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Are Windows 11's new Start menu options good enough to win people over?

W11 Start Searchbar
W11 Start Searchbar (Image credit: Microsoft)

In case you haven't heard, the Windows 11 Start menu has become one of, if not the, most controversial aspects of Microsoft's newest operating system. Some people don't care about it one way or the other and plenty of people are perfectly fine with it, but a great many people have come out in full force to say they hate it. Hate is not a soft word, so when we say folks have been getting ruffled for months over something as pedestrian as a Start menu, we're being serious.

We've run polls in the past on the subject, though that was before Microsoft came along and made some tweaks to the divisive menu itself. As of Windows 11 build 22509, Redmond has officially extended an olive branch in the direction of irked Windows users everywhere (though only Insiders in the Dev Channel have access to it for now). The Start menu has gotten more flexible, now enabling people to change the ratio of pinned apps to recent documents displayed.

However, while that is a clear-cut example of Microsoft addressing one big complaint with the Start menu, other facets of it that annoy people have been left unaltered. So what say you: Is this change good enough and is Microsoft free to focus on more important things? Or does the company need to do more to get the Start menu in peak shape so it stops bringing shame to the Windows name?

Don't forget that Microsoft has also taken time to improve other aspects of the Windows 11 experience, such as with its recent tweaks to the Paint app. But the question remains: Do any improvements matter so long as the Start menu continues to stir the pot?

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

93 Comments
  • No, it's not! MS needs to wake up to itself. WTF happened to MS?
  • Insightful. So very very insightful!
  • @Monte Constable1 Thank you for your insightful well thought out response. You sure told me, lol. The poll is showing 70% of voters are unhappy with the Start Menu...this is Windows Central so that's 70% of hard core Windows fans.
    That is a major concern for MS.
  • I guess u can't please anyone. Dont like them personally, I liked tiles they were unique and different from other OS's but I also know others didn't like them. This start menu feels like something apple/Google r already doing imo
  • "I guess u can't please anyone" Do you mean everyone?
  • Lol...ur right
  • Funny thing though Apple already added Widgets alongside with app icons. Google at least on Android always have Widgets, but for a long time by default it is mostly app icons only with just date and weather widget only pinned. But sure on Chrome OS it is just an icons and Macs, well they didn't really change the default desktop look for more than 20 years. Well I guess this is what most people want, but I'm not sure if people want actually less features.
  • The only acceptable improvement will be COMPLETELY SCRAPPING IT and going back to the superior Windows 10 version. You want to (sttupidly) get rid of Live Tiles? OK, put the pins in it instead. But otherwise, there should have been no changing of the Star Menu. But that's Windows 11 for you: a collection of unnecessary changes and redesigns, always for the worse.
    Which is why virtually no one is willingly updating to it and adoption rates are so miserable Windows XP has more users 🤣
  • I have recommended people stay away unless they need graphical Linux or Android app support. If they brought back the Windows 10 Start menu I might feel differently.
  • Unfortunately, many people here are ignoring the reality that the majority of the world work via mobile devices that unfortunately area either iOS, mac OS, and android so if MS does present something that's familiar to the then they risk losing mindshare. Seems like most of your guys here would like MS to go the way BlackBerry and Nokia did which is an old antiquated OS that's not familiar to market trends. Where are BB & Nokia now? These companies were once king's of the hill in the US but chose not to innovate with the market and lost their dominant position. So if MS listens to the few and not the many, they well join BB & Nokia. Just adapt out join linux's 1.2% market share!
  • Majority of the people work on Windows my friend. Their personal (digital) life takes place on mobile indeed. Two different things
  • And I'm one of them who early adopts the new version to test features and ensure our productivity software is compatible. I also make sure I'm aware of the previous operating systems life cycle to ensure it will continue to have support if we choose to stay on it before migrating. Over also worked at companies who have outdated systems because they choose not to move forward which caused more problems with drivers, etc. Although we don't always move immediately, it's good to keep up with the latest OS and software's even if it's on a selected number of devices.
  • OMG55, there is not a parallel between those things. Windows 10 was used by over a billion people. More people, BY FAR, use Windows for doing work than use iOS or Mac (not even close). On the other hand, we can directly trace the fall of Blackberry to sticking with obsolete hardware technology until they last their brand value. Some with Windows in mobile -- by the time MS upgraded their obsolete Windows Mobile to glass, multitouch hardware with Windows 7, they were in a distant 3rd place against fast moving innovativing competitors Apple and Google. None of that has anything to do with removing features we had in the Windows 10 Start menu that provide a huge boost to speed at getting work done, compared to the crippled version in Windows 11.
  • I respect your views, but overall Andriod OS is running on roughly 2.5 billion devices worldwide and if they get more third party software vendors to code their current windows based productivity software to run on Chrome OS Microsoft will be in trouble because chromebooks are cheaper and dominant in the education market. Of they crack the corporate market Microsoft is toast. I love windows but Microsoft has to give itself a chance; I loved WP but without android apps or even just the popular ones they had no chance! All I can say odd that it's not as easy as some people think it is.
  • Android/iOS is a subset of cloud use. Those 3rd party apps aren't where businesses run their core apps. Sure there is Excel, but nobody in their right mind likes a micro spreadsheet they can barely read without zooming in and scrolling around vs. seeing the big picture on a large screen. So yeah, Android/iOS has a handful of iffy business apps, PDF viewers, Twitter, Spotify, Facebook, and Galaxian clones, but their relevance with everyday corporate life is non-existent.
  • Not sure where you do you get that experience from, but several companies I have worked for is still predominantly Windows, our field works may use iOS or Android, but that's because now Windows Mobile don't have presence there anymore. But they will still go with Windows machine to do the heavy lifting. We had a client that use Macs, which quite common in the design industry. Even then, their devs will use Windows anyways, though some may use Macs for personal reasons and others for iOS development which is okay since at least they are managed anyways, just not in AD.
  • I agree with you about the Start Menu, but think Windows 11 is objectively superior to Windows 10 in most other areas. Not just UI, but under the hood technical improvements.
  • I'll have to disagree. Specially on the UI front, where it's a massive step backwards, with the OS looking like the aborted child of macOS and Linux. Just awful.
    But to each their own I guess.
  • For myself I disagree with you on this one. I never really liked the windows 10 start menu and it also hated touch experience on windows 10 to. I was not a massive fan of windows 8 but for touch it was very good. I used my surface alot with touch on windows 8 but when 10 came out I went back to my phone. Now 11 is out I'm back to my windows pc again. The start menu takes a little getting the hang of and setting up but once it's done it's just normal day to day way of accessing my mostly used apps that I don't pin to the task bar. My biggest complaint about it is you can pin a folder to it.
  • Are you high bro?
  • No.
    If I were I might actually find Windows 11 pretty and good.
    Unfortunately for Microsoft my disdain for weed is as great as my disdain for drugs in general and for garbage designs ;P
  • I like cake.
  • I don't think Microsoft needs to reinvent the 11 Start Menu or taskbar, however, there are some quality of life improvements they could implement. For example, being able to move the taskbar to the top or side, re-adding some of the context menu options, and making Recommendations optional. I test 11 at work but don't use it at home because I find it to be less efficient despite looking way better than 10.
  • Dude, you don't use it because you're simply used to Windows 10. Lol.... That's all.
  • Start menu is fine, Windows 11 is great, no one is forcing anyone to upgrade... If you prefer Windows 10 stick with it... Or move to iOS, ha ha ha, now that really is one awful operating system...
  • In a few years time, Windows 10 will lose support, so eventually, people will be kind of forced to update to Windows 11. No doubt some people will stay with Windows 10, what ever, the same as some people still use Windows 7, but most people will be pushed to Windows 11. as for IOS, it is a different OS than Windows, windows is produced for laptops and desktop machines, IOS is produced for phones and tablets
  • There is the thing: windows 10 is still supported for another 5 years, so by then, maybe there will be a windows 12 version that would manage to somehow make peace with windows 10 fans too while keep inovating the windows OS itself ...
  • You seem to discount Microsoft's propensity not to allow upgrades more than one version behind, forcing the user to do a full install. Unless one is a glutton for punishment and enjoys discovering miscellaneous app installers don't recognize Win 12, we're all more or less forced to upgrade to Win 11 while it's available.
  • When that time comes we will be due for a hardware refresh and upgrades won't be an issue.
  • Not everyone replaces their machines every five years or so.
  • I would not bet on it, if there is a Windows 12, I expect there to be more restrictions, the problem is there are new machines still in stores that don't meet Ms recommendations for Windows 11, some people keep their machines for longer than five years, i know of people who still have machines that are 10 years old and even older. If it does what they need it to do, then why would they buy a new one?
  • Windows 11 is at its birth. It will gain features and respond to user feedback. The Windows 11 of 1-2 years from now will likely have addressed the chief concerns of most users (thanks to discussions like this one). Not saying everyone will love it; I'm sure many won't. But like Windows 8.1 helped address the addressable UI shortcomings of 8 (the bifurcated Metro vs. Desktop problem was too big to fix w/o renumbering the OS), and like Windows 10 for many was the proper successor to Windows 7, MS has a good track record of listening to users and adjusting accordingly. Whether that's just with the next update to Windows 11, Windows 11.1, or an accelerated release of Windows 12, they'll get it right before too long.
  • I definitely think it helps. I agree they should allow you to eliminate the recommended section entirely... I don't use it, and don't want to. I also think they need to add icon folders. I really want to get down to one page of start icons and that would get me there. I loved live tiles on windows phone, but they just never got the support they needed on desktop, and it doesn't really work as well when they're not on a full size home screen like a phone.
  • I like nearly everything about Windows 11 better than Windows 10 EXCEPT FOR THE START MENU. I will miss Live Tiles, but as long as MS opens up the Widget bar to 3rd parties (and hopefully also lets us put Widgets on the Desktop for permanent visibility without needing to open the Widget bar every few seconds), I can live with that loss of function. However, the inability to organize the Start menu is a more serious problem. Just looking at my old Windows 10 Start Menu, on a quick count, looks like I have pinned 79 icons on my Start Menu. They are grouped and organized for easy access. Grouped by News, Utilities, Hardware, Office Tools, Audio and Video Tools, Internet & Connectivity, Communications, and Entertainment. My more popular apps (and those with active Live Tiles) are larger, lesser used apps are smaller. These are mostly the apps I use frequently, with rare apps just in the All Apps section. My very most common apps are pinned to the Taskbar (Outlook, Teams, Edge, Word, Excel, Terminal, Explorer), but I obviously can't pin everything I use a lot to the Taskbar - it wouldn't fit. 2-clicks, one on Start, one on the app, gets me to any app I use frequently. On my 40" 4k screen (I run it at 125% scale factor), all of that fits in the lower left 1/4 corner of my screen, so plenty of room to grow if needed. Microsoft's new Start Menu appears to have no concept that power users exist who frequently move between dozens of programs. The Windows 11 Start Menu is tiny. The new version allows adding a few extra icons, but is fundamentally the same. While we can sort it, we can't ORGANIZE it. I can find anything on my current Windows 10 Start menu in under 1 second (often faster than finding something on the Taskbar), because it's organized in groups by subject area. This new single long list of dozens of icons in Windows 11 Start requires reading and browsing through everything. That's useless. At that point, it's faster to just start typing the name of the app or browsing the All Apps list and launching it that way. Plus, apps pinned to Start don't support Jump Lists. That's terrible. The Taskbar pins do, so I suppose I could change what I pin to the Taskbar to include everything where I generally use Jump Lists, but here's just one example of the problems with that: PuTTY (app to SSH to different servers). I use that several times per week, but some days, not at all. So it's not often enough that I'd want to pin it to the Taskbar. When I launch it, I right click on its icon in the Internet and Connectivity section of my Start menu and select the server I want to connect to from the list of the most recent connections. That simple operation is trivial from the Windows 10 Start Menu, and effectively impossible in Windows 11. Instead, in Windows 11, I have to launch PuTTY, then select the server, Open it, and Connect. Turns a 1-2 second right-click and select into several clicks and scrolling to find a server in the list, then launching another window. I do appreciate I could use Start 11, and may go that route, but I generally don't like to use 3rd party modifications to the core OS experience. And the worst part is that we already have all this capability in Windows 10. It's not like they needed to invent something new, just not take away what worked so well.
  • I know that post was already too long, but here's another thought on that: If MS is dead set to get away from anything resembling the Windows 10 Start organization system, then AT LEAST GIVE US THE FOLDER GROUPING CAPABILITIES OF THE MS LAUNCHER FOR ANDROID. Not only did they take away core organizational features of Windows 10, Windows 11 Start is also totally inconsistent with their own Launcher for Android, included on the MS Surface Duo, for example. So they can't even argue that it's just a simplification. Inconsistency is never simple. While I would prefer the organizational capability of Windows 10, if I could at least position a few critical apps and then folders of all my other semi-frequent apps on Windows 11 grouped like I listed above, that would be acceptable. I could have folders for the 8 categories I listed above, and put the icons in each folder. As long as they added Jump List support back in, that wouldn't be too bad. Still an extra click to open each folder, but better than a rambling useless list of pinned icons.
  • The start menu feels like it was created by an intern who had never used the Windows 10 version.
  • Indeed. Like someone who used iOS 10 years ago and implemented that. (Even modern iOS supports folders for some level of organization!)
  • I like how everyone on this site is complaining about the start menu but the reality of it is you are all thinking from a power user perspective. Most normal users don't care about live tiles, they don't pin things to start, and they either look through all apps, or us search to find what they want. Yes power users are important too but in the grand scheme of things they are the minority so what the start menu looks like really doesn't matter because people are either going to use it for shortcuts, or just search.
  • Annulator, guilty as charged. In fact, I can support what you say: I've helped set up Start for some users, and they never used the tiles. However, those of us who do are a legit constintuency of Windows users too. The reality is that they could have found a way to preserve the function for us while still simplifying the experience for the majority of users who don't need all of this. Power Users are willing to spend more time during setup, but then are more sensitive to speed on an ongoing basis. This means the new flat, simple list can be the default (fine). This can also mean that it's tougher to configure or modify if we want to customize (also fine). But the problem is that the current Windows 11 system makes my work harder and slower. It's a productivity killer, and that is not acceptable. In the past, Microsoft has generally done well by appealing to power users with keyboard and right-click shortcuts, while still keeping things almost (maybe not quite) Apple-simple for the masses. Here, they crapped on power users. For me, this is just like the Windows 8 Start debacle. To simplify for the mass new group of touchscreen users, they abandoned the speed of the Windows 7 Start menu. Windows 10 brilliantly combined the best of Windows 7 and 8. Windows 11 again goes for simplicity at the expense of Power Users and destroys productivity of its most active users. And as anyone who reads my posts here knows, I generally support MS' decisions in these areas. This is just too destructive to my workflow to support.
  • I agree with just about everything you've stated, but remember Microsoft is pushing for cloud adoption of just about everything including the OS. Of they can get little to license it, is more secure and would function similar to what ghosting did for the computers in the college lab computer while allowing them to profit. Honestly SaaS and PaaS saves on disaster recovery costs and even hardware cost because you can utilize lower spec systems. That's a whole different story though.
  • Windows 10 is still available Anna supported so you and many others workflow can continue as before win 11.
  • OMG55, that's very true (about Windows 10). For now, I'm still running Windows 10 on my main working machines, and have Windows 11 on my laptops. On a smaller screen, Windows 11's Start Menu problems are less of an issue. It's on a big desktop workstation with multiple monitors that have room for a well-organized Start menu that problems of Windows 11 are most apparent.
  • You have to think about the "power user", otherwise you end up with a simplified system that will bleed market share. Imagine if Microsoft removed all of the word processing features of Word that "power users" rely on. You would end up with something aproaching notepad in features. Microsoft probably relied on metrics collected from millions of users and discovered a majority of users didn't use the Start Menu. This is Microsoft and IT departments fault. They were never told what it was for, or forced to try it. IT continued to setup new systems like Windows 95. If you give someone a jet but teach them to drive it like a car it will never leave the ground.
  • I like that analogy a lot. I think I'll use that at work. :-) Thanks!
  • This is exactly right. I was asking someone who just got a new W11 laptop how they liked that start menu and she didn't even know what I was talking about. She said she just uses what is there. That is most people.
  • "Most normal users don't care about live tiles, they don't pin things to start, and they either look through all apps, or us search to find what they want." Your assessment of what normal users do couldn't be further from reality.
    Not only normal users do care about the Start Menu (not live tiles, I'll give you that), the vast majority of them HATE change. Specially when it's for the worse and makes navigation even more cumbersome, which is exactly what the Windows 11 start menu does.
    There's a reason Windows 8 flopped and there's a reason Windows 11 is also flopping. And that's because Microsoft didn't learn anything with the flop of Windows 8. The Start Menu as created on Windows 95 just works. And if something works, there's no point in changing just because "it's old".
    Change for the sake of change is never welcomed by the masses.
    The learning curve is just too steep and people aren't interested in having to relearn everything again.
    There's a reason iOS has gotten away with staying basically the same for the last decade.
  • All true. I do think subtle design change for the sake of change is fine -- keeps things LOOKING fresh and helps helps sell systems by driving older versions to LOOK dated. But functionally, exactly as you've said, that should not change unless there is a clear benefit to the change. Having said all of that, I do think that designers and developers and users can find and implement beneficial changes more often than would be implied by the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality. It just requires some creative problem solving work. Other than getting MS out of the support cycle for Live Tiles (I loved them, but I know most users didn't care) to free resources for other features, I don't see any clear user-benefit to the new Windows 11 Start Menu. Dan Rubino points out that they didn't set out to take away features, they just haven't added everything back in yet to a new Start Menu they built from scratch. But to customers and users, any features that are no longer there have effectively been removed. That means Windows 11 Start Menu is, objectively, a significant downgrade from Windows 10.
  • It's a downgrade.
  • Windows 11 and Halo Infinite. Two products that should have been given more time to bake
  • They're repeating the mistakes of Windows 8. In both Windows 11 and Windows 8 Start menus Microsoft is prioritizing simplicity (with Windows 8, it was the belief that simple = smart phone or tablet home screen) over performance and usability for power users. Helping users with simplicity is a valid objective. However, MS does best when they find a UI design that supports both power users and novices with the same interface. That's not impossible, just takes some thought and good design. I would say that Windows 10 Start menu hit this brilliantly, bringing the best of Windows 7 and 8 together into a single design. Maybe it wasn't quite as good to die-hard Win 7 users as Win 7, or to die-hard Win 8 users as Win 8, but it was much better than a meet-in-middle compromise (the old "a camel is a horse designed by committee" problem). It kept the best and most important features of each and delivered more total value than either alone. OK, so for Win 11, MS wants to prioritize simplicity. Fine, do that, but ALSO preserve options for us power users to still organize the Start Menu for speed and efficiency when running several dozen distinct apps (not just 3-5 or even 10 apps like casual users need). Think about those of us who may need rapid access to a few hundred documents across those dozens of apps. Keep the keyboard shortcuts, Jump Lists, and spatial organization, which are all about saving time.
  • I like it but I wish there were some more options to customize it out way , like windows 10.
  • They want people to eventually upgrade to Windows 11. I'm not a fan of the new Start Menu and wish they'd just give people the option to change the menu or at the very least, all ow people to change it from the registry. However, I do understand that it's currently optional to upgrade. I like the idea of making folders in the Windows 10 menu and the look of the menu. The Windows 11 Start is functional, if you are using it in desktop mode. However, if you're using a Surface PC or other touch screen devuce, it just doesn't seem as intuitive.
    I get being able to use the widget pane for the informational stuff, but it will only let you pin what MS wants you to pin. There wasn't anything wrong with Live Tiles, MS just needed to refine it, which they seem to have done in the for of the Widget pane. There's no reason the Widget pane should not have just been an extention of the start menu. It makes sense to just thumb swipe the left side of the screen to access the Start.
  • In Desktop mode, for power users, it's also not functional, because it doesn't give you any way to organize the dozens of apps you use. It's a major downgrade on desktop, to the point that I'm forced to stick with Windows 10 on my workstations. I've only put Windows 11 on laptops and 2-in-1's, where the small screen doesn't need the space of the larger Windows 10 Start.
  • not even close. I remember when win8 gave ppl a choice of new or legacy interface. that needs to happen again. give power users the choice to have things like grouping etc., and leave idiot mode for the deserving.
    my workflow is media creation oriented. I regularly need dozens of tools, the current 11 menu couldn't be worse for me, it's a nightmare.
  • Shel, matches my experience. For business work, I'm frequently in the Office suite. For media production, I'm in Corel, Adobe, Audacity, and a ton of other lesser known tools. For tech work, I use a bunch of IT tools. All are essential to my workflow. Windows 11 makes it incredibly tedious to access these. However, I would say that Windows 8 did not really give you any ability to function like Window 7, which was part of the problem. I feel very similarly with Windows 11 to how I felt about Windows 8. However, Windows 8 ruined the desktop with its bifurcation of new Metro apps and Desktop apps. Windows 11 instead ruins the Start menu with it's iOS circa 2010 home screen Start menu.
  • Why not just type the name of the app you want to launch. So much faster, never have to tak hands of keyboard. No jump lists but super fast.
  • toddpart, true that access method is effectively unchanged over the past versions of Windows, but in many cases that's slower, sometimes MUCH slower, than the Windows 10 organization allows. I have over 100 applications installed, meaning I always would have to type several characters to get to a single app. Contrast this with hit Start, eyes and mouse instantly go to the right group (I have 9 groups for the different kinds of apps, like Entertainment, News, Audio & Video Editors, Communication, Hardware, etc.) and spot the app within the group. Then, left click to launch or right-click to select a recent document to open in that app. Also, I often don't know the actual name of the app, I just know I need one of my audio editors or some hardware app for adjusting printer or camera settings (no idea what those apps are called), or something along those lines. In that case, there's no way for me to type the name. At best, I have to stop and think and hopefully can remember the name to start typing it. Often, that's impossible for me. Windows 11 completely destroys my workflow in these cases.
  • It's a step in the right direction, but I want two things for the start menu: 1) The ability to completely disable the recommended section in favor of more pins 2) the ability to have pinned folders of pins for organization
  • While I would prefer to be able to organize my pins into groups on the Start menu so that I can see all my major apps at once don't have to waste a click to open a a folder first, I completely agree with you that at least having that option would be a huge improvement over what we have in Windows 11 now. It would probably be "good enough" for me.
  • For decades now the only reason I even see the start menu is because it pops up when I hit the Windows key. Windows key + type the application name + enter = sucess. The only thing that bothers me is not having the ability to make the taskbar smaller.
  • BRING BACK THE TILES!. Like c'mon
  • As a developer, I miss the windows 10 start screen. Organizing your most used apps into groups is a great thing for developers. I think I had 7 different groups of things on my start screen. Now with windows 11, its just a bunch of icons in a list and I find it absolutely useless for organizing the tools I use. I'm close to reinstalling windows 10 on my machine.
  • Hmmmm... 🤔
    Well, people use case vary... 🙄
  • All this focus on the start menu and I'm over here still waiting for MS to add back functionality to the taskbar--like labels and not forcing windows to group by app--that are a real part of my current non-Win11 workflow. I upgraded to W11 during the beta and downgraded shortly after because it made that workflow much more tedious. I don't think Start11 has addressed those issues either (despite doing things like adding back in a context menu), but if someone can confirm otherwise, please let me know!
  • Those issues don't affect me personally, and I can't answer yet about Start 11 (I'll probably try it soon), but I can absolutely understand that if you frequently need separate Taskbar icons for each window in the same app, then Windows 11 is a productivity killer for you. For me, it's the lack of a customizable Start menu to find my apps and the loss of the right-click on pinned apps to get to my recent documents that prevent me from using Windows 11 on my main workstations.
  • Understood! If I used more than a half-dozen apps, that would be a dealbreaker for me too. Instead, I use multiple instances of a few apps and not being able to instantly identify windows (and worse, having to look for specific icons, then mouse over them, then choose the right instance) is a tiny productivity cost that happens hundreds of times a day and adds up to a lot of frustration. Hopefully, they can address both of our issues!
  • I still never use the Start Menu except to turn off my computer. As an aside, moving the power off function away from where the cursor opens the menu is a bizarre decision.
  • I just bought a pc with windows 11. I find myself totally ignoring the start menu and just pin everything to the desktop that i can. If i can't pin it to the desktop, I just pin it to the taskbar. The start menu just serves no real meaning for me right now. If microsoft allows more choices in the widgets. I will start to feel at home a bit. I want to pin things to it that are more necessary like outlook email and things that i find more important than what it has. Atleast, i can pin the outlook calendar. the one on the right is now just useless.
  • I abandoned the archaic desktop years ago with no plans to return. When I have many apps open across three monitors the desktop serves no purpose. It's just a place to have pretty wallpapers peaking through the gaps. Any computer I setup gets shipped with the desktop icons turned off. I force people to use the more efficient Start Menu.
  • I wonder if Windows 11 will force us to use the Desktop for this purpose. At least that's one way to organize app launching icons now that we can no longer do that in the Start menu.
  • There's much more to improve, here's my list:
    -option to resize the menu to some extent
    -icon folders, I mean, you want to mimic android you do it the right way
    -jump lists
  • Those would resolve my most critical problems with Windows 11 Start too. I'd still prefer to be able to organize and group my app icons without needing to open folders (saving a step and making access faster), but at least folders would provide the needed organization. That would meet me at "good enough."
  • I don't think this problem is a poweruser vs regular consumers.
    If Microsoft make a feature called start menu, where you can find all your apps and they think that people don't need folders, that's OK.
    But!! Give us something else, maybe a better way to organize the apps or automatic way? Something.
    A mass of a list is just stupid.
  • I presume there will be more third party choice, like there is on Windows 10, i use start is back on Windows 10 to make my start menu like Windows 7 as I hate the start menu on windows 10. I kind of like Windows start menu, but it does need improvements and the also MS should make it possible to move the taskbar to the top and sides of the screen.
    there are a couple of tricks to do that, but it messes up the start menu.
  • Stardock I use it so I can get the best start menu full screen. 8.1 /10. That's what I have done.
  • I'd like to he able to group pinned apps into folders, but that's a nice to have, not a must have. Other than that, the start menu is fine.
    My most used apps are, and always have been pinned to the taskbar.
    Apps I used for a specific project have shortcuts in a folder on the desktop.
    In reality, I barely use the start menu. Haven't since Windows 7.
  • I think your situation is typical for users who only use about dozen or fewer apps with any frequency. For those of us who use several dozen apps every week, pinning them all to the taskbar is literally impossible. Typing the name from Start is often also impossible (I don't know the names of the all the apps I need, just know I need to access a server or an audio editor). I need to be able to organize them in groups by category, then I look at that group and only have to view 8-12 icons, a manageable number. Trivial to do and perfect with the Windows 10 Start menu, which even let me make my more common apps have larger icons/tiles than the ones I use less frequently. This is completely broken and impossible in Windows 11. At a bare minimum, I need folders for grouping my apps in Start. That would not be as good as Windows 10, but it would at least make it usable.
  • You are right, I typically use about 10 to 15 apps frequently. Depending on my projects, I end up using up to 25. For those times, I just create a folder on the desktop and put shortcuts to those apps in them to croup them.
    That's how I've grouped my apps for decades, so the lack of folders in the start menu to me isn't a deal breaker. I've also come to use virtual desktops a lot to group my workload. I fully understand that for many it is, though, and that my use case is just one of many possibilities.
  • I find it interesting when people who suggest Microsoft needs to "wake up" or get their act together which is an implication that the company is needs to do a better job at what it's supposed to do. Well as with any company, it's earnings that paint a better picture than anything else, so let's look at the figures. Apple was the first US company to go over the Trillion dollar earnings threshold. Anyone want to take a guess at who the second company was??? I've learned in a position of leadership you're never going to please everyone, but that doesn't mean you stop trying. I think MSFT has done an admiral job navigating both. Remember when Apple launched their iPhone without headphone jacks for the first time? Sure some people liked it, but there were some who downright hated it. Still Apple stayed the course and wouldn't you know, almost all new phones today don't have one. When MSFT released Windows 10 they were trying in my opinion to give Windows fans the same functionality and comfort of Windows 7 while maintaining one of the innovative features of Windows Mobile, and Windows 8...the Live Tiles. Now while I've always loved the live tiles and really liked them on Windows Mobile (I think they're really designed for mobile platforms) they never really got the traction that some were hoping for. Many chose to not engage them at all. What you're left with is pretty much Windows 95, 98, XP, and 7 with a graphical facelift. With the infusion of chrome books into the market over the past several years, you've seen a trend of consumers gravitating to a more aesthetically pleasing OS user interface, just like with iOS and OSX or MacOS. MSFT isn't just trying to please the users they already have and that's a lot with the enterprise sector pretty much using Windows whether you like it or not, but give reasons for why people should give Windows a second look when you're not at your desk at work. I for one liked the live tiles because it was unique to Windows, but could be too cumbersome to those who weren't live tile enthusiasts like myself. Windows 11 cleaned up the optics to give a more fresh and functional appearance. I personally think it looks too much like Chrome OS but there's enough Windows input to keep it different. All in all, I think more will like it than not, and when you're talking about trillions or dollars isn't that what you're looking for?
  • Pierre, Microsoft's impressive growth is largely due to smart cloud decisions, not based on excellence in Windows UI work. I have nothing but respect for Microsoft's enterprise-facing acumen and also think they're doing things right on the Xbox side of consumer-facing work. However, your assessment of the Windows 10 Start menu minus Live Tiles being effectively nothing more than prior Windows Start menus is incorrect. Even with no Live Tiles, Windows 10 Start supports ORGANIZATION of icons, something that is impossible in all prior versions of Windows. I have 8 groups of icons averaging about 10 icons per group. Those I use more often are larger. On many of those, I right click to get the Jump List of recent documents. I often don't know the name of the app I want, just the function I want to perform. With Windows 10 Start, that's fine. With Windows 11, there is just no easy way to ever find those apps. Windows 11 literally turns 2-3 clicks and about 1-2 seconds of work into 20-40 seconds to find and start an app, especially if I don't know the name of the app I need. Multiply that by 20-30 per day, and you can see that Windows 11 DAMAGES MY PRODUCTIVITY, wasting several minutes of my time every day.. I am certain that Microsoft did not set out to REDUCE PRODUCTIVITY. I think they just screwed up here and will make corrections in the months ahead. Of course Live Tiles for my To Do list, Windows Central Feed (until it stopped updating on Nov 18), Weather, News, etc. are fantastic too, but those are less important to me than the grouping and organization features I've become dependent on with Windows 10.
  • You nail it.
  • GrantieStateColin, I've always appreciated your comments and insight regarding a plethora of topics about Microsoft. That includes this one. I do think I need to put some context into my comments for better clarity. A lot of people in these threads refer to Microsoft from a holistic perspective. I in turn respond from the same perspective. At the macro level it's hard to find fault with what Microsoft has done. That was my opening point. Of course if you want to dive into the micro level, we can have discussions all day about missteps and miscalculations. Just pick a one and I'll dance with you. You're absolutely right about the majority of MSFT's gains is under the Azure umbrella of cloud services but it's still a MSFT product. As for the comments about previous versions of Windows I was merely speaking from and optics perspective. If you take a common consumer and ask them what of the differences between Windows XP, and 7 for example at first glance, most may point at the icon graphics and that's about it. To your point there are a lot more functional differences but I really don't think the UI change was directed at the technically inclined. MSFT has been an effort to really find a balance between enterprise need and consumer want. Sometimes one side has a bigger influence. I think with Windows 11 they felt the optic presentation was far more important then the practicality component. It's a duality of compromise that MSFT has yet to truly establish an identity in like Apple and to a lesser degree Google.
  • Pierre, fair and good point. No dispute with any of that (and thanks for the kind words). There are only a handful of areas where I personally think MS drops a ball. The way they handled Windows Phone reflecting a general lack of commitment to projects especially since Nadella took over (his "hit Reset" philosophy at work), the Windows 8 desktop/Metro app bifurcation, and this Windows 11 Start Menu being the notable exceptions. I strongly agree with you that MS gets far more right than wrong.
  • It is out of my comprehension that with Launcher for Android they have a very customizable Start app and then they launch Win 11 with a completely crippled customization for its Start, not having paid attention to all the feedback on this during development. It is really a big middle finger towards its users, unbelievable.
    After all, Start can have all possible customization and organization options for those who need and use them without bothering those who don't with it.
  • Yes. I think it's ironic that these changes are in the name of simplicity. But as any designer will tell you, consistency is the keystone to simplicity, and this is inconsistent with their Android launcher. I would say it therefore fails ever looking only at their own terms.
  • Most welcome. I definitely will agree with you that Windows Phone ranks #1. To this day I still think it was the best mobile OS even with it's issues. You simply couldn't find the ability to personalize, and disseminate information just for you. I wouldn't say Ballmer is completely impervious to blame. There never really seemed to be an ultimate goal for Windows Phone. I still pull out my Nokia Lumia 920 with the Carl Zeiss lense with optical image stabilization which was truly revolutionary. It was such a new, vibrant yet clean and well put together concept, yet they continued to change application interfaces, there was always the issue with developer interest and consumer interest which directly correlated with market share. Rather than try and salvage what was looking like an inevitable failure, Nadella decided to just cancel it. You wonder if MSFT put the technical resolve and resource it did behind the Surface concept, would Windows Phone have faired differently. I would like to think so. Still it would be nice to see how the Duo series would look with live tiles. I think the form factor of that device is built for that kind of display. I guess we can always dream.
  • I don't care, I use quick search fire whatever I want. The only real suggestion I have is to bring back app category group folders. I like the minimalist approach. You can also pin stuff like "Settings" to the bottom next to the power button. People complain just to complain most often
  • If anything, I think people here would call me a Microsoft apologist. Certainly not a complainer. I want to like all of Windows 11. Most of it I do, but not the Start Menu. The Start Menu adds several minutes of wasted time to my workload every day. I would say that's a valid reason to resent it. This is because I can no longer group app icons for rapid access. I have 8 groups of apps in my Windows 10 Start, averaging about 10 icons per group. Windows 11 forces me to use the All Apps menu to get to apps. And because I don't know the names of many of the apps I only use a few times per month (but there are many different of those, a few each day), I can't just type the name to access. I have to browse through my apps to find them. And if I really can't remember the name, that's looking through hundreds of apps in All Apps. I know this is not a universal problem and I don't expect MS to cater to my personal needs, but I also know that I reflect a segment of users who have valid reasons for needing the features we have had for years in Windows 10. Windows 11 is a massive productivity downgrade for us.
  • The encouraging thing for me is that they are making improvements, so we should see more. This Start Menu was created from scratch so it's not really correct to say that features were removed. Not from an actual programming perspective, at least.. They just haven't been re-added. Hopefully Microsoft will see fit to re-add some, even if they need to be convinced to do something that they didn't originally plan.
  • Nope! I have moved to Zorin OS not just because of the unusable Start menu but also because W11 gives me a BSOD every time I plug in my laptop. It also keeps giving BSODs every 10-15 minutes until it's plugged in. The performance in Zorin is rock solid and no crashes for the past month. And the Start (Application) menu is conventional yet gold without bing!
  • I'm really disappointed with Windows 11. It is a step backwards. I was going to get the Surface Go 3, but decided not to after I saw Windows 11. My list of stepping backwards: 1) Computer will not go to sleep on timer. 2) Apps do not take focus when launched (huge annoyance and a blatant bug). 3) No title bar text in Taskbar buttons. This is a huge productivity loss when you have more than one instance of an app open. 4) Cannot move Taskbar to sides; which is the best place for 16/9 screens. 5) Loss of tablet functionality like swipe right for Task View; swipe left for Notifications & Action; swipe down to close window. The ratio thing of recent apps to icons will help. I was going to list that because I can only see two recent items at present. I mainly use the Start Menu just by typing what I want and then clicking enter. That is broken in Windows 11 since the launched app does not take focus.
  • no. my workflow requires many tools, none of which are office or teams. I require grouping of start items.
  • It’s up to you how many software and apps do you want to install but If you talk about operating system It can be installed within 2 gb but you’ve to block windows updates to avoid red in disk space and If you don’t want to block it, I suggest you to upgrade Windows 10 or activate Existing Windows 11 using specific license key, For which you can go to a Microsoft store but it’ll be costly, So I recommend ODosta Store
    Which is absolutely legit store and selling Microsoft genuine products with lifetime warranty.