Microsoft may let you switch between old and new Start menus on Windows 11

W11 Classicstart Screenshot
W11 Classicstart Screenshot (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • The leaked Windows 11 build includes a hidden option.
  • The hidden option allows you to return to the old Windows 10 Start UI.

Update: Microsoft has removed the ability to enable the old Start menu on Windows 11, so this process no longer works. Original article follows:

The recently leaked Windows 11 build has revealed lots of new details about Microsoft's upcoming OS such as the new Start menu and Taskbar experiences. That said, the leaked build is not final, and there are more UX enhancements and features still to come. One such addition that Microsoft may add in a future build is the ability to return to the classic Windows 10 Start menu with Live Tiles if they prefer it over the Windows 11 one.

While there's no setting in the UI to revert to the classic menu yet, Rafael Rivera on Twitter has found that all the plumbing to enable such a switch is already in place, and you can enable it yourself by adding a registry key to the Windows Registry Editor. Enabling this key will bring back the classic Start menu with Live Tiles, replacing the centered Windows 11 one entirely.

If you're already running the leaked build, here's how to do it:

W11 Classicstart Regedit

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Press Win+R on your keyboard.
  2. Type "Regedit" and hit enter
  3. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced\
  4. Right-click and create a new DWORD (32-bit) value
  5. Name it "Start_ShowClassicMode"
  6. Set its value to 1
  7. Restart your PC

Like we've said, it's likely that Microsoft will simply make this a toggle in a future build of Windows 11 for those who don't like or aren't yet ready to learn the new Windows 11 Start menu. What are your thoughts on the new Start menu design? Will you be using it or returning to the classic Windows 10 Start menu? Let us know in the comments.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter and Threads