What do you think of the Windows 11 Start menu?

Windows 11 Start Laptop Razerbook
Windows 11 Start Laptop Razerbook (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

It's no secret: People are divided over Windows 11's Start menu. It does a number of things to differentiate itself from other Windows Start menus and tries to be particularly welcoming to average users. These adjustments have caused friction with many PC enthusiasts who are used to having more options and functions at their disposal.

Those are a few of the reasons some people hate the Start menu. Developers have noted that anger and began to accommodate for it, promising disgruntled Windows 11 users ways to force their Start menu preferences onto the new OS. Start11 and StartIsBack are two of the tools on the table for those who want to regain control of their experience.

Many moons ago, back when Windows 11 was still relatively fresh off its initial announcement and dipping its feet in the Insider preview waters, we polled readers to see who wanted the Windows 10 Start menu back. Now that we have tools to force that wish into existence, a new question is formed: What do you think of the Windows 11 Start menu, which will become the new Windows standard on October 5?

Vote with your heart, even if that means voting that you just don't care either way about the topic. After all, Windows 11 is more than just a new Start menu... at least, to some people it is. If you're adamant that the Start menu is either making or breaking your Windows 11 experience, say so!

And if you grow tired of the incessant chatter about the Start menu, consider perusing other Windows 11 discussions, such as whether the new operating system is Microsoft creating a consumer gateway to its cloud-centric long-term ambitions.

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.

  • Windows 11 is a raging dumpster fire
  • Bet you said the same about Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 before launch too.
  • Bro, why do your comments always start with "Bet you... " ? :D How many bets have you won so far
  • Bet you he has won a few but lost a bunch more.
  • I'll take a piece of that...
  • Bet you will!
  • It's the new version of ending your sentences with "believe it!"
  • No it's not brotha. Take it down with that BS.
  • Cool story, why don't you tell me how you really feel
  • Some would argue it's more of a smoldering one, but point taken.
  • I love it! it's much better than before.
  • For something most users only use ocasionally (1. Open Apps, 2. Turn off/Resrart PC) it sure gets always gets people bothered. I like it. Live Tiles never took off date and date back to Windows Phone 7. Windows Phone was killed off years ago. The Windows 10 Start Menu badly dates Windows.
  • Live tiles were good. It lacked propper 3rd party developer support and Microsoft did not evolve it and let it rot. But given in this state, I am glad Microsoft abandoned it. I like the new start menu for most part. I just want more customization options for it.
  • Agreeing with you.
  • Actually it had quite amount of support, considering it is pretty much a standard feature for making apps for WP back in the day, many apps used it even for simple stuff. Of course not all apps will need Live Tiles and just fine with an icon. But on Windwos 10, since there is no option to auto-open Start screen like how Windows 8.x was by default (Win 8.1 allows you to set go straight to Desktop). Live Tiles have lost the glance-and-go usefulness of it. There is no behaviour as well to keep Start screen on another monitor open, so it will always disappear the moment you click away from it. Then there is another issue from Microsoft seemingly forgotten to implement Live Tiles on their new apps, basically they themselves not supporting it fully. Remember when To-Do for a long time didn't have a Live Tile, Microsoft Store lost a Live Tile, and newer apps like Teams didn't have one. This points to why many Microsoft apps didn't have Live Tile, they just didn't allow it for Win32 apps at all. So basically 90% of Windows apps cannot support it even the devs want to, unless they go with UWP, or maybe some more complicated workaround if it exist. With the deprioritization of UWP, that also goes Live Tiles with it. Then Microsoft didn't fix the remaining Live Tile bugs that still plague today, which wasn't the case from Windows 8.x. Then lastly, they didn't evolve Live Tiles into Widgets, instead scrapping the whole system and start a new one, which is at the moment pretty much a webview but with no offline support, no 3rd-party at launch, kinda slow to open everytime I click it there is like a second delay and could be slower if your internet is bad, and just don't really open the apps instead on the PC. Then Windows 11 Widgets is now on the seperate menu, always hidden by default. Even me who often use widget systems (from Vista to Android), this makes me sort of forget to use Wdgets on Windows 11, the lack of 3rd-party didn't really help either since I can only have basic ones. Back to Start Menu, at least yeah I agree, they should just add more customization for it. For me folders, grouping, Jump List and an ability to drag-and-drop from File Explorer.
  • It will be better and more useful if Recommended section removed and the it's full space dedicated for apps
  • I agree completely. I'm shocked there's no option to do that. And I liked being able to have folders on the Start menu too.
  • Yeah at least give us an option to disable it and giving more space for Start menu pinned items or even more compact. Personally I'm fine with Recommended if it only were a bit smarter.
  • Windows 8.1 start menu was the best
    Windows 10 is the next best one.
    But any way in short because of that ugly windows 11 start menu and no tiles or live tiles and not being able to add folders to it............. Ya that's why I'm sticking with windows 10.
    I do everything in the start menu. But windows 11 start menu is useless and ugly.
  • Why? Stop writing the same article over abs over! Not you Dan.
  • I don't take orders from Snoopy. I'll pass along the warm wishes to Dan though
  • I have a dynamic looping video as a wallpaper background. It shows thru the windows 10 start menu and acrylic menus. It looks great with the live tiles. However I've been told that in order to lower system overhead in windows 11 that instead of the current acrylic which blurs whatever is behind it in realtime, it's just going to get a snapshot and blur that. It'll be awful. Unlike the vista era in which people complained about glass because their computers can't handle it. Computers nowadays can handle the acrylic functionality just fine. Nobody I know is complaining that their computers can't handle windows 10 acrylic.
    I even use a garage sale $15 Dell Optiplex 780 as a server/HT which was first sold at the time that the term core ix or pentium hasn't been coined yet and it handles windows 10 acrylic just perfectly fine!
    I can just imagine the new windows 11 startscreen on the projector and it's going to be just plain meh. If I wanted an apple UI, I would have gone for a mac or ipad. The traditional start menu and the windows 10 tiles were ok, they didn't have to drop everything that made windows unique to copy someone else. They should trust their UI designers or their own people more.
  • "However I've been told that in order to lower system overhead in windows 11 that instead of the current acrylic which blurs whatever is behind it in realtime, it's just going to get a snapshot and blur that. It'll be awful." I think you mixed that up with the new mica effect, the new start menu is still just acrylic just as before.
  • Yes, thanks. I also meant mica effect. I don't have a windows 11 test computer so I'm basing this on what my friend who has tested it told me. I have a dynamic background and I want it to show thru the windows start menu as well as the parts of the apps I use. The acrylic or glass or mica effect parts, whatever it's called. If you have a windows 11 test computer, can you test it for me. Have a moving looping video as a background wallpaper then pull up windows terminal to determine if the video shows up or if it only takes a snapshot.
  • Listen guys, Product - 1
    Users - Biillions
    Satisfying everyone - Super Hard
    Windows 11 start menu is good. Not bad at all but it has so many issues like u need to press all apps button to see ur all apps which is bit backward, there is no full screen start ( S, i like full screen start. I even use it on non touch screen devices) , i think u cant make folders also, which is bad, very bad,
    But dont worry, I guess Windows 11 will also develop and improve with time like Windows 10,
    One fix MS can make is add option and allow users to choose between the old start menu and the new one, which is fix issues of many people
  • The Windows 11 start menu is a joke!! Windows 10 IS still the most use Windows version ever with over 1 billion users, for a reason!! If Microsoft can still beat Android and Apple as the main OS for PC's, with a unique Start menu featuring customable AND multi-tasking LIVE TILES: it makes no ABSOLUTELY no sense to get rid of such a classic start menu. AT THE VERY LEAST, give Windows 11 users the option to choose! Otherwise it's the exact same mistake as getting rid of the Start Button in the first version of Windows 8 ! People never complaint about the start button, just like they never complaint about the live tiles; regardless if they used it or not. Just let us the option to keep the tiles and please ignore what the Live Tile haters are saying.
  • Do you really fool yourself into thinking Windows 10 is a good product? It's the most inconsistent, infuriating, ugly, outdated-at-its-core, buggy, Microsoft-adware-infested, Bing bloated, piece of poo. That is, until Windows 11 comes out. BUT HEY. At least they finally redesigned a settings app after 6 years of waiting. Can't wait to see 6 years until a real Explorer redesign!
  • The complete lack of customization is what kills it for me. I now either have a cluttered desktop for frequently used items or extra steps to get them. Why can't you group items now? Shouldn't be that difficult. Stinks!!
  • Meh... I didn't think it would be as jarring as it is.
  • The layout is fine. I wish it had folders. The big thing is the background transparency, which is too low. The dark gray (or white in the case of light mode) is so incredibly strong. Using a somewhat lighter background in dark mode or a somewhat darker background in light mode just does not look good.
  • I rolled back to Windows 10 because of the Start menu and lack of the tablet mode support. A customizable and resizable Windows 10 menu was good - even if not too many live tiles were actually live, it was still easy to see all your favourite apps all at once, placed into large easy-to-click tiles. Now you get a tiny 6x3 window with Android style scrollable icons, non-resizable even if you have the real estate, and all ungrouped. It's a massive downgrade. And for the touch or small screen devices, lack of the tablet mode renders them almost unusable. How are you supposed to double-click an icon pinned to the desktop without a mouse? After Microsoft finally got the tablet mode right, with gorgeous transparent tiles, they decided to remove it? Lesser gripes include more clicks necessary to get to most quick settings, like Wi-Fi, and that they have removed Windows XP style "never group" taskbar.
  • This. Microsoft had so many features. I get that they wanted a 'clean start', but frankly, the taskbar and start menu were never resource hogs anyway. If anything the new ones are slower to interact with. Why they let the Windows 10X team take over in an attempt to salvage their **** OS UI, I don't know.
  • Start menu is fine most people just need it to start apps and look for files and it is good at that... Easy to use and a clean functional look about it...
  • I loved the idea of Live Tiles; they're just not very useful these days. I thought I'd use program grouping and folders more than I do. I didn't even know you could drop a file on an app to open it. Who cares? Double clicking (or single click with that option set) is Hella faster and doesn't contribute to carpal tunnel. I have more than a hundred apps and programs on my Surface, but like most people, use fewer than 5 or 6 on a daily basis. Most I use maybe once a month, and a few I should just delete. The most used go on my Task Bar, and the others I use in the Start Menu. I like my Desktop bare of everything but the background, and like the idea of the Start Menu being much the same. This will be much cleaner and therefore more of a pleasure to use. At least for me. YMMV. The jury is out right now on context menus. If it only changes my workflow with a neutral impact on productivity, I'll deal.
  • Recommend section should be optional.
    lack of app grouping/folders is unacceptable.
  • Back to Omnimo and rainmeter for me
  • I like it.
    Yes, there are a few small things I'd change or add, but overall it is effective and useful.
    I've ran the preview since it arrived and recently used one of my kid's Windows 10 machines and frankly I was glad to get back to Win 11.
    I thought I'd miss tiles, but it turned out I don't.
    Not even a little.
  • Windows 11 start menu is good but its not have a professional look. If you want to get Microsoft any product license, I recommend you guys to buy it cheap and legit from ODosta Store by searching on Google.
    They're best as Microsoft reseller.
  • Windows 11 Start menu is just a huge step backwards...period.
  • Totally agree with you.
  • I thought I would miss live tiles, but really I just miss folders.
  • My opinion too.
  • Yeah, for me the lack of Folders and Groupings is certainly a huge let down, add the lack of Jump List either and proper drag-and-drop outside the menu. Basically, Windows 11 Start menu actually lacks common essential features, even some very basic ones.
  • I love it. I love the animations and its really much faster than Windows 10 on my AMD Risen 7. I like the rounded corners and how snappy the menus are with its mild animations. I love the direction 11 is going. I am still getting my arms around it but so far, it blows away Windows 10 IMHO. I am also DONE with the live tiles. It was a nice idea had it got the wide acceptance from developers but it didn't. They were left to languish unchanged for years. This change is much better.
  • You're full of hyperbole. It in now way 'blows away' Windows 10. It's a simplification of Windows 10 (as they've removed a ton of features).
  • I kind of like it, I like the look of it and it being in the centre, but I don't like the search box and the big gap under it when the recommended section is disabled, also the task bar is more limited, and it can't be moved to the top of the screen. So I will stay with Windows 10 until next year and then decide what I am doing, either updating this machine or going for a MAc mini.
  • I don't like it, I have like 40 apps plus folders with even more apps in the start menu, so the new one is way worse. I don't know what Microsoft was thinking, the tile system is aweome, but I can see why they want to ditch it, however the lack of functionality baffles me, wht did they remove folders for example?
  • My question too. Maybe they have been partying too much and didn't have their minds clear.
  • There are a whole host of things about Win11 that really bother me. The start menu is near the top of that list.
    *Background: I'm a Windows 'power user' and enthusiast. I started on Win98, moved to ME (horrible), then to 2k. I went from there to XP, reverted back to XP when Vista came out, then jumped to 7. I stayed on 7 *a long time*, but eventually moved to 8.1. I hated the full screen start there, but loved the live tiles and the corner grabs you could use to pull down option menus. I jumped onto 10 in pre-release (like I have with 11), and I liked it a lot more. The reasons I liked it a lot more were the start menu had live tiles but didn't take full screen, I liked the black mode it had out of the box, and I like square corners. Now, up to current. I've been running Win11 since the leaked copy. There are a ton of aesthetic things that I absolutely loath about the OS, but rounded corners don't really break anything, they just look unfinished and like my 4 year old's toys. That's fine, and OS doesn't have to *look* good to *be* good. There are a whole slew of UX things that have directly and massively impacted my ability to work.
    - Taskbar being on the bottom.
    - Hotkey combinations not working as intended (Paul Thurrott is still wrong about this).
    - The start menu. This survey was about the start menu, so I'll stick to explaining that.
    I spend *a lot* of time working with literally hundreds of people around the world on small CS projects. I volunteer on dozens of Discord servers for universities and programming languages to help people get into CS. I never at all cared about the Live Tiles update features, but I did use the tiles themselves. I never cared about the 'start menu' portion of the start menu, but the live tiles section allowed me to take literally (again, I hate overusing this, but it's applicable) hundreds of applications, folders, documents, everything to do with these people, projects, and activities and sort them out with folders and links, making it easier to find related and disparate things. One of the things that I found myself using in CrEdge, since they removed the tab-setaside feature from Edge, was 'install this site as an app' . I don't enjoy using a browser, but it's impossible to do much of anything without using one, so it was nice to take all of these projects and resources and install them as apps, pin the app to a utilities or tools or whatever folder as a tile, and be able to sort them how I wanted. It was fast, easy, and fit with all the various other project folders and things I've used. Now, I've been able to *sort of* replicate this, but it's drastically more difficult and clunky. I have file system folders for everything now, but when a file is applicable to more than one person or project, I need to create shortcuts from each of those, instead of just pinning it in the tiles folder with each that mattered. I need to put all of this in my 'Documents' folder so OneDrive can sync them between devices, and it's flat out not worth using the website shortcuts in this case, so instead of I have text document in each with links to the project sites. All of this takes drastically more effort and time to set up, and makes the whole process a lot more brittle. Combined with everything else, the start menu is one of the worst things to happen to me (in terms of Windows) in as long as I can remember. It's not that Win11's start menu is particularly horrible compared to 98/2k, etc. It's just that there is so much more that we do on computers now, so going back to something so limited and basic really puts a damper on *my* personal productivity. *Edited for grammar and spelling fixes
  • I'm not sure what I think about it but do know this wasn't meant to be for computers and was supposed to be for the NEO. I dont like when Microsoft does **** like this. I can't stand that 10x was bragged about as the ultimate operating system for 2 screens yet it isnt on the DUO. The DUO is just an Android phone with very poor support. Can't think of any reason to get one.
  • Live Tiles were great on Windows Phone. They never became as functional on desktop.
    I am with the reasoning that a look and feel alike for phone focused users makes it easy for them. However, a pc is a work horse too. Making Start a lame duck, then is a suicide action for their huge base of business and power users.
  • It's not intuitive at all, if you're using a device with touch. If I'm holding my Surface in hand, I want to swipe from the right to open the Start Menu. Let it have its own widget bar.
  • 2nd comment.
    Windows 11 suck.
    But in the long run it wont matter. Windows 365 in a consumer surface AR glasses hololens will have to make a new UI operating system. And the closest thing we have seen Ms do that would work well in a AR version of it would be the live tiles of win 8. So it can work well with ppl using there hands to touch tiles.
    But till then there trying to appeal to kids raised on ios and android smart phones making win11 look like it.
  • IT'S TRASH!!
    Stardock Start 11 looks really good.
    They now give you the ability to put your taskbar anywhere, as well as giving you a W10 Start Menu with tiles and a bunch of other customization features.
    https://www.neowin.net/news/major-update-to-start11-on-october-7-restore... I'll be using Start 11 until Microsoft get their ish together and create a better Start Menu.
  • 👍👍👍 Super happy to see this. Do you know if the win10 start menu full screen will be a option.? Do you k ow if the will do the same for windows 8.1?
  • ... We've talked about Start11 as well.
  • the dumbing (more) of Windows users. whatever they decide, power users should always have the freedom to customize their installations. that taskbar setting still disabled?
  • When I hit the start menu on Win 11, I see no information. Just icons. When I hit start on Win 10, I see a whole lotta information. I like information. It informs me. Icons don't.
  • Silly! That's what the widgets are for. To tell you about all the celebrity gossip and the stocks. That's what you want to see, right? /s
  • No...not silly. All these apps' Live Tiles show scrolling info: Weather, Outlook Mail, Calendar, Photos, Teams, Whatsapp, Spotify, Microsoft News, Daily Mail, Windows Central, Your Phone...and more.
  • Overall, I like it, but it lacks so much functionality. I don't care about the Live Tiles - I mean, I liked them in Windows 10 and used to customize them to how I preferred them to be arranged, but I understand why they're gone so it's not much of a loss. However, the fact that the taskbar buttons can't be expanded to show labels and the taskbar can be set to use small buttons is a major annoyance for me. Also the fact that you can't set it to always show all notification area icons, and that for some unfathomable reason you can't hide the input language switcher (or at least I haven't been able to find out how).
  • I feel the new start menu is lacking in practical features. But I guess it will get better with time. I like the overall concept, which was not the case at first. It has grown on me.
  • I like that more programs are shown. I don't like the lack of customisability, the recommended files, the lack of live tiles, and how slow it is. The lack of second layer and beyond menus (where recent files from each program should be) is terrible too. Overall, it's worse than Windows 10. A disgrace from Microsoft and the designers of it should be fired.
  • I wish the power button was on the left side instead of the right side. To shut down you click start and then have to move mouse all the way to the right side instead of straight up if it was on the left side by user list.
  • I wish I could slide a divider up or down to change the amount of real estate for programs versus recent activities. Resizing it like windows 10 would be nice to.
  • For me, it is okay but certainly a huge downgrade for me, despite testing it for few months now. I felt restrictive using it. Too many features have been removed, even some rather basic ones that other OS have, even Jump List, which was introduced with Windows 7 were also missing. Though loosing Live Tiles is a huge let down, there is still more into it. At least Live Tiles could be replaced by Widgets, but current Widgets of Windows 11 also needs alot more work more than just 3rd-party support to keep it more useful. My gripes is the lost of several features:
    - Notification Badges
    - Groupings
    - Folders
    - Jump List
    - Resizable Start Menu
    - Full Drag-and-Drop support (example dragging an icon from File Explorer to Start menu) These features is something I wish it is there from the start of Windows 11, especially the first 3 on my list, which is rather the common customization feature that many will look for for organizing their Start menu and give a bit more information, just like Android and iOS. For me, not having these forced me to basically only pin frequently used apps that I don't want on the Taskbar, especially I can't resize it and can only show 18 apps at a time. Visually its more messy for me since there is no grouping and folders to neatly organize the apps and even File Explorer folders. They are just there, scattered and only move around. At least iOS have folder support to help organize apps, this one is simply don't. I don't want to pin more apps on my Taskbar, not just because it is visually too busy, but also not practical on tablet use since when I rotate it to portrait, some apps will be hidden and inaccessible since there is no good Taskbar overflow at this realease of Windows 11. So too many pinned apps is no good either for tablet, okay for desktop PC with huge screens. Windows 11 Start menu is basically just a launcher now, no more. Even Windows 7 have Jump List to allow you access the app functionalities before opening them. It even has less function than iOS which has notification badges and folders for a long time, now they even have Widgets sharing the same space with icons, basically like how Windows Phone originally was. Not related to Start menu. Now about Widgets, they really need to work on those. Needs full offline support with better performance, ability to pin them on Desktop for those who want it, open the native app installed, and lastly 3rd-party support of course.
  • My only issue with the start menu is the ability to get rid of the bottom half of it and allow me to place only the icons I want and thats it.
  • It's good but it could be better. Recommended be gone. Better than live tiles for me.
  • It will be 2025 before I use windows 11. The day I am forced to use it I will be doing everything I can to make it look like it does on previous versions of windows. Currently windows 11 seems like a failed project brought back to life and pushed through under a deadline.