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While in desktop mode, Windows 10 allows you to use the Start menu in a full-screen mode (like the Start menu in tablet mode) or in a more traditional way that only covers part of the screen. Here’s how to change how it works.

Depending on how you have your Start Menu configured, a full-screen Start menu looks something like this. As expected, it covers the entire screen (but not the taskbar), and you can change between a “pinned tiles” view and an “all apps” view using the buttons in the upper-left corner.

It’s a lot like Windows 8’s Start screen—a big full-screen canvas where you can place all your shortcut tiles.

A full screen Start menu in Windows 10

To configure whether you see the full-screen Start menu in desktop mode or not, you’ll need to make a change in Windows Settings.

First, open “Settings” by clicking the “Start” menu and selecting the “Gear” icon on the left. (You can also press Windows+I.)

When Settings opens, click “Personalization” on the main screen.

In Personalization, select “Start” from the sidebar to open the “Start” settings.

In Start menu settings, locate the switch labeled “Use Start Full Screen.” If you’d like to use the Start menu full screen in desktop mode, set this switch to “On.” If you don’t want Start to cover the entire screen when you open it in desktop mode, set this switch to “off.”

Note that this setting does not affect the full-screen Start menu in tablet mode. While your PC is in tablet mode, it will always show a full-screen Start menu.

To quickly disable tablet mode, open the “Action Center” by clicking or tapping the notifications button in the far corner of the taskbar. When the Action Center menu pops up, select the “Tablet Mode” button.

You can also disable turn off tablet mode completely in Settings > System > Tablet.

In the Windows 10 Action Center, tap the Tablet Mode button.

You don’t have to use a full-screen Start menu to get more room for shortcuts. If you’d like to use a larger Start menu without having it occupy the full screen, you can easily resize the Start menu by clicking and dragging the Start menu’s edges.

RELATED: How to Resize Your Start Menu in Windows 10

Profile Photo for Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is a former Associate Editor for How-To Geek. Now, he is an AI and Machine Learning Reporter for Ars Technica. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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