Do you like Microsoft's 'redesigned' Windows 10 Start menu concept?

New Start Menu Concept
New Start Menu Concept (Image credit: Microsoft)

Earlier this week, Microsoft unveiled concept ideas that it is exploring internally for the Windows 10 Start menu that would see it updated with a refreshed interface that keeps live tiles but puts more emphasis on the new icon designs. It's a minor design refresh idea, but one that has caught the attention of many.

While I'm fully in the camp of wanting Microsoft to bring the Windows 10X Start menu over to Windows 10, it seems Microsoft isn't ready to do that just yet, and is instead exploring ways it can improve the existing Start menu layout on Windows 10 instead.

One such idea that Microsoft is looking into is the removal of the system accent color behind tiles, making them slightly translucent with blur effects, and matching them with light and dark mode instead of having a dedicated color. This design is supposed to make the new Windows 10 icons look more at home, as currently, the new icons look very out of place in the tile interface.

Microsoft says that it isn't removing live tiles from Windows 10 anytime soon, but I wouldn't be surprised if that's the way things go in the future. Microsoft has already checked out of live tiles on every other version of Windows 10, including Windows 10X. If MIcrosoft really were comitted to live tiles, they'd bring them to every version of Windows. But that clearly isn't happening.

The problem Microsoft faces right now is that it can't just swap out the old Start menu with the one from Windows 10X. While possible on a technical level, there's a lot of work that Microsoft also needs to do elsewhere to keep the user experience coherent first, plus Microsoft doesn't want to scare users away with a huge new UI change in the Start menu. This change needs to happen in incremental steps.

For now, what are your thoughts on the new Start menu design refresh that Microsoft is exploring internally? Answer our poll and let us know in the comments.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • I won't miss the accent color around the icons in the app list.
  • THIS ! Accent color was so inconsistent it gave me epilesia
  • Me neither, but because I don't want Live Tiles to go I answered No.
  • I hope there is just one button to turn all live tiles off rather than, one by one.
  • It was okay for UWP apps since their icons are designed to be used with accent colors or any colors within a tile. But for more Win32 apps, it looks like a mess. So this direction is better that no more tiles for All Apps list, while Live Tiles on the tiles section will only have neutral color for Light and Dark theme. Since the new Fluent icons do not fit when you use any accent colors other than what the icon color is (which is mostly blue).
  • Hi! I want live tiles in windows 10: I use it everyday. But I do want Windows 10X UI as well on W10 desktops. But what I am seeing now is that fluent design isn't really present and concrete in W10..
  • Looks fresh and neat. As much as i like live tiles, i actually never use it or find it useful.
  • I'm not so sure, it looks a lot like the Office Ribbon from 5 years ago, and the grid layout reminds me of older generation iPads. Plus there is all of that wasted space around the icons. If anything it looks like they're simplifying the Windows interface for people who are used to a phone rather than a PC. there seems to be very little room for power uses here.
  • Are you coming from Windows 7 to this article? :)
  • I agree. It just looks more like my old iPhone 3...
  • "If anything it looks like they're simplifying the Windows interface for people who are used to a phone rather than a PC." That's probably deliberate. It is also a good thing. There are now WAY more phone users than Windows PC users. If a Windows PC can be sold as "It works and looks just like your phone!", then MAYBE Windows PC use can grow. Instead of the 10 year downward spiral it's been on. Compared to phones, PCs (including Windows, Mac and Linux) are horribly complicated to use and understand. It's like the difference between driving a Toyota Corolla and a Peterbuilt 18 wheel truck. Both obviously have their uses, but only one is practical for use by typical consumers. The other requires much more training and understanding to use effectively/safely/correctly.
  • Absolutely not. It looks dated. It reminds me of the MS Office ribbon from several years back. It seems like a real step backwards. Grid layouts were OK, on a first generation Ipad from 2010. but this is 2020. Shouldn't we have moved past this by now? Plus all of that wasted space around the icons. I have a Window tablet with limited screen real estate. I hope that there is an option to turn most of it off, or I'm going to start looking for a Power-tool to do it for me. I think that a lot of the problems that people had with the old live tiles was that they weren't using the start menu properly. The didn't take advantage of how it could be customized. I use live tiles heavily on desktop and mobile. When I was forced to go over to Android one of the first things that I did was to install a launcher that put notifications on icons to replicate live tiles on my old Windows phone. My Start menu currently has all of my "glance" items on. Things that I need to keep on top off but which I don't want cluttering up my screen as I don't need to see them 24/7. It's like a summary sheet for my life. It my diary updates, my to-dos and reminders, and I've got a different live tile for different email accounts so that I can see the subject lines of various in boxes that I need to be aware of but not monitor closely. Loads of things. I hope that somebody manages to hack live tiles back in, as the Windows notification area is terrible because it has no history function and can be used to keep track of anything.
  • Okay, the expanded comment makes more sense though I still miss the point regarding the grid layout. Why should have we moved on by now? Windows 10X will get rid of it btw. I don't see a reason why Windows 10 should to be honest. On the contrary, I don't know how a touch-enabled device is missing them.
  • Hate to tell you this, but Live Tiles are in a grid layout...
  • Can be yes, but most people who used Live Tiles had at least three different sizes of tiles and the grid was gone.
  • Still a grid. Some tiles can take multiple squares in a grid.
  • I would agree if you only had a few that were like that perhaps over a large area with mostly the same size. But when you have three different sizes all throughout, it becomes tiles like on a mosaic piece of art. There will be parallel lines on either side of a square tile, but not parallel lines going across the screen like a grid.
  • I am really glad that LiveTiles are to stay at least for a while. The ridding of accent colors is an unfortunate requirement for the new logos that has nothing to do with Windows 10, but are designed for Windows 10X and Duo. I'd say it is rather unfortunate, although the new look is quite pretty. Too bad it is again up to 3rd-party developers to align to this decision once more, as icons from the old design will not look good next to these either. For years we will have a hectic look in the Start menu and I am pretty sure that by then some designer bunch will come up with yet another revolutionary idea. This step is taking away another customization feature from Windows 10, and forcing people to jump from vision to vision. I am really against this idea. People should be free to mess up their design in case they wish to. I don't see a reason to force ideas on them. And let's face it. Microsoft can't even do a change as major as switching your iconography right. The other day my apps got updated and downloaded nothing more than the new icons for the apps. The way it went, I got the notification and saw the download in the Store with the new icon. Then I searched for the app to pin it in the Start menu to check out how they look. The search area in the start menu showed the app with the old icon, the details pane also showed the huge version of the old icon, finally right-clicking on it pinned the new icon on the Start menu. What kind of experience is this!? And don't worry, the new icons look just as right on the accent colors as they would on a plain color. So just as in the case of Live Tiles, which should not be removed but made an option, I am pretty sure that placing a check-box at the botom of Settings > Personalization > Colors asking me if I want to apply the accent color on the Tiles or not would work just fine. Or even better when it comes down to UX.
  • Absolutely but it's not that different.
  • Yeah let's do it
  • So, this tells me I hate 74% of you. Awesome.
  • I like it, it keeps the tile for touch and it is a step into the Windows 10x direction. They need to do this in steps so it is not jarring to people. They need to make the tile area customizable enough that people will be OK with using it instead of the desktop. They need a non-touch mode for the tiles that let them be smaller. Most people don't even know that tiles can be placed into sub-tiles to group them together as well and not just grouping the tiles (what I mean is there are 2 ways to group the tiles). The tiles also need to have all of the functionality of shortcuts. The desktop was a neat idea, but it conflicts with all the programs running on top of it and they are always in each others way. With the tile area on the start menu, you can toggle between the two without it being so disruptive. The desktop needs to because a wallpaper only.
  • Can't wait to see it on my pc. After seeing the concept I cant look at the present menu start lol
  • I can't see much difference from the one I have now.
  • Looks like something from a Symbian mobile OS.
  • "Every other version of Windows 10..." What does that mean? W10 (Home, Pro), W10S, W10X, and what else? The server versions? Isn't W10X the only version without Live Tiles?
  • I don't think W10S is a thing anymore.
  • It doesn't need to be redesigned. It looks and works great how it is now. Maybe some people need to be educated on how to use it is all. The new design is an old design it seems, a step backwards.
  • Liked this transperancy effect. I was bored with too much colorfulness of live tiles any way.
    This design with minimalist white icon would have looked really cool. Always wanted something like concept below.
  • Sadly transparent Live Tiles never came to Windows 10 at all. It was a feature only available in Windows 10 Mobile.
  • I use transparent tiles on my S10 with Launcher 10
  • I just want a much improved tablet mode :(
  • Looks like as ridiculous.
    Activate/desactivate icons tiles.
    No able to propose coherent interface for users properly.
    Send americans tourists in space.
  • One Update this year, see later in 5 years for colours and others.
    Ios with Gossip in first.
  • There are a tiles graduate color green on Xbox, Community.
    There are many options.
  • Just glad to hear they aren't killing Live Tiles! I realize they aren't for every App or every person, but I have several Apps that I rely on every day to give me information at a glance without having to actually go into the Apps.
  • Yes! No more ugly boxes around the icons in the apps list
  • I remember Windows 10 mobile had the option to use accent colour on tiles, or simply make them transparent.
  • Is super awesome 😍 I hope they will implement it sooner than later.
  • I want to keep my full-screen start that I can logically organize into groups using titles and tile size, not just "folders"
  • The photos tile is wider than the other pinned applications which I'd assume/hope MS will keep some form of resizing.
  • I believe that Microsoft have suggested that this would be in addition to the current option, not instead of.
  • I really really liked the Metro (Swiss) design with the flat icons, SegoeUI font and accent colors. It was timeless, consistent and unique. But yes it is time to move forward and the new fluent design icons look better without accent colors.
  • It looks much better. This is how it should have been from the start of Windows 10. Took them long enough...
  • It was due to happen at some point
  • It's likely the after-Belfiore era isn't it? I mean, the shift from a recognizable UI to a firstly solid system but with poor graphical identity. I wonder if mimicking android does feel more like home today.
    Anyway, if we earned more reliability from this strategy shift, I would be ok even with an anonymous UI.
  • For me this doesn't go far enough. Get rid of the tiles altogether or offer an option to use just icons. This looks and feels like a way to ease folks away from live tiles.
  • Yes, I love it! It is the best the start menu has ever looked and brings out the icons. I love the floating Search box too!
  • Anything looks better than the current cluster F that is Windows 10.
  • I loved live tiles on Windows Mobile but I never look at them on the pc. I will not miss them if they go.
  • I think that they could have made more of a splash if Windows 10 Mobile has survived and flourished but, with just the desktop to drive them, they were pretty much doomed.
  • I have spent 1 minute looking to my start menu and the new start menu posted in here, it is not really a big difference, anyway, if they add it as an extra option to start menu, it would be nice
  • The difference is not having the ugly colored square around the icon. And why do people always want extra options in Windows? Microsoft should just make this new design default without adding it as an option. Keep Windows slim instead of adding extra options to everything.
  • People want options because not everyone likes the same thing. With an audience as big as the one Microsoft has with Windows, anything they change cops criticism from one quarter or another. If there are options, more people can have what they want.
  • True, this is the curse of being one of the most popular OS on such a diverse user's. Also because Windows were for a long time allows for so many options (maybe too many) to customise users preference. The balance is always hard. Though doesn't mean that it has to cater to each individual taste since that's impossible and too much hard work and introducing inconsistencies and will be harder to support.
  • If you don't want options, there is a different OS just for you.
  • YES for the Windows 10X Start menu ✌
  • It's like, whatever man🤷🏽‍♂️🤷🏽‍♂️🤷🏽‍♂️
  • I don't see the change too much, but I don't like where it's going either. I think Microsoft's meddling of the startmenu is ever frustrating. They're not listening that we want control over the personalization of the the live tiles like we could with Windows phone. Instead they seem to interpret that they have to make us happy by changing design elements for us through feedback and telemetry. But we' re asking for the elent controls to change design features ourselves. It's still a puzzling thing how the Microsoft software engeneering teams work on this matter, and miss the mark of what we mean.