[Windows 10 Start Menu] Review, Tips-n-Tricks and Customization

UPDATE: The Start Menu review has been updated with new information and screenshots for Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

The most impressive and noticeable feature of Windows 10 is the brand new Start Menu. When Microsoft released Windows 8 without Start Menu, people started complaining about the missing Start Menu and Start button. With the release of Windows 8.1, Microsoft tried to improve the new Start Screen to please Windows users but it didn't work.

Finally Microsoft decided to bring the good ol' Start Menu back to Windows 10. This new Windows version comes with a new and advanced Start Menu which is actually a combination of both Windows 7 style Start Menu and Windows 8/8.1 Start Screen as shown in following screenshot:

Windows_10_Start_Menu.png

Windows 10 Start Menu shows almost everything which was used to show in the Start Menu of older Windows versions whether its user documents, pictures, recent documents or all programs list. Along with all good ol' things, the new Start Menu also shows live tiles taken from the Start Screen.

It shows small icons such as power options, user account options, Settings shortcut, etc without labels in a vertical row in left-side which can be expanded by clicking on the hamburger (3-lines) icon present at the extreme top-left corner of the Start Menu as shown in following screenshot:

Windows_10_Start_Menu_Left_Sidebar_Expand.png

The good thing is that you can remove all live tiles and make the new Start Menu look-like old school Start Menu which was present in Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7.

The new Start Menu in Windows 10 is fully customizable. You can change its size, add or remove items, change background color and everything else.

Today in this exclusive review article, we are going to share some useful tips-n-tricks and how-to instructions to tweak and customize Windows 10 Start Menu look-n-feel as well as functionality.

So without wasting time lets start the tutorial:

Remove Tiles and Make Windows 10 Start Menu Look-Like Windows Vista / 7 Style

You just need to right-click on each live tile and select "Unpin from Start" option. Once you remove all live tiles, you'll get a slim Start Menu without any live tile which will look very close to Windows Vista/7 Start Menu.

Now you can access all installed apps and programs without any live tile similar to Windows Vista/7 Start Menu:

Windows_7_Style_Start_Menu_Windows_10.png

PS: Windows 10 Start Menu also allows you to resize (small, medium, wide, large) or uninstall Metro (Modern) app tiles just like Start Screen. You can get these options in tile context menu (right-click menu). You can also turn live tiles off or pin any tile to Taskbar using tile context menu.

Unpin_Resize_Windows_10_Start_Menu_Tiles.png

Also Check:

How to Disable Live Tiles Feature for All Apps in Windows 8 and Later?

Resize Windows 10 Start Menu

Did you know you can resize Start Menu in Windows 10? Yes, just move your mouse cursor to the top-border or right-border of Start Menu and you'll be able to increase or decrease Start Menu height and width. As you can see we have decreased Start Menu height in following screenshot:

Resize_Windows_10_Start_Menu.png

BONUS TIP: If you are a keyboard shortcut lover, here is a hotkey for you to resize Start Menu:

Press WIN key to show Start Menu, then hold down CTRL key and press Left/Right/Up/Down keys to resize Start Menu.

Pin Items to Windows 10 Start Menu

You can pin shortcuts, files and folders to Start Menu. Just right-click on desired item and select "Pin to Start" option. It'll immediately pin the item to the right-side of Start Menu.

Pin_Items_Windows_10_Start_Menu.png

Now you can right-click on the pinned item and change its size according to your requirements. You can also drag-n-drop pinned items to move or change their location.

Also Check:

How to Pin Any File, Folder or Program Shortcut to Start Screen in Windows 8 and Later?

Pin Items to Left-Side List of Start Menu

UPDATE: In Windows 10 final RTM version, you can't pin items to left-side pane of Start Menu. But checkout following exclusive tutorial to add/remove/rename or change shortcuts on the bottom-left area of Windows 10 Start Menu:

[Windows 10 Tip] Add, Remove, Rename or Change Shortcuts on Bottom-Left of Start Menu

Customize_Windows_10_Start_Menu_Left_Shortcuts.png

If you want to pin items to left-side of Start Menu, just drag-n-drop the desired item from right-side to the left-side of Start Menu. It'll be added immediately to the left-side.

Now you can remove it from right-side by right-clicking on it and selecting "Unpin from Start" option. You can drag-n-drop shortcuts from anywhere else to the left-side of Start Menu using the same way. You can also directly pin any item to left-side of Start Menu. Press and hold SHIFT key and then right-click on any item, you'll get a new option "Pin to Start List" in context menu. Click on it and it'll directly pin the selected item to left part of Start Menu.

Show or Hide Recently Added and Most Used Programs in Start Menu

If you don't want Start Menu to show your recently added programs or most used programs in left-side pane, open Settings app from Start Menu and go to "Personalization -> Start" and set following options to Off:

  • Show most used apps
  • Show recently added apps

Enable_Start_Screen_Windows_10.png

Here you can also set whether recently opened items should be shown in jump lists on Start Menu and Taskbar or not.

Add More System Shortcuts to Start Menu Left-Side List

While you are on Settings app -> Personalization -> Start page, click on "Choose which folders appear on Start" option.

Now you can enable or disable desired items such as File Explorer, Settings app, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Videos, Network, etc on Start Menu left-side list.

Customize_Windows_10_Start_Menu.png

Disable Start Menu and Enable Start Screen in Windows 10

By any chance if you don't like the new Start Menu and want to re-enable Start Screen in Windows 10, you can get Start Screen back with the help of following tutorial:

Windows_10_Start_Screen.png

How to Switch Between Start Menu and Start Screen in Windows 10?

Change Start Menu Background Color and Transparency

By default, Start Menu in Windows 10 is shown in dark Black color but you can force it to use current Windows theme's accent color as its background color. So if you change the accent color using Personalization window, it'll also change background color of Start Menu.

Open Settings app and go to "Personalization -> Colors" page and set the option "Show color on Start, Taskbar and Action Center" to On.

Now you can set "Automatically pick an accent color from my background" option to On or select any desired accent color from the list to use it for Start Menu as well as Taskbar.

Enable_Colorization_Start_Taskbar_Windows_10.png

You can also enable or disable Aero glass transparency effect on Start Menu, Taskbar and Action Center from the same page.

Add / Remove Power Options in Windows 10 Start Menu

If you want, you can add or remove options in Power button of Start Menu.

Windows_10_Start_Menu_Power_Options.png

The same steps given in following tutorial will work for this new Start Menu:

How to Enable Missing Hibernate Option in Windows 8 Power Menu?

Change Icons and Names / Labels of Start Menu Tiles

If you want to customize icons or names of tiles showing in right-side of the Start Menu, you can take help of following guide:

How to Change Icons and Text Labels (Names) of Start Screen Tiles in Windows 8 and 8.1?

The same steps will work for Windows 10 Start Menu as well.

PS: Check out following exclusive video showing previous Start Menu which was implemented in older Windows 10 testing builds:

Also Check:

2 Hidden Secret Features of Windows 10 Start Menu

[Skin] Get Windows 10 Look-Like Start Menu in Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1





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Posted in: Windows 10


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Comments

  • I like the Windows 10 Preview. I'm looking forward to more tips and tricks from you VG as you dig deeper in to 10.

  • There are many blogs who have given articles of Windows 10 customization but I think nobody has matched the credibility of Vishal Gupta..Awesome VG..

  • Thanks, Nice Intro VG!.
    Windows Feedback helps a lot to talk to Microsoft.

  • Thanks VG, nice article. It helped me exploring the new start menu.
    Here is some problem with my PC. The new notification centre is not visible, nor can i find any trace of it anywhere, any Suggestions?

  • That's all what I want in this Windows. I will not download this preview, but will be waiting for this
    OS to release to manufacture & will upgrade from Win7 to Win10 RTM.

  • @VG, is there any core improvement observed/felt in W10 TP? I mean, fluidity, file transfer speed etc.

  • Thank you very much Mr. Gupta. I was wondering how I would change the background colour of the Start menu.

  • Nice Article about Start Menu as always Vishal.

  • VG

    Thanks guys for your comments. :)

    @rudrax
    I'm feeling Windows 10 a little bit faster than Windows 8/8.1. Programs and apps are opening much faster in Windows 10.

    @Anirudh Gupta
    Its not available in this preview build.

  • hi!
    As a programmer I have never used (and I'll never use) a touch screen or a tablet PC so I didn't agree with MS strategy for Windows 8.
    Good news for Windows 10! But in this new version in the toolbar there is the infamous "Touch Keyboard" I don't even want to see in my PC! :)
    I hope it's a bug in this version: even if you unmark the "Touch Keyboard" checkbox in the Toolbar tab of the toolbar Properties, when you access again Windows, after a reboot, you see it again...
    Strangely enough in the Control Panel again exist items like "Pen and touch" and "Tablet PC settings", really useless in desktop PC...
    Pierluigi

  • Hello Vishal
    I am using Windows 8.1 and i want to use Windows 10.
    but as we know it is technical 'preview' I can not use it as my primary OS. So i will use it as my 2nd OS and i will do dual booting. So my question is how will i switch between windows 8.1 and 10.
    Second question is will dual booting slow slow down my PC

  • VG

    ^^ When you'll install Windows 10 on a different partition, it'll automatically add a new entry in boot loader so you'll get the boot loader at startup to choose between Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

    Regarding 2nd query, dual-boot never slows down computer because you run one OS at a time.

  • Can you port windows 10 start menu for windows 8.1?
    I've been using windows 10 lately, but there are bugs in it, a WIFI prob for me, and it slows down PC.
    But starts menu charms the most, I've been searching over internet, if some developer has ported it for windows 8.1

  • VG

    ^^ Here you go:

    http://www.askvg.com/skin-get-windows-10-look-like-start-menu-in-windows-xp-vista-7-8/

  • Would someone please share with me how to permanently remove/UNpin the unwanted taskbar icon to "get windows 10" that has now suddenly appeared at the bottom of my computer screen, tucked dangerously between the speakers controls and the safely remove devices icon? I would rather dig ditches with a toothpick while being beaten with salted chains than be tricked into another "upgrade" for windows. I am afraid to right-click (or anything else) for fear of accidentally launching 10 the way we were deceived into launching 8.1. I LOVED Windows 8. I want to put burning splinters under the fingernails of the people who created 8.1.

  • VG

    ^^ This:

    http://www.askvg.com/how-to-remove-get-windows-10-app-and-its-icon-from-taskbar/

  • The Start Menu tab in "Taskbar & Start Menu Properties" is missing and hence I can not customise the Start Menu. For instance, I do not have the power button next to the user name on top in my Start Menu.

    This is exactly how my Start Menu looks like:

    I can not pin anything to the left side of the Start Menu. I wanted Control Panel button, but it comes as a big ugly tile on the right side.

    How do I manage the Start Menu. Please help.

  • VG

    ^^ The Start Menu has changed a lot in newer Windows 10 builds. Now all options to customize Start Menu are present in Settings app.

  • My build version is 10240 and in this all the window panes look white, unable to differentiate which one is active and which is in background. The icons are very amateurish and too sharp for visual appeal. It looks like the system is working in safe mode.

    Couldn't help but notice that the whole design now looks like Windows 95.

    The start menu was better in Win 7. Windows 10 is not customisable as it is claimed. Must be the build. And its sad. Hope this "permanent work in progress" OS gets better with time. But I have only time till 29 Aug to revert to Win 7.

  • Windows 10 UI really needs a lot of work. At present it looks rather ugly. It's like some amateur has done all the UI work. Not good. :-( I wonder why they took off some customization options in start menu what were there in the earlier builds?

    In comparison, Windows 7 UI is much better looking than Windows 10 UI.

    Anyway Windows 10 seems stable. Which is good. Hopefully they will enhance the UI later on.

  • Hi, do you know if there is a way to bring back the previous windows 10 start menu because I really don't like how the search box is no longer integrated in it. It's weird how it opens a new menu when you click on search.
    Also is it possible do change icons and icons names in the last build ? I tried it but it didn't seam to work...

  • VG

    ^^ You cant bring back the previous Start Menu but you can try 3rd party Start Menu alternative software.

  • From VG - "^^ The Start Menu has changed a lot in newer Windows 10 builds. Now all options to customize Start Menu are present in Settings app."

    The two options under the old Start Menu under Privacy - "Store and display recently opened programs in the Start menu" and "Store and display recently opened items in the Start menu and the taskbar" cannot be found in the Settings app.

    Does anyone know where these settings are located in the newest version of Windows 10?

  • @Cat62 Right click on desktop then click Personalize and it's under Start in the window that opens.
    Or you can go settings then personalization and the, Start.

  • I find no way to pin an actual FILE (e.g. a frequently used "notes" text file) to the Start Menu. This is important and needs to be restored as was allowed in Windows 7. I tried Classic Shell with Windows 10 but it had some launch lag and the "Recent Items" list kept staying empty; maybe they'll fix that.

    Merely being able to pin programs to the Start Menu forces you to wade through the program's menu to find the file you use most often with it. I am constantly adding notes to an ASCII text file and quick access to it is missed. I'd rather not keep it cluttering the Desktop, which I reserve for important folders and temporary drag & drop shortcuts. The whole point of the Start Menu to me was to clear up the Desktop and find shortcuts easier.

    Another shortcoming of the Win10 Start Menu is that when you make the right-pane icons "small" they lose their text captions, which I'd always found useful to rename - to remind me of what some obscure programs were used for, etc. With this Start Menu you have to hover or remember what the icon stood for.

  • Agree with the previous two posters, shift-right-click does NOT allow you to pin a document or shortcut (or anything I can find) to the Start menu.

    This is a misfeature that needs to be fixed.

  • VG

    ^^ Try following:

    http://www.askvg.com/pin-any-file-folder-program-shortcut-to-windows-8-start-screen/

  • Hi. Is there a way to add custom commands to right click on 'This PC' (ex My Computer) on Windows 10? I couldn't find anything about that. I just wanted to add my actual commands, msconfig..device manager..god mode..regedit ecc.
    THANKS!!!

  • VG

    ^^ Check following:

    http://www.askvg.com/how-to-add-new-program-shortcuts-in-my-computer-context-menu-in-windows-xp-vista-7-and-8/
    http://www.askvg.com/aio-ultimate-tutorial-to-customize-my-computer-context-menu-in-windows-xp-vista-and-7/

  • Dear VG,

    I have installed Windows 10 ver. 10240 for dual boot along with my original Windows 7
    Ultimate ( in two different partitions). I am getting the option to select which OS I
    want to use. Windows 10 version opens fine . Only problem I find in the Start screen
    is that in the left hand panel I do not find Power and App displayed.
    How can I correct this ? I am forced to right click on windows icon and then go for these options.
    Please help me.
    Thanks and best regards.
    Ramaswamy

  • VG

    ^^ A screenshot will help in understanding your problem. :)

  • I decided to use windows 10 OS in my organization, but the problem is Windows Start Menu. Is it possible to modify default start menu with tiles for all computer local and domain users? I dont want to see news, finances, xbox etc tiles in start menu each time when new user will login to PC. I want to create the same start menu myself for every new user. Is it possible? Thanks

  • VG

    ^^ You can apply Group Policy. There is a setting for that in Group Policy Editor.

  • how to place my photos lively in start menu

  • VG

    ^^ Click on the picture, select Change account settings option and then change the user picture.

  • Hello gents & ladies,could anyone help me with windows 10 is fast in my programs but the start menu,apps, when clicked come without labels on them. clicking on the start menu you see coloured tiles only no labels /text on them.
    Help is needed fair well

  • I am using an external screen and when I open a sub window, e.g. open an Outlook email, the main Outlook window is minimised. It also happens with other programs.
    Do you know of any way to prevent this?

  • VG

    ^^ Make sure the Tablet mode is not turned on.

    http://www.askvg.com/fix-apps-and-programs-automatically-minimize-in-windows-10/

  • Brilliant. Works like a charm. Many thanks.

  • Your technical expertise and knowledge is very much appreciated by myself and MANY OTHERS. This is the first place I check when having issues that need changing in windows 10. Compared to other venues out there this site is one of the best if not the best around. Sincerely, Chris Cummings USA Retired.

  • I've done everything you stated on how to remove recently added items from the taskbar but it doesn't work! I clicked on the recently added item and then it says remove from list and when I click on it to remove it from my list, nothing happens! Then I went to settings and changed recently added items from on to off and it's still there! Please help!

  • Can anyone advise why W10 start menu appears when you change users on same PC...........dont think it did a week or so ago.
    We dont need to see it each time we sign in do we?????

  • I'm about to throw my computer out of the window. I need to do a system restore, but I need to sign into my administrators account, but I have for gotten it. I have been using the guest option. Please help me fix this. How can I over ride the system so I can change the administrators password.

    Thank you in advance!

  • So I upgraded to win 10 from 8.1 and now I lost my previous desktop display with whatever I had on there. Instead I now have this cursed start menu and tiles . Odd thing is that when i click on a tab a glimpse of the old desktop appears and then just as quickly disappears. I have tried everything and unless I am a complete idiot I simply cannot find a solution to this. I want my old desktop display back. I don't want to access it via a tile because that desktop is missing a lot.
    Has anyone else had this issue and solved it? Please help.......

  • VG

    ^^ Thats strange issue. Try to create a new user account.

  • When I "Pin to Start" Microsoft Outlook 2007, it makes a tile in the Start Menu. I cannot drag the tile to the left side, I get the "forbidden" symbol. I absolutely HATE the idea of tiles on a desktop. How do I get Outook into the conventional Start Menu?

  • Why the hell is there the Start Menu if we can't customize it?
    I feel myself Lost in space & "I sense a disturbance in the Force!"

  • Super job. Thanks for all of your hard work keeping us all up-to-date with the fast changing world of Microsoft!

  • I really hate what Microsoft has done to the Start Menu in version 1607. I actually liked it the way it was, and all of a sudden I have a giant app selection list (*that's so obviously built for touch usrs) foisted onto me whether I wanted it or not. As it turns out, I did NOT want it changed! I don't like how the previous items that were listed (with icons and text) at the bottom of the menu have now been turned into just icons. It just looks weird! And worst of all, it seems to be change just for the sake of it. There's certainly no productivity enhancement in the lastest changes for me. Looks like I'll have to go back to using Stardock's Menu10 app to get control back of my Start Menu again. For god's Microsoft stop changing fucntionality just to be able to tick a box on someone's list of "New and Improved Windows 10". Especially without giving me a way to set it BACK to how I actually prefer it!

    I also hate how you can't give Microsoft direct feedback through the Feedback Hub unless you change your privacy settings to send them diagnostics data. So the upshot is that Microsoft is only willing to listen to our feedback if we agree to give up a chunck of our privacy!

  • I 200% agree with Yann & his Start menu opinion. Is there a registry hack so the icons Power and others are permanently expanded?

  • I agree with Yann. I despise the new start menu. It seems like Microsoft doesn't even care about people's feedback. They change it to please the touch users, rather than the ones who actually USE a desktop. Until there is some registry hack to bring the old start menu back, I'm sticking to Start10. Thanks Microsoft!

  • Another one with Yann. I liked my start menu exactly the way it was and I want it reverted. I don't want to see all my apps in the initial start menu. Making "all apps" a sub menu of the start menu was the best thing Microsoft ever did. I don't use 99% of them on even a monthly basis and I find this new start menu cluttered and useless.

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