How to put the Windows 11 Start menu back where it belongs


When you upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11, one of the first things you might do is ask yourself: where the hell is my Start menu? Traditionally, the Windows Start menu has been in the lower left corner of the screen, but when your new version of Windows appears, you’ll find the Start icon among a group of icons in the center of your taskbar at the bottom of your screen. the screen. screen.

The Windows 11 Start menu is now a small icon in the center of the taskbar.
The Windows 11 Start menu is now a small icon in the center of the taskbar.

Click on the Start menu icon and things will look very different too. Instead of the big square Live Tiles that used to appear, it has a much more modest set of app icons, mostly displaying Microsoft-related apps pinned to the front page. Click “All Apps” in the top right corner (just below the search field) and you’ll get the familiar A-Z list of apps. But no tiles.

Look under the app icons and you’ll find a “Recommended” section, which offers apps that Microsoft thinks you should try (like Teams) and, if you click the “More” button, some of the files or apps that may be recently used.

Clicking on the search field provides immediate access to several popular applications.
Clicking on the search field provides immediate access to several popular applications.

By the way, that search field? Click that and the Start menu will open, giving you immediate access to File Explorer, Settings, and other apps.

While some may appreciate this more puritanical version of the Start menu, others who have grown accustomed to the more configurable version of Windows 10 may want to know how they can go back to the more familiar and personal version.

You can move the Start icon to the left using the taskbar alignment option in its settings menu.
You can move the Start icon to the left using the taskbar alignment option in its settings menu.

You can go a little further by moving the centered apps to the left of the taskbar:

  • Right click on the taskbar and click “Taskbar Settings”
  • Select “Taskbar Behaviors”
  • Find “Taskbar Alignment” and click the button to the right where it says “Center.” Select “Left” instead.
  • Close the settings window, and you’ll see that the app icons on the taskbar have moved to the left, with the Start menu icon in the corner.
Now the Start menu icon is in the left corner, but the menu itself hasn't changed.
Now the Start menu icon is in the left corner, but the menu itself hasn’t changed.

While this will put the Start menu back where you expected it to be, it won’t restore the menu you were used to. To get that back, you will have to go to a third-party app.

There is a pair available. Stardock, a company whose Start10 app lets Windows 10 users keep their beloved Windows 7 menu UI, has a Start11 app, which it says will bring back the classic Windows 10 Start menu. The app has a starting price $5.99 for an active installation.

a second is StartAllBack, which allows you to modify a number of aspects of the Windows 11 user interface, including the Start menu and the taskbar. StartAllBack offers a 30-day trial period; after that, a single PC license costs $4.99.

Update April 18, 2022, 9:05 am ET: This article was originally published on September 21, 2021; Updated information about the Start11 app, added information about StartAllBack, and removed mention of some regedit hacks that can’t be used now.


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