Here’s how to put the Windows 11 start menu back where it belongs

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When upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 11, the first thing you may ask is: where the hell is my Start menu? Traditionally, the Windows Start menu was in the lower-left corner of the screen, but when your new version of Windows appears, the Start icon can be found under a group of icons in the center of your system tray at the bottom of the screen.

The Windows 11 start menu is now a small icon in the middle of the taskbar.

Click the start menu icon and things will look very different too. Instead of the large square live tiles that used to be shown, you have a much more humble set of app icons, mostly showing Microsoft-related apps pinned to the main page. Click on “All apps” in the upper right corner (directly below the search field) and you will get the familiar A-to-Z list of apps. But no tiles.

Look under the app icons and you will find a Recommended section that has apps that Microsoft believes you should try (e.g. Teams). Clicking the More button will bring up some of the files or apps that you may have used recently.

One click of the search box gives instant access to several popular apps.

One click of the search box gives instant access to several popular apps.

By the way, this search box? Click that and the Start menu will open for instant access to File Explorer, Settings, and other apps.

While some will appreciate this more puritanical version of the Start menu, others who have become used to the more configurable version in Windows 10 may want to know how to revert to the more familiar and personal version.

You can move the Start icon to the left using the Taskbar Orientation option in your setup menu.

You can move the Start icon to the left using the Taskbar Alignment option in your setup menu.

You can get a way to get there by moving the centered apps to the left side of the system tray:

  • Right click on the taskbar and click on “Taskbar Settings”
  • Select “Taskbar Behavior”
  • Look for “Taskbar Orientation” and click the button to the right where it says “Center”. Instead, select “Links”.
  • Close the settings window and you will see that the app icons in the system tray have been 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 is unchanged.

Now the Start menu icon is in the left corner, but the menu itself is unchanged.

This will put the Start menu back where you expected it to be, but it will not restore it to normal. To get that back, you’ll have to go to a third-party app.

At the time of this writing, at least one was already available. Stardock, a company whose Start10 app allows Windows 10 users to keep their beloved Windows 7 menu interface, has already released a beta version of its Start11 app that is said to bring back the classic Windows 10 Start menu. The apps cost $ 5.

So far, Start11 is the only app we’ve found that pretends to restore the Windows 10 menu system. It sure won’t be the last though – there were several apps aimed at Windows 7 fans when Windows 10 came out, and you can bet that there will soon be other alternatives to the Windows 10 “look” too. (There are some Regedit hacks out there, but most of them are either very laborious or made useless by Microsoft somewhere in the beta cycle.)

If there is a better solution, we will definitely let you know.

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