenu” shortcut and select “Pin to Taskbar”. Once you do that, there is your new Classic Menu Start Button right next to the original one (you made need to move it to the left in your taskbar).

Notice that the CSMenu Start Menu button is slightly smaller than the original.


An expanded view of the new Classic Menu in our Windows 7 example.


Hiding the Original Windows 7 Start Button

If you decide that you only want to have your new Classic Menu Start Button display, you can hide the original with a nice little program called Start Killer.

Run the Start Killer exe file and let the program automatically start after the installation is finished. Just one start button to deal with now (nice!).


To make certain that Start Killer runs every time you start Windows, right click on the taskbar icon and select “Settings”. Make certain that “Load on system startup” is selected.


A quick check on startup programs using CCleaner shows the everything is set to have nothing but Classic Menu goodness each time you start Windows 7.


Have fun with your new Classic Start Menu!


Note: Link Updated to New Download Source

Download CSMenu (version 1.2)

Download Start Killer (version 3.0)

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 07/9/09

Comments (110)

  1. Ben

    Why on earth anyone would want to return to that old thing I don’t know!

  2. Chris

    I h8 the new start menu so this is gr8!

  3. Aoi_sora9x

    the old menu is super counter-productive.

    :/ that being said, no use for this app.

  4. Stueycaster

    I’ve been using it since it first came out. I hate the “All Products” menu in the new start menu because of the need to scroll and click to do anything. With the Classic menu you click once then mouse over the programs icon and the whole menu pops into view at once. You can see the whole thing without scrolling. Then you mouse over a submenu and that menu pops out. then when you find what you want you click once more. Two clicks and you’re there. It’s so simple to use that I can’t believe anybody can prefer all that scrolling and extra clicking. The new menu is cumbersome to use.

    However there are some good points to the new menu so I use them both. I have the best of both worlds.

  5. midgo

    Can you remove the left white pane somehow?

    Apart from that I don’t mind the new start options but I have also installed this program as well.

  6. Asian Angel

    @midgo – Not that I am aware of…

  7. Blocko

    Well most of the people on here don’t work in a busy office where sub menu after sub menu slow down selecting a program. The classic start menu allows a user to quickly get to the program swiftly. I found that hovering the mouse over all programs closes it opens it and when I move my mouse off all programs it closes it again, so I hae to juggle between clicking and hovering (very time consuming). Most of the tech guys in out IT department hate it and 85% of the staff loath it. We want the classic start menu back and NOW

  8. Steve

    I totally agree with Blocko, I do hobby/indie game programming and I’m finding quite a few things on Windows 7 slow down my work process. I don’t mind the new UI, but I definately prefer the pop out start menu.

  9. RJS

    How about the best of both worlds….i don’t see anyone using this much, but if you create a shortcut to “My Computer” on your taskbar (IE) right-click taskbar/toolbars/new toolbar…the click the “My Computer” button on the taskbar…hover your mouse over any drive…and voila, folders and files start flying out, just hover over what you want to see and click to open.

  10. Scott

    “Seven Classic Start” is a commercial third party app that does the job very nicely. On principle however, I think I will stick with XP.

    I see few advantages in the transition from XP to 7. “Fixing” new XP installations to restore NT/2000 visual appearance was bad enough. Windows 7 is bloody awful.

    Im an educated individual, fully capable of learning new software. However, I fail to understand the hostility (of many forum users) to those such as myself, who are simply not interested in adopting a wizard style menu for every damn function. Once configured/customised (some might say “downgraded”) to approximate 2000, XP was functionally perfect, for me at least. I lament its discontinuation, and by the sound of things I am not alone in this sentiment.

    7 is pretty. Pretty is not a substitute for efficient functionallity

  11. Anomander


    I work at an office with 1500+ users.
    We depend on Windows 2000 at the moment and need to make a upgrade to a new version of Windows.
    XP is not really an option, because of support issues.
    7 is a bit far away for us yet, but Vista is not an option we are considering.
    In our case, we have 1500+ people who need to upgrade.
    For some of them, the new menu is good.
    For me, i abhore it totally.
    Every time in XP i set it to old style.
    I did in Vista too when i had that.
    I totally do not agree with MS to replace the menu, but i knew they would do that some day ever since they introduced it.
    I am thankfull there is a program like this who lets users decide for themselves.
    One of the reasons i dislike MS is the fact that i feel it treats its users as retards and does not let them decide for themselves what they like.

  12. WIN7-Freak

    download of CSMenu is NOT working! Server closed connection – what does this mean?

  13. Ton

    ts go’s wrong if windows 7 is not installed on the C- Drive (multiboat):

    In Error Message such like “can’t find a part from the path C:\users\Ton\AppData\Roaming\Windows\start Menu\Programs… this because I have done a multiple installation (on C-Drive Visat and on the W-Drive (third partition) Windows 7. The installation is done on Windows 7. On the C-drive in Visata 64 bist it works fine!

  14. Marcos

    I agree with you, Windows 7 start menu slow down my work.
    I won’t use seven until i knew a solution. XP x64 works fine with me now.

  15. Joe

    Yes it is a shame as I love windows os and will never go MAC but linux looks better by the day with microsofts resistance to listen to its buyers. The user who have been loyal to microsoft for years now get the shaft. Looking around this seems to be a real major issue that is going to bite MS in the butt. Its a simple feature they own the script just add the options that way companys dont waste time and money on training, loyal windows users have a comfortable and yes much faster way of using thier computer as the new way is so hard and slows you down with the new menus and set up. I like 7 but I dont think i will even upgrade my vista machines to it unless they tweak it back to where its a user friendly os as xp was. I love xp personally not real big on vista as you have to mod it to make it run as well and fast as xp and 7 well they got to cute and let the techie writers get to techy with its design which now makes it useless to everyday users. I hate keyboard commands as they take to long and too many to remember I like a simple click of the mouse and there is the program i want. i do alot of web design so without my mouse it takes forever. Just set it as an option to have classic start and classic folder and control panel and 7 will succeed leave those options out and windows 7 will flop worse then vista. I know all those high dollar people at microssoft cant be that dumb its simple…KISS Keep It Simple Stupids

  16. tanzanos

    I totally agree that the vista and win 7 start menu is horrid. Also this applies to office 2007 as well. I tried to find the print button on word 2007 and gave up after about 10 minutes. Why anyone thinks that getting rid of drop down nested menus is an improvement is beyond me! With this application I am willing to install win 7 (just bought it yesterday)

  17. Max

    Imo CSMenu sucks. you cant add custom folders. Here’s a similar guide I found that allows you to add custom folders to the taskbar:

  18. ruggbutt

    I get an error when I run First Start CSMenu. Missing an INF file that should be installed with the program. I can’t tell if this program is any good but I can tell you that it’s a FAIL cuz First Run won’t run.

  19. nothingWrong

    Nothing wrong with classic. Fascinating to hear people say “classic sucks, you just can’t handle new ideas”.

    HEY how bout I arranged the start menu so with a quick set of keys could have any program on my machine launched without touching the damn mouse. Faster baby, Faster. WIN->p->a->n and BOOM notepad. WIN->p->g->v and BOOM ventrilo.

    Now I have to actually go interact with the damn thing. I’m not here to interact with their damn fruity start menu, I want my program started, and if I can’t get it running just by thinking about it, I want the next best thing. New menu is a step backward in speed and efficiency of movement. I’m sure it’s the best thing for the Fischer Price toy crowd, and fine if “The Rest Of Us” love it, but I why remove the efficiency?

  20. TechGuru

    That is actually the first thing I tried to do after instaling.

    Hopfully with enough complaints Microsoft will add the option to go Classic in Service Pack 1.

  21. Jooch

    I see a lot of people in favor of the new start menu judging the ones that don’t like the new start menu as stubborn or just stupid.

    Who’s actually at fault here the user or the programmer who decided to cancel out user choice?
    Microsoft acts as socialist here, enforcing users to behave in a certain way. As if everyone in the whole world use their systems the same.

    Neither of the two supersedes the other one, it’s just 2 different ways of doing the same thing.

  22. Golam

    another easy solution;

    run -> gpedit.msc -> user configuration -> Administrative tasks -> All settings -> Force Classic Start Menu

    enable it and voilá

  23. Golam

    I have to withdraw my comment. seems only to work in 2008 server and not in Win7

    sry for the inconvinience

  24. Daryl

    I’ve just installed an OEM license of Win7 after running the release candidate, deciding to go ahead and move the the new O/S in spite of hating the absence of the classic start menu. Click, scroll, click, scroll…how terribly inefficient in contrast to menus which spawn quickly with a simple mouse gesture.

    After trying CSMenu, 7Stacks, and Classic Start Menu, I found my own simple approach which works suitably for now, if and until Microsoft either provides an update that restores the classic menu or else I adapt to the new style. About these other alternatives, Classic Start Menu comes nearest to being a replacement that I like, and I may yet choose to go with it. But, I miss that it doesn’t provide a fly-out Control Panel menu nor the other special folders…Network, Printers, etc. In contrast to CSMenu however, which I pretty quickly gave up, at least Classic Start Menu does support dragging around menu items to organize them as you like. And it does look good in its Aero skin. 7Stacks seemed a relatively good idea, but there is far too much delay in providing the pop-up menu, at least on my 1.2GHz netbook. I’d not think there should be much delay, but there’s enough that it doesn’t have a true menu feel as I prefer.

    So, what’s my alternative? It’s native to Windows, so all speed of operation is consistent with what you’d expect, but it doesn’t offer the special folders menus. For that, I still resort to the new Windows 7 Start Menu, and that suits me OK since special folders don’t get accessed as often as programs do. In any case, the alternative is a right-click on the Taskbar away from implementation….a new Toolbar, that points directly to the Start Menu folder. Once you’ve defined the toolbar, move it fully to the left of the taskbar and then use another toolbar or the main one to force the Start Menu toolbar down to the smallest size possible so that all you see is the toolbar title “Start Menu” and the chevrons to the right of that, indicating that there are more toolbar items available. That’s the trick…having the toolbar small enough to get the chevrons which then, upon clicking them, cause the toolbar to launch as a menu above the taskbar, which then expands in conventional classic start menu fashion.

    Hope that helps someone,


  25. Chris

    What is so hard about pressing Start + typing the first few letters of the program you want and pressing enter? I never even touch the All Programs menu any more because it’s so much faster to use the keyboard than the mouse. Plus the new Start menu has links like Computer, Documents etc baked right in even if, again, I could just use a keyboard shortcut to get to my destination or type in whatever I need.
    So other than the program listing, which there is a much better alternative for (typing), I see no reason why the classic Start menu needs to live on.
    I’m sure MS has done usability testing and found that a majority of people preferred the new style otherwise they would have left it alone. After 15 years, it’s time to move on. Might as well stick with XP if you want to be old fashioned.

  26. Galmok

    Chris, of course you find it faster to use the keyboard than using the mouse to find a program. Microsoft has ruined mouse navigation to find the programs…

    Also, in a busy day, starting programs all the time, will cause you to develop physical problems with your shoulder as you have to keep moving your hand between mouse and keyboard. Right there Microsoft have failed big time.

    Finding programs in the old Programs menu could be very efficient if you chose to categorize your applications. This allowed fast mouse AND keyboard navigation to find and start your program. Now, all we have is an easy to find keyboard application search and a horribly inefficient mouse navigation system. Also, with the new system, you are forced to be able to remember the name and be able to type the name of the program you want to find. Just for your information, there are still many persons that have trouble spelling and not due to any lack of trying. For them, the new program menu is complete crap.

    In my (and most UI designers) book, this is a step back. Windows XP was so much better (or Vista with classic start menu).

    You may like it, good for you, but don’t assume to know anything about efficiency in UI design.

  27. Mergatroid

    Thanks. I’m going to give this a try. I hope the drag and drop function works. I’ve tried a few other start menu fixers only to find adding new directories was hard to do.

    I really find the older start menu much faster. I had it all set up so I could access any program I used with just two clicks. I don’t understand how some people seem to prefer typing what they are looking for over just clicking a couple of times. After all, that’s why they made the GUI and mouse interface in the first place. Typing in what you want is so…1980s.

    Of course some people prefer to do things the old fashioned way and can’t handle new fangled things like mice. Maybe if these people had of been around during the old way of typing things in they wouldn’t be so thrilled with it now.

    It’s funny how things like that seem to come back around again, only some people seem to think it’s new.

  28. Angelo

    “I can get to anything I need in the classic start menu in just two clicks!”

    The Start Menu, as in XP, learns what programs you use most commonly and the top 10 will be displayed at the top. I doubt anyone uses more than 10 programs frequently, but if so there are options to adjust the number if necessary, as well as change of their icons and entries. Furthermore, just like in XP, there’s the option to pin items to the top of that listing directly and immediately.

    Even better, in Windows 7 you can pin items directly to the taskbar itself, allowing you to launch a program with just one click. You certainly aren’t *forced* to search for the programs you frequently use every time.

    “HEY how bout I arranged the start menu so with a quick set of keys could have any program on my machine launched without touching the damn mouse. Faster baby, Faster. WIN->p->a->n and BOOM notepad. WIN->p->g->v and BOOM ventrilo.”

    Pinned taskbar items can be launched by holding Windows and pressing any number from 1 – 0. Boom.

    I understand that many of you have grown attached to old habits and training, but I don’t you people have really given it a chance.

  29. Galmok

    @Angelo: Your arguments are kind of weak in that the solutions you advocate are similar or worse to what XP offers:

    Pin items to taskbar: XP has quick launch and works just nice. Pinning to win7 taskbar uses lots of taskbar space if the program is not started. Win7 can have the taskbar as well, but requires messing with the registry.

    Also, to pin a program to the taskbar, you have to do it yourself. XP keeps the top10 list updated automatically.

    WIN->p->a->n: Notepad compared to WIN-1 (ex.): The first method allows to start any program with just a few keyboard clicks whereas the Win7 method only allows starting 10. Also, remembering when e.g. WIN-7 does is kind of difficult whereas p->a->n would in my mind read Programs->Accessories->Notepad.

    I understand that many like to see something new regardless of the usability it offers, but I don’t think you really appreciated what you could do with the old system.

  30. TDean

    Why should I scroll in this tiny damn window when I have a 21 inch monitor? I develop and write software and have lots of software loaded and looking for something in this tiny scroll window sucks. The code is still there, so just allow me to turn on expand folders as an option!

  31. Zinc

    This program is awesome. I then looked up how to add the quick launch back (which is very helpful). The pinned tools are a pain (because reclicking things doesn’t open a new window and such). In the classic theme the start button just became the CSmenu, without having to remove the original button. Dunno if anyone else noticed that.

    Also, for those that are visual, being able to see all your programs at once (without scrolling is nice). A muscle memory can also be achieved where you just where to click, instead of hunting something down.

  32. Brian

    For me the best thing about win7/vista is the ability to search direct from and the snap to taskbar function. i work in it to IT and have all my remote desktop connection saved to the RD app my ip scanner, wireshark and a few other tools direct on the taskbar. With vitsa i did always use the classic menu because it seems the indexing was a liitle slow or whatever. i really like the classic feel form windows but i dont think i will go back but i will try it out

  33. brittosa

    Windows 7 just does not have the Classic Start menu in it to enable it.

    The Classic Menu is popular among people who like to keep things arranged and in order. They usually have about 5 to 8 items max in their Start Menu! All their programs will be grouped under Creativity, Games, System Tools, Miscellaneous, etc. Once they click ‘Start’ they know exactly which pixel to go to launch their program!!

    The newer menu is liked by the rest because it presents the programs they frequently launch and hides away the clutter under the carpet.

    The best option available out there at the moment is Seven Classic Start ( which costs US$24.95 (EUR 19.95). Crashes now and then at startup… sometimes the Start button gets stuck at pressed state. But overall, I would give it a 4/5 rating.

  34. Rebecca


    I too find that I am very use to the classic menu and tried a few things to get this on Windows 7

    Does anyone at all know how I can get the classic menu on Windows 7?



  35. graybear

    For those of you that don’t like the classic menu……… DON’T USE IT. Why does it matter to you about those of us that do like the classic menu. I don’t make any commit about your taste.


  36. Wildrat

    I’ve been using 7 for a week now. It’s pretty but it is counter productive compared to XP. For instance to see your wi-fi speed, it takes 3 clicks in 7, in XP I just hover the mouse over the network icon. The scrolling menu sucks. Maybe in SP1 they will bring back something to give us an option like it was in XP. In the meantime I will try to like win 7. So far all I see is a lot of fluff that looks good but slows me down.

  37. Irina

    I don’t know who designed the Help part in Win 7 or even Vista, but it seems that the troubleshooting is done by Paris Hilton, in a style of 2 options: “let me try to look at it” and “ops, we didn’t find the solution, go to Inet…” => just “go to Internet” in any case. What if people try to just log to Inet and it doesn’t work?
    Win-7/Vista lost the transparency of XP with all illogical and numerous categories to search in, and not user-friendly, when a poor user needs help. I thought of going to Lunix, now MS just forces us to do it. Pretty does not mean efficient, a use of an instument should be automatic, and not constant tracing through choiced, I agree with folks

  38. Garry

    The new start menu SUX! The rest of win7 is just one link after another to get where I could have gotten in XP with a right click – left click. Now it’s right click, hunt the menu left click, sometimes double click… on a menu I have to double click???! Come on MS! Eye candy is one thing, but common sense is another. This is an OPERATING SYSTEM not the WEB!

    That said, at least the evil empire hasn’t nuked Firefox in the OS the way they did Netscape. But give it time…

    If there weren’t so many different iterations of Linux it would rule all! If Poker Stars would just port for ubuntu… Not going to hold my breath on that one. They just figured out the Mac isn’t a sandwich.

    I guess we can get used to anything given enough time. Win 3.0 users hated the “Classic Start Menu” when it was released in win95 too. I’m showing my age now… Back to the learning curve. At least I can still boot to xp!

  39. James

    Nice program, but a few adjustments would make it perfect.

    For business needs, how about this:

    Install CSMenu on a machine, allow it to index, then reboot.

    Use CSMenu to hide programs that users should not access. Add customized shortcuts to programs that users should access.

    Right click on the “Show CSMenu” shortcut and select “Pin to Taskbar”.

    Install and configure Start Killer (same instruction as above).

    Export the registry settings for the start menu and taskbar.

    Use registry keys to make custom .adm file. Import this template in group policy.

    Could a modified version of this software force users to have a default start menu? If so, then I could see this application being used in schools and university classrooms.

  40. goatsoup

    classic view on windows 7, just choose classic theme.

  41. Mike

    Thank you for this. I hate W7 and the new menu. I was stuck buying a new home PC for my youngest and searched for classic view so I can find everything.

    I did 10 years of IT and always switched to Classic when working on a new PC.

  42. bob

    Like others have said I looked for the classic view as soon as I download 7.

    The scrolling through the start menu is now confusing and more agravation.

    thanks will try this application

  43. Chris

    This is great, I prefer the classical look anyday, now my Windows 7 computer looks a bit more eaier and friendlier rather than confusingly complicated.

  44. Monroe Ruda

    I cannot install Classic start – cannot find the file

  45. Andii

    I must be a retard from kanard.

    Where on earth is this CSMenu install file you are going on about? I simply plugged this HP computer in and I was annoyed from the start with Microsofts assumption that I like my computer to look like I let an AOL browser take it over.

    Is this some kind of download or does it magically appear in the air over my head like the big question mark I have floating there instead?

  46. Kaizunovski

    My brother told me that it is possible to edit the Windows 7 start menu, at least the “all programs” menu of it. And it`s quite simple.

    The start menu folders are located in
    C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu

    and in

    C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu

    And of course, on the c:\users\USERNAME is your username, Kaizunovski in my case.

    In both of those folders, just create a folder, name it whatever you want to and drag other folders/shortcuts/whatever into it. It`ll appear into your programs menu, containing the stuff you just dragged in there. With the CSMenu installed, it now reminds a LOT more like XP start menu.

    Hope this helps you guys!

  47. Dharma

    I have one question 1. How can i make start menu to Classic menu? and How to find Run ?

  48. DAVE

    I cant believe all the people here knocking the classic start menu – are you guys nuts? This new Vista/7 start menu is garbage. Its non functional and has all the wrong things. Its loaded with crap you dont need in a start menu and missing everything good about the “REAL” start menu. Grow up you guys, dont be such teenagers.

  49. Anonymous

    I’m also in the group that prefers the less-is-more classic start menu. Whenever I pull up the start menu, it’s to launch a program. I never use any fruity folders like Pictures/Music/Documents. And the “recently run programs” list is hardly any faster than me doing win+r “firefox”.

    I know lots of noobish users or users who really like flashy graphics love the new start menu, but I prefer something that just does the job and doesn’t require me to think every time I use it. Pretty much the reason why I’m still using XP 99% of the time.

  50. Medya

    Oops. I meant it’s a great article. But I cannot install Classic Start Menu, because can’t find the setup file.

    Does anyone at all know how I can get the classic menu on Windows 7.

  51. Asian Angel

    @Any Needing the File: Try this link here…

    CSMenu 1.2 (Softpedia)

  52. JML

    Great little utility, thanks for the makers to provide that! The one thing that is missing is the auto-expanding Control Panels. Even though I specify that to show up as a menu, this utility only provides a link to “All control panels”. Would be great if that was changed, videos and music are already provided as menus.

    To chime into the above debate over whether or not this is useful: I find Windoze 7 to be an utter and complete waste of time! Why in the world they force everyone to relearn almost EVERYTHING and why they now prevent people from right-clicking and adding items to the start menu is beyond my comprehension. I am *very* open to new things and new ways to do old stuff as long as they are better, quicker or more intuitive. Windoze 7 provides tons of useless eye candy and removes almost all QUICK, EASY and USEFUL items and replaces them with awkward, difficult to find and unintuitive ways. Truly one step forward and 3 steps back…. No wonder that more and more people jump on the Mac….

  53. Dulcinea

    Windoze 7 Start menu: YECH! Good g-ds man! I like to set up my OWN folders with the programs I use regularly organized in a way that makes sense to me for the way I use them. Revolutionary, I know, the idea that this may not be a one-size-fits-all world, especially when the one who determines the size is Microsoft!

    I like this program and have also spent time reading about locking folders on the taskbar or creating new toolbars. Seems like there may be more than one way to solve this problem.

  54. David

    Brillant app, many thanks. I just upgraded to Win7 and the first thing that had to go was that god awful start menu. People can gripe here, but the classic is the best and far more counter productive start menu ever. Simple is best.

    Its not about not bracing new technology, its bracing common sense.

  55. niconl

    Is it tested on Server 2008R2 Remote Desktop?

  56. redzuan

    the start menu for standard win7 is nice.. dont need to used the classic….

  57. me

    I hate the new start menu. How do I order by name and how do I resize it. I cannot see the ends of the title.

    Another item that was not broke but MS ruined it anyway

  58. Asian Angel

    @me – Here is how to customize the new default Start Menu

    1.) Right click on the Taskbar and select Properties.

    2.) Go to the Start Menu Tab and select Customize.

    3.) When the Customize Window opens scroll through the list and choose what will be displayed or not, whether to display as a link/menu (the Sort All Programs menu by name option should be selected by default, if not enable it), decide the number of recent programs to display, and if you want change the number of recent items displayed in jump lists.

    That should help you make some changes to how the new default menu works. ^__^

    Another option to consider if you are wanting a “classic” styled menu is to look here:

    Get an Aero-Styled Classic Start Menu in Windows 7

  59. Mike Maxwell

    The Windows 7 menu is clearly designed for people who prefer to use the mouse, rather than the keyboard. It has (afaict) no hotkeys; how do you shut down without a mouse? What good is it to “pin” s.t. to the start menu if you have to use the mouse to launch it from there?

    Afaict, the only way to use the keyboard to launch s.t. is to use the search mechanism. But why would I want to search through every program I have installed? The old (“classic”, i.e. XP) menu system allowed you to put frequently-used programs at the top of the hierarchy, then get to them through the keyboard.


  60. bruce

    For the classic start menu and the classic explorer, go to and get Classic Shell. It gives you both and is very stable. It’s also free. And if you happen to want to use the Win7 menu, just shift click on the start button and there it is.

  61. Exe

    Yeah, classic Shell is much better that this.

  62. Mohammad Elsheimy

    Just what the doctor ordered, thank you :)

  63. moonsik

    Thanks fot this, I just installed Win7 and got frustrated by that fucking stupid start menu shitloaded with useless stuff

  64. Boon

    windows7 start menu was really frustrating – i hated it so much. Thank you so much for this !

  65. ander

    No, I don’t like Windows 7’s single-column Start Menu—but I certainly DO like its Search box, which lets you find any shortcut by typing just a few characters.

    So why did they remove that? Why not have the expandible menu AND the great Search box? Beats me.

  66. Brian

    i like the windows 7 start menu….

  67. Tony

    Are you able to customize this? I’ve used the old start menu since windows 95 and I am not going to upgrade to Windows 7 until there’s a reliable way to change the functionality of the start menu. I always added my own categories to the start menu before, and took everything off of the HUGE programs tab that popped up. If you’ve got your programs broken down into categories on the start menu, then finding anything on your computer takes less than a half second.

    Long rambling blurb aside.. can you add other folders to CSMenu? Like Games, Graphics, Music, Utilities.. and have them be arranged on the menu above the Programs folder?

  68. yiannis

    Windows 7 UI was designed for console users. Also MS decided disassociate win 7 from the failed Vista. I use win XP for my work and Win 7 for games! MS reinvented the wheel and made it square! This new UI is total rubbish! Unfortunately MS are sticking to their guns and are not going to include classic menus in future service packs. Thank God for Classic Shell!

  69. Asian Angel

    @Tony – I usually go into “C:\ProgramData\Start Menu\Programs” and do my start menu customizing (i.e. creating/moving/deleting folders or moving shortcuts around) there. Then that will carry over to CS Menu.

    You can see a good example of how my menus look after reorganizing here in this article:

    Get an Aero-Styled Classic Start Menu in Windows 7

  70. Tikiwiki

    Click Start >

    Type in gpedit.msc

    Click Administrative Templates

    Click Start Menu and Taskbar

    Find Force classic Star Menu in the right pane the rest is self explanitory

  71. The Geek


    That setting doesn’t apply to Windows 7 – only to previous versions of Windows. We tested it out in Windows 7 Professional, didn’t see any change. Additionally, the Group Policy editor does not list Windows 7 as an applicable version for that tweak.

  72. Tikiwiki

    @The Geek

    Tested and working on Windows 7 Ultimate x64 all it does is adds hidden icons back onto your desktop. My bad I should have explained that to start off with, just thought it would help those using this guide.

  73. Rob

    The people who took away the Classic Start Menu, are probably the same people who gave us the Ribbon (which you cannot revert to classic Menus)
    There are two words to describe them –


  74. Tikiwiki

    Found something that works for me, not perfect but does come close:

  75. Jet

    This is the result of the basic Microsoft theory towards their OSes. The concept they strive for is “Can we take a backwards hick from the hills of some rural area, put him in front of a computer, and have him actually manage to do a couple things while saying “Ooh, ahh, pretty…” If that’s the case, the OS IS PERFECT.”

    Their design methodology is to make the OS focused on the needs of idiots and morons. And it works, despite leaving serious computer users with nothing but headaches.

  76. gyrfalcon


  77. Dgood

    Windows 7 is a glorified step backwards. Why? so Microsoft can discontinue support for XP and make you buy Windows 7, thats why the dramatically changed the land scape. After using both it is easy to see that XP had many more icons and point at the pictue to open are exacute it, Windows and changed to a menu based system after you move forward for example in the control panel, now think about that for just a second, if you go to a site that has lists of words or lists of sentences compare it to a site that has an icon to click, which one is easyer? Thats just the begining, also windows his harder to trouble shoot because it hides things that XP made obveious, example? try changes your lan settings in XP now try to do it in Windows 7 it’s obsured how Microsoft outsparted themsleves.

  78. sean

    People play too much logic then forget reality. Can we supply to MS staff the logical lunch box designed using win7 start menu principles?

  79. tom

    new does not always equal good, especially with ms. new menu is fkkked. old style menu is gold

  80. Chronia

    Does anyone know if this program allows for the classic start button and task bar? The images all show the new menu button not the classic start button. Does this csmenu program work with the classic look an feel? Personally I haven’t like the new looks for any version of windows including and after xp and still prefer the prior xp look. Does this csmenu program allow for the old style menu with the old button that actually says “start” on it?

  81. Asian Angel

    @Chronia – I sent some information to you that I hope will be helpful.

  82. me lastname

    To install an EXE just to get the class start menu? This is nonsense. Windows 7 stinks and so does this suggested fix. Just install XP. It does everything almost anyone needs to do.

  83. les

    can a lap top with windows 7 starter be put in classic mode??

  84. Will

    Windows 7 is basically the dumbing-down of XP, 2000, etc . It appears to be designed to catch the eye of children and people who like a flashy game-like interface, rather than having a gui that is more logical, orderly, and productive. For those of us who work with many files, folders, and lots of software, there’s nothing like having to wade through dozens of programs on a single mile-long menu to slow you up. Sure, you can cover your desktop and taskbar with a bizillion shortcuts, but that doesn’t make it easier to find programs when you have lots of them. Classic Start Menu will definitely help the power-user get back in control a bit, although for those who live for the “game-like’ interface with huge buttons, glitx, sparkle, fading/sliding and exploding windows, they will always prefer the stock 7 interface.

    Windows Explorer is another joke, but if you are a power-user, you probably already know that..

  85. Dizturbed Limit

    I use this program to emulate the Classic Start Menu….it works extremely well and I like it a lot and recommend it to anyone who wants the Classic Start Menu in Windows 7.

    The program is Classic Shell and it’s completely free and open-source…..


  86. Yays

    I have been avoiding moving to windows 7 precisely because of these changes, I cannot stand the new menus I have always switched it back to the much faster to use classic menus in previous versions and when I saw that by default it wasn’t even an option anymore in 7, I said forget that. But thanks to this app and the one posted above I think I can finally make the move LOL.

  87. Torinn

    If you all want work flow then give linux a try you don’t even have to install the OS to try is and it’s free….just download it and burn it to a cd/dvd or write it to a usb storage device and boot the disk or device and guess what your running linux and you did nothing to you hard drive 0.0 wha??? yup totally safe…and if you like what you see you can install it *thumbs up* take a look at if you have older hardware say plll 256 MB ram and up look at and if that’s not quick enough see

  88. fedup

    if it aint broke dont fix it, another example of an OS that was FINE.

  89. Sabrillian/kitteh

    This is pretty cool, the only thing I don’t like about it is that when you switch the theme to classic the start menu remains aero-ish. I hope they do something about that.

  90. Doug Glass

    Create a folder on C: (or another drive or partition) and put icons for all your most often used applications in it. Then create a shortcut on your desktop to the newly created folder. Voila! Double click the new shortcut and there in a Windows Explorer window are all the programs you use most often. You can embed sub folders in the primary folder if you wish.

    I also pin certain program icon to the task bar so I can use jump lists. When you have a multitude of office files you need to open, jump lists are a great time saver.

  91. tanzanos

    Just download and install CLASSIC SHELL. It is free and is much better than CSmenu. In fact Classic Shell is the best classic menus program out there and to think that it is totally free :)

  92. Die Bill Gates you scumbag

    \windows 7 sucks as does office 2007. they have removed toolbars and other features and now it is unproductive. \\\\\\\i can’t roll back to xp on a new laptop without doing a lot of work. It is made all the worse by all the bloatware that came on the new sony f series laptop.

    i hope bill gates gets ebola virus and dies in agony, and that an asteroid strikes his Seattle offices smashing all his idiot developers who never listen to customer feedback.

  93. Frank

    Someone ask why would you want the old menu… I don’t like change is the big thing… Also I have to run xp mode for some things… I want both desktops, folders, start menu, etc., to all work the same…

  94. Jim

    The old menu was far more logical. In Windows Explorer, you could see the pyramidal structure on one side and the files in the other column. You could sort by time or date or size. I for one have a lot of user files, and have always preferred the classic view, which allowed for straightforawrd recateloguing of my files. I just bought a new computer today and just gave up transferring my files. Should I overwirite the Windows 7 that came with the computer with my old XP Pro, assuimg I have a reinstallation disc somewhere? I personnally cannot understand why someone wouod not want the classic view, unless they are just messaging and gaming.

  95. Robert

    Try launchy, no need for any menu anymore.

  96. BobKnob

    x2 on launchy, been using it for a couple years now.

  97. waptek

    the search function will not locate .cpl files ,
    that is it LIES about not finding the functions you are trying to run

  98. waptek

    = = windows 7 starter edition tips = =
    to change desktop icon size
    press [Ctrl] and use your mouse wheel to change size

    to access “some” missing settings

    goto c:\windows\system32\
    double click desk.cpl ,
    find and click
    “make text and other items larger or smaller”

    on left side look for
    “change screen saver” ,, etc

    if you see “themes ”
    you can select them if you copy them
    from a real win7 install

    Shell Themes =

    Themepack =

  99. GM

    Guys, I find it ridiculous to mount a network drive/resource in both Vista or Windows 7. So, I know a Lady who was fine with XP and she runs a business etc.. Now she cries help because here machine burnt out and she had to migrate to Windows 7.

    First problem was the WEP secured wireless, because Windows 7 didn’t except the Key?! Second – in order to transfer stuff from another XP machine it was so easy to map the Windows 7 drive, but extremely ridiculous how to connect vice versa.

    Windows 7 runs ok but XP with the same multi core even faster. Niece GUI so on Windows 7, everything is wrapped, but thank goodness there are scripts and the command window. I work also with MAC users and the Mac has an easy way to do things but it is disastrous if you have to backup machines or you have to work with Windows software, because MAC doesn’t provide the necessary productive software.

    Recently Ubuntu and other Linuxes can be installed with familiar UI’s such as Windows (XP/Vista/Mac) and yes that is sizzling fast and transparent.

    The best thing about Windows – it is you guys because the commonality give us so many help in different forums.

  100. Pankaj


  101. Ben

    I fully agree that this new start menu on w7 is counter productive, specially when using it on my laptop.
    The discussion of which one is better isn’t really interesting to me. I just want to work on MY computer the way that I like, NOT the way MS thinks I SHOULD work.

    Basicly, the fact that MS does not give us an option, is pure arrogance to me. And also a show stopper. I frequently choose software packages that are highly customizable, and find myself turning away from MS more and more, due to the lack of customizing.

    I no longer use MS Office, but OpenOffice.
    I will turn away from Nokia because they desided to go with Phone 7
    I am seriously considering to get rid of w7 on my lappy in favor of Linux.

    Now this illustrates the fundamental problem with the new w7, people like me, who have been using windows since 3.1x, turning away from it due to loosing control on my OWN machine.

    Microsoft needs to put back more customization for me to continue using their products.

    MS is trying to follow Apple, it seems. Their way or the highway. Arrogance to the max.

  102. Old Bob

    Thank you so much for this! Like so many others, I prefer the XP Start Menu which just plain works in one simple column with one single click. I agree with Ben above – it’s about choice : using the computer the way you feel most comfortable and not being forced to change just for the sake of change.

    Microsoft don’t always get the interface right – look at the way they backtracked from the pure ribbon interface in Office 2007 by restoring some of the menu’s in Office 2010. It really is time the Microsoft design team understood one basic fact of interfaces : the most efficient one for many is the one they’re already familiar with (ie, “if it ain’t broke, don’t ‘fix’ it”)!

  103. Informador

    GooD menu the Windows 98 :)

  104. Darto

    Windows 7 is designed for the lowest common denominator user, and the Start menu built in to it is a rather handsome piece of fluff. Enought said.

  105. Jon

    @Mike Maxwell: have you tried pressing start then the right arrow key a couple of times? Works like a charm for me.

    As an IT admin I have to say I’m pretty happy with windows 7 and the only problem I’ve found is that not everything is compatible if it was designed for XP or older, but that’s just the way of the world – manufacturers want you to buy their latest. It’s better at looking after itself, it has more buttons to shorten tasks, and 90% of the hardware I use will cope with the eye candy just fine. Dare I say it, all those nice smooth edges just makes it a slightly more pleasant experience when I’m staring at screens day in, day out.

    I know I’m probably talking to the wrong people here because you all came looking for a way to get back the classic menu, but that’s my two cents anyway.

  106. Dave

    I love Classic Shell on sourceforge.

    The only 3 gripes I have with it, are:

    – Please make a version for XP
    – Please upgrade Search tool to resemble XP/locate 32/Search EX/etc. for easy searching!
    – Please enable up button for IE 6/7/8 also

    Of course, transparency for XP would be nice too, as XP is first MS OS to support glass effects.

    Thank you all!

    -> Sometimes I also use 98 or ME. Having a version for those would be awesome! Windows 7 style for 98/ME? Great!

  107. berban

    OK I read the first 20 or so comments then got lazy.


    The old start menu was kind of like the desktop. You could customize it how you liked. Drag things around and make it your own. Unfortunately, there were 2 problems with this.
    1) Neglecting to customize the start menu led to it getting AWFULLY bloated and crowded. I’m sure we all remember having the “All Programs” menu take up the entire screen! Keep in mind that 98% of users are not super-users and do not exactly tend their start menu like a garden.
    2) Everyone’s start menu is different, so using someone else’s computer can be a challenge.

    The new start menu was redesigned with an eye towards standardization.
    45% of the area is common-sense standard features: My Documents, Control Panel, Shutdown, etc. Regardless of whether you click on each of these items constantly or rarely, they are useful more or less to ALL users (unless you aren’t using Windows correctly.) Standardization is also why the “Ribbon” in MSOffice is a step up.
    50% of the area is user-defined: pinned and recent programs. But, while there is a large area here, there isn’t a large amount of customization that can be done. There are only 9 or 10 icons here, i.e., I can turn my start menu into yours in about 45 seconds. This simplistic approach caters to the average user. Think of the wildly successful iPhone and its home page – just a bunch of app tiles. That’s what this part of the start menu is. Even the lazy or luddite will receive some degree of customization due to the recent programs feature.
    The last 5% is search, which covers everything else. Excel might be in a different folder on your computer than on mine, but it’ll still be called “Excel.” This standardizes, AND IS FASTER. No matter how well your start menu is organized, typing the first few letters of a program will always be faster than fetching a program from a submenu.
    Pro tip – move the location of your favorites folder into the start menu so you can quickly search those too ;)

    In conclusion – I recommend that you guys try using the search for the start menu.
    Now that you have been educated I shall take my leave. Goodnight and god bless

  108. berban

    Just want to append to my previous comment… I DO believe in customization, which is where Microsoft has been coming up VERY short lately. At least they tolerate it unlike apple. But it would be nice if Windows 8 were workable-as-is for the average user, and customizable for the super user.

  109. Andrea Borman.

    I have a Windows XP Netbook and the other is Windows 7. And on Windows XP there is the option to change to classic start menu theme but I did not like the classic start menu. For a start you cannot customise it at all or pin programs to the start menu. It is also quite bland and ugly. So I see no need for the classic start menu on our modern Windows XP,Vista and Windows 7 computers.
    Much better to use Windows classic theme with the modern Windows start menu and to make the pinned items smaller as I have done. Making your pinned items appear like a list of programs which is much neater as well as the fact that you can change both the desktop and taskbar color to anything you want. Andrea Borman.

  110. Nic Martel

    I have always had to reconfigure the menu to the CLASSIC style, trim buttons, and much greater functionality then any of their candyBAR crappy toyish menu styles…

    Those, who don’t see that, are not really using their computer extensively enough to be able to see it, so I forgive them for being on the ignoramus band-wagon… and I will call them novice… fair enough.

    I work with WIN 7/Unix/Xenix/CPM/All DOS versions/Linux/Ubuntu/… I am moving towards Google more and more due to their correct approach in keeping systems as open as possible… Looking to move towards Ubuntu as fast as possible(Another Open System).

    Until the open systems catch up with the monopoly of Microsoft, we will all have to battle world-controlling-bastards whom again I will call novice(tyrants) due to their inability to have realized that closed systems slow down progress ENORMOUSLY.

    With the Internet will come the next best thing for humanity – Oil of Ole(yeah it is spelled correctly), no , the NEW Internet… (Can’t give you the name yet).

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