Windows 11 Moves Start Menu, Leaked Online

John Lister's picture

What looks very much to be "Windows 11" has leaked online. Most of the changes appear to be cosmetic, though it should boost performance on some PCs.

While nothing is yet confirmed, we've effectively moved from "Windows 11 is coming" being an interesting rumor to something that seems likely, unless and until Microsoft denies it.

Not only has what appears to be a copy of the new system (displaying the Windows 11 name on screen) leaked online, but Microsoft has issued a legal takedown notice to Google demanding it stop including the leak download page in its search results. The notice very much implies the software is genuine.

To say the least, it's a very bad idea for most users to download operating systems from an untrusted source, let alone systems that haven't officially been released yet. Fortunately some brave or foolish people have done so, giving some insight into the apparent new system.

Start In The Middle

The most notable change seems to be that both the Start menu moves from the left of the screen to the center, as do the open application items at the bottom of the screen. The taskbar remains in the bottom right.

It's certainly not an intuitive choice as the Start menu button will no longer be in a predictable place (the very bottom left) but instead it appears it will be somewhere along the bottom with the precise location depending on how many applications are open. (Source:

The controversial "live tiles" have gone, though a new taskbar icon will open up "Widgets." As with older versions of Windows, these display information such as weather that's updated over time. (Source:

No Sharp Corners

The visual overhaul continues with new icons and rounded corners on Windows. Many of the visual tweaks appear to be from the abandoned Windows 10X project designed for computers that switched between regular display and touchscreen modes. That's not good news for people who've become increasingly frustrated as Microsoft seems to show less interest in designing for people on a traditional desktop setup.

The leaked system doesn't seem to have much in the way of new features or functions. It does seem to run faster on some modern processors with use a setup dubbed big.LITTLE that's designed to balance performance and battery use depending on what the computer is doing.

What's Your Opinion?

Are you excited by the prospect of Windows 11? Does the relocation of the Start menu and app icons make sense to you? Does it matter if the changes are mainly visual?

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (10 votes)


Dennis Faas's picture

I don't know why they keep messing with the start menu. I like the way I have things set up already and I'm accustomed to it. If I ever upgrade to Windows 11, I'm going to move the start menu right back to where it has been for the last 26 years - in the far left hand corner. I'm sure someone is going to write a third-party hack to achieve this. Every time they mess with the start menu (Windows 8, 10) people complain. No doubt they did this on purpose so that others would start the rumor mill churning and get Windows 11 in the news.

olds97_lss's picture

It seems they are following google's path of "change for the sake of change"... I'm still using an old tweak tool (Classic Menu) to make the menu be more how I want it on my w10 machine that I carried over from W8. That tool has since been ended, but I think some other one picked up the reigns on it and it's still available under a different name.

I don't care for the "middle" menu/app button like ubuntu and apple. It's just annoying to use.

Navy vet's picture

I have been using Open Shell for the passed few years.

gi7omy's picture

They've been 'upgrading' icons for some time now in the developers' version and, in general, no-one likes them. In my opinion, they look like the product of a 6 year old with a box of Crayola.

However, MS have said (as I mentioned in an earlier post) that they will be making an announcement tomorrow - the betting is that it will be regarding W 11

Greg1956's picture

Microsoft has mainly been doing cosmetic changes for years.

Since Windows is about 35yrs old MS has done most of the dramatic big functional changes already. It's a very mature complex product, hence little changes under the hood.

So the layout looks different, this happens every update or two.

I've been using ClassicShell now OpenShell for the menu system for 10years as I like the consistant layout that I can achieve.

Regardless of the annoyance of these minor changes, thanks to MS we can use a 3rd party program or modify it ourselves.

So another minor change required maybe?? Sorry not much of a story in my opinion.

nospam_5346's picture

I’ve always thought that Microsoft keeps changing the GUI to convince people to upgrade as you can’t see the under the hood changes. So they rearrange things and say, “look, it’s different”.

I hope Open Shell will be updated.

From what I’ve read, you can move everything back to the left in the settings somewhere. How, when you click on the start menu, you get a list of your pinned apps and recently used files and an icon to click to open all apps. Yet another click to accomplish what we use to do with fewer clicks.

I don’t have any programs pinned and I have recently used files turned off. Hope I can keep them off. It’s a privacy issue.

I also read you can’t open task manager by right clicking the taskbar anymore. Again, functionality removed.

I believe there were some other annoying things that I can’t remember.

Hopefully, someone will be able to return the lost functionality.

I don’t remember reading about any under the hood improvements.

Just mess with the GUI making things harder to do and remove functionality and call it a new version of Windows. Or, call it what it is. Making your PC look like a Mac.

buzzallnight's picture

from India you can't do much I guess.....
Maybe win 12 will be better??????????????

e5chultz_3890's picture

Honestly, Open Shell will be able to counteract these "improvements". I feel that a consistent user interface is a substantial productivity (and satisfaction) enhancer. Google's OS & apps do have a cleaner appearance, but that's influenced by smaller display size. When I'm forced to upgrade to a new OS or app, I truly resent the time spent relearning new procedures to accomplish old tasks.
Convince me that I'm wrong.

imallett_8441's picture

So today it's announced and they issue an app to test if your hardwarw is compatible. Both my HP ProBook and EliteBooks (<3 yrs old) will not run it.


ehowland's picture

Been using it for almost 4 weeks on 3 of my too many machines:

Facts and feedback:


UEFI/GPT is a must.
TPM 1.2 fails tests - it says 2.0 minimum (but my Windows insider Win11 works fine on TPM 1.2)
The Machine MUST HAVE the secure boot OPTION. It does not have to be enabled, but must be there.

I installed it on three machines,

a Dell XPS8920 (circa 2017 or 2018)
a Dell Latitude E6530 (circa 2012 or 2013)
a Dell "All-In-One" 24-3455 (circe 2014 or 2015)

It is not stable right now and I had boot loader issues and it caused me quiet a bit of grief the first week after a restart.

XPS8920 was already UEFI so it went to Win11 without a hitch. I can report I am ALSO a big fan of "Classic shell" (the menu add on) and it works FINE and replaces stupid new stuff.

On E6530 it was BIOS/MBR so I swapped SSDs and put one in that was installed UEFI/GPT on another device, changed settings on the E6530 to boot UEFI and upgraded that SSD drive to Win11.

On the 24-3455 it was MBR/BIOS (a no go) so I converted it to GPT (which requires UEFI Booting) changed settings to UEFI and it booted and I installed Win11. It was great for a day or two. then when I would restart it would fail and say no device found. This was PC in guest room, so for several days I tried everything (every boot configuration imaginable), finally gave up Rolled it back with Macrium Reflect (excellent program) BIOS/MBR changed it to boot "legacy" and left that machine rolled back.

So summary: Classicshell ( works great on Win11. I have used XPS8920 a little, and although at times it too got stuck at the boot menu, I did something to make it reliable (if you asked I could not say what) Ready for priome time heck no. Good to test and kick around, yes.
Other than proof of concept that I could do it, have not done anything with E6530 since the Win11 upgrade.

My biggest test will be converting a MBR/BIOS machine to GPT/UEFI and see how that goes, NOT impressed with the one I did, but will try another.

NO QUESTION the person above with a HP probook and elite book can run it. Several of the test stuff are soft targets (like CPU or GPU).

GPT/UEFI/TPM (1.2 was fine) and the OPTION of secure boot are MUSTS. If you do not have one of those forget Win11 ever going on that PC (as of now)

From my research on my rag tag fleet (and some of my ADHOC clients)
Win11 right now will upgrade on:

Retail Laptop or desktop / AIO (low end) up to 3-5 years old
Retail laptop or desktop / AIO (high end) up to 4-6 years old
Corporate laptop or Desktop about up to 8 years old