XP-Style Buttons and Clickable Search for Windows 7

Many computer users are so attached to Windows XP buttons that they refuse to switch to Windows 7 because Microsoft programmers did not find it necessary to give them the option to enable them again:

Windows 7 Toolbar Before
Windows 7 Original Toolbar

Yes, Microsoft came up with new and innovative ideas, but lack of additional options had the end result of increasing the resistance to the Windows 7 switch. Fortunately, third party programmers have released freeware, which when combined, can finally give people who want them, the option to get Windows XP style buttons back inside Windows 7:

Windows 7 Toolbar After
Windows 7 Classic Shell Toolbar

The quickest and easiest way is to simply install the just released Classic Shell 1.0.0 freeware.

However, setting buttons up as pictured above takes a little more tweaking. I needed to write this for myself so I don’t forget, but if it helps anyone else – good for them.

  1. When installing Classic Shell, UNCHECK: Classic Start Menu if you just wish to use the buttons + extras and not the old windows Classic Start Menu.
  2. Custom edit the following file in Notepad: C:\Program Files\Classic Shell\Explorer.ini
  3. Source of freeware icons was Vista Common Toolbar Set and Common Toolbar Set.

As an added bonus, Classic Shell gives us the option to do away with the complicated Copy User Interface of Windows 7. We can return to the simple Yes or No prompt:

Classic Copy User Interface
Classic Copy User Interface

Windows 7 status bar now also has the option of showing us the combined size of files in any folder we go to, it displays it in the lower right corner just like Windows XP did:

Combined File Size
Combined File Size in Status Bar

After installing Classic Shell, right click on any button > Classic Explorer Settings > CHECK: Use Big Buttons and CHECK: Show free space and file size in status bar.

I copied all the *.ico files downloaded from Vista Common Toolbar Set and Common Toolbar Set. to the C:\Program Files\Classic Shell\icons folder I created, then used Notepad to edit C:\Program Files\Classic Shell\Explorer.ini. Here is my edited Explorer.ini file and this is how it was edited:

  1. 1) Scroll down where it says


    Remove the semicolon and set the Size of button icon per your preference. I set it to LargeIconSize=32. Icon sizes below should be chosen according to this preference.

  2. 2) Under where it says NOTE TO DEVELOPERS and directly under ClassicShell.CBandWindow, you’ll see

    ;ToolbarItems=UpItem, CutItem, CopyItem, PasteItem, DeleteItem, PropertiesItem, EmailItem, SEPARATOR, SettingsItem

    The semicolon was removed before ToolbarItems= and the pictured buttons above were made with these parameters (SEPARATOR is the vertical line between buttons):

    ToolbarItems=SEPARATOR, BackItem, SEPARATOR, ForwardItem, SEPARATOR, UpItem, SEPARATOR, RefreshItem, SEPARATOR, CopyItem, SEPARATOR, PasteItem, SEPARATOR, CutItem, SEPARATOR, DeleteItem, SEPARATOR, UndoItem, SEPARATOR, SearchItem, SEPARATOR, PropertiesItem, SEPARATOR, InvertSelectionItem, SEPARATOR, SelectAllItem, SEPARATOR

  3. 3) Directly under are commands, for example


    These lines are where Commands, Tooltips, Displayed Button Names and Button Icons are set. Delete the second line, UpItem.Tip=$Toolbar.GoUp, if you don’t wish the tooltip to appear when you hover your mouse over it, and why should it when the Button name is right there? Delete the second .Tip line from all listed commands that follow in the Explorer.ini file.

  4. 4) Windows 7 search engine is powerful… if you know the code parameters but not many computer users do. By combining Classic Shell with another freeware program called Agent Ransack, you can have the Search button pictured above be set to allow you to click and select search parameters just like in Windows XP. If Agent Ransack is installed to its default location, add the following command lines to Classic Shell’s Explorer.ini file:

    SearchItem.Command=”%ProgramFiles%\Mythicsoft\Agen t Ransack\AgentRansack.exe” %2
    SearchItem.Icon=%ProgramFiles%\Classic Shell\icons\search_32.ico

    Note the use of ” before and after program file location. The last line specifies the location of icon inside the icons folder which was custom made above.

  5. 5) In order to have uniform button width, find the following line in Classic Shell’s Explorer.ini file:


    Delete the semicolon and replace that line with


Classic Shell freeware can help people switch over to Windows 7 and Agent Ransack freeware should help replace the poor user interface of the Windows 7 search engine and its only two clickable options. On a final note, in the age of affordable 2TB drives, doesn’t Windows 7’s search ‘Huge’ option of only 16 MB seem out of place? Hey Windows 7 search engine developers, 1995 called and wants its ‘Huge’ back!

Search Huge
Windows 7 Search Options


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Avatar of macklin01

Computational Oncologist / Biomathematician / Mode

5,663 messages 0 likes

While the adjectives (huge, gigantic, etc.) chosen are ... quaint, I still think the logarithmic scale of the search size makes sense. The real mistake is the lack of a "custom" option to override it.

Also, remember that you're not normal. :) For many people, 16 MB is a large file. Most MP3 files are never bigger than 5 MB, high-res photos are still usually under 3-5 MB depending upon the camera settings, Word docs are usually never more than a couple of megs unless you have a lot of graphics or metadata, and so 16 MB is something you'd just see for video or tucked-away data files. (PST and OST files, I'm looking at you!)

So, for "normal" people, 16 MB, while a miniscule percentage of the hard drive size, is still pretty large for a single file. It is for me, too (aside from the video and data files), and I do cancer simulations. ;) -- Paul

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