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Open-Shell's menu and settings.

Open-Shell is a free open source user-interface customizer for Windows written in C++ and released in 2018. It includes a start menu replacement and user interface modifier for File Explorer which features a lot of customizations. The program is based on Classic Shell. When Classic Shell was discontinued by its developer, it was released as open source, and volunteers created Open-Shell to continue maintaining the program.


In my opinion, each new version of Windows makes the user interface worse in a number of ways from eliminating useful features, to adding unnecessary graphics and animations. I usually turn off as much as I can to make it as spartan and clean as possible. Windows 7 was the last version to support the classic theme, and Windows 8 completely ruined the start menu, so I never upgraded to it. After Windows 10 was released, I bought a new computer and it came loaded with 10, so I had to use its god-awful user interface. I tried to give it a fair shake and get used to it, but fighting with its lack of customization and seeing my umpteenth advertisement, I was so fed up, I intended to downgrade to Windows 7. Thankfully, before I did, I found Classic Shell which I used for years, and was sad to see its developer stop updating it. While looking for a later replacement, I found Open-Shell which is essentially the same program, but with additional features for Windows 11. I honestly feel sorry for anyone who still uses Windows without it and would probably have a nervous breakdown if I had to return to the horrible built-in Windows start menu.


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