The default Windows operating system Start menu is poised to receive the biggest redesign of recent years. Gone are the days of dynamic tiles in the Start menu. Instead, the default menu now contains pinned apps, AI-based recommendations, folder shortcuts, and more. And yes, it also gets a new position in the taskbar. In addition, you have all the tools to customize the Start menu experience on Windows 11.
Microsoft has added a bunch of customization options. The default settings are fine, but you might want to change the look, feel, and function of the Windows 11 Start menu.
We will show you the default behavior in the Windows 11 Start menu and how to change it in the operating system.
1. Disable the translucent effect
Windows 11 default items like the Widgets panel, new notification area, quick toggles, and the Start menu have a translucent effect. It’s part of Microsoft’s Fluent design system that the company offers in other proprietary applications.
While it looks nice with the default Windows 11 wallpaper, it may not go well with some third-party wallpapers.
You can open the Settings menu and go to the Personalization> Colors menu. Then turn off transparency effects in the next menu.
No restart is required here. You will immediately see the effect applied in the Start menu.
2. Change the theme of the Start menu
You can change the theme of the Start menu individually. However, the suggested method will change the whole look of the operating system.
The default Start menu is set to the white theme with a blue accent color. Follow the steps below to change this.
Step 1: Open the Settings menu in Windows 11 (Windows keys + I).
2nd step: Go to the Personalization> Colors menu.
Step 3: Choose the default theme mode from Light, Dark, or Custom.
Step 4: From the same menu, you can select the accent color that appears in the Windows 11 Start menu and throughout the operating system.
3. Change the position of the Start menu
As we mentioned above, Microsoft centers the position of the Start menu in Windows 11. However, if you keep going back to the lower left corner, you may change the position due to your old ways.
Step 1: Open the Windows Settings app and go to the Personalization menu.
2nd step: Select Taskbar> Taskbar Behaviors.
Step 3: From the Alignment menu on the taskbar, select Left.
Windows 11 will slide out the taskbar with the Start menu and application icons on the left side.
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4. Pin / Unpin apps to the Start menu
Quick live tiles are gone, and apps pinned to the Start menu are replacing them. As expected, Microsoft has cluttered the Start menu with its own apps and services.
You can right-click any app and remove it from the Start menu. Likewise, users can right-click any app in the apps menu and pin it to the Start menu.
Likewise, users can drag and drop apps to the Start menu to change the position. Therefore, you can pin up to 18 apps to the Start menu.
5. Disable Windows Recommendations
With the transition to Windows 11, Windows Timeline has also disappeared. Now you have recommendations in the Windows 11 Start menu. At the moment, they only work with Microsoft applications and services.
You won’t find it useful if you don’t want to try everything Microsoft recommends. You can turn off Start menu recommendations from the Settings menu. Here’s how.
Step 1: Open the Settings app on Windows 11.
2nd step: Go to Personalization> Start and turn off Show recently opened items in Start, Shortcut Lists, and File Explorer.
We hope that Microsoft will open the recommended API for third-party developers. Imagine a scenario where you can open a WhatsApp chat or Twitter home page directly from the Windows 11 start menu. Productive, right?
6. Add folders to the Start menu
Microsoft offers an option to add shortcuts like file explorer, images, downloads, etc. to the Start menu. This is very useful for opening frequently viewed folders directly from the Start menu.
Go to Windows Settings> Personalization> Start and select Folders. Then select the folders you want to add to the Start menu.
For example, we’ve added the Downloads and File Manager shortcuts to the Start menu.
Open the Start menu and you will see newly added shortcuts next to the Power menu. You can now pin and open your frequently used folders with just one click.
Customize the Start menu in Windows 11
It’s good to see Microsoft’s approach with Windows 11. However, unlike Windows 10, you can further customize the new Start menu experience. So make the necessary adjustments and feel right at home with the new Windows 11 Start menu.
Last updated on August 19, 2021
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