Windows 11

how to change windows 11 start menu

How to Change Windows 11 Start Menu

Windows 11, the latest operating system from Microsoft, introduces a fresh and modern design that includes a revamped Start menu. The Start menu is a central hub for accessing apps, files, and settings on your computer. While the default Start menu in Windows 11 offers a sleek and minimalist look, you may prefer to customize it to suit your personal preferences and workflow. In this article, we will explore various methods to change the Windows 11 Start menu, allowing you to tailor it to your liking.

Method 1: Using the Settings App

The easiest way to change the Windows 11 Start menu is through the Settings app. Follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Start button located at the bottom left corner of the screen or press the Windows key on your keyboard.
  2. In the Start menu, click on the gear icon to open the Settings app.
  3. In the Settings app, click on the “Personalization” category.
  4. On the left sidebar, click on “Start.”
  5. Here, you will find various options to customize the Start menu.

Let’s explore some of the key customization options available:

1. Change the Start Menu Layout

Windows 11 offers two different layouts for the Start menu: centered and left-aligned. The centered layout places the Start button and app icons in the middle of the screen, while the left-aligned layout resembles the traditional Start menu found in previous versions of Windows.

To change the Start menu layout:

  1. In the Start settings, click on the “Layout” option.
  2. Toggle the switch to choose between the centered and left-aligned layout.

2. Customize the App List

The app list in the Start menu displays all the installed apps on your computer. You can customize the app list to show or hide certain apps, rearrange the order of apps, and even pin specific apps to the top for quick access.

To customize the app list:

  1. In the Start settings, click on the “App List” option.
  2. Here, you can toggle the switches to show or hide specific app categories, such as Recently Added, Most Used, and Recommended.
  3. To rearrange the order of apps, click and drag an app to the desired position.
  4. To pin an app to the top, right-click on the app and select “Pin to Start.”

3. Choose the Start Menu Background

Windows 11 allows you to personalize the Start menu background with a custom image or a solid color. This can help you add a personal touch to your computer and make it feel more unique.

To choose the Start menu background:

  1. In the Start settings, click on the “Background” option.
  2. Here, you can select a custom image by clicking on the “Browse” button and navigating to the desired image file on your computer.
  3. If you prefer a solid color, you can choose from the available color options.

4. Enable or Disable Live Tiles

Live Tiles are dynamic app icons that display real-time information, such as weather updates, news headlines, and calendar events. While some users find Live Tiles useful, others may prefer a more static Start menu without any dynamic elements.

To enable or disable Live Tiles:

  1. In the Start settings, click on the “Live Tiles” option.
  2. Toggle the switch to enable or disable Live Tiles.

Method 2: Using Registry Editor

If you’re comfortable making changes to the Windows Registry, you can use the Registry Editor to further customize the Start menu in Windows 11. However, it’s important to note that modifying the Registry can have unintended consequences if not done correctly, so proceed with caution and create a backup of your Registry before making any changes.

Follow these steps to customize the Start menu using the Registry Editor:

  1. Press the Windows key + R on your keyboard to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type “regedit” (without quotes) and press Enter to open the Registry Editor.
  3. In the Registry Editor, navigate to the following location:
Registry Key Description
HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerAdvanced Contains advanced settings for Windows Explorer, including the Start menu.
  1. Right-click on the “Advanced” key in the left sidebar and select “New” > “DWORD (32-bit) Value.”
  2. Name the new value “Start_ShowClassicMode” (without quotes).
  3. Double-click on the newly created value and set its data to “1” to enable the classic Start menu or “0” to disable it.
  4. Click OK to save the changes.
  5. Restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

By following these steps, you can enable or disable the classic Start menu in Windows 11. This can be useful for users who prefer the familiar Start menu layout from previous versions of Windows.

Method 3: Using Third-Party Start Menu Customization Tools

If you’re looking for more advanced customization options or prefer a different Start menu design altogether, you can explore third-party Start menu customization tools. These tools offer a wide range of features and allow you to personalize your Start menu in ways that may not be possible through the built-in Windows settings.

Here are a few popular third-party Start menu customization tools:

1. Start11

Start11 is a powerful Start menu customization tool developed by Stardock. It offers a variety of customization options, including the ability to change the Start button icon, customize the Start menu appearance, and add additional functionality.

2. Open-Shell

Open-Shell is a free and open-source Start menu replacement for Windows 11. It allows you to bring back the classic Start menu found in earlier versions of Windows and offers extensive customization options.

3. StartIsBack

StartIsBack is another popular Start menu customization tool that brings back the classic Start menu with a modern twist. It offers a seamless integration with Windows 11 and provides a highly customizable Start menu experience.

Before installing any third-party Start menu customization tool, make sure to research and choose a reputable tool from a trusted source. Additionally, be cautious when downloading and installing software from the internet to avoid potential security risks.


Q1: Can I revert back to the default Start menu in Windows 11?

A1: Yes, you can easily revert back to the default Start menu in Windows 11. Simply follow the steps outlined in Method 1 and choose the desired options to restore the default layout, app list, and background.

Q2: Will changing the Start menu affect my computer’s performance?

A2: No, changing the Start menu in Windows 11 should not have a significant impact on your computer’s performance. The Start menu is a user interface element that does not consume a significant amount of system resources.

Q3: Can I use third-party Start menu customization tools without any risks?

A3: While third-party Start menu customization tools can offer additional customization options, it’s important to exercise caution when using them. Make sure to download tools from reputable sources and scan them for malware before installation. Additionally, keep in mind that modifying system files or settings using third-party tools can potentially cause system instability or compatibility issues.


The Start menu in Windows 11 can be easily customized to suit your personal preferences and workflow. Whether you prefer a centered or left-aligned layout, want to customize the app list, choose a unique background, or enable/disable Live Tiles, Windows 11 provides built-in options to make these changes. For users looking for more advanced customization options, third-party Start menu customization tools like Start11, Open-Shell, and StartIsBack offer additional features and flexibility.

Remember to always exercise caution when making changes to your computer’s settings or installing third-party software. Create backups and research reputable sources before proceeding. By following the methods outlined in this article, you can change the Windows 11 Start menu to create a personalized and efficient computing experience.


I am a technology writer specialize in mobile tech and gadgets. I have been covering the mobile industry for over 5 years and have watched the rapid evolution of smartphones and apps. My specialty is smartphone reviews and comparisons. I thoroughly tests each device's hardware, software, camera, battery life, and other key features. I provide in-depth, unbiased reviews to help readers determine which mobile gadgets best fit their needs and budgets.

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