How-To Geek

8 Ways to Customize the Windows 10 Start Menu

Windows 10 finally gives us back the Start Menu, and it’s much more customizable than it ever has been before. Here is a quick rundown of all the different ways that you can customize it.

We’re guessing that they will continue to add more things over time, but for now this is the list of customizations that we’re aware of.

Note: some of these pictures were taken on a pre-release version of Windows 10 and look a little different, but it all works the same way.

Organize, Edit, Delete, or Add New Items to the All Apps View

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You can easily get to the Start Menu’s folder structure on the hard drive and edit, rearrange, or even add new items to the All Apps view in the Windows 10 start menu. This will also give you the benefit of being able to search for these new shortcuts that you create.

It’s worth noting that the Start Menu folder won’t actually show the “Metro” apps, and you’ll need to deal with those elsewhere. For the most part, you can uninstall a Metro app by right-clicking on it in the Start Menu, except for the built-in ones.

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Resize the Start Menu

You can quickly resize the Start Menu by simply moving your mouse to the top edge of the Start Menu and resizing down.

It’ll make the Start Menu wider if you have live tiles pinned.

Pin and Unpin Tiles

You can easily pin and unpin tiles by right-clicking on each one and selecting Unpin from Start (you can also drag them around to rearrange them).

And if a tile isn’t actually pinned to the Start Menu, you can use the All Apps view to find it, and then right-click and choose Pin to Start from there. You can also pin regular apps to the right-hand side if you want.

You might notice that you can also pin things to the taskbar from the same view or uninstall them quickly as well.

Resize Live Tiles

You can change the size of the tiles by right-clicking on them and choosing Resize and then picking a size.

The “Large” size is a little on the ridiculous size, but at least you have a lot of choices.

Unfortunately the tiling is a little weird, so if you have an odd number of small tiles you’ll end up with blank space.

Turn Off Live Tile Updates

If all those blinking tiles end up annoying you, just right-click on them and choose “Turn live tile off.”

Compared to the example above, you can see that the News tile is back to being a regular tile button.

Personally we’re not fans of most live tiles… they are just too busy.

Change the Start Menu (and Taskbar) Color

You can easily change the color of your Start Menu and Taskbar by right-clicking any empty space and choosing Personalize.

The Color and Appearance dialog will show up, and you can change the color to any awful style that you want. This one isn’t so great!

Pin Items from the Left Side of the Start Menu

You can pin applications to the left side of the Start Menu as well, but that’s not quite as intuitive… you need to drag and drop the shortcut for the application to the Start Button and you’ll see the tooltip change to “Pin to Start menu,” which is your cue to drop it there.

Once you’ve done so, it should immediately pin that application to the left side of the Start Menu. You can also drag and drop the items up or down if you want.

It’s weird that you can pin things to the right or left but you can’t drag and drop from right to left, only from left to right.

To remove anything that you put on the left side, just right-click and choose “Remove from this list.”

Adding Control Panel and Special Items to the Left Side of the Start Menu

You can also add some special built-in shortcuts to the left side of the Start Menu, but you’ll need to find a settings screen. Right-click on any of the white space and choose Properties.

Switch to the Start Menu tab, and then click the Customize button.

Inside of this dialog you can select what special items you would like to pin to the Start Menu.

The Control Panel is really interesting because you can also use the Jump Lists to pin frequent sections into a folder that expands out. For Internet Explorer, you could have a set of pinned websites inside of the folder.

Remove All Live Tiles and Make It Look Like Windows 7

One of the best ways to customize the new Start Menu is to just remove all of the silly live tiles and make it look more like Windows 7. All you need to do is unpin all the items on the right side, put the items on the left side that you want, and then resize it down until it looks good.

Got any other Windows 10 customization tips? Let us know!

 

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/3/14

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