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How to enable full-screen Start menu in Windows 10 desktop mode

During the preview phase, one noticeable change Microsoft made to Windows 10 was the removal of the toggle to expand the Start menu. According to Microsoft, people usually pick the appropriate size (or just go with the default) for Start and stick with that, which makes having this button being present all the time unnecessary. If you want the full-screen Start experience on Windows 10 desktop mode, you have to enable it in the settings. We'll show you how. It's really simple. Watch the steps in our video.

  1. Swipe-in from the right edge of the screen and tap or click All settings
  2. Tap or click Personalization
  3. At the bottom, there's the toggle to use full-screen Start when in the desktop

That's it! Another reason Microsoft removed the toggle in the Start was that it created confusion for users where many thought that is how they got to Tablet mode when all it did was just resize Start. Microsoft says moving the toggle to Start settings helps them remove the confusion. It also makes Start menu look sleeker.

For more Windows 10 tips be sure to visit our dedicated help page here

Mark Guim is Video Editor at Windows Central. He switched to Windows because the MacBook Pro isn't Pro enough. You can follow him on Twitter at @markguim.

65 Comments
  • Not Relevant.You know what would be cool if in Windows 10 you can choose what 3rd party app as a default.Like Android
  • Uhh, you can do that. In fact they just noted a change in how that works from the way it is in 8.
  • You can do that. Settings >> System >> Default App. I think Win10 PC can, maybe phone can too.
  • I assume you mean default start menu, in which case you can... Stardock is working on a new version of their start menu replacement already.
  • For Windows phone
  • Your comment is not relevant here.
  • seems to be trolling...
     
  • perhaps, definitely a weak attempt at proving a negative though
  • The UI is looking much better now. Really getting excited for it's release.
  • I completely disagree.  Whether in Tablet Mode (which is what I use on my desktop PC) or the full screen setting, this is a fake.  It functions nothin like the awesome Start Screen and All Apps of Windows 8.  Microsoft is completely clueless. I truly hope this falls flat on its face. I'm so sick of what they've done to the operating system.
  • +L2520
  • What happens when you press the Windows button in tablet mode?
  • It opens Start Menu, as always.
  • Lol... xD
  • Nice article,  just repeat after me, it's pronounced  "BUTT-ON"    :-)
  • In the US they say, "buh-in", in the UK they say "but-tin".
  • May update dropped. Notes on changes, etc."?
  • Have they had any real fixes for the surface pro 3 issue yet? Haven't been able to install it cause it keeps rolling back. Tried the whole max clean thing and the removal of all devices.
  • also haven't been able to update my surface pro 3. hoping for a fix
  • I got it to install but it took a few tries. Use Disk Cleaner and remove Previous Windows Installation, old setup files, and install logs. Then run the max clean thing in an Admin command prompt. Then try the install. I had to do that sequence two or three times before it took.
  • Zikifer. Unfortunately have been trying that every day for a week now. Lol. Feening like a crack addict trying to get a newer version. Even converted the esd to ISO and still failed. Here's to hoping they can get something to work Mark!
  • This is cool. Not having full screen mode was my biggest gripe with Windows 10. Now I'm ready whenever they are.
  • Mark: For the sake of full disclosure you should have said that the full screen in desktop mode only has two coulmns of tiles, even if the screen is large and fits more, and that the left pane menu, which you show displayed in your picture, is by default hidden and you have to press the hamburger menu icon to display it. This makes working with this screen almost unworkable and it looks awful. Tell it like it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • It does three. It's a bug. I saw in a 2-in-1.
  • That's a layout bug, Gabe Aul confirmed this on Twitter. 
  • Yup - http://twitter.com/GabeAul/statuses/603049426266025984
  • Bug or no bug, my point is that if you're writing an article about the full screen start menu you have to mention this. The artice makes it look as if there is no problems and that this is the way it is. We all know this is beta stuff and I for one love being able to play with these preview versions, but we have to be straight with people who may think they are getting polished versions that can run on their main computers.
  • It's a Beta program so there's no "that this is the way it is". Until RTM they can change everything without warning anyone. You can't put in your mind that any of this it's a definite thing.
  • I agree. On a surface pro 2, have to click windows button twice to go out of current program, open start menu - then find nothing's there, and counter intuitively move finger up towards hamburger, click again to open, scroll, find program. That's a lot of steps to simply launch an app. I don't even mind that, but the disconnect of opening start and then going up again for hamburger is too jarring, and hasn't improved over time.
    It's not a workflow improvement, it's a misconception. I read the AMA of the UX guy who worked for Microsoft. I found him to be arrogant, and his reasoning behind hamburgers not too bright.
  • The right side notification window is beautiful. The left side all apps start menu is not symmetric and still a bit ugly. Left side needs to work more like right side.
  • Can the information bar at the bottom be hidden or removed?  Or is there a setting to completely get rid of the Desktop view and only have a Start Screen like 8.1? 
  • By Information bar do you mean the task bar? If yes, yes can be hidden but not permanently.
  • Lol!  :) Yes the task bar.  I use the task bar while in the Desktop mode, but I find it redundant to be in the Start Screen.  And it takes away from the overall look of the Start Screen in my estimation.  Thanks!
  • :) I don't know if works for you, but you can go to task bar option and choose "auto-hide" feature.
  • Thanks! I guess that option is better than no option... :)
  • Give me full screen or give me death.
  • Wake up! Time to die!
  • /Blade Runner reference
  • If you have large amount of Windows apps and groups, you would appreciate the Full Screen button which helps you to open up full sreen quickly and locate your app.  When you just want to use one particular Smart menu item, you don't need to open up full screen.  This Full Screen button provides you convenionce and flexibility on demand.  I hate to see that go.  It is frustrating that you have to switch to full screen via Settings menu each time.  I personally like W8.1 far better than W10 if MS would add all the new W10 features to W8.1.  You got a clean desktop and a clean touch Start screen.  You can quickly switch between them as needed.  I also like to see that Live Folder Tiles be provided to W10 as WP8.1.  It is much easier to orgranize your apps than Groups which is OK for small amount of apps.
  • Folders (like wp) on start screen would be brilliant for organizing.
  • Yes, that button needs to come back. I swapped between small and full screen start menu quite often, now it's quite inconvenient.
  • My start menu shows only a centralized column. Bug or is the screen resolution? 1366px...
  • Microsoft needs to fix the positioning of those tiles. They look terrible compared to Windows 8.1.
  • My start menu no longer works. Nothing. :(
  • All the luddites can rejoice! They can have their out-dated W8 menu back, instead of embracing change ;)
  • It's not about not embracing change. It's about wanting to keep what is functional for that user. I myself use a all-in-one, desktop touch PC. As I can use a mouse/keyboard, I do not need to be tablet mode in order to use the device, but as a touch user nevertheless having the option of a start screen that is more suitable for me to touch and interact with may be quite beneficial to me. As I haven't used a Windows 10 build, I have no idea whether the Start menu will be better or worse on my PC. But for some people, especially those with smaller displays on two-in-one devices or similar, this will be really quite useful. And as for having "out-dated" things instead of "embracing change"... Sorry, but that's what Windows 10 is really doing - which may be no bad thing - in reinstating the start menu for those who couldn't embrace the Start screen (although MS have made it look brilliantly new, not out-of-date). 
  • Yeah, my comment was a jab at those that always claimed that the W8 start screen was superior simply because it was newer. Those that preferred the W7 start menu were deemed luddites for not embracing change. I agree that the W8 start screen does work well on a tablet, but it still needs a of a lot of work to be truly great. The charms bar is also great on tablet, but needs to burn in hell on desktop (options should be visible, not rely on mouse waggling or intuitively knowing where invisible hotspots are). The W7 start menu is far superior on a desktop with a mouse and for general efficiency of use in a work environment. To get the same functionality, such as adding my own categories, I have to resort to 'hacks' outside of the UI options, or pin hundreds of apps to my screen and navigate through a wall of icons. I just hate the fanboyism towards the W8 start-screen which always seems blinded by it's shortcomings... 8.1 addressed a lot of the truly awful issues, but it still needs work and I am pleased to see a lot of them coming together on W10. At the end of the day, choice is good - allowing people to choose an efficient popup start-menu for desktop or a start-screen for tablet. I just hate it when people say that the W8 start screen is better simply because it is newer, despite it's many shortcomings, and with a multitude of usage scenarios (tablet/desktop, work/home etc)
  • My apologies, I misinterpeted your original comment, didn't realise it was that kinda jab aha. I do agree, the Start screen and Start menu are both individually suitable for different uses, and so I'm glad Microsoft put them both in Windows 10. Like you say, choice is good. 8.1 did improve on the functionality and mix of touch-friendly and desktop-friendly features, and I really hope with Windows 10 that this mix is finally perfected. I can't see for myself until I download it when it officially releases, but it certainly seems to beat 8.1 in how it can be customised to the user's needs and preferences, and hopefully it will prove to cater for every type of Windows user when it releases, regardless of how they use their device.  
  • the start menu we have had since 95 till 7 was unreasonably bad horrible to navigate a pain to use took too long to find anything you wanted scrolling through 500 tabs to find something was a pain in the ass 8 change that took a step in the right direction 8.1 refined it and made it simpler easier to use 10 is taking a step backwards.
  • Wow... way to ressurect a comment from over a month ago. The W8 "start screen" we've had since Windows 3.11 onwards - commonly known as the desktop. It also features a giant wall of icons in a massive mess, requiring you to shuffle things around to be organised and somewhat useful. The W8 start screen is a fancier, but less customisable version of that. I really hate that I can't move icons where I want (it's all locked to a grid), and that I have to pin all my apps in order to arrange them. Adding to that, many apps/games show an icon only without any text telling you what it is. There's no folders, no tree structure, and no way to assign your own categories. We can only create vertical columns, and means we have to scroll almost endlessly to find anything. Of course we can use the charms-bar search, but that's the same as "Search programs and files" in the W7 start menu. The W8 start screen makes sense on small-tablets and phones, but on a desktop I want something smaller, unobtrusive, and well-structured so I can organise my applications without it having to take up 10 screen-widths to scroll through. W8 was the step backwards, W10 is a step forwards, taking the only thing from the W8 start screen that was actually useful - live tiles.
  • true story, i would really miss my handy full screen in your face begging to be touched 81 start screen, just sayin', its oddly satisfying to manhandle the screen with a nice loud thumb-whap and dramatic swipe to get things going!
  • Next tutorial could be: How to click with a mouse?
  • Glad to know that you born knowing everything.
  • I perfered the Toggle. That way I gould easily bounce betweent he 2 choice.  Now it is a pain and you almost have to pick one or the other.
  • I used this toggle all of the time. It is really inconvenient to have to go to settings to change this now. The toggle made so much sense. If you were confused by this toggle then I dont know how you are even able to turn a computer on. Click the tablet mode toggle then click the start menu toggle hey guess what......not the same result. That process takes longer than the 5 sec attention span that we have now though so I see the point.
  • Wow. I like this. Thanks.
  • I want my toggle option close at hand , dislike the circle to find it....
  • Is there ANY way of changing tile colours to anything other than this dreadful blue? I hope they're not planning to keep it that way...
  • Arbitrary decisions, like deciding that no one would mind if the single click to expand the start screen is replaced with button buried in setup, is why Microsoft continues to take 2 steps backward for every one step forward.
  • BTW, in my view, so far the Window 10 UI just sucks.
  • How do I get my normal desktop back?!
  • I too would like to know this please!!!!     update: i worked it out, i was in tablet mode on my laptop
  • Finally i got my normal desktop back.   See the below steps : Settings << System << Tablet mode << Make windows more touch-friendly when using your device as a tablet << OFF. Then you can see the result
  • Hi,
    In my windows 10, the start menu started appearing on the desktop with a full-screen mode, this is happening without pressing windows button.
    I have already checked the toggle switch of the explained in this article which is "off". Any idea how to rid of from this mode to normal desktop?
  • If I understand what you are asking what I just did, I opened settings clicked on system tab then tablet mode & turned it off, also make sure the hide apps on taskbar in Tablet mode is off to  I hope this helps Rob Rob's Computer Repairs  Adelaide South Australia