Removing the Start Menu from Windows 8 was one of Microsoft's biggest mistakes, and a substantial reason Windows 8 was a commercial failure. Thankfully, the Start Menu is back with a vengeance in Windows 10. Let's see how to configure and customize the Windows 10 Start Menu to our liking.
Table of Contents
- Change height and width
- Change Start Menu and Taskbar color
- Remove the tiles, for a slim Windows 10 Start Menu
- Customize the Start Menu shortcuts
- Resize and rearrange tiles
- Stop the stupid animated "live tiles"
- Pin important "Settings" shortcuts to the Windows 10 start menu
- Pin the recycle bin to the Start Menu
- Bring back the start screen
- Uninstall apps through the Start Menu
- Install an alternative Start Menu
- How did you customize your Windows 10 Start Menu?
Change height and width
Not only is the start menu back, but it is significantly more flexible. For the first time in Windows history, we can grab the top edge of the start menu and change its height...
...and do the same for the width.
Of course, some Linux Desktop Environments have had the option to resize the Start Menu for years, like XFCE on Manjaro.
In any case, it's good that Windows is catching up.
Change Start Menu and Taskbar color
The new black Windows 10 interface looks edgy, but if we wish for some more color in our life, it's easy to change colors to the Windows 10 Start Menu.
We just need to right-click on the Desktop, choose "Personalize".
On the Personalization window, we select "Colors".
We can either manually choose a color, or have the system select one automatically from the wallpaper.
After we mad our chose, manual or automatic, we turn on the "Show color on Start, Taskbar, and action center".
The default background will give the Windows 10 Start Menu a shade of blue.
If we simply change the wallpaper, though, we get a brand new menu color.
Remove the tiles, for a slim Windows 10 Start Menu
If the colored tiles from Windows 8 have left us with PTSD and we can't even stand them on the Windows 10 Start Menu, "Unpin from Start" is just a right-click away.
If we unpin every tile and drag the vertical edge left, we are left with a nice and slim start menu.
Customize the Start Menu shortcuts
By default, the Windows 10 start menu will show the most used apps and recently added apps on the left-hand side. We can, however, add shortcuts to our personal folders, for quick access.
Again we right-click on the Desktop and select "Personalize"...
...and this time we select the "Start" option.
There, we click on "Choose which folders appear on Start". We get plenty of choices, which cover all of our personal folders.
Now, the folders we use the most are only two clicks away (one, if we use the Windows key 😉 ).
Resize and rearrange tiles
If we decided to keep the tiles, there are four possible tile sizes on the Windows 10 start menu: Small, Medium, Wide, and Large.
Or, if you prefer an optical comparison:
We can also move and rearrange the tiles to our liking, with a simple click and drag.
We can also create custom groups, by moving a tile outside of the current groups - we will know because a new header will appear.
After we drop the tile, hovering over new the header will allow us to rename it.
We just click, write a name and save with Enter.
We can also move the whole group, with all the tiles it contains.
With just a few simple changes, we can create an entirely unique Windows 10 Start Menu.
Stop the stupid animated "live tiles"
If we don't care for the animated tiles and find them distracting, but don't want to remove them, we can just right-click and select "Turn live tile off".
This will shut up the tile for good. We repeat on each tile, for a quiet Windows 10 Start Menu.
The "Settings" app is the metro equivalent of the Control Panel, giving access to virtually all of the Windows 10 settings.
Did you know, however, that you can pin "Settings" shortcuts to the Windows 10 Start Menu?
Let's say we like to change themes often, so we want quick access to the themes' settings screen.
We just need to search for the relevant option once - make sure you select the option with the gear icon, it won't work for Control Panel items...
After the "Settings" page has opened, we just right-click on the themes option and select "Pin to Start".
Now, we got an excellent "Themes" tile on the Windows 10 Start Menu.
We can do this with all the essentials Windows 10 settings, for quick and easy access.
Pin the recycle bin to the Start Menu
Sometimes, we want to access the recycle bin, but our screen is full of Windows. We could minimize everything with the shortcut "Win + M", but then we would have to restore half a dozen windows one by one.
So, what if we had the recycle bin on the Start Menu?
We just need to right-click on the Recycle Bin icon and choose "Pin to Start".
Simple as that.
Bring back the start screen
If you own a tablet and find that the start screen was a better fit than the start menu, fear not, for it's not gone.
We just need to go to Settings -> Personalization -> Start, flip the "Use Start full screen" setting to "on"...
..and almost everyone's nightmare from Windows 8 is back.
We guess it works better on tablets.
Uninstall apps through the Start Menu
How often have you seen an installed program on the Start Menu that you meant to uninstall, but you never actually bothered to go to "Programs and Settings"? With the Windows 10 Start Menu, you won't need to.
Just right-click on the app icon, and hit "Uninstall".
This might not work with every application under the sun, but it will work with most of them.
Install an alternative Start Menu
When Windows 8 got rid of the Start Menu, the "alternative Start Menu" became a big business for some software developers, such as Stardock, IObit, and the guys behind Classic Shell.
Surprisingly, some of those alternative start menus still work on Windows 10, or the companies have created a separate version for Windows 10.
Classic Shell gives us three alternatives right out of the box and many customization options.
Of course, in Windows 10 the appearance is a bit different, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Start Menu 8
Start Menu 8 by IObit is much closer to a Windows 7 Start Menu.
It also has a selection of different buttons for the start menu.
How did you customize your Windows 10 Start Menu?
Do you like the start menu tiles, or hate them? Do you find the Windows 10 start menu too big? Do you prefer to install a third-party app to get back the Windows 7 start menu? Leave us a comment regarding your Start Menu preferences.
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