Windows 10 Start Menu Explained

John Lister's picture

With the launch of Windows 10 comes a brand new Start Menu, which now more closely resembles its predecessors - something that's good news for many users on desktop and notebooks PCs. However, the new Windows 10 Start Menu brings plenty of options for tweaking, along with the odd glitch.

Windows 10 Start Menu Customizable

When Windows 8 was released, the lack of a Start Menu angered and confused many PC enthusiasts. As such, many third-party Start Menu programs were developed to replace the 'metro' style interface with a more traditional look. The good news is that the majority these programs continue to work with Windows 10, and should not require any reinstallation or reconfiguration. So, if you still prefer a third-party Start Menu to what is currently being offered in Windows 10, there's lot of options to choose from - Classic Shell is probably one of the most popular.

That said, Microsoft appears to have listened to users this time around, and has allowed for much more customization of the new Windows 10 Start Menu. Some of these tweaks are relatively simple; for example, you can easily resize the new Windows 10 Start Menu by moving the mouse cursor to the top or right edge of the menu until an arrow appears, and then drag it to resize. It is a bit fiddly, and you will usually need to alter the height and the width of the menu separately.

Live Tiles Straightforward To Manage

You may also want to make changes to the "Live Tiles" in the Start Menu, which are the square boxes that appear to the right and with continually updated information displays. Some of the key ways to do this are:

  • Click and drag a tile to rearrange its position. You can also click and drag a tile to the bottom of the menu to create a new category.
  • Right-click a tile and select "Resize" to choose between one of four sizes.
  • Right-click a tile and select "Unpin from Start" to remove it from the menu. If you don't want any live tiles in your Start Menu, you can remove them all in this manner, then resize the Start Menu appropriately.
  • You can also add a new tile by right-clicking on an application name in the "All Apps" section on the left of the Start Menu.

There's also a minor bug to watch out for: at the moment the Start Menu can only list 512 entries in the "All apps" list. Fortunately that doesn't affect most users. For those who do, the only solutions right now are to use a third-party Start Menu replacement or wait for Microsoft to release a fix, which is in the works. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

If you're using Windows 10, what do you think of the Start Menu? Did you use a replacement menu in Windows 8 and do you plan on keeping this in Windows 10? Has Microsoft made it simple enough to understand how the menus work?

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Average: 4.8 (8 votes)


Dennis Faas's picture

The Windows 10 Start Menu is a major improvement over what was previously offered in Windows 8. That said, I still don't have any use whatsoever for live tiles in my Start Menu, and would rather not see them, and so I unpinned them all. I'm sure however that the default live tiles are search engine gold for Microsoft as they all link to Bing and other Microsoft services.

Even with the live tiles gone, the Start Menu functionality still wasn't the same and the Windows Search seems to have a very hard time finding things that I'm trying to look for, like "remote desktop connection" and similar.

I prefer the Classic Shell Start Menu using the "Windows 7" style, with a "Metro" skin. Essentially it looks like the Windows 7 Start Menu, but uses "Metro" inspired coloring scheme. It looks good and is extremely functional.

dan_2160's picture

From the folks at who brought us the Windows 8 Start Menu called "Start8," comes "Start10" which works seamlessly with Windows 10 to let you easily customize your Start Menu to resemble Windows 7 completely or partially. Start10 gives users a lot more control over the Start Menu than is natively available in Windows 10. My favorite feature is that it takes all the Modern UI apps (which I rarely need to use) and puts them into a single item in the All Programs Menu (the latest version of Start8 enables the same thing in Windows 8/8.1). It's definitely worth checking out the free 30-day trial (fully functional). I think it sells for $4.99 and owners of Start8 get it for $3.99.

Syscob Support's picture

Although I used Classic Shell on Win8 I find Start10 more appealing on Win10. Particularly nice is the clustering of the virtually useless, for a professional developer, Modern UI apps so that they are out of the way of a serious user. Well worth US$4.99 for its configurable options alone.

Greg1956's picture

Just updated from my final Insider preview version (10130) to the real deal.

I spent an hour or so working with the "New" Start button, but it still leaves me cold.
Re-installed ClassicShell and away we go. Nice, clean and ordered

Having a Start button that looks the part but doesn't act it is a waste of coding.
On a more positive note it allows for 3rd party products to get a bit of the market, yay!!!!

PayPaul's picture

I've just got a new win10 laptop. It takes some intuitive fiddling but I've managed to remove or reduce most of the minor nuisances. The one thing that has struck me funny is the change from a left click on Start to access the restart/shutdown menu. Now I found out by a crapshoot that a right click will bring that set of choices up. I also did a search for "Control Panel", found the .lnk file for it and now put it as a shortcut on my desktop. The "settings" menu is a little off putting but reasonably functional. I prefer the control panel interface from Windows 7. It's still in Win10 but not so easily accessible as before. Workarounds are my thing and I don't shy away from trying something new.