Microsoft has dramatically simplified the Windows 11 Start menu, ditching live tiles and aiming for a sleek, rounded interface. Here’s an overview of what’s new and different in Start from Windows 10.
It is centered by default
In Windows 11, the Start menu appears in the center of the screen when opened by default. This is because Windows 11 aligns the Start button and taskbar icons to the center of the screen.
It is possible to open the menu on the left side (like Windows 10) if you open Settings and go to Personalization > Taskbar > Taskbar behaviors and set “Taskbar alignment” to “Left” .
Soon: How To Move Taskbar Icons To The Left In Windows 11
More Live Tiles
The Windows 10 Start menu featured Live Tiles, the widget-like rectangular icon boxes introduced in Windows 8. In Windows 11, Live Tiles are nowhere to be found. Instead, you’ll see lists of app icons in the Start menu. And when you pin apps to the Start menu, they’ll appear as icons in a 3×6 icon panel near the top that scrolls one page at a time to hold lots of overflow icons.
Soon: Windows 10’s New Start Menu May Kill Live Tiles Forever
General Layout Changes
Unlike every other Start menu before it, the Windows 11 Start menu “floats” above the taskbar, no longer abutting the Start button. It also carries over to the rounded corners theme of Windows 11 in general.
To change account settings, lock your PC, or log out, you click your account name in the lower left corner. Clicking the power button in the lower right corner brings up a small pop-up menu that allows you to sleep, shut down, or restart your PC.
The “All apps” list takes over
In Windows 11, if you click “All apps” in the top right corner of the Start menu and start scrolling through your alphabetical “All apps” list, the list takes over the entire menu, pushing all pinned apps (and the “Recommended” area) off the screen. It’s a more focused approach than Windows 10 that may be less visually confusing for some people.
Special folder shortcuts Go to bottom of menu
If you open Settings and go to Personalization > Start > Folders, you can add special folder icons to the bottom of the Start menu. These include links to “This PC,” “Documents,” “Pictures,” “Network,” and more than Windows 10 listed on the far left of its Start menu.
Soon: How to Add Folder Shortcuts to Left Sidebar of Start Menu in Windows 10
A new “recommended” area
In Windows 10, your most used apps and most recent apps would appear at the top of your alphabetical list of apps in the Start menu (unless you disabled them). In Windows 11, a section called “Recommended” that takes up the bottom half of the Start menu fulfills this role.
Luckily, it’s easy to turn it off in Settings, but it takes up a lot of screen real estate for a feature some people might prefer to turn off. But who knows, things might change by the time Windows 11 is fully released later this year.