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Love and hatred for Windows 11 Start menu remain equal amongst Windows Central readers

Windows 11 Chat Setup
Windows 11 Chat Setup (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • The Windows 11 Start menu has shaken up the established Start menu formula via functionality adjustments and simplifications.
  • Many Windows users are not fans of the changes, though others are fine with them.
  • Our readers are 50/50 split on the subject.

Every couple of seconds the results fluctuate by a few tenths of a percent, but here's the deal: The poll we ran on Saturday asking people for their thoughts on the new Windows 11 Start menu has been neck and neck, a clean 50/50 split down the middle. In short, approximately 39% of people like it, 39% dislike it, and 21% don't care either way.

The poll's been maintaining that status for a while now, with the "dislike" group gaining a couple fractions of a percent, then the "like" group catching up, and back and forth and back and forth. What this indicates is that Windows Central readers really are truly divided over the Start menu. A sizeable chunk fall into the "I hate the Windows 11 Start menu" camp, while a party nearly the exact same size feels that the Start menu is perfectly likable.

Of course, we have to remember that over 21% of the 2,100+ respondents cannot be bothered to care either way about the Start menu. Lest we, the Windows enthusiasts, forget there is a camp of people who choose not to fret over things such as Start menus. Perhaps they feel the operating system itself is a non-starter, and that Windows 11 doesn't matter in the first place.

Whatever the case may be, 21% aren't picking favorites, and the two camps of 39% will remain with their horns locked for the foreseeable future. The comments on the poll are just as much of a battleground as the voting box. Some people are using the comments to aggressively defend Windows 8, so venture in there at your own risk.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

24 Comments
  • I didn't feel like the poll gave enough options. I'd describe my opinion as lukewarm. I like the ability to center it and it looks cleaner after the removal of tiles, but I'm not a fan of the "recommended" section or the removal of the ability to group apps in folders. It's not that I don't care, I'm just equally happy and annoyed.
  • Interesting, that suggests that even among people who like the new menu for some of its design features, some of them still have problems with others. I think I'm in that boat too, but won't know for sure until I actually use it. I'm not currently running any insider versions of Windows, so can only comment on what I've seen and read in articles. I understand eliminating Live Tiles due to the technical burden they place on the team to support them and the telemetry data showing hardly any of us use them, but why eliminate folders from the Start menu? I've also heard that jump lists are gone (I think only from Start and not from the Taskbar, but not clear on this). I don't understand removing the ability to organize your Start menu and strip out the ability to open documents directly from the apps that run them. Hell, even if the goal is to simplify Windows down to the level of a cell phone, well, Android supports folders on its home screen now. I have a hard time believing anyone resents being able to put folders on the Start Menu and organize the positions of icons for fastest access.
  • This is what scratches my head as well, okay Live Tiles is gone but they really made Start menu too basic, even OS with "grid of icons" have more features like Android and iOS (who also now home to widgets, making it looks like Windows Phone prior with Live Tiles). Those supports folders for years, notification badges and quick actions for the apps (equivalent to Jump List first introduced with Windows 7). Windows 11, we got none of those. The groupings, folders, notification badges and Jump List could have been here but no. We got more basic than what Windows 7 had. The "Smartphone-like" about Windows 11 is maybe because of the Taskbar and Start menu being on centered, but feature-wise, we didn't even got some of those smartphone features anyways. Ironic that mobile OS somehow got a bit more features now than Windows desktop OS in these areas. About Live Tiles, unless this new Widgets being entirely made of WebUI have a future cross-platform intent, I don't get it why even killing it in the first place instead of improving it and turning that into Widgets as well, all while we can retain "legacy" Live Tiles until the developers update their apps to convert it into Live Tiles. And just move it away from the Start menu which the other camp prefers not having any widget-system in there. I do feel like Widgets were a "last-minute" afterthought, considering Windows 10X didn't originally have one at all. Idk if this is because they realized Windows 11 will not have an equivalent widget system considering even iOS and iPadOS is really going in with those, and macOS already adopted same Widgets from iOS/iPadOS. Android is lately going back to improve its Widgets which is largely neglected for years.
  • It is really weird, and seems rushed. It's not much to ask for widgets that can launch their apps; it's another step to include the widgets in a customizable Start menu. Voila - Live Tiles. Having customizable touch/click targets that also display useful information is not just completely reasonable for a launcher; you'd think it would be a must for a productivity-oriented OS. Especially after spending years on Live Tiles. It's OK if the default looks like a basic Android launcher, we just need at minimum some sort of choice.
  • Yeah, they could have an approach where there is just no widgets pinned by default, as long as there is a button visible to allow adding Widgets, that should be enough for people who care about it. Most will just leave whatever is in there, just like how it is for decades for most users anyways. I guess we might not have Widgets on Start menu, not at least for few more years. Well maybe they can, just don't pin them by default. But at least they really have to work and improve Widgets in Windows 11, which is currently is tad basic and really only behaves a glorified MSN page integrated with Windows shell with pinnable rectangles. But we will see how people will reaction in next few months. Though I don't expect anything much comment about Widgets, especially that it is kinda more hidden now. The question is, how will MS improve it. Start menu will be okay for most people.
  • Will keep this in mind. Sometimes the polls have so many options it can seem a bit excessive, so it was reeled back this time around, but maybe there's a middle ground to be struck for these sorts of topics.
  • You can love it or hate it, but it won't change Windows. It might evolve further, get tweaks, etc, like MS has done in the past.
  • Windows 12 will have a Windows 10-like start menu again.
  • Unfortunately, I don't think we can judge this as 50-50. Panos wants the OS to delight us. And I think other parts of the OS are delightful. I was impressed with the speed, the animations, and yes, the overall look. But if only 39% are delighted, that's not great.
    I think most people have highlighted 3-4 medium changes that could make the experience so much better. This may bring many of us (such as myself) on board. Things like folders, resizing, and jump lists. The bigger redesigns like we saw proposed recently (incorporating widgets) could wait. But if we have to wait a year or more for those minor changes, it would be a missed opportunity.
  • Has anyone found a way to reclaim the empty space occupied by recommended section in the Start menu when we turn off all the recommendations and recent files?
  • People hate change, especially the older you get. The End. p.s. We got used to the Windows XP Start Menu, then we got used to the Windows 10 Start Menu. We'll get used to it again. The third major overhaul since 1995 isn't exactly a lot.
  • I see you're conveniently pretending Windows 8 never existed.
    Unfortunately for you it did, and it throws away your entire theory ;)
  • This has nothing to do about 'hating change'. A lot fans have wanted a new Start menu for a long time now, and this new one is obviously rushed and no where near ready for primetime use. The main issue is there's no customization, no organization, can't hide the Recommended section along with privacy issues with Personal Vault files appearing in the Recommended section, and it doesn't scale well to bigger screens. There's a significant loss of productivity with the new menu, when you were able to launch things much faster in one or two clicks, which now require multiple clicks and scrolling. They repeated almost all of the major complaints from the Windows 8 Start Menu (difficulty in accessing apps list, no app groups, no jump lists, no customization, weird scaling, etc.), so they have obviously not learned from their mistakes.
  • That's a huge simplification. Productivity users in particular have their processes and flows. A big change can greatly affect their flow. Isn't "flow" a big part of MS's design ethos? Start shouldn't get in the way, but it also shouldn't make discovery and access of the files and data I need harder. The people complaining about the new Start aren't a bunch of dolts.
  • What you say is fair and all, but does really this new Start menu have the potential to hinder anyone's flow, seriously?????
  • It's exactly this. People hate, fear, and reject change. Also, it's not like people were loving the windows 10 start menu anyway. Most people didn't even bother pinning live tiles. I did, loved live tiles, and I'm not complaining. The new start menu is new, and that alone, is refreshing and exciting. It doesn't look bad either, I like it for what it is: a simplified, more immediate and streamlined version. Let's go.
  • Perfectly balanced as all things should be.
  • This guy gets it. Great candy choice, too.
  • Thanos, is that you?
  • I would actually use it but keeps crashing all the time, after sleep won't work every time. Click on date to read notifications not showing notifications. New explorer instead of UNC navigation keeps adding shares to quick access. High spec XPS 9500 keep crashing all the time with w11- boiling hot while lid closed etc. Even swipe through photos is not working for hi def photos. I've been windows user for 20 years, I am also IT but enough is enough. I am just waiting for new macbook M1X and good bye MS. You will never make any proper os.
  • They've made plenty "proper" OSs
  • It really doesn't matter what any of us think here. It will be the opinions of the mass groups of everyday users that count. We are but a mere micro fraction of windows core group. It will be the everyday non power users that just want things to work and be easy that will dictate opinions of the new start menu.
  • The solution is simple. Make the Start menu customizable. As it is now, only the people that like it the way it is OOB will be happy. Power users are out of luck as there is now way to do simple things, like adding widgets, folder grouping, removing the recommended section, resizing the menu. etc...
  • I dislike more than I like at the moment.
    1. The central option is nice (especially on ultrawide) But not being able to move it to left, right, or top sucks.
    2. The start menu icon needs to have colour options.... (at least white)
    3. The recommended section is too big and wasted (maybe add some good widgets in future)
    4. No custom icon options to change start menu program/app icons.
    5. No folder options to sort apps and program into folders/grpups on the start menu.
    6. I feel the shutdown and user icons should be switched around (left to right)