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The Windows 11 Start menu sucks

Windows 11 Start Menu Bad
Windows 11 Start Menu Bad (Image credit: Windows Central)

One contention that rides around every single time Microsoft updates Windows is the Start menu. Windows 8 notoriously bombed in market share due to the radical system upheaval, with the Start menu as a focal point for criticism (among various other things).

The Windows 11 Start menu is notably less radical. It falls back on the tried and tested docked menu, which doesn't take up all of your screen. It doesn't flood your cognition with dancing widgets either, previously known as Live Tiles (RIP their gentle souls). It's simple and elegant, putting your most-wanted apps right at the top, with recommended files beneath. Sounds cool right? Well, maybe, at first glance.

I recently purchased a second-hand Surface Pro X as a backup PC, specifically for running Windows Insider Builds and testing touch and Windows Ink features. And while I realize that I'm very late to the party here (so late, in fact, that Windows 11 literally launches next week), I already have some thoughts about the experience. And not all of them are good thoughts.

The Windows 11 Start menu sucks

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

The Windows 11 Start menu is quite literally the starting point of any new PC, giving you quick access to the rest of your PC's functionality. Since the days of Windows XP, Microsoft has been needlessly and oft radically altering how it works, forcing users to re-learn every time its basic features and functionality. Windows 11 doesn't quite go that far. In fact, in a lot of ways, it's far easier to use than previous incarnations, particularly for new users. However, for those of us who have grown accustomed to using Windows in a certain way, the new Start menu feels like a leap backward.

I won't wade too heavily into the debate about Live Tiles. I know many Windows Central readers love them. I used to as well. Or at least, their potential. Microsoft and app developers both didn't really leverage them to a meaningful degree. These days, I only really use the Calendar Tile and the Mail Tile, for at-a-glance reminders of what my productivity day is going to entail. The new Widgets panel offsets some of the loss there, but by putting it in a separate section, it basically ensures that I won't use or see it as often as I could've done if I could just pin Widgets to the Start menu.

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

I do like the new Widgets panel, and I think the potential for features is quite good up there. But considering the vast amount of wasted space in the Start menu, I can't help but wonder why we don't have the option to simply put Widgets in there instead.

It's sort of my biggest complaint about the Start menu, ultimately. This new one is so lacking in customization features to the point of frustration. You can't resize it in any way, shape, or form. You can't remove the Recommended Files list. You can turn it off, but it leaves a nasty gap with an annoying reminder telling you that you've turned off Recommended Files, like a vestigial limb you can't remove. The Recommended Files list, if you leave it on, for me just surfaces years-old documents and other random crap from my file storage that I don't really want to see surfaced right there in my Start menu. Managing those files is a chore, too, forcing me to right click and "dismiss" every time it surfaces a file I couldn't care less about.

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

It also doesn't really feel fit for purpose. What use is it, showing me a file that I've since removed or deleted? Why isn't the Recommended List intelligent enough to know if a file is still available? What if you surface a sensitive, personal document that I don't want guests who might be using my PC to see right there, front and center?

If you can't make it work for me, if you can't give me control over it, just let me bloody well turn it off, without punishing me with a passive-aggressive message and a pile of wasted Start menu space. It's straight-up bad design.

Furthermore, why is it centered? At least you can move it by trawling through the settings, but man, I can't for the life of me understand the logic here. Is it just because macOS has a centered dock? You're asking users to aim the mouse to click on it now, whereas before you could simply drag the mouse all the way into the corner without thinking about it, to open the Start menu. I generally use the Windows key and just search in the Start menu when I want to open things anyway, but the "change for the sake of change" aspect here simply irks me.

Oversimplification

Windows 11 Start Settings

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

As much as I dislike the term "power users," there's naturally a delta between people who know and use Windows inside out and backward and more casual users, who don't spend too much time on their computer. Figuring out where to set design priorities can be tough in some instances, especially when it comes to removing features, but far too often it feels like companies go too far in the other direction when trying to strike balance.

In a past life, I was an IT guy for a chain of private high schools in the U.K., and know all too well that literally nobody customized their Windows 8 or Windows 10 Start menus. The default crapware Live Tiles that OEMs would install on their laptops remained for years, until I forced a specific basic Start menu layout via Group Policy (which was needlessly complex to do in its own right, compared to managed Chromebooks).

Microsoft clearly knows that nobody wants to configure, shape, and resize Live Tiles, while also researching which apps even provide a baseline level of functionality in that area. But removing ALL Start menu customization is not, and never the alternative. Even Windows 95's Start menu let you resize it at least.

The Start of a long journey

Windows 11 Start menu and taskbar

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

If you can't make it work for me, if you can't give me control over it, just let me bloody well turn it off.

Windows 10 was famously supposed to be the last version of Windows, but I think most of us realized that was never going to be the case. Technology moves forward. Style sensibilities evolve. Needs and wants trend and change with the times.

I do love Windows 11 for the most part. The more consistent UI is a massive step in the right direction — Windows 11 is gorgeous. The new features in system apps are welcome to see, too. Renewed investment and interest in Windows is also exciting, as Microsoft picks up companies like Clipchamp to start resolving weak parts of its OS. And hey, those new Surface devices look like they'll complement the OS nicely as well.

I thoroughly expect Microsoft will react to feedback about the Start menu's features — or lack thereof — in future system updates. I just feel like we've been here before, at the precipice of RTM, with underdeveloped features. And considering the Start menu is the first thing you see when you sit at your desk in the morning, it's more than a little annoying.

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

96 Comments
  • IMO, the Start menu is the worst part of Win11, and the worst iteration of Start since it launched in Win95.
  • That's the one reason I'm staying on w10.
  • Yeah, I believe this is the first Windows version that regressed too many features of Start Menu, it even has less features than Windows 7 which at least had a Jump List feature. Only "new" thing in there is the Recommended section, which is basically a glorified recents anyways since I can't tell the exact "smart" about it. Windows 8 Start screen were controversial for sure, but at least it introduced several new things, they just executed it poorly for desktop use. Live Tiles hate it or love it, were the big new feature, alongside with groupings, less limited amount of pinned items, resize tiles, and the All Apps were grouped, though messy (Windows 10 addressed it to more better approach but lacked the other filters from Windows 8.1).
  • This is actually a console application, not a start menu.
    The three row icon scroll is straight out of blackberry 7210 and earlier Palm OS.
    If I leave the default 'start menu' position on the centre, it's like I'm running a PDA emulator. Only thing missing is a phone skin. Don't get me wrong, it has improved my productivity as it has made the pc a work tool and nothing more. IBM would be proud.
  • I run Win10 Start full screen. I do music and video creation, which involves a lot of tools. I NEED icons grouped by similar purpose, and I need a lot of them. The Win11 Start is the complete opposite of what I need. fingers crossed StartDock can solve it for me.
  • Yeah, me too, even using full screen on 4K 27 inch monitor (planning to get 32 inch when I got more savings and stocks replenished). Though I don't fill the whole screen, it gives me a center glance of everything. I don't need to see other windows anyways when I'm browsing on Start, its easier to focus this way and find stuff. Now Windows 11 Start menu is just flat in terms of organization. Pinning my apps looks more mish-mash of everything, and since its not resizable, you can only see few amount of pinned apps since the rest are hidden to another page. Making it not much different from browsing All Apps list anyways. Sure typing apps to search is nice and I use it alot, but there are apps that I just like to launch visually and I tend to forget some apps that I already app if I don't pin them. Also Windows Search is sadly not always reliable, sometimes it has delays or crash, unlike on Windows 8.x search and Windows 7 that were far more reliable.
  • I do a lot of music production and video editing. I don't understand how you can NEED "loots of tools," never mind so many that require you to run a full screen start menu with grouped icons. Ever heard of Pin to Taskbar? Plus, you can do this on your desktop, already. The pin in the new Start Menu will basically do that. Your most used apps, you pin them there. There should be enough room for you, and for me... Cubase Pro 11
    Dorico 3.5 Elements
    DaVinci Resolve 17 Studio
    Fusion 17 Studio
    iZotope RX 7
    Sound Forge Pro 13
    Affinity Photo
    Affinity Designer
    Affinity Designer
    Scrivener
    Word
    Excel
    PowerPoint
    OneNote And maybe a few launchers for games, if you do that (Steam, Battle.net, Origin, etc.). None of that requires me to run a full screen start menu. There is enough for 18 pinned apps in the Start Menu. So, I could put backups like Studio One 5 Professional and Notion 6 there and still have a couple of free slots for something like Steam and Battle.net. Not that I think this start menu is great. I don't. However, I don't think anything they do will "work" unless it's so conservative that they leave themselves no room to move forwards. People are just adverse to any type of meaningful change with these things. P.S. Most power users don't click icons in the start menu, or even on the desktop. They press the windows key and by the time they've typed 2-4 letters they can often just press ENTER and the correct app launches.
  • I've fixed all that with Start11 and I can now group icons with titles even. I can make the start menu huge or just go full screen. I just cannot believe microsoft went beserk with this start menu giving us ZERO options to style it.
  • This brought up points I never really thought about, but I didn't have Windows 11 on my PC too long before I went back due to non-compatibility. This article reminds me of where the Start Menu of Windows 10 was at launch. Windows 10 Start Menu is good, but it started out horrible. I'm sure that the same will hold true for Windows 11. This brings a key point that Micrsoft needs to address. With the Start Menu being where they want everyone to "Start" (Rolling Stones Start Me Up from Win 95 plays). it is the aspect of the OS that they should prioritize focus on, when designing the next iteration of Windows.
  • Start menu is fine for me... I don't get why people obsess over it... I have all regular apps pinned to the task bar and the start menu... I can easily search for anything I need... It's a much simpler cleaner look... People hate change, Apple know that and that's why each product and OS they release is almost exactly the same...
  • Think we're in the minority here
    Completely baffled me why anyone would want to go back to the XP era menu that was a complete mess and broke more often than not
    This new one works fine, and really, people need to get over it and stop trying to break Windows all the time
  • I don't think anyone wants to go back to Win XP era Start Menu, hell I even dislike the Win 7 Start Menu, but the issue here is every time Microsoft releases a fresh revamp of Windows, they seem to deprioritize the Start Menu, which shouldn't be done on a feature that is meant to be your starting place for the OS.
  • Simple and clean isn't the point. It's functionality. I want apps clustered in a certain way, and I want to size the icons to that the ones I use most I can hit the easiest. This is about movements you do at work on your desktop or laptop hundreds of times a day. You want this to be as easy as possible. It's not about being visually clutter-free. If I could turn the widget panel into a launcher (can we do that??) that might satisfy me.
  • I've been saying this from day one of its Dev release. The widget menu would have been ideal, for touch screens in particular. Much like my Note 8, where it has an Edge menu and you can swipe between two. Windows 11 could be the same, with the standard widgets menu and swipe again, you have the Start menu, with the Apps you use most or want pinned for easy access. I don't necessarily have an issue the the Windows 11 menu, but it doesn't make sense, if I'm using my Surface in tablet mode.
  • Yeah, sure we have our own take to organize our desktop experience. But actually removing an actual useful feature is not the right approach. Now for those who actually make use of those now stuck at not able to organize. Some have different needs and will have more apps than what other people have. If we just go with what more casual users do, they just care having shortcuts cluttering their whole desktop. Start menu for them is for shutting down and only very few instances of launching apps. In this case, why we just remove other features as well? Snap? Most people still don't use it. Task View? Multi-Desktop? Action Center? Notifications? We just ends up an OS with just icons on the screen and open a window. Almost like iOS, but running apps on a window.
  • To work efficiently you need to use the task bar, that's what it is for one click starts the app of your choice, simple really... If you like Windows 10, just stick with it...
  • The problem with pinning more apps on the Taskbar is the monitor size and just looks more visibly cluttered. Especially when using tablet when you go portrait, that became cramped and will hide some of the icons. Worse, Windows 11 didn't even address it and some icons will be hidden until you return to portrait. Not sure how come Microsoft forgot to implement pagenated Taskbar Overflow when they just improved Windows Snap on portrait for tablets. Microsoft seems to expect to have 5 Taskbar icons pinned yet they gutted Start menu to as well.
  • yea i dont even understand the complaints. I dont even use start menu anymore, every app i use it pinned on my taskbar. these ppl are just creating another boogyman to knock on windows.
  • That works great for you. Some of us use our computers differently. I use several apps at the same time and often have several PDF's open simultaneously. I personally prefer to have nothing but open apps on my taskbar so I can quickly see what apps are open and what are not. The little line under the app isn't sufficient and mixing open and closed apps just clutters the taskbar forcing apps to combine more often than needed. I prefer my regular used apps pinned to my start menu.
  • Because your use case is different, so yeah you won't understand. Thing is the advantage of pinning too many apps on Taskbar is bad for tablet users who may rotate the screen and some icons are hidden and inaccessible, considering there is no good Taskbar Overflow behaviour on Windows 11 on this release build. Also for laptops that have smaller monitors. Not everybody wants to have smililar to MacOS that have so much apps docked. At least they can organized their apps with their Springboard UI with folders, which Windows 11 also lacked on its Start Menu now. Imagine if File Explorer doesn't allow you to create folder inside a Documents folder, because MS expects you to have all files visible there for "easy access".
  • "People hate change" I love change. I've desperately been ranting and begging for Win11 to fix all the inconsistency of Win10. And maybe also look like Windows is aware of Mac OS, Chrome OS, and Android. What the author (and myself) hate is poorly conceived 'change'.
  • This. I really do think a lot of this is "Old man yells at cloud". I read these articles and comments section and I'm always left wondering "Why does it seem like you spend 90% of your computer time digging through the start menu?" I understand I might be in the minority here, and to each their own, but I also have my few most used apps pinned to the bar, and really only use the start menu to occasionally search for a different app that isn't already pinned. It's the same for me if I am using my macbook for work. Dock has most used stuff pinned... alfred for everything else. Oh well, can't please everyone I guess.
  • you're my new internet buddy! Nail the Apple thing and I 100% agree.
  • Thank you for this. The inability to organize my Start Menu, the needless extra scrolling for program icons that could be solved if they just gave me back the space that just sits there when you disable recommendations, and the feature removal from the taskbar was just too much. Hopefully, the Windows 11.1 update will solve it.
  • I know Microsoft knows what a Mac is, what a Linux distro is (since 11 feels Zorin inspired more than Mac), are very familiar with Chrome, they know what an iPhone and Android phones are. Yet they don't seem to know any of the desirable features from those operating systems. App folders. Why aren't there app folders in the smart menu. A feature introduced in iOS... oh... some 11 years ago! Too soon, Redmond? A readily resizeable taskbar? That's been a Mac feature for 22 years.
  • It wouldn't be Microsoft if they didn't chase trends without understanding why said trend is appealing in the first place. Mac's aren't my preference, but at least Apple understands the concept of simple but powerful. Make things easy to understand but keep the serious options for those who need it.
  • While I agree with you, of all the distros you could've chosen, calling Windows Zorin inspired is just off. Because Zorins entire vision and appeal has been to try to replicate Windows in order for people to have an easier switch to a Linux distro, taking it one step further from Mint and Cinnamon which started as a bit of the same.
  • Completely agree. Mind blowing how much of step backwards in usability it is..
  • I think the Start menu looks OK, but in practical use it's too big and shouldn't be centered. If they could somehow center the Win10 Start menu, with it's submenus, that might be a good compromise. The Widgets panel looks good, but I'd like to be able to add other widgets there, like Google Calendar, or the today view from Todoist. I like Outlook and ToDo, but I don't use them. One odd thing I've noticed with Win11 is that when I want to pop up the month view in the calendar at the bottom right of the Taskbar, I can't drag the mouse directly there to activate it. I have to start more towards the middle and then move to the right.
  • And on big screens start many looks too small.
  • This. ALL of this. Completely agree with all these points.
  • I agree. I am fine without live tiles, but a feature of the Windows 10 start menu I liked is the ability to group app icons into a folder which is not in the Windows 11 Start Menu.
  • - Cannot launch task manager (or anything) from right clicking on taskbar
    - Cannot "always show all" system tray icons
    - Cannot choose "never combine" taskbar buttons, which obfuscates my windows and adds extra clicks to my workflow Yeah, it sucks. I usually upgrade on the first day, but I'm actually avoiding this one.
  • You actually can bring up the task manager by right clicking the start button. Along with many other utilities that you couldn't quickly bring up before. Shows how much you know.
  • Yup. Completely agreed. This is why I won't be using Windows 11. Not being able to customize the system tray and clean it up, or make the taskbar more efficient to use when having many windows or multiple instances of an application is a dealbreaker. They really messed up right click too, since you have to click twice to see the old menu with all the options you really want when you right click. It's ridiculous how they always mess up things that are so basic and work so well, and take things that used to be very visible at a glance and be instantly clickable, be unclear and take multiple clicks. Super frustrating and really messes up my workflow. Win10 is the best version thus far. If I wanted to use something constantly annoying and restricted feeling that looked like MacOS, I would use MacOS.
  • If you guys are so fond of productivity and functionality, you'll use Ctrl Shift Esc for task manager, and other shortcuts for other things "missing". Microsoft is taking certain decisions that cut some functionalities probably because they deem it necessary to create a more elegant, solid environment that is aligned with their vision on how those key parts of the operating system should work. It will never appeal everyone. Probably they're doing it to attract new users as well, not just to keep the existing ones. Think a bit beyond your own needs.
  • MS had to include SOMETHING to visually differentiate W11 from W10, so, they took the piece of W10X that got the most positive feedback; The Start Menu, and plugged it into W11 (though for the wrong reasons.) Was this a good idea? Conceptually, yes. The way they have configured it in W11? NO.
    Where is the customization? Where is the ability to resize, recconfigure, rearrange?
    Where is the Right-Click Start Menu? (you can get at it, but it's a PITA.)
    I like Widgets as much as the next guy, but I DON'T WANT THEM IN THE START MENU.
    (Give me the old Vista Widget idea, where they can float on the desktop at my control) This is a crapware implementation of a Start Menu that is JUST AS BAD as what they did with Windows 8, and just like Windows 8 they are FORCING it on end-users. I predict that one of the first "enhancements" they roll out for W11 will be to enable the old W10 Start Menu Functionality (because the Enterprise Users will DEMAND it.) The old Tic-Tock Windows Version curse strikes again;
    9x = Great
    ME = Crap
    XP = Great
    Vista = Crap
    W7 = Great
    W8 = Crap
    W10 = Great
    W11 = ?
  • The crippled Start Menu is the reason I will be skipping Windows 11.
    And indeed it is not just the Start Menu, they crippled the Task Bar too.
    We use Windows, if we wanted to used Android or Apple, we'd be doing so.
  • Agree with a lot of these comments. It’s a big step back from functionality available previously….
  • Windows 10 was not stopped due to tech moving forwards, software can be changed to work with new hardware. The dollar moved or was not moving in the case of Windows 10. Nothing to see here move along, move along just another cash cow trying to be milked. Nothing was wrong with Windows 10 except Micro$hafts inability to keep refining instead of boat anchoring like they always do. Nothing different, start of a new decade.
  • I don't hate it, but would like more rows of icons and easy access to all programs. The centered versus on the left doesn't bother me, but I can see that many will be confused by the change
  • I agree with almost all the points in this article.
    I only have one column in win 10 start, and i sectioned there the most used apps while keeping the app list in the left, while also placing the basic folders above power and settings.
    Win 11 start is there for ios lovers i think.
    I did try it recently on my surface tablet, and even there, i was not really sure how to personalize it to my liking.
    You cant turn off recomandations, you cant realy make folders or something, nor can you resize it.
    How the start looks like in 21H1 is the best in my opinion, and if the app icons could return to their white counterparts would be for the best
  • It's fine. Jeez Jez...
  • Win 8 Start Screen still provide sth new and innovative, I cannot support the start menu in Win 11. I won't upgrade to it til they fix it.
  • I will admit I kind of liked the live tiles but the new menu is more polished and subtle. The only version of this thing that ever came along that made me pause to "learn" something was 8. It was so jarring when it threw you out of the desktop to the full screen start menu....that took a bit of time to get used to. All the others just seemed like a natural transition to me.
  • Press the windows key and type a few letters, and then get over it. Also - this is coming from a person who LOVES live tiles.
  • Well that's definitely a good alternative, but other users just want or need that apps to be visible and organized. Like how files are organized into folders even though we can search them. Sometimes we may forgot we have an app, then we open a menu neatly organized what they are and boom, yoopen it. Also sadly sometimes Windows Search is unreliable or slow, since if the internet is bad, somehow local search kinda delays it and even mess up the results. Windows Search is practically web based shell, which is why we had a weird bug before that is not working due to server side changes.
  • I am all with you Jez. App organisation is my top need. I returned to 10 and have blocked TPM in bios to avoid auto update. First time since 3.1 that I am not updating.
  • I agree with everything in this article - it is the worst aspect of Windows 11 by far and I don't understand why they'd even think about shipping it with this Start Menu. I'd upgrade in a shot if it had a proper, customisable start menu that allowed me to organise my programs into groups like on Windows 10. It's all very well people say press start and then type the name of the program you're looking for, kind of defeats the object when you have to go from mouse to keyboard rather than just being able to complete the entire action with the mouse. I really hope they change this, there's been a lot of negative feedback about Start - but they don't seem to be listening to any of it. I'll stick with 10. Edit: another thing I really don't like about 11 is the folder icons in Windows Explorer - you used to be able to see the content of a folder (small preview images of the file types in that folder) just by looking without having to open it. Now they all look the same - they've added a tiny white line to show if a folder contains files - another backward move.
  • Panos Panay said words to the effect that he wants Windows user to be psyched to use Windows, look forward to using it, instead of being 'stuck' with using Windows. We are stuck with yet another finished operating system, Windows 11. The Start Menu and Widget Window are clearly rough drafts. It's embarrassing how half baked they are. Mr. Corden is absolutely correct in his observations. I know this with certainty because they are all obvious conclusions, not opinions. Imagine GM. Introducing an entire line of ugly cars. And when confounded at how poorly thought out the exteriors were, we're told, "Yeah -- but the cars are more efficient now and run faster." I applaud Microsoft for having made my Lenovo laptop faster. I do. But THAT has nothing to do with the ugly exterior. And here's the thing. Everyone who has used 11 for like 11 minutes all make the same basic comments. How do I removed 'Recommended'. How do I make the icons in the taskbar even smaller. Why not allow widgets in the start menu -- or basically -- make them one window. If you spend more than 11 minutes -- you start to see even more half-derriere'd mistakes. Task Manager is still white in dark mode. Certain settings (like Check for Updates) can no longer be saved to the taskbar. If you start to search in Start it switches (in a blinky awkward way) to a Search Window.... FOR NO REASON. I used Apple for 3 decades. Didn't like the direction Tim Crook took them. Gave Win10 a shot because of a feeling new management gave me. I'm happy I switched and was very happy when Panos was promoted. But this thing? It shouldn't ship on Oct 5th. PULL it, fix what's obviously wrong, and release Dec 5th. And I'll share that if this thing doesn't improve quickly I've been more pleased where Apple has been recently.
  • I think it's fine because I haven't used the start menu to start an app since Vista first gave us a search box built into it. People put the icons they want on their taskbar or desktop or top of start menu and beyond that they don't care. And they sure aren't going to the start menu to get back to recently used files. "Even Windows 95's Start menu let you resize it at least."
    -Politifact rated this "pants on fire" false.
  • Such fantastic and "professional" writing from Jez! His decades of experience in UI/UX design as well as access to Windows usage data no doubt contributed to this fine article with a stellar headline. Where would we be without his insight? /s
  • Ad hominem. Since you can't argue his points you attempt to attack his person. But the funny thing with ad hominem is that the person who opens with it... is the loser.
  • This! Just because you don't agree to the write, doesn't mean he has a right to disrespect.
  • Yes it is fantastic and professional writing from Jez. That's why he works here, he's an exceptional writer. Thank you for taking the time to recognise this.
  • I didn't think I would fine the menu THIS weird to use.
  • I was running Win11 on a VM for a few months, the Start menu is different but it's not terrible, I'm getting used to it. I've pinned apps I use most to it. I've now upgraded my Windows 10 install to Windows 11 and I'm liking it.
  • Interesting, i'm going to load up the vm over the weekend and have another crack at it. It's not grown on me so far. I suspect it's my resignation that we won't be progressing from a grid of icons any time soon. Almost 3 decades on and we're still using a icon grid from the days of monochromatic phone screens.
  • I thought I'd miss live tiles but I don't really, I think the under-the-hood improvements to Windows 11 outweigh what's been removed/changed
  • Does anyone love that 'create second desktop' area in task view? It's big enough for the legally blind.
  • Not surprising at all. This is a software company whose biggest weakness is their software. Outside of software, everything else they do is great.
  • I got so annoyed with it that i stopped testing insider builds. Testing actually made my mind relax a little from monotonous day to day actions of work. But the new start menu is so dumbed down it actually gives me a headache every time i look at it lol! I didn't get this headache with the W8 start menu. Having imagine I had a larger TV as a display than I did - is what caused headaches for me with W8 technical preview and the bizarre idea of putting shutdown options in the settings charm? Anyway, W11 has a lot going for it... the start menu and dedicated section for widgets aren't part of that list. I still think Microsoft should allow users to place widgets / live tiles on the desktop. If you have a multiple screens, you could have one for widgets / tiles. If you don't, having something that's akin to Fences by stardock where you have boxes where you can group icons and label them. Microsoft should have something like that too. Allowing users to drag in icons, tiles, widgets etc and place them wherever they like. These boxes could be attached to any side of the screen and act like pinnable drawers. With options to over lay other Windows and force Windows to align. The latter effectively becomes a physical side where you can snap windows on. But that's a pipe dream at moment. Microsoft is still designing based on telemetry data. Which is how we ended up with such a dumbed down start menu. Again, proving it is the most flawed approach to design.
  • 100% agree on all of that.
  • I haven't used it yet but I agree on every single word!
  • Like others, I've been using W11 for months and for the most part... yeah I'm over it. Yes, as a whole I like 11 and even the Start Menu. But as someone that don't use widgets on his desktop, and gave up on "live" tiles years ago, I find the W11 start menu to be mostly acceptable. Personally, I think the taskbar is too big and I prefer it centered at the top. That said, the start menu is one of the things I use the least on Windows. All of my important apps are pinned. Anything else I just hit start on the keyboard and search for. I'm not saying that other people's criticisms aren't valid, but when I see others describe how they use Windows, I can't help but to think that that sounds harder.
  • More consistent and a massive step? For some apps maybe, but the Task Manager is still white in dark mode. Not to mention all the titlebars that aren't part of the XAML Islands (a majority of non-MS applications), the dialogs (Copy/Paste), the Control Panel etc.
  • In short I get that the change is jarring. The idea is to blend work and personal together like on tablets. Microsoft wants to unify how you using mobile devices and non-mobile devices and bring some consistency to the UI and the experience. Example the multiple home screen tabs in Android could actually be better used. Different screens for different typeS of things - Gaming tab, Productivity tab, IM tab etc. At best most of use it as a continuous page of apps that we frequently use without to much organization. With Windows they are driving you to be organized and use Windows using a more structured methodology. How about learn how Microsoft wants you to use it. Organize your environment and then evaluate and not complain as you randomly play around. Just my two cents, it is a change but I have always appreciated the innovation of Microsoft, they didn't communicate well, today they are doing much better. Windows 7 would have been better if they communicated better and didn't cave in to the complainers out of fear. This is being done to unify the use of desktop and mobile.. With 20+ years in the IT PM and Change Management I have seen implementations limited only because of resistance vs learning about why the change and how it will be better for the future. Do a little more homework be structure in your review and read the information Microsoft give you and try each feature and then put it together and test.
  • It's not about resistance to change, it's about making backwards-ass decisions that break functionality for our work environments!! I've been with MS software since the early DOS days, have worked in IT and CAD, watched the evolution away from Novell to MS networks in the midrange & small business space. MS has done great things over the years, BUT it's always been a two steps forward, one step back development cycle with these people. I'm just sick and tired of them embracing great ideas only to later hamstring and then eventually eliminate them. QuickLaunch is a perfect example of a good idea that has been pushed to the back of the bus, I presume by people who don't actually work at a desktop in a business environment. I have to assume such people enjoy the clickety-click world of mouse navigation vs having a pre-programmed shortcut right to the DOCUMENT vs just opening the program and making you browse for it. This is just one tiny example of the supremely bad decisions that make me scratch my head. Microsoft giveth... and Microsoft taketh away.
  • I noted the start menu changes, and it took me all of 5 minutes to adjust and now would not have it any other way. But specifically on the centered Ivón placement. The reason for it is that if you have a super wide display, the far left placement is really objectively terrible. In my case, we are talking up to a three foot trip all the way over to the left to mouse to the start button. With the centered display, the start menu is now way way more efficiently placed.
  • Chrome is the reason, everyone cites Mac but the true inspiration is ChromeOS. Use a chromebook and you'll see where windows 11 is coming from... I had to set up a few and test them out, it was glaringly obvious
  • Don't forget, there's also the loss of jump lists. And regarding Widgets, my biggest concern is that they serve the same purpose as live tiles, but is a completely closed ecosystem (only MS can make widgets). Same goes for My People -> Chat (Teams integration).
  • I'm going to miss adding Toolbars to the Taskbar. That is how I customize groupings of resources and apps into meaningful workflows. This utilizes a long time concepts of Windows Shortcuts.
  • It looks like Stardock's Start11 is going to be getting a lot of downloads. I used it extensively with Win Vista and tested it out with Win 10 and it's a definitely an improvement to MSFT's implementation. I'm surprised MSFT hasn't tried to buy them out and incorporate their technology into Windows. MSFT engineers/design decision makers always leave a lot to be desired. Don't even talk to me about the useless Feedback Hub.
  • We dont want Windows 7 start menu. It was even more unproffesional.
  • I just purchased it. The Windows 11 Style that you can select on Stardock's Start11 is EXACTLY the start menu that should had been included in Windows 11. It looks exactly the same but with all the customizations you should have in the first place. You can choose between Windows 7, 8, 10 and 11 style menu, go try it !
  • I like windows 11. It's the best version of windows. It's still in development and gets better on each update. This article and bunch of old people who can't handle change and learn things are just ranting.
  • You don't work with your computer.
  • All of Windows 11 sucks.
    I would like to mention a good thing it does but there's literally nothing. Everything in it is god awful: from the lack of a real Dark Theme (instead it comes with a vomit-inducing Grey Theme), to the rounded corners to the Start Menu to the tacky early 2000's transparencies. It's all just so ugly and user unfriendly that the best thing about it is that it will not be available for installation to the majority of Windows users thanks to the TPM requirements. I just want Microsoft to put out Windows 11 ASAP.
    The sooner its out, the sooner they can start working on Windows 12 to do a 180º and give people a good version of Windows again.
  • It should have been the same as the Windows10 one, but with the modification shown on that 1 billion users video
  • 100% fugly, written for retards, and chocked full-o-bugs. No thanks, If I wanted MacOS on a PC, I'd just install MacOS.
  • The simplest fix from MS would be to allow 3 things: resize the start menu, turn off recommended apps and use the space for existing, and allow for App drawers in a section of the menu. All complaints dissipate and those functionalities will cover most user needs.
  • Windows 10 is best OS till now, So I was wonder how to activate my windows 10.
    I searched the method and the site will recommend which I found as ODosta Store
    They’re selling cheap and legit keys with lifetime warranty.
  • A proffesional Start menu with no sections and folders...
  • That is actually the FIRST thing I regain by using Start11 from StarDock. It is amazing that almost all of us (including stardock) knows what is wrong and Microsoft refuses to fix it. This issue with no section, no folder, random icons with no grouping at all was issued several thousands times in the feedback hub on Windows Insiders and they did ZERO to change it, they just did whatever they wanted without listening to the feedback AT ALL.
  • I upgraded to Windows 11 today and I am not sure I will keep it. I had taken a great deal of time to get my Windows 10 Start menu well organized with headers and all of the respective applications as I cannot stand having a clustered desktop. With Win 11 my work around for now, I unpinned all existing apps, I created a bunch of folders with my apps as shortcuts in them and named the folders as the previous headers and pinned those. I now access my apps with two clicks and a half instead of just one; One to select the folder and a double-click to open the app. That is a major step back. I can see a good use of this new start menu for my dad who only opens Word, Excel and browse the web but I don't see how anyone would go through this list if they have hundreds of apps.
  • Seems to be the way they turned the entire system now. Try and enable surround virtualization for headphones now, it's 5 clicks!! whereas before it was just "right clicking" the volume icon and selecting it right away. Are these people idiots?.
  • All they had to do was incorporate the old Quick Launch toolbar on the taskbar. But, noooooooooooooo. I want the ability to slide my app taskbar where ever I want and new app instances to be ungrouped and to the left, just like yesterday when we got on our knees and prayed... etc., etc.
  • Definitely dull and stupid Start menu and taskbar at the moment in Windows 11. And as there is also another bunch of lacking or stupidly 'renewed' features, plus some way too strict hardware requirements, it is a clear NO from me currently.
  • Valentin-Gabriel Radu should get the Nobel Prize (restores Windows 10 taskbar and Quick Launch to Windows 11):
    https://github.com/valinet/ExplorerPatcher
  • Unless I am missing something, I am unable to pin to start...
  • Actually that did not work for me, Explorer keeps restarting every 30 seconds or so. Going back to good old Win 10, will deal with Win 11 in 2025.
  • I'm glad to see many news outlets bashing this terrible UI design. I was afraid it was gonna be another mindless "It's been streamlined, which is very nice" praise. Taskbar and Start Menu are currently the worst parts of Windows 11.
    Removed taskbar Features:
    • Left, Right and Top repositioning
    • Small taskbar icons
    • Disabling of taskbar icon combining
    • Context menu only shows taskbar settings nothing more, you can only right click the start button for proper features.
    • Drag and Drop support Removed Start features :
    • Live tiles (Not everyone cares, so I'll give them a pass on this)
    • Re-sizeable start
    • Full screen start
    • Shortcut resizing
    • Shortcut grouping
    • Shortcut folders (Folders were literally added to Win10 due to feedback asking for it and yet they now go ignore it once again... sigh) And that non-customiseable 6x3 grid with a useless recommended section I can't hide… Don’t even get me started on that.
  • Very good article that explains exactly what I was feeling. Not being able to resize the start menu, change or add any "titles" to the row of icons (hence it's a glorious mess mixing work with games in my case). Not being able to remove the recommended section (completely useless for me) and having that huge space down there completely unused was the last straw. I've purchased Start11, leave the style as Windows 11 and now I can do ALL of that for just 7 bucks. It's truly an insult that the Windows Team cannot achieve something that StarDock can with a 7 bucks app. It's insulting to any windows user. I advice, go get Start11, set the style to Windows 11 start and then tell me if that is not EXACTLY what microsoft should be doing with the start menu.
  • Windows 11, like windows 8, total failure
    I will be on Windows 10 till 2025.
    Free doesn't mean user friendly, it means in MS case ... no user research, just give the user a bag of crap.
  • Very good article. I agree on most points. In Windows 11, Microsoft decided to become a bloody tyrant dictator who took your freedom and decides everything for you. He wants to decide for you which browser should be your default browser by making it as hard as possible to switch to the browser of your choice. Oversimplification is exact word suited for Windows 11. Microsoft tried to remove customization as much as possible in Windows 11. Their main focus was removing things in this OS instead of bringing some new features. After trying Windows 11 I can say that it feels like a downgraded and castrated version of Windows 10. The only thing I don't agree with author is that "Windows 11 is a gorgeous OS". I disagree. I think it's an ugly OS. Rounded corners? Nah, I don't like it and when you have window of some software installation that has standard corners and behind it you have these rounded corners window of your OS, it just looks like a messed up design. Start menu that can't be resized (and looks super small if you have high resolution screen or super big if you have small resolution screen) and looks like a chopped and beheaded from taskbar? Nah, I don't think it's beautiful. What about gap between icons? Go to file explorer in "my documents" or anywhere where you have several folders and you'll see how big is space between them unlike Windows 10. It's counter productive taking a lot of space on your screen and it definitely doesn't look gorgeous. Windows default wallpapers? Sure, they might look good, but who uses default wallpapers or why it even matters? It can be easily changed if it matters, so yeah, I really don't think that Windows 11 is a beautiful OS. I think it's an ugly and castrated OS. There are other problems in Windows 11 that wasn't mentioned, for example opening a file’s folder location is no longer streamlined, can’t Open Windows 11 Task Manager via Taskbar and other small things like that. I don't know about others, but personally I hated Windows 11 with my full passion and rolled back to Windows 10. Obviously I will be skipping Windows 11 and will continue using Windows 10 until it's discontinued or Windows 12 will be a better OS. I better switch to Linux then having this abomination of OS created by dictators in Microsoft and a crappy taste.
  • I don't understand why they can't just re-introduce the classic start menu from Windows 7. It's not dated. It's functional, efficient and a lot of new and old users would be happy with it. Is it a cardinal sin to revert back to classic features in the development community or are they just too ashmed and think it's an admission of failure. In any case, the classic Windows menu is perfection.