Open-Shell is a free program that replaces the Windows Start Menu. It covers up the Microsoft ads and new-fangled layouts with a more classic menu. It looks very much like Windows 7’s Start Menu, if you can remember that. The garish boxes (for apps and games that you never asked for) are hidden away, and easy links to Documents and Control Panel are restored.


The Open-Shell freeware works nicely on Windows 11, 10, 8 and 7. It originates from this website, under the Downloads button. Under Assets, you would click, download and run the first file ending with “.exe”. But if that website feels awkward to navigate, you can instead download it from Major Geeks.

If you install Open-Shell, please know that there are many hidden options for customizing it. Simply right-click your Start button and go to Settings. You find different menu layouts and a wealth of other tabs and options, if you want to tinker and experiment with things!


  1. Shirley L Birkhimer

    Do I have this on my computer?

    • Jesse Mueller

      I don’t remember! If you click your Start button, the Open Shell Start menu often shows two columns of items, the second of which shows your Name, Documents, Pictures and Control Panel. If you do not have Open Shell, then your Start menu will have one column and show many colorful boxes to the right.

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