Q: I have heard that the Classic Shell program makes a Windows 10 computer look more like a Windows 7 system. I don’t see it in the Windows Store, though. Is it safe to download the software?
A: Classic Shell is a utility program that has been around for several years now. It allows you to customize the look of your Windows system – especially if you want to make the Start menu in Windows 10 look like one from an older, more familiar version of Windows. The software is free, but donations to support the project are accepted.
The Windows Store does not currently offer Classic Shell, but the program can indeed be found on shareware sites around the web. Some sites, however, may bundle in adware and other things you do not want with your download. As an alternative, you can get Classic Shell from the download link on the project’s own website at www.classicshell.net.
Downloading just about anything from the web these days can carry a security risk, though, and the Classic Shell home page even states that its download service was briefly hacked last summer. The site says its currently available file is safe, but before you install any software you have downloaded, make sure your computer’s security software is on and up to date.
Once installed and configured, Classic Shell lets you use Windows 10 with a retro Windows 7 look for the Start menu, File Explorer and other system interface elements. The Classic Shell frequently asked questions page is worth a read before you install the program, so you know what to expect.
Similar programs like Start10 and Start Menu 8 can also provide a retro look to your system.
Get Icons in a Row
Q: Is there a way to move the strip of icons at the bottom of the computer screen over to the side where it’s more convenient?
A: Both the Windows and Mac operating systems let you reposition the row of frequently used program icons and folders to other sides of the screen. Within the system settings, you can make other changes as well, like changing the size of the icons or making the whole panel go away when you are not using it.
Windows refers to this area of the screen as the taskbar. To move the taskbar, right-click on an empty section along the strip. In the menu that appears, make sure “Lock the Taskbar” is not selected. You can then drag the taskbar to another edge of the screen.
For a deeper level of control, right-click in the empty part of the taskbar and choose Settings. (On a touch-screen PC, press and hold the empty section of the taskbar with your finger to get to the settings.) In the Taskbar Settings box, go to the Taskbar Location section and pick Left, Right, Top or Bottom. On this settings screen, you can change the size of the taskbar buttons, or set the whole thing to hide itself when not in use.
In Mac terminology, the strip of icons is called the dock. To drag it quickly to a new side of the screen, hold down the Shift key on the keyboard, click the thin divider rule that separates program icons from folders, and drag the dock to the place you want it to go; you cannot put it at the top of the screen, though.
As an alternative approach, click the System Preferences icon in the dock, select the Dock icon in the top row, and use the Preferences box to move the dock, resize its icons, automatically hide it, or change other ways it behaves.