How-To Geek

Get an Aero-Styled Classic Start Menu in Windows 7

Are you missing the Classic Start Menu in your new Windows 7 installation? Now you can get it back and enjoy the Aero-Glass look as well.


Here is the regular “Start Menu” on one of our example systems. Organized and nice but it would be nicer to be able to switch back and forth between the regular and classic styles whenever we wanted.



When you download the app it will be in a zip file and once you have unzipped the contents here is what is included. At this point you will need to create a “Program Files” folder, place the contents inside, and create a convenient shortcut. Now you are ready to have the “Classic Menu” back.



As soon as you start the app your menu will be automatically converted over to the classic style. The rounded corners and Aero-Glass effect make it look very nice. And access for the classic style menu is just the same as for the regular style menu (i.e. Windows Key, Ctrl + Esc, or left clicking the mouse button).


At the moment “drag & drop, add, remove, rename, and sort items” features are not available in Classic Windows Start Menu. You can make these changes in your regular style menu and the changes will be reflected in the classic style menu when you switch back.


A nice built-in trick is the “Original menu…” listing. Click on it to temporarily view and use the regular menu and then click on the “Start Menu Orb Icon” to return to the classic style menu.


If you want (or need) to exit the classic style menu simply right click on the “Start Menu Orb Icon” to open the “Exit Window”.

Note: If you would like for Classic Windows Start Menu to auto-start with Windows each time you will need to add the appropriate shortcut to the “Start Folder”.



Classic Windows Start Menu provides a quick and easy way to have the classic style menu back in Windows 7 while letting you enjoy the Aero-Glass look as well.

NOTICE: The download link has been updated to a new source.


Download Classic Windows Start Menu

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 12/4/09

Comments (16)

  1. Howard

    Doesn’t work on my windows 7 …. not 64bit compatible ?

  2. Alan

    I don’t understand why people would go to the bother of upgrading operating systems only to revert to older views of menus etc. Must be a windows thing.

  3. Rick P.

    Organizes the O/S UI Much, Much Better !!!!

    This type of “fly out” menu layout, combined with the new features of 7, is what I was looking for.

    Thanks a MILLION for remembering my only complaint with 7 !!!!! :) :)

    HTG Member

  4. Juanix

    LOL It does work for windows 7 x64 but you have to run in as an admin.

    Also if you edit the strings.xml and change




    You can get a COMPLETELY transparent menu which looks AWESOME

  5. Dennis

    How do you start it. I click on the exe file and nothing happens?

  6. eezdva

    Can yu still do the search like in windows 7?

  7. Dennis

    The link is kaput!

  8. Howard

    Denis, same here , I execute it and it remains running but nothing happens , run as admin didn’t change anything

  9. fourstar

    When you guys say “nothing happens” have you actually then looked at the menu?

  10. terry

    How do you group similar programs together in start menu like you have done with “Internet Browsers”?

  11. Asian Angel

    @terry – Whenever I set a system up I totally rip the Start Menu apart and reorganize/rename throughout the entire thing with a focus on grouping like items together. ^__^

  12. Mike

    Do you think this would work with Vista 64 Ultimate? It’d be so nice to redo that ugly menu…

  13. harry

    Odd , I love it but sometimes it appears and not always ..Trying to start it by clicking the app cwsm.exe never works ..I have it to start auto but intermittent .Sometimes just pops up when I hit the start button .

  14. Colin Forde

    To get what I wanted I just renamed Recorded TV into Programs and included folders of my previous startmenu items using its include feature. I now see programs in the right menu when I click start and then when I select something under programs it expands out to the right old style. The same hijack will work with favorites but the downside is that you get your startmenu folders in internet explorers favorite slots. The classic startmenu is ok but I rather like the windows 7 startmenu.

  15. charles

    Thanks I find it handy and its easy enough to stop it and go back to the old one

  16. Oratius

    This one rocks!!!!!!!!!!
    It is REALLY like XP style!!!!!1

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