Classic shell is but one option for simulating the old start screen. When I recently tried to get the hang of 8, I searched “alternatives to windows 8 start” and found half a dozen on some kind soul’s blog. All have shortcomings IMO. Also, the HP I had, offered in one of its built-in apps a rudimentary form of start screen you could download; it wasn’t pretty.
Another way to go about it would be to customize the desktop with the taskbar on the left side, stocked with every icon you’d ever think of using...or just put the shortcuts on the desktop. How many do you really use more than “rarely” anyway?
I’m back to Windows 7, since 8 took way too much time to get acquainted with, and also it seemed to enjoy reverting to default settings, like a trail pony looking for any reason to head back to the stable.