Even since the days of Windows 95, people have used the Start Menu to get around their system, finding and using applications. Microsoft’s attempt to change this with Windows 8 wasn’t exactly well-received, so for Windows 10 the Start Menu is back – and it seems to be as good it gets!
In this post we’re going to show you what new features to look out for and how to make the most out the Windows 10 Star Menu:
How to get started
What the Start Menu in Windows 10 tries to do is be a blend between the tried and tested Windows Start Menu and the more modern, tablet-oriented Metro interface Windows 8 introduced. To get started, you just have to click the button in the bottom-left corner of the screen, or alternatively press the Windows Key on your keyboard.
As you’re probably used to, the column appearing on the left will allow you to quickly access the most important applications and services, while the rest consists of Live Tiles.
Right-clicking on a single tile lets you do things like toggling whether it updates automatically when it has access to the internet, resizing it, or removing it completely from the Start Menu.
How to access Start Menu settings
While you can indeed customize some things about the Start Menu without going further than the Desktop, to really do some interesting things you’ll have to go to the Settings menu. You can easily access it by right-clicking anywhere on the Desktop and then clicking Personalize, then going to the Start section.
It is here that you select what exactly you will see on your Start Menu. To view all the options at your disposal, simply click on the Customize list link you will see there.
This is also where you can switch between the classic Start Menu most people are familiar with and prefer using, and the full-screen version, which will probably appeal to Windows 8 fans.
How to pin commonly used settings tasks to the Start Menu
Once you’ve figured out how the Start Menu works, you might want to modify its settings in order to optimize the user experience. One way of doing that is by pinning various Settings tasks you’d like to have easy access to directly to the Start Menu.
In order to do that, go to the Settings app you want to pin to the Start Menu. Right-click the section you’re interested in (which you will see in the Settings app, part of the leftmost column) and then select Pin to Start. To remove it, all you have to do is right-click the shortcut and click Unpin to Start.
How to switch to Tablet Mode on mobile
A great feature of the Windows 10 operating system is the fact that it is optimized for a whole range of different devices. So naturally the Start Menu will offer the same great user experience on a tablet as it does on a PC.
Here’s how you activate Tablet Mode: go to Settings, then System, and finally to Tablet Mode. There you will find a toggle for this mode, as well the When I sign in option, which can also be very important for the customizing process.
Within the dropdown you’ll find various settings which allow you to choose whether you default to Tablet or to Desktop Mode, or you simply stay with the settings you had when you were previously logged into the device.
How to add color to the Start Menu
While Live Tiles really seem to add a welcome touch of liveliness to the Start Menu, it might not be the exact flavor you’re looking for — until you get to add the exact colors you like.
You can do that by navigating through Setting, then Personalization, and then Colors. Next you scroll down to the toggle switch named Show color on Start, taskbar and action center, and set it to On. Now you’ll be able to choose one of many different swatches.
Another thing you could do is make the Show color on Start, taskbar and action center transparent, with another toggle switch you will find in the same menu. You can play around with different settings as see which one is the most pleasant to your eye.
How to disable Internet Search
Another cool new Windows 10 feature is the Desktop search bar, however there might be some who are put off by the fact that it also returns internet search results alongside things found on your PC.
To keep things separate you will have to disable the online search part. For that you’ll need to open Windows Firewall with Advanced Security, then create an Outbound Rule for a program, and set the Program Path when the tool requests that of you.
You have to navigate the following path: Windows > SystemApps > Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy > SearchUI.exe. After you’ve found it, set it in such a way that all connections are blocked.
After putting this rule in place, you’ll still be able to use the Search bar as before, only now it won’t show any results from the internet, since the Firewall rule doesn’t allow it to make a connection. If you change your mind, go through the same process and disable the rule.