The Start Menu is the most anticipated feature of the of Windows 10. It combines some elements of the simple menu-based lists of Windows 7 and the finger-friendly design of the full-screen menu from Windows 8. A number of people have had their doubts about Windows 10 if it’s a good idea or if it will be disastrous. The new features are in some way complicated because it’s versatile. There’s a lot of different customization options, much more so than any previous version of Windows. In June Microsoft displayed a number of computer designs for Windows 10 that were built by their partners. This guide will lead you through the new Start Menu.
Resizing the Start Menu
The Menu has two parts: the primary program and settings area, a vertical list on the left, and the live tiles area, the Windows 8 part of the menu on the right. Neither area can be disabled but both can be resized.
To resize the Start Menu, move your cursor over the vertical or horizontal edge, click, and drag, just like most Windows programs. Making the menu larger vertically will give more space to the list and the live tiles area, while adding horizontal space will only extend the Live Tiles. At its smallest horizontal setting, the Start Menu can only handle three “medium” columns of the smaller live tiles, but at its maximum setting it can fit six.
The full screen start of Windows 10 can also be created from Windows 10. Right-click an empty area of the desktop, then click “Personalize.” Switch the “use” Start full screen” option to “on.” Now the live tiles area will take up your entire desktop.
Personalization of the menu and colors
After you have gotten personalization menu open, you will see some toggles that will let you select whether to show the most-used apps, recently-added apps, or files and actions that you’ve clicked or tapped in Jump Lists.
Click “Choose which folders appear on Start.” From here you can enable or disable a link to the File Explorer or the primary Settings menu, plus the specific folders for your primary account folder, personal documents, downloads, music, pictures, and videos, and the HomeGroup folder and Networks settings page.
Click the “back” button or press Backspace, then click on “Colors” in the left navigation area. On this page you can select your accent color, a contrasting color that stays constant across all of Windows 10. By default the accent color is chosen automatically based on your desktop wallpaper — if you like the way Windows looks now, just leave it as it is. If not, set “Automatically pick an accent color from my background” to “Off,” and manually select one from the palette that appears.
By default the Windows 10 Start Menu and taskbar are translucent black. You can manually color these elements as well by clicking “Show color on Start, taskbar, and action center,” and you can make them opaque by enabling “Make Start, taskbar, and action center transparent.” All of these settings are applied immediately, so click the Start Menu to see what they do and set it up just how you like it.
The left side of the Start Menu is similar to what you may remember from Windows 7 and before. Once you’ve selected your folders in the steps above and chosen whether or not to show your most-used apps, there are only two things to check out: the account button and the “all apps” list. Click the account button (the area at the top with your portrait and user name) for a quick link to lock the computer, sign out, or open the Account Settings section of the Settings menu.
To add new items to the live tile area, right-click them on the All Apps portion of the Start Menu or anywhere in Windows Explorer, then click “pin to Start.” An app, folder, or file will appear as its own tile. Most tiles are merely shortcuts, but some Universal Windows apps include a special animated live tile. This is similar to a smartphone widget, but it conforms to the grid-based setup of the live tile area. Default animated live tiles include apps from Microsoft like Weather, News, and Sports. Some applications downloaded from the Windows Store also include live tile functionality. To disable a live tile’s animation, right-click the tile and select “Turn live tile off.”
Resizing Live tiles
To resize any live tile, right-click the tile and click “resize.” The default size is “medium,” which takes up one square space on the Live Tile area. It’s also the smallest size which allows a live tile to still animate. “Small” tiles are one fourth the size of “medium” tiles, and you can fit four shortcuts into a single square on the Live Tile area.