Sometimes even a "business lunch" results in shop talk, and at a recent lunch I had with BriForum speaker and blogger Dan Brinkmann in Denver, I learned about ClassicShell. ClassicShell is a project that lives on SourceForge, and is a simple app that runs in Windows that opens up Explorer functionality that Microsoft has removed from Windows over the years. With Windows 8, Microsoft went a little overboard, removing the Start menu, replacing it with Metro. This may be great for tablets, but most home and enterprise users are using keyboards and mice. Removing something that has been there for almost 20 years, replacing with something that gives the user a weird interface (made even more confusing by the fact that there are two different version of some apps, like IE), and providing no intuitive way to access, well, anything crippled the OS for me.
While some would say I'm just set in my ways, I can't imagine what regular end users think. Now, though, I don't have to worry about it. ClassicShell is a free 5-second download, followed by a 10-second install that gives me exactly what I want: a Windows 7-style start menu and direct booting to the desktop in Windows 8. I shot a video of the installation process and resulting awesomeness. Is it enterprise-ready? Who knows? What I know is that I can now finally use Windows 8 when I need it, which is still not that often.