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:
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.
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 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:
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, 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.
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.
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?).
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.
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?
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.