4th March 2024

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Technology and Computer

A Microsoftie thinks the Windows 11 Start Menu sucks — and I agree

Key Takeaways

  • Accessing all of your apps is still a chore – Windows 11’s Start menu hides the app list, making it more difficult to find what you want, unlike in previous versions.
  • You can’t adjust the Start menu’s position to your liking – Windows 11 limits customization options, unlike Windows 10, where you could resize and reposition the Start menu and taskbar.
  • The Windows 11 Start menu really wants to recommend you things – Windows 11 prioritizes recommendations over user preferences, with no option to fully remove them, which detracts from the purpose of the Start menu.

Are you not a fan of Windows 11’s Start menu? Don’t worry; you’re in good company. Such good company in fact, that an employee within Microsoft agrees that Windows 11 deserves a better Start menu. Ever since its launch, Windows 11 has had a subpar Start menu, to the point where Microsoft could learn from third-party apps on how to improve it. However, Microsoft hasn’t seemed too bothered to do anything to it. So, here is why I agree that the Windows 11 Start menu sucks.

Accessing all of your apps is still a chore

What could be done in one click now takes a little more effort

Getting the app list on Windows 11

Let’s start with the reason the Microsoft employee spoke against the Start menu. The CEO of Advertising and Web Services at Microsoft, Mikhail Parakhin, made a post on X asking which UX framework Microsoft should focus on. Someone replied asking if Microsoft could make accessing all your apps via the Start menu easier, and Mikhail agreed, promising to “make [the] Start menu great again.”

The original asker has it right; the Start menu in Windows 11 doesn’t feel like a catalog of your apps as it does in earlier versions of the operating system. In Windows 10, the Start menu showed you all of your apps right off the bat the moment you clicked the Start button. It makes a lot of sense; the Start menu is meant to act as the launching point for Windows, so having all of your apps appear immediately speeds up the process of finding what you want.

Unfortunately, that design has been lost somewhere along the line, as you have to coax the app list out of hiding on Windows 11. Instead of a list of apps, the Windows 11 Start menu immediately shows you your pinned items and your “recommended” items (more on those later.) I’d love for Microsoft to bring the Start menu back to its status as a central hub in an update by making it quicker for users to access all their apps.

Did you know you can resize the Start menu in Windows 10? If you’re using it right now, give it a try; you can open the Start menu and drag the edges around to where you want them to go. You can have the Start menu take up almost the entire screen, or just take up a little bit of your screen real estate. You can also tweak how big the taskbar is, and even place it on the sides or top of your screen. I like my taskbar anchored at the bottom, but some people love to have it on the sides of the screen. I don’t understand why, but I can respect it.

If you’re a Windows 10 fan and you purchase a new PC with Windows 11 installed, you’ll be sorely disappointed at its Start menu options. The biggest tweak you can make to the Start button is nudging it to the left of the taskbar, so it sits in the same place as it does on Windows 10. Moving the taskbar along with the Start button isn’t possible without third-party software like Start11. And while Start11 is an excellent piece of software, people shouldn’t have to download an app to activate basic functionality, especially for something as small as adjusting where the Start menu is on your screen.

And it will continue even if you tell it “no”

The 'disabled' recommended section on Windows 11

Windows 11’s Start menu loves to tell you what you want to use. If you customize your Windows 11 Start menu, you can adjust what ratio of the menu is dedicated to your apps, and how much is reserved for your recommendations. There is no option to fully remove these recommendations; if you go through the steps to disable the Start menu recommendations on Windows 11, it continues to delegate a section of the Start menu for them, just in case you change your mind in the future.

Some people don’t want to use their Start menu to see recommendations. For them, the Start menu is a hub of everything they already have. It gives them easy access to all their apps and lets them search for what they’re looking for. Windows 11’s strange desire to recommend things really needs to be removed to bring the Start menu back to its former glory.

Windows 11’s Start menu does suck, and I hope a refresh comes soon

Honestly, this is just scratching the surface of what’s wrong with the Windows 11 Start menu. However, these three parts are definitely the worst areas for me. If Microsoft manages to update the Start menu to fix them, I’ll find the Windows 11 Start menu a lot better to use. But until then, I agree with you Mikhail Parakhin: Windows 11’s Start menu does suck.