Windows 10 Start Menu Gets New Look

John Lister's picture

Microsoft has unveiled Windows 10's new look Start menu. The changes are largely cosmetic but could make it a little easier to use.

There's no official word yet on when the changes will take effect. Normally such a revamp would be noticed through the Microsoft Inside testing program, but in this case Microsoft has currently only shared images of the new look on its Facebook page. (Source:

Color Clashes Under Control

The main changes are to make the Start menu fit in better with the rest of the desktop. For example, the list of recently used apps (which appear on the very left of the menu) will no longer have colored backgrounds. There's also a minor tweak so that icons in this list appear directly next to the text of the app name rather than being blocked off.

The controversial Live Tiles, which display updated information from dedicated Windows 10 apps, are getting a similar overhaul. Those which are actually being used will now have a solid color that works with the user's overall choice of a light or dark theme for Windows.

Meanwhile those which are no longer active will switch to a translucent background rather than a solid block. The idea here is to draw the eye to the tiles that the user will actually want to see rather than the disabled tiles distracting them. (Source:

Live Tiles May Not Live Long

While that's a step forward, it seems odd that Microsoft isn't at least removing unused titles. Insiders have previously reported that Microsoft plans to drop Live tiles altogether either later this year or early next year, so it's odd to make a cosmetic change at this point.

The problem is that while the new look definitely appears to be an aesthetic improvement with a much cleaner and less jarring design, it seems many users dislike the Start menu from a functional perspective.

Whether it's people believing that the "classic" Windows Start menu worked better or simply not seeing any reason to change something people were familiar with, a market has emerged for a variety of third-party tools that aim to restore the traditional look and function of the Start menu.

What's Your Opinion?

Do these changes sound worth Microsoft's effort? Would you prefer more fundamental changes to what the Start menu does and how it works? Have you tried any "classic mode" tools?

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Average: 4.9 (11 votes)


Dennis Faas's picture

I can't stand the Windows 10 Start Menu.

The live tiles are in-your-face and incredibly annoying. The Windows 10 Start Menu also doesn't work properly out of the box. Here's why: in previous editions of Windows, if you needed to find anything on your machine (such as a document), all that was required is to type in part of the name of the file into the Start Menu and it would find it: simple and straight forward.

With Windows 10, the same process takes 5 minutes to process. The key difference here is that instead of finding said document, it will instead tell you to search Bing (Microsoft's search engine). The document I'm looking for should be on my PC and not on a search engine! A lot of the time it can't even find built in Windows utilities like diskmgmt.msc (Disk Management)!

Thanks, but no thanks - I'll stick with Classic Shell which is completely free, is fast with searches, and actually finds what I'm looking for. What's more: it can be programmed to look similar to the old Start Menu in Windows XP, Vista and 7!

SteveMann's picture

I haven't used Windows for any file search for years. I found something faster and better: Everything from

No, really, that's the name of the program: everything.exe

Everything maintains its own database of every file on your PC and searches are instant.

David's picture

I have been using Everything for a few years now, and it blows away anything MS has - so much so that I am surprised they haven't been bought up and incorporated.

I like it that it indexes local drives, removable drives, and network drives, but doesn't try to do an internet search for a local file (ahem, Bing).

I like that it also supporting within files via the "content" switch. Search *.xlsx content:blather and it returns Excel files containing "blather", from all locations indexed; sort by date, path, name, etc.

pctyson's picture

The search function is useless. It won't even find any of the control panel applets. They might as well remove the search function. It is just another way to get you to their Bing search site. Just did a search on one of the msc's. It did not even give me results of web sites that show how to quickly access the .msc applets. I wish that they would just remove it completely.

Navy vet's picture

You simply can't beat the free OPEN SHELL start menu replacement. Why does Microsoft keep changing things for the sake of change? They should have just modernized the Windows 7 start menu. How about that CHARMS BAR?

dan_2160's picture

While I usually embrace new "technology" that tends to make one more productive, beginning with Windows 8 the Start menu has pretty much been a bust. While Classic Shell is fine, I'd urge folks to also take a gander at Start10 from It's been a joy to use -- and much simpler to configure than Classic Shell. There's a 30-day free trial - the perpetual license costs just $4.99 and has been discounted to as little as $2.99.

I realize that the folks here are universally sophisticated with computers. But most computer users are not. For those who like to tinker with their Start Menu, Classic shell is great. But for a simpler interface and easier customization, Start10 is simply a joy to use. It's worth a try.

Full Disclosure: I have no financial interest of any kind in Stardock. I'm just a very satisfied customer of their Windows 10 utilities including Fences and Groupy as well as Start10.

malper1942's picture

I hate the Windows 10 start menu. I use Classic Start and customize it for my preferences. Thank you Dennis for installing it when you set up my new system.

topgum's picture

I've hated the tiled menu from the start. I use Ivosoft's Classic Start menu on most of my machines. I keep a couple of my computers with Microsoft's tiled start menu so I can be proficient when I work on a friend's machine. Over the years hardware has become more robust and internet speeds have improved but updating tiles has a performance hit that degrades my experience. Windows loads SOOOOOO many apps that I don't need. Bloatware.