I'd be keen to know if anyone else has used this or some other approach to de-candy-ify their desktop.
Edit: thanks so much for the feedback everyone, the hive mind at its best! I learned from the cementers below that classic shell has been abandoned and then forked to a community project here:
On Windows it makes the Start menu fast and comfortable - instead of having some things slide in from one direction and others from another direction, the Start menu just appears instantly. I used to use Start10, but after disabling animation and deleting the tiles I don't need, I'm just as happy with the Windows native Start menu. I mostly just use the type-and-search rather than clicking on icons, so the less fanfare the Start menu presents, the better.
A couple of other settings I like in Windows 10 are also in the ease of access settings under the cursor and pointer section. I changed the cursor thickness to 3 for my high-DPI displays, and found a nice solid black mouse pointer there too - much easier to see than the default white one.
Whatever OS you are on, take a look through the accessibility settings. That is where they hide a lot of the good stuff.
My laptop disables animations in low power mode and ironically that makes it feel faster than "performance" mode.
Annoyingly, after some Windows updates this setting is reverted though.
Adding insult to injury, Word has a "Provide feedback with animation" checkbox in the Word Options/Ease of Access panel. But turning off this checkbox does nothing! You still get the animations unless you turn off the systemwide animation setting.
Wait, there is another application that does this, and it's even worse: Excel. By default, Excel animates the cell selection border even if you click on another cell far away. Yes, it starts an animation at the cell you were on and animates it all the way to the cell you clicked on. This is incredibly stupid: when I click on a cell, that is the cell my attention is on. I don't care about the cell that was previously selected, or seeing an animation go diagonally or whatever direction from there to the cell I clicked. Why in the world did anyone think this animation was helpful?
Excel also does not respond to the systemwide animation disable, but thankfully it does have the animation checkbox like Word in its own options panel, and that one works.
* I neither need or want every little thing to be animated. It just distracts me and slows me down. *
Android I've turned all the devtools animations scale settings down to 0x to disable pretty much everything.
After a warning that classicshell was discontinued I finally decided last summer to make the switch and use the windows 10 menu; remove the full app list always appearing, remove all the "magic tiles", put small sized tiles for my app grouped by categories and using the stack system (several tiles in one).
Works decently (well enough that I can fit all I want in a single menu view, no need to scroll), and at least it's supported by windows so I don't risk losing it randomly some day.
My major remaining issue is how broken the search is, open start menu, start to type and it searches but I have no idea what kind of broken search algorithm can possibly gives such terrible results, perfect match are sometimes not shown, things that barely match fill the top of the list ... I know alternative exists but I don't see why I would need that here, it's just sad. I disabled all the web search features that made things even worse.
The modern windows 10 start menu can be made usable again, but it really feels like a case of you guys needs to go back to the basics instead of trying to fix the fix of the fix of what doesn't work. Throw it away, start again.
Hah, good one!
Can't really call it "unreliable" when they change it once in more than 20 years, in computer time that's eternity.
Totally with you on the broken search functionality though - it didn't work in Windows 7, and it still doesn't work. I literally have no idea how such a core feature of the world's most popular desktop OS can be so horribly broken for so long... but it is!
As for myself, I've sort of given up on the start menu. The search function is finally decent enough again that I can mostly rely on being able to type only a few characters before it finds the program I need.
so I can generally ignore the tiles entirely.
The Windows 10 menu is terrible, OpenShell is the second thing i install on my Windows machine(s).
I have been using Classic/Open-shell from W8.x onwards.
I use O&O Shutup10, not particularly to de-candify but for tweaks and performance improvements. It does the heavy-lifting by disabling services, making registry and group policy edits for Telemetry, Security, Privacy etc. It also stops a lot of UI/UX annonyances and dark-patterns, clawing back some useful bandwidth.
Focus or open the search box ("Windows-Key" on Windows, or swipe-down on iPhone X) and type the program I'd like to start. Works pretty well on both systems, and normally the first letters are sufficient.
That was the nail on the coffin that made me change operating system and I really don't miss windows 10.
This is what happens when you let WebDevs work on your UI.
For instance to start firefox i can do windows-key + 1 (taskbar) or windows-key+r+ ff + enter (app path registry key)
Really don't get the fuzz, thre are plenty of Powershell scripts floating around if one wants to automate it instead of doing a couple of right mouse clicks.
Not everyone knows how to remove them, and really why should they have to remove them?
Plus every new release since then.
Since I've switched to win10, I've been mostly regretting the sober XP-style greyish toolbars (I could have it on Win7 but not 10 anymore). Any ideas ? Can Open-Shell make that ?
Anyways, I feel the Windows UI has become less and less productive, it's striking.
I like the UI to be as sober and straightforward as possible.
To regret something you've done is to wish it had not happened. I regret calling him stupid.
Seems that you copied this link with some Unicode underline characters included or something. It looks really weird in Safari on iOS 12.
Clickable link: http://www.classicshell.net/
It's called Linux.
Why is this not hosted on microsoft.com, or something that is clearly tied to them such as microsoftusercontent.com?
I'll bid $200 for the domain. I'm sure there are some windows 8 machines that will never receive the patch. I don't have any nefarious plans besides perhaps setting each tile to rick roll.
Ok, on second thought, in our society I am sure this would put my ass in jail. I suppose it could be considered impersonating the companies behind the tiles, damaging their brands, damaging the Windows brand, running up users network bandwidth, stealing user's computer resources, and then the liability of an actual nefarious hacker using it as a vector to attack or spam obscene advertisements. (Which is kind of what happens when you visit a webpage in 2019 without an ad blocker, but it is O.K. in that case.)
Now since I have fixed the issue, I can search any application installed and get it in moments. Try and see if maybe you also have an issue with search itself.
It needs to be able to index filenames locally as well as on network shares, and ideally show results as you type.
It's similar to Spotlight on the Mac.
think the functionality broke because of them trying to include cortana results in the search. it's completely garbage now
I used it to host a couple simple "widgets" such as a NaNoWriMo word counter that would keep NaNoWriMo statistics front and center on a live tile. Doing it via a bit of XML hosted on a webpage, and a couple API endpoints that generated a bit more XML on demand, was supremely easy. It made it simple to write "pull" notifications.
I'd may see how tough it is to rewrite it with "push" Azure Functions eventually, but the raw simplicity of doing it as "pull" website was really easy.
From a client side, all tiles are generally needless clutter.
Even a large amount of savvy tile developers won't resolve the problem of the general mess they create by existing.
The newer desktops that have start menus without tiles finally feels like a step in the right direction.
Tiles gave an opportunity to see a lot of information at a glance, in a much less obtrusive manner than popup push notifications that get swept into a notification drawer.
The problem with Tiles wasn't even lack of developers building good Tiles. The problem was Microsoft compromising the vision on them and weakening the Start Screen to appease people that wouldn't adapt to change. (It was also maybe Microsoft not making it easier to set Tiles on Win32 applications, which could have been enabled much sooner.)
(I will mourn the Tiles if they go away entirely. Just as I mourn the Charms as being good ideas not fit for this world.)
I eventually created a Windows 7 VM with identical hardware settings in order to compare performance (make sure it wasn't networking or VM platform issues).
The Windows 7 VM has now replaced the Windows 10 VM and is still super-responsive a year later.
I can't see any value in Windows 10. I don't what it's doing with the resources provided to it, but "doing what I tell it" doesn't seem to be very high priority.
As an aside: I've moved my primary desktop / on-metal system to Ubuntu, and only ever boot into Windows 10 on the rare occasions I need a windows-exclusive piece of software.
Which is like never.
Gets new machine two years on, fdisks the drive without even booting into Windows once.
Seriously though, I am still on 8.1, (using Windows Firewall Control) and I use Acronis to backup monthly (and then upload to Carbonite) so even if MS does a sneaky thing and upgrade me to 10, I will be able to roll back relatively easy.
Win10 is overall a bad bad bad OS, the only good things I hear about it is the efficiency of CPU/RAM usage, but I am not switching for that.
If you're using a modern netbook witha tiny amount of disc space Windows 8 uses WIMBOOT which has a dumb problem with the way it handles updates - storing them outside the compressed WIMBOOT areas and thus taking up large amounts of space. Particularly frustrating since WIMBOOT was created for machines with small storage.
Windows 10 uses Compact OS which is better.
I agree that Windows 10 isn't very good.
Being able to copy paste from the console. SMB3 (i.e. offering encryption if properly configured). Virtualization was a major leap forward in windows 8/windows server 2012. Http2 support in IIS.
Windows 10 can't do either of those things. If you try to click and drag a Start menu search result it does nothing. Right clicking only gives you the option to add it to the start menu or task bar. So, if you want a desktop shortcut, you have to add it to the start menu, drag it off the start menu onto the desktop, and then delete it off the start menu.
You're sacrificing a lot of security by staying on Windows 7. It doesn't have nearly the level of modern kernel hardening features that newer versions have.