Windows 11 Start menu's performance is "comically bad" says ex-Microsoft Senior Software Engineer despite using a sophisticated $1,600 PC that meets stringent minimum requirements

Start menu in Windows 11
(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • A former Microsoft software engineer recently shared his frustrations with Windows 11 while using the Start menu, which he says is "comically bad" and riddled with performance issues.
  • Multiple users have reiterated the software engineer's sentiments and indicated that it's hard to find apps using the platform, citing that it fails to register some keystrokes.
  • Microsoft is reportedly looking into the performance issues.

A former senior software engineer, Andy Young, who worked at Microsoft for over 13 years, recently took to his X (formerly Twitter) to express his frustrations, citing Windows 11 performance issues while referring to the Start menu as "comically bad" (via Neowin).

Attached to Andy Young's post on X is a video highlighting the performance issues he's talking about. This is despite running Windows 11 on a sophisticated $1600 device boasting a Core i9 CPU and 128 GB of RAM (well above Microsoft's strict minimum system requirements for Windows 11).

The post on X has gone viral with multiple users highlighting their frustrations with the app. Several users cited the Start menu's poor performance, indicating it often lags making it hard to search for apps. As sarcastically highlighted by Young, "My favorite Windows feature is opening the Start menu, typing "notepad", hitting Enter, and having it open Edge to a Bing search for "otepad"."

Interestingly, at the beginning of the year, Microsoft's former Windows Experiences lead, Mikhail Parakhin, highlighted some aspects of the Start menu in Windows 11 that he doesn't like. The most notable is the inability to scroll through their entire list of apps via the Start menu without clicking on the 'All apps' option. At the time, the Windows lead indicated that he was pushing his team to work on a fix for one of the most annoying things with the Start menu in Windows 11.

However, Microsoft's Windows department has a new boss now. The tech giant recently underwent a reorg that saw the Windows team transition back to the Engineering + Devices organization, led by Rajesh Jha. Pavan Davuluri, who previously led Microsoft's hardware efforts will also lead the Windows engineering team. 

Copilot Pro on Windows

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft is seemingly more focused and inclined towards its AI efforts on Windows if the past few months are anything to go by. According to a leaked internal memo, the company is moving most employees from the Teams chat app umbrella to support its Copilot AI projects. This is despite the EU Commission's mounting pressure on it, which eventually prompted it to unbundle the Teams app from its Office 365 package globally.

This is amid Microsoft testing new features that could see Copilot pop-up like an unwanted ad on your desktop if you so much as tickle the taskbar icon. It is also testing a new update for Windows 11 that will change how users interact with the notification center on tablets. Instead of letting you access your notifications, it will now launch Copilot.

Could it get any worse at this point?

Windows 11 Start menu

(Image credit: Future)

There might be light at the end of the tunnel after all. Andy Young shared that 'Jen' reached out to him and indicated that Microsoft is actively looking into the performance issues highlighted by users regarding the Start menu in Windows 11. 

RELATED: Microsoft aggressively pushes ads to Windows 11's Start menu

While this is left to speculation as Young didn't categorically say who Jen was, there's a high chance he was referring to Jen Gentleman. Jen is part of Microsoft's Windows engineering team and helps with feedback for the Start menu, Settings, taskbar, input, and more. She often shares neat keyboard shortcuts, too. 

To be clear, I love Windows. I helped build parts of it. I want it to be as good as it once was. If data suggests the software you build frustrates a significant percentage of users, it means there’s work left to be done.

Andy Young

At the end of 2023, we looked comprehensively at the state of Windows coming into 2024. Perhaps, what stood out the most was the reluctance of users to transition to Windows 11 despite Windows 10's imminent end of support date slated for October 2025.

According to StatCounter, Windows 10 still dominates the Windows operating system market share with a 69.04% stake. Windows 11 stacks miles from Windows 10 at second place with a mere 26.72% stake. A few factors have contributed to this, including Microsoft's stringent system requirements for Windows 11 and the operating system's flawed design.

READ MORE: Microsoft extends Windows 10 users a lifeline beyond 2025 but at an exorbitant price

Multiple Windows 11 users have blatantly expressed their dislike for Windows 11's Start menu, and these sentiments couldn't be any louder. This might be why we are seeing third-party alternatives for Windows apps like Stardock's Start11 become popular among users. A recent update for the app added rounded corners to Windows 11's taskbar, making the OS look like the next version of Windows.

Kevin Okemwa

Kevin Okemwa is a seasoned tech journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya with lots of experience covering the latest trends and developments in the industry. With a passion for innovation and a keen eye for detail, he has written for leading publications such as OnMSFT, MakeUseOf, and Windows Report, providing insightful analysis and breaking news on everything revolving around the Microsoft ecosystem. While AFK and not busy following the ever-emerging trends in tech, you can find him exploring the world or listening to music.

  • Kevin Okemwa
    Have you experienced any perfomance issues with Windows 11’s Start menu lately?
  • bazanime
    I haven't experienced any delays. That said I don't spend much time in the start menus since the applications I use are already open either in the task bar, pinned to the task bar, or in the system tray.
    When I do access the start menu, it's very responsive.
  • HeyCori
    I also haven't noticed any issues. Of course, I don't do a fraction with my computers as a software engineer would. Perhaps I would notice a difference if I had a significant amount of applications installed.
  • ShinyProton
    This is highly anecdotal.
    All my computers (desktop, laptop, work and even others) have absolutely no issues with the Start menu.

    Maybe this guy has a sh1tTy internet or tons of crap on his PC. Go figure.
  • Arun Topez
    The speed of the Start Menu is decent now, but when Windows 11 first came out yes it was horribly slow even on my high-spec'd machine just to simply pop up. But he's not wrong, it's still slower than the Win 10 and previous Start menu's.

    On top of that, after all this time, they STILL haven't improved the scaling and design of the menu. Like why is the 'All apps >' and '< Back' buttons so tiny, and the overall start menu doesn't scale well on 4K or larger monitors, yet they have no issue spending time injecting more ads into it. If you look at the Settings app or other parts of the OS, the buttons and scaling are correct on all screen sizes. But Start isn't consistent with the rest of the OS.
  • bradavon
    I've no understanding of this complaint.

    No it wasn't slow when Windows 11 first came out. I click it, it appears, I open an app.

    What more does it need to do?

    People actually care it's milliseconds slower than the Windows 10 Start Menu. Wow.

    I don't care what All Apps looks like. All my apps I care about are on my Taskbar or Pinned to the Start page of the Start Menu.

    These are such first world problems.