Hands-on with new Windows 11 Start Menu, arriving later this year

Windows 11 Start Menu revamp

Earlier today,
preview builds of Windows 11 leaked online and we’re now
taking a closer look at the new Start Menu found in the leaked
update. This is a “near-final” version of the Start Menu, so
it’s likely that the next generation of Windows will have a
slightly improved interface by the time it launches in the
production channel.

Way back in February 2020, we reported that Windows 10 will be
getting a redesigned Start menu and Microsoft will be killing
off live tiles for good. According to sources familiar with the
development, live tiles usage has always been low, especially
on desktops, and most users don’t customize their tiles on the
Start menu.

Live Tiles made their way to Microsoft’s desktop operating
systems with Windows 8 upgrade as the company wanted to
optimize their desktop operating system for both PCs and
touch-screen devices.

Windows 10 debuted in 2015 without Windows 8’s Metro interface,
but Live Tiles managed to stick around on the desktop.

According to the leaked preview build, Microsoft is now giving
up on touch-friendly tiles with Windows 11 update, the
company’s successor to Windows 10.

A closer look at the new Start Menu on Windows 11

Microsoft is replacing Live Tiles with static icons (grid
layout) on Windows 11, which is due to land in the second half
of this year for consumers. This means we could see the
end of Live Tiles in a few months.

Start Menu experience on Windows 11 has been completely
redesigned with a focus on your apps and productivity.

As you can see in the above screenshots, the default layout of
the Start menu features app icons. Likewise, Microsoft has
updated all apps shortcuts with colourful icons and it matches
the look and feel of Windows 11.

Start Menu comes with two sections: pinned and recommended
activities.

The pinned section includes your favourites or most-used apps
and recommended area lets you access the recently viewed or
edited documents/files.

This new “recommended activities area could be the replacement
for Windows Timeline and it appears to show Office documents,
local files and recently modified apps only. This list will
grow as you edit and view more documents, but for now, it’s a
quick way to find your important documents.

Start Menu old layout is still supported

By default, Start Menu will no longer be available with a
button placed in the bottom left corner.

Taskbar settings

However, you can open Windows Settings > Taskbar and go back
to the left bottom alignment.

Start Menu power options

In addition to the new layout, the power options have been
moved to the lower right corner and they include the general
options, such as shutdown, restart, or update and
restart/shutdown.

Start menu customization options on Windows 11

Start Menu dark mode

In dark mode, Start Menu also appears to be using a new
gradient colour by default and it’s based on the classic blue
colour.

Of course, you can also select a custom colour for your Start
menu and apply accent colour to the background. To do this, you
need to launch “Settings”, open “Personalization” and enable
the option “Start, taskbar, and action center.”

Start menu accent colour

You can select any colour in the grid and use it for your Start
menu and taskbar. However, it won’t work in Light mode.

Powe user menu on Windows 11

You can still right-click on the Start button in Windows 11 to
access a menu popularly known as the “Win + X menu” or the
Power user menu.

Power user menu

This menu has been updated with rounded corners and Fluent
Design. It still includes classic commands for Power Options,
Device Manager, File Explorer, Task Manager, etc.

Taskbar settings option

In this leaked build, Microsoft has removed the Task Manager
and other options from the taskbar menu. You can still
right-click on the taskbar, but all options are currently
missing and users are directed to the Settings app.

If you want to access Task Manager on Windows 11, you need to
use the classic keyboard shortcut, power user menu or Windows
Search.

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