How to use Windows 10 Start Menu: Like a Pro!

We all know where the start menu is right? It’s the Windows icon located in the lower left corner of your screen and by clicking on it, your Start Menu appears. But do you know how to use the new features of the start menu since the Anniversary update that was released in August?

Well, I didn’t, so I did some research and found a lot of fun and great features added that make navigating your Windows 10 devices a lot easier. With that being said, let’s take a look at the new and old features and go over how to use them.

Resizing the Start menu:How to use Windows 10 Start menu

Now that you have opened your start menu, did you know that you can resize the window just by dragging either the top or right side of the menu with your mouse and make it larger or even smaller if that is what you like best? Of course, this has always been the case in the past.

Notice the small column on the left?

One of the first things I noticed was the User, Settings, and Power options were relocated to a nice small column on the far left of the start menu. Now you can add or delete more folders to show up in this column making it easier to get to the folder of your choosing. To do this you will want to open up the Settings window and select Personalization, from there select Start, you will now have a window showing you a list of folders like Documents, Downloads, Pictures, and so on with the option to be on or off. So when they are set to on they will now show up in the small column of your Start menu.

How to use Windows start menu

Background Color, It can be Changed:

 

How about the background accent color of your Start menu and taskbar?  Is yours set to one color (that you don’t like), or does it change with your background wallpaper? This can be changed by going back to Settings>Personalization>Colors, once you’re in the next window you will see 48 colored boxes that you can choose from by clicking on the one you want.

Now if you if would rather have Windows pick the accent color for you, just check the “Automatically pick an accent color from my background” box. Now scrolling down a bit you will see that you can make further changes by turning them on or off. These include

  • Make Start, taskbar, and action center transparent: Yep, this will make them transparent if turned on or solid by turning it off.
  • Show color on Start, taskbar, and action center: Here you can choose whether or not you want just a black background or a colored background.
  • Show color on title bar: By turning this off your title bars for your apps (the title bar at the top of your apps) will be white. If it’s on, then they will be the color you choose (automatic or choice of color)
  • Choose your app mode: Two choices, Light or Dark. This will change the background of Windows apps to a white background or black.
  • High contrast settings: This is for people that have weak eyesight where they can change this setting to fit their needs in making the contrast and text easier for them to read.

How to use Windows 10 start menu

How to resize the individual tiles:

This is the same ever since the tiles came into practice with Windows 8, if you didn’t like the size of certain tiles, you were able to resize them from small, medium, wide, or large, all depending on how you want your layout of tiles to appear in the start menu. All you have to do is right click on a selected tile and choose the size from the pop-up list; you will notice that not all tiles have all four choices. Why you ask, well your answerer is as good as mine, I don’t rightly know, 🙂

Add another column of tiles:

Now that you have resized your tiles you can add an additional one medium size tile to the width of the layout. This will come in handy if you want to show more tiles on the window when it opens  so you don’t always have to scroll down to see the ones you use the most. To do this go to Settings>Personalization>Start and then turn “Show more Tiles” on.

Add or Remove a tile from the Start Screen:How to use Windows 10 start menu

If you want to add a new tile to your start menu scroll through your list of apps that are on the left side of the tiles until you find the one you want and right click. This will give you a pop-up window and at the top you get the option to “Pin to Start”. From here you can also pin it to the “Taskbar” by hovering your mouse over “More” and selecting “Pin to Taskbar”.

Of course, you can also do this on the tiles themselves by the same method. And to remove them just do that thing of right-clicking on them and selecting “Unpin from start, or Taskbar”.

If you don’t want any tiles on your Start menu then you will have to “Unpin” them all one at a time. Windows didn’t include a short-cut to this, which I think would have been a plus.

Let’s not forget how to move them:

This one is simple (of course there all simple) and I’ll bet you all know how this is done,How to use Windows 10 start menu simply left click+ hold and move, and once in position release mouse. See pretty simple. 🙂

Turning Live tiles off:

By default, your tiles are on which means they will rotate through different views depending on the app. Like your news tile will go through live news feeds, and your weather tiles will show the real-time weather at a glance, your mail tile will show recent mail in your mailbox, and so on. So now if these bother you, you can turn them off by right clicking on them, mouse over “More” and click “Turn live tile off”. And if later you decide to turn it back on, then just repeat the steps.

Recently added, Most used, and Suggested list of apps:

On the left side of your tiles is the list of apps that are installed on your device in alphabetic order. By default you have a list at the first which includes your “Recently added” and “Most used” apps. Now if you don’t prefer to have these showing and just want your list of apps, all you have to do is head to Settings>Personalization>Start. Once there on the right, you can turn them off by clicking on them. As you notice on that window you can also turn off the “Occasionally show suggestions in Start” if you don’t want to be notified anymore of new apps.How to use Windows 10 start menu

Making a Group for your tiles:

If you would like to group certain tiles under a heading, say like “games”, “productivity”, “Microsoft Office”, and so on, then you will like this one. If you have not made any changes to your start menu you might notice that Windows has already grouped some tiles with a group name like “Play and Explore” or “Life at a Glance”.

You can change or delete these names by clicking on the one you want to be changed and enter the new name you want, or click the X to delete it altogether. Now all you have to do is drag and drop the tiles you want into each group you set up. If you don’t see any group names all you have to do is hover over the blank space between the group’s tiles and a dialog box will show up, you then type in the name of the group you want.How to use Windows 10 start menu

Shortcut to your App:

Here is one that I stumbled on while playing around with the start menu. A shortcut to get to your apps without having to scroll through a long list of them. Simply, by clicking on the #, or a letter like A will change the screen to show the alphabets, from there click on the letter of the app you are looking for and Windows will take you to the list under that letter. So if you have an app that starts with the letter Z, then you can select the letter Z and see your apps starting with Z, thus saving you the hassle of scrolling all the way down the alphabet. (Pretty neat, huh?).How to use Windows 10 start menu

Pin certain Windows settings to your Start Menu:

If you use one or more of Windows settings a lot, you may want to add them to your Start menu for quicker access. This is done quite easily by right-clicking on the one you want in the Windows setting window and then click “Pin to Start”. Windows now will put a tile on your Start menu and you can drag and drop it anywhere you want it to be.How to use Windows 10 start menu

Use Start full Screen:

Now if you would like to see a full screen of your Start menu, well that can be done also. All you have to do is once again go to Settings>Personalization>Start and on that screen where it says “Use Start full Screen”, turn in on by clicking on it. Once you have done that any time you click on the Windows icon your Start menu will now take up the whole screen showing all your Tiles and a small column on the left side. If you want to see your whole list of apps just click on the “Show all apps” in the upper left corner of your screen.How to use Windows 10 start menu

How to use Windows 10 Start Menu?

So, you now know how to customize your Start menu to the way that best fits you. But, what if you are someone that is still unsatisfied with the whole Start menu layout, and would like to go back to the Windows 7’s layout, or maybe something different altogether? Well if this is you, then there are a couple of third-party vendors you can try.

The first one is the Classic Shell and is totally free to use. It has several templates to choose from along with the classic Windows 7 layout. This next one is one that I ran into when researching Windows 10 Start Menu and have found it to be a favorite among popular websites like “Lifehacker.com” . The “Start10” has a 30-day trial and after that a $4.99 price (pretty cheap!) and is said to blend in beautifully with Windows 10 where you can skin the Start button, and gives you a lot of different layouts besides the classic Windows 7 to choose from. So if that is something you would like to try to rid yourself of Windows 10 Start Menu, then these two would be great choices to try.

If you have found this to be extremely helpful in learning how to customize your Start Menu, why not share it with others. And if you would like to share with us what you think of Windows 10 Start menu, or have any questions, please do so in the comments section below. I look forward to hearing from and if there is something I missed on how to use Windows 10 Start menu, please let me know.

Kim

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About Author

Kim
Hello, my name is Kim and I am the owner of this site. I have been working with computers since they first became available to the public.I have built several computers over the years and enjoy helping others with their everyday computing. Should you have any questions about using your computer, or any other device, please leave me a note below in the comment section and I will be more than happy to help you out. Come back often for more tips and solutions to your every day computing.

10 Comments

  1. Vertical Veloxity

    Oh my I just favorited your website. This is so helpful. I am not sure if I have been moving so fast that I have not learned how to use Windows 10. Or is it just confusing. Not very confusing. But confusing. It could be my pc too… Not sure.

    But being able to master and utilize your computer basic functions are very important and it is very helpful. They have a lot of cool features that make our lives better!

    Reply
    1. Kim (Post author)

      Yea Windows can be a little confusing at times, that is why I like to research the features of Windows OS and let people know how to use them. I hope you have found this to be helpful and if you have any questions please let me know, I would love to help.

      Thank you for stopping by,

      Kim

      Reply
  2. martin skope

    Thanks for this post, I updated to the anniversary edition of Windows 10 and I never noticed some of these features. The ability to tweak the start menu in this way gives end users a more unique experience. This just reaffirms that windows 10 is shaping up to be the best windows yet; timely bug fixes and functional feature tweaks are always welcome.

    Reply
    1. Kim (Post author)

      Hi Martin, I think Microsoft has done a great job with Windows 10 and they keep working on it to improve it as time goes on. Being able to weak the Start menu to your liking is just one of the bonuses in Windows 10, there are a lot of other great things about it that I will be reviewing in the upcoming weeks. If you would like to be notified when they come out, go and sign up for my emails.

      Glad you found this useful and don’t forget to come back often.

      Kim

      Reply
  3. Christopher

    Windows 10 has some pretty hidden features, huh? Personally, I prefer earlier versions for being so versatile and obvious to even the most casual of users. Regardless, I actually did learn a lot about the OS’s functionality from your article. Had no idea I could resize and customize the menu, so thanks!

    Reply
    1. Kim (Post author)

      Hey Christopher, I’m glad I was able to show you some features inside Windows 10 to help with your experience with the new OS. And there are a lot more features that are not so obvious that I will be covering in upcoming articles. If you want to be notified of when they come out, why not take a minute and sign up for my newsletter.

      Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you again!

      Kim

      Reply
  4. Anh Nguyen

    First of all, I love Windows 10, with a passion. That said, I’ve never known all of its’ start menu functions nor have I tried using Cortona so you showed me some interesting things here like App shortcuts that I can try out on my free time.

    Thanks for sharing, I would love to hear more Windows 10 tips and tricks from you. 🙂

    Cheers,
    Anh

    Reply
    1. Kim (Post author)

      I also love Windows 10, I think it’s the best operating system Microsoft has released and I love finding new ways to use it. So yes I will be doing more post on how to use Windows 10. Check back later to see my new article on how to use the lock screen.

      Thank you stopping by Anh,

      Kim

      Reply
  5. John Rico

    I recently bought a laptop and it comes with windows 10. I have been using my old laptop for 4 years that is running windows 7. When I first tried the windows 10 I got confused and sort of still confused right now. I didn’t know that you can resize your start menu and customized the way you like. That’s why I leave it the same when it comes out of the box. But I have a question though since you knew a lot about computer. I have a problem when deleting files that needs administrator permission I did already many stuff about it like gaining the ownership and more. I also researched on the internet and still no solution. Do you know how to do it? Will windows pr microsoft gonna have update about it? Thank you and I appreciate your answer.

    Reply
    1. Kim (Post author)

      Hello John, glad you stopped by! Windows 10 can be a little bit confusing when your used to Windows 7, that why I like to do article on how to the best out of Windows 10.

      To answer your question, you need to have administrator permission to change anything on your device, if you are the one that signed in and setup your new laptop you should have administrator rights, if your not you can change your current settings by opening up the Settings app. To do this use the Windows Key+i and open settings, then click on Accounts, click on Family & other people. Under Other people select your user name and click on Change account type which will give two options, select Administrator.

      Now if this is a program that you or someone else had downloaded to your device it may be asking for the person that was signed in at the time of downloading the program. So to uninstall a program you have to be signed in under the person that downloaded the program.

      I hope this has helped, if not let me know and we will work out something. I’ll just need a little more info like the type of file you are trying to delete and who made the file.

      Let me know if this has helped,

      Kim

      Reply

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