Classic Shell for Windows 10 goes Open Source

a shell in the sand

One of the original free Start Menu alternatives for Windows

Ivo Beltchev, the maker of Classic Shell, the popular third-party Start Menu for Windows, has decided to stop the development of Classic Shell and make it open source.

Classic Shell Start Menu for Windows
Classic Shell for Windows

After 8 years of development, Ivo states the following reasons for his decision in his Classic Shell forum post.

There were a few factors that led to my decision:

1) Lack of free time. I have other hobbies that demand my time, some related to software and some not. It requires a lot of effort to add new major features to Classic Shell and keep it relevant. Even keeping it running on a newer version of Windows is a lot of work. That leads me to point #2

2) Windows 10 is being updated way too frequently (twice a year) and each new version changes something that breaks Classic Shell. And

3) Each new version of Windows moves further away from the classic Win32 programming model, which allowed room for a lot of tinkering. The new ways things are done make it very difficult to achieve the same customizations

Being made open source, and released under the MIT license, means that development could well continue if picked up by other developers.

You can get access to the open-source Classic Shell on Sourceforge ( and GitHub (

It was a great adventure for me that lasted 8 fun and exciting years. It started back in 2009 as a simple weekend project and over time grew to be a hugely popular software brand with many millions of downloads. It was in large part due to all of you, the active Classic Shell community, that reported issues, suggested features, provided translations, developed new skins and participated in forum discussions. My thanks go to you for your continued support and encouragement. And of course, special thanks to Gaurav Kale, who stuck with me from the early days to the end. His passion for all things Windows was instrumental to the Classic Shell success.

Ivo Beltchev

See here for more Start menus for Windows.

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