When you upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11, one of the first things that makes you wonder: where the hell is my Start menu? Traditionally, the Windows Start menu is located in the lower-left corner of the screen, but when your new version of Windows appears, you’ll find the Start icon among a group of icons in the center of your taskbar at the bottom of the screen. screen.
Click on the Start menu icon and things will look very different too. Instead of the big square Live Tiles that used to show up, you have a much more modest set of app icons, usually showing Microsoft-related apps pinned to the main page. Click “All apps” in the top right corner (just below the search field) and you’ll get the familiar A-to-Z list of apps. But no tiles.
Look under the app icons and you’ll find a “Recommended” section, which offers apps that Microsoft thinks you should try (like Teams) and, if you click the “More” button, some of the files or apps that you may have used recently.
By the way, that search field? Click it and the Start menu will open, giving you instant access to File Explorer, Settings, and other apps.
While some may appreciate this more puritanical version of the Start menu, others who have become accustomed to the more configurable version in Windows 10 may want to know how to go back to the more familiar and more personal version.
You can get part of the way there by moving the centered apps to the left side of the taskbar:
- Right click on the taskbar and click on “Taskbar Settings”
- Select “Taskbar Behavior”
- Look for ‘Taskbar Alignment’ and click the button on the right where it says ‘Center’. Select “Left” instead.
- Close the settings window and you will see that the app icons in the taskbar have moved to the left, with the Start menu icon in the corner.
While this will put the Start menu back where you expected it to be, it won’t restore the menu you were used to. To get that back, you have to go to a third party app.
There are a few available. Stardock, a company whose Start10 app allows Windows 10 users to keep their beloved Windows 7 menu UI, has a Start11 app, which it claims is bringing back the classic Windows 10 Start menu. The app has a starting price of $5.99 for one active install.
A second is StartAllBack, which lets you customize some UI aspects of Windows 11, including the Start menu and taskbar. StartAllBack offers a 30-day trial period; after that, a single PC license costs $4.99.
Update April 18, 2022, 9:05 AM ET: This article was originally published on September 21, 2021; information about the Start11 app has been updated, information about StartAllBack has been added and the mention of some now useless regedit hacks has been removed.