Skip to main content

How to manage Start menu settings on Windows 11

Windows 11 Start menu customization settings
Windows 11 Start menu customization settings (Image credit: Windows Central)

Although the new Start menu on Windows 11 embraces a more straightforward layout design that drops the Live Tiles in favor of a more traditional app launcher and removes many of the legacy features, it's still possible to customize various aspects of the experience through the Settings app.

For example, you can control the items in the "All apps" list. You can disable the "Recommended" section (so to speak). You can add quick access to places like Settings, File Explorer, Downloads, and others next to the "Power" menu. It's also possible to use the experience with different colors, and you can even align the Start menu to the left of the screen like in previous versions.

In this Windows 11 guide, we will walk you through the steps to control the settings available for the Start menu.

How to customize the Start menu on Windows 11

On Windows 11, the customization settings for the Start menu are available through the Personalization page, and some related settings available through the Colors and Taskbar pages.

Show or hide recently added apps

To control recently added apps in the "All apps" list, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click the Start page on the right side.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Turn on or off the Show recently added apps toggle switch.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Once you complete the steps, those apps you installed recently will appear grouped in the "All apps" list, depending on your configuration.

Show or hide most used apps

To manage the visibility of the most used apps in the "All apps" list, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click the Start page on the right side.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Turn on or off the Show most used apps toggle switch.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

After you complete the steps, frequent apps will appear grouped in the "All apps" list, depending on your configuration.

Show or hide recently opened items

To show or hide recently used files and documents, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click the Start page on the right side.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Turn on or off the Show recently opened items in Start, Jump Lists, and File Explorer toggle switch.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Once you complete the steps, if you turn on the option, recently opened items will appear in the Recommended section of the Start menu when right-clicking an app to open the Jump List in the Taskbar and Quick access page of File Explorer.

To remove all the items from the Recommended section of the Start menu, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click the Start page on the right side.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Turn on or off the Show recently opened items in Start, Jump Lists, and File Explorer toggle switch.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Turn on or off the Show most used apps toggle switch.

After you complete the steps, the Start menu Recommended section will no longer show apps or files.

Show folders next to the Power menu

To add or remove items next to the Power menu, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click the Start page on the right side.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Folders settings.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Turn on or off the toggle switch to show or hide items next to the Power button:
    • Settings.
    • File Explorer.
    • Documents.
    • Downloads.
    • Music.
    • Pictures.
    • Videos.
    • Network.
    • Personal folder.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Once you complete the steps, only the items you turned on will appear next to the Power menu in the Start menu.

Change Start menu color

To change the Start menu color scheme, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click the Colors page on the right side.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Select the Custom option for the "Choose your mode" setting.
  2. Select the Dark option for the "Choose your default Windows mode" setting.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Turn on the Select accent color on Start and taskbar toggle switch.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Under the "Accent color" section, select the Start menu color.

After you complete the steps, the Start menu will reflect the color scheme you selected on the settings page.

Align the Start menu to the left side

To align the Start menu to the left of the screen, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click the Taskbar page on the right side.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Taskbar behaviors settings.
  2. Select the Left option for the "Taskbar alignment" setting.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Once you complete the steps, you will be able to open the Start menu from the left side of the screen, like on Windows 10.

More Windows resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10 and Windows 11, visit the following resources:

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

3 Comments
  • There is no universe where Windows 11 is anything other than disgusting. ESPECIALLY the Start menu.
  • Mad respect to the author that could write such a padded, long article that basically says "you can't do anything with the Start menu in W11 because MS says FU, that's why"
  • The last time I rebuilt Win11 from scratch due to update issues, I added a second SSD to my laptop, migrated all data and installation packages to d: so that c: would be OS period. When I got sick of the priorities of W11, flaky MS Store and its brain-dead UI, I reverted to Windows 10. It went a lot quicker. After app reinstallations and repointing to the new locations, my start menu is behaving normally again. There are alternatives.