Haters of the Windows 11 Start menu can get rid of it with StartIsBack

StartIsBack (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • An app called StartIsBack allows you to customize the Start menu on Windows 11.
  • The app includes several personalization options and a Windows 7-style Start menu.
  • You can also use StartIsBack to tweak the look of the File Explorer.

Windows 11 brings a visual refresh and a new Start menu, the latter of which has proven controversial to some. Since Microsoft unveiled the new Start menu, people have expressed frustration with it online. People who dislike the Windows 11 Start menu have another option to get rid of it in the form of StartIsBack (via XDA).

With StartIsBack, people can customize the look of their Start menu on Windows 11. Generally, the resulting Start menu will look more like that of Windows 7 than Windows 11, but there are quite a few personalization options. The app also includes options for tweaking the look of the default File Explorer.

Shortly after Windows 11 was announced, there was a trick that allowed Insider builds to show the Windows 10 Start menu. We ran a poll to gauge people's opinions at the time. Over 50% of polled participants said they'd like an option to use older Start menus.

Microsoft may not provide an option to use older Start menus on Windows 11, but that hasn't stopped third-party developers from creating ways. In addition to StartIsBack, Stardock has an app called Start11 that lets you customize the Start menu.

StartIsBack is in beta testing, so you can expect some bugs and issues at this time. Here's its feature list from its developers:

  • Classic taskbar with all its features, revamped new icons and round corners.
  • Classic context menus with all new look.
  • Classic Win7 start menu with all new look and features.
  • Explorer improved: revamped Ribbon and Command Bar, search box that works.
  • Classic UI improved: rounded tooltips, dark mode improvements.
  • Notfication Area Icons Control Panel applet restored and revamped.
  • Negative resource usage: fewer RAM used, fewer processes started.
  • All-new reachitected and revamped app.

There are also some known issues with the app at the moment:

  • Do not roll back to Windows 10 and do not install StartIsBack++!
  • May not like other tweaks and shell apps. Please remove.
  • May not be activated. Will work until November 2021.
  • Not translated and not translation ready.
  • Not for Dev channel flighting.
  • Not working: app uninstalling, orb management.

According to its download page, StartIsBack is only meant for Windows 11 build 22000 and isn't for Dev channel flighting.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.