Join Garrick Chow for an in-depth discussion in this video The Start menu, part of Windows 10 New Features.
- If you've been keeping up with WIndows, you'll probably know that the Start menu went missing when Windows 8 was released, and was replaced with the Start screen. Understandably, this caused a huge uproar since the Start menu had been part of Windows since Windows 95. Well, the Start menu is back in Windows 10 and it works pretty much the way you remember it did but Microsoft has also incorporated aspects of the Windows 8 Start Screen into it, making it sort of a hybrid between the two. Let's take a look at how it's set up. As always, you just click the Windows icon in the lower left hand corner to open the Start menu.
The left side of the menu is where you have the familiar Start menu look, less seen in Windows 7, and on the right we see the tiles you might remember from the Windows 8 Start screen. These are in fact two separate sections. Notice if I make the Start menu a little more narrow that a scroll bar appears here to the right so I can scroll through the tiles, while the left side of the screen remains where it is. As before, some of these tiles on the right are live tiles, meaning they automatically update themselves over the Internet to display news, sports, weather, and other types of quick information you might want to see here so you don't have to open an actual app to get to that information.
At the top left of the Start menu you'll see your account name, which you can click to get to the "change account settings, lock" and "sign out" options. So, here on the left side of the Start menu you may see a couple of different categories such as "most used," showing you your most commonly used apps and giving you a quick way to open them. Depending on how recently you installed software you may also see a "recently added" section, you'll also see a "recently used" category here too but I have opened any apps in this new installation of Windows 10 yet. At the bottom of left side here is where you access the File Explorer, Settings, and the Power button which is still the place where you come if you want to put your computer to sleep, shut it down or restart it.
Below that is where you'll find all of your apps which lists all of your installed applications in alphabetical order. Now one thing you can't do is customize the left side of the Start menu. For example, you can't pin specific apps the left side for quick access. You can do things like go back to the "most used" list for example, and I can right click one of these, and choose not to show it on the list. But if you do want to create a quick link to an app you can go to "all apps," find the one you want, for example, "maps," right click it and then choose "pin to Start." You can see it's now been added to the right as a tile.
I can click that to open up the Maps app. Allow it to access my location, and it's found me. Let's go ahead and close that for now. Once an app's been pinned, you can customize it's location and appearance. I can drag that tile up, maybe to this first section here. Notice the other tiles are making room for it and I can just drop it right there. If I drag it further up, you'll see this blue bar appear here and when I release I've just made it it's own section.
Now in addition to adjusting it's location I can right click it and then go to resize and from here I can change it's size to small, which might be useful if you want to pair maybe four apps together, or I can change it to wide to have it take up two spaces, making it easier to see and click, and we can even choose large if you really want it to be prominent. You might want to do this for certain live tiles which display live information from the Internet again such as news, weather and sports so can easily see live information without having to open a specific app.
But in this case I'll just set it back to medium. Now you can also customize the name of each of these tile sections too. I'll click above the section I just created and start typing. I can just call that "my apps." I might want to place all my most important or frequently used apps up here. But you can also click any other tile section's name to rename it as well, but I'll just leave them as they are for now. Another way to customize the Start menu is to go to "settings, personalization" and then "colors." Now you can see we have the option down here to automatically pick an accent color from the background.
That's currently off right now, but notice if I go to, say, "background" and I'll just choose a different background image here. (mumbles) with a couple different colors in it, and I go back to colors and turn on "automatically pick an accent color from my background." Notice it grabs that color from it and you can see a preview of it here or again I can switch that off and pick a different accent color and again you can see that reflected in the preview area up here. Now below that we have the option to "show color on Start taskbar and action center" and if the switch is off, your Start menu, taskbar and action center will be this sort of dark gray, but with it on, those sections will take on your selected color as you can see here.
You also have the option here to make the Start menu transparent which is on by default or you can switch it off to make it opaque. I kind of like that blue so I'm going to switch back to that, and I kind of do like having it transparent so we'll switch back to that as well. Let me show you a couple more things. Let's go back to the Start menu. Now as I showed you earlier, you can adjust the size of the Start menu here by dragging the top border up and down, or by dragging the right border left and right, but you can also make the menu take up the entire screen to make it more like the Start screen from Windows 8 if you prefer that look or if just gotten used to it.
Do so, go to "settings" again and here choose "system" and then select "tablet" mode and then you can switch on "make Windows more touch-friendly when using your device as a tablet" and you don't have to be on the tablet to use this mode. Now before we see what this does to the Start screen first notice we have a couple of other options here. Under "when I sign in" you can choose which mode will show up. You can immediately enter "tablet" mode, you can go to the desktop, which is the view we've been working in up till now, or you can keep whichever mode you were previously working in, and below that you can choose whether you want to be prompted when your device wants to switch modes.
You can tell it "don't ask me and don't switch," "always ask me before switching," or "don't ask me and always switch" and just choose whichever option you prefer. The last option here is to hide app icons in the taskbar in tablet mode which is on by default. So if you look down here on the taskbar, because I'm in tablet mode, all of the icons have disappeared. If I turn that off, notice they come back. Again you can just choose whichever option you prefer. Right, so now if I click the "start" button notice the Start screen takes up the entire screen.
Again if you used Windows 8 you should be familiar with this look and behavior, but in Windows 10 the background is transparent so you can still see the windows behind it. I can still select tiles to open certain apps and scroll through them if I have multiple tiles as well. So it's entirely up to you to decide if tablet mode is preferable to you, whether you're on a desktop machine, a laptop, or an actual tablet device. For now though I'm going to go back to "settings" and I'm going to turn off tablet mode, which takes me back to the Windows desktop mode and I can close settings. All right, so there you have a quick run down of the newly reinstated Start menu in Windows 10.
If you're like most Windows users, you're going to be glad to have it back but you're probably also going to appreciate the incorporation of the Start screen features from Windows 8 and the other new Start menu features as well.