Classic Shell is best known for its ability to bring the Start button and menu back to Windows 8. You can also add the same menu to Windows 7, though (maybe useful as it's extremely configurable), and the program also includes a toolbar and status bar for Windows Explorer, and a caption and status bar for Internet Explorer.

This new beta has an enhanced and far more realistic Windows 7 menu style. Programs can be accessed in a tree from the main menu; you can search for files as well as programs, with the results showing inside the main menu; and there's a dedicated shutdown button, as well as the usual menu where you can choose from multiple options (Lock, Restart and so on).

Newly installed programs are now automatically highlighted in the menu, and it can also display the most frequently used programs, all helping you locate the shortcuts you need.

Programs can be pinned directly from Explorer. Classic Shell should launch more reliably on Windows 8, and there's improved compatibility with Windows 8.1, too.

The only wrinkle: Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 are no longer supported.

Verdict

An excellent set of improvements to an already very good program