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The Start Menu is back A Guide to the Windows 10 Start Menu A Guide to the Windows 10 Start Menu Windows 10 fixes the Start Menu dilemma! Getting to grips with the new Start Menu will supercharge your Windows 10 experience. With this handy guide, you'll be an expert in no time. Read More and has once again become the pivotal point of Windows. How could Microsoft ever remove the iconic Start Menu Start Me Up - Windows 95 Turns 20 & Still Rocks Start Me Up - Windows 95 Turns 20 & Still Rocks 20 years ago the Rolling Stones cranked up "Start Me Up", and Windows 95 was born. We revisit history, discuss why Windows 95 was a big deal, and how it compares to Windows today. Read More in the first place? It’s different though, with the classic design now integrating the tiles introduced with Windows 8’s Start Screen.

If used well, the tiles can add a lot of value to your Windows experience. In particular, visually-minded users will appreciate the creative freedom that tiles offer. Here we’ll show you the potential of tiles and along the way you’ll learn about their different features, as well as other ways to customize the Start Menu.

Manage Your Tiles

On a classic desktop PC, tiles may seem like a waste of space. Once you’re using Windows 10 Quick Guide to Windows 10 for Windows 8 Users Quick Guide to Windows 10 for Windows 8 Users Windows 10 is just around the corner and if you're running Windows 8 you will be able to upgrade for free on July 29. Let's take a look at what the big changes are. Read More on a hybrid or mobile device, however, where scrolling through menus can be tedious, tiles quickly become indispensable.

Tile Basics

You can pin almost any item to the Start Menu (right-click > Pin to Start) and it will show up as a tile. We’ve previously shown you how you can manage your tiles, i.e. Unpin from Start, Resize, or re-arrange them. Just right-click or long-press a tile to see which options come up, drag-and-drop a tile to move it around, and don’t miss out on the option to give a group of tiles a descriptive name through the title bar.

Windows 10 Start Menu Resize Tile

Edit Name & Icon of Start Menu Tiles

Don’t like the name of a given tile in your Start Menu? Right-click the tile, select Open file location, then rename the respective file in Windows Explorer. While you’re at it, you can also change the icon used for the tile. In Windows Explorer, right click the file, select Properties, in the Shortcut tab click Change Icon…, and select a given icon or Browse… for an alternative one on your computer.


This will work for desktop programs and most shortcuts, but not for Universal Windows apps, unless…

Create Shortcuts to Universal Windows Apps

Shortcuts can help you access a file or app from various locations. Universal Windows apps don’t provide an obvious way to create a shortcut, but we know of two different methods. The first is almost too simple; try to drag an app from the Start Menu to the desktop. What you’ll get is a shortcut on the desktop and the app will still sit in your Start Menu.

Alternatively, you can open the Applications shell folder, which hosts all applications installed on your computer, including Universal Windows apps. Press Windows key + R to open the Run dialog (or long-press the Start Button and select Run from the Power Menu), type shell:AppsFolder, and select OK . From here you can create shortcuts to any of your applications.

Shell Applications

Once you have created a shortcut, you can rename it, change its icon, and pin it to your Start Menu. That’s how you can create custom icons for Universal Windows Apps.

Add Fun Tiles

Now that you know what you can do with tiles, lets see how you can expand on that.  These tips will help you put your creative energy to work and turn your Start Menu tiles into a piece of art.

Add Tiles for Steam Games

Tiles are the perfect canvas for game covers. The Universal Windows app Steam Tile creates beautiful Live Tiles for your Steam titles, as demonstrated by Reddit user xpopy.

Steam Tiles

Since he didn’t like how Steam Tile launches games, he went and manually created shortcuts to individual Steam games.

The process is a little convoluted and not as visually pleasing as Steam Tile; unfortunately, shortcuts only support small or medium sized tiles.

Add Chrome Web Apps

Chrome lets you add any website to the Windows Taskbar 7 Tips for Customizing the Windows 10 Taskbar 7 Tips for Customizing the Windows 10 Taskbar The taskbar remains a staple feature in Windows 10. It's been given a fresh look and new features, including Cortana. We show you all the tweaks to make the taskbar your own. Read More . Although in Windows 10, it actually adds them to the Start Menu as a tile. Click the Hamburger icon in Chrome, go to More Tools > Add to taskbar…, and check Open as window.


The tile will now launch the website in an app-like window Use Chrome to Create a Windows 10 App from Any Website Use Chrome to Create a Windows 10 App from Any Website This simple Chrome trick will help you appreciate Windows tiles. It also works on Windows 8. You can turn any website into an app that launches in its own window. Perfect for small screens! Read More , without distracting toolbars or tabs. This is particularly neat for websites like Gmail, Facebook, or YouTube.

Manage the All Apps List

Compared to previous Windows versions, the All Apps list appears stale and is difficult to navigate. Moreover, you cannot easily remove items, unless you’re happy to uninstall them. With the file location trick already described above, however, you regain some flexibility.

Classic desktop software is added to the All Apps list with a folder, but you really just need the Dropbox application shortcut in that list. When you right-click and item and select Open file location, you will access the Programs directory, based on which the All Apps menu is created. This is where you can move shortcuts or create additional folders. For example, I could move the Dropbox shortcut from the Dropbox folder to the Programs directory, then delete the Dropbox folder.

You have to reboot for the latter to take effect.

Editing All Apps

Also note that you can quickly jump to a different location in the All Apps list by clicking or long-pressing a letter, then selecting your target from the menu that comes up.

All Apps Selection

Change Color & Transparency

Compared to the Windows 10 Preview, your options here are rather limited and none of them can be found in the Start Menu itself. Press Windows + I or launch the Settings app through the Start Menu and navigate to Personalization > Colors.

Windows 10 Colors

Per default, the Start Menu and Taskbar are dark grey, but you can make them adapt the Windows-wide accent color. This in turn can be picked based on your background or you can manually select one. Finally, you can make the Start Menu transparent, but you cannot customize this setting.

Switch Between Start Menu & Start Screen

You can change the size of the Start Menu by dragging it by its top or right edge or you can switch to a full screen Start Menu, better known as Start Screen. And you have two different options here: you can either switch between Desktop and Tablet mode, with the latter automatically maximizing all your windows and activating the Start Screen, or you can choose to permanently use the Start Screen via Windows Settings. Both methods will give you instant results, no reboot needed; it’s the smoothness of Continuum Continuum: Switch Between Windows 10 Desktop & Tablet Mode Continuum: Switch Between Windows 10 Desktop & Tablet Mode Windows 10 recognizes your hardware and instantly chooses the best display mode. When you connect your Windows 10 Mobile to a larger screen, you'll get a PC-like experience. That's the smoothness of Continuum. Read More .

To toggle between display modes, open the Action Center from the notification area or press Windows key + A, then click or tab Tablet mode; one of the tiles at the bottom.

Action Center Tablet Mode

For the permanent solution, open the Settings app from the Start Menu or press Windows key + I, then head to Personalization > Start and set Use Start full screen to On.

Start Menu Personalization

Whether you choose Tablet Mode or a full screen Start menu, the Start Screen will look the same. What differs between the two modes is the behavior of the Taskbar. In Tablet Mode it’s hidden and when you hit the Windows key or swipe up from the bottom, you’ll notice it’s empty, save for the default icons. To switch between applications, you now have to tap the Task View button or swipe in from the left.

Tablet Mode Start Screen

Use an Alternative Start Menu

Chances are that even once future updates roll around, you’re not satisfied with the new Windows 10 Start Menu. Fortunately, you can always install a third party Start Menu 2015!? No Way Microsoft! How to Get Your Windows 8.1 Start Menu Now 2015!? No Way Microsoft! How to Get Your Windows 8.1 Start Menu Now Windows 8 won't get a native Start Menu after all. But why wait on Microsoft? Here's how you can help yourself with third party tools like Classic Shell or Start8 and other workarounds. Read More , such as Classic Shell. These tools can either replace the default Windows 10 Start Menu or you can choose settings to allow access to both menus.

Classic Shell Third Party Start Menu

Into Windows recommends you pin the Start Screen option from Classic Shell to your Taskbar, so you have a separate button for each Start Menu and don’t have to recall special shortcuts.

As a side note, some alternative Start Menus, including Start Menu Reviver, also work for Windows 7.

How Did You Change Your Start Menu?

We would love to hear or see what you have done to your Start Menu! How are you using tiles? Have you applied an artistic design 10 Quick Ways to Customize & Personalize Windows 10 10 Quick Ways to Customize & Personalize Windows 10 Not all of Windows 10's default settings will float your boat. We show you all the possible ways to customize Windows 10 in a simple, step-by-step guide. Read More or have you organized your tiles in a specific way? What else have you done to make the Start Menu work for you? Or are you using a completely different way to launch software and folders Creative Ways to Launch Software & Open Folders in Windows Creative Ways to Launch Software & Open Folders in Windows Tired of searching for shortcuts on your desktop? In Windows, you can quickly access anything you want, you just have to take the time to set it up. We have compiled your options. Read More ? Tell or show us in the comments!

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