Web User Masterclass
Advanced hacks for the Windows 10 Start menu
Hack the Windows Start menu
Customise special areas
There are some special areas on the Start menu, such as ‘ Recently added’ and ‘ Most used’. You can show or hide these sections, according to your preference. Press Windows+i to open the Settings app, then click Personalisation followed by Start on the left. On the right, you’ll see a switch to let you show or hide your recently added and most used apps.
Change the transparency and colour
You can make the Start menu and taskbar semi-transparent, so that the desktop and any windows underneath are visible. Not everyone is keen on this effect, but if you want to try it, open the Settings app and click Personalisation, then Colours on the left. Find the ‘ Transparency effects’ heading and use the switch to turn it on or off.
The setting ‘Automatically pick an accent colour from my background’ allows Windows to pick an accent colour for your Start menu. If you’re using a theme that automatically changes the background image on your PC, the colour of your Start menu will also keep changing. To stop this, and to set your preferred colour for the Start menu, clear the tick next to ‘Automatically pick an accent colour from my background’ and select a colour from the block of coloured tiles. Scroll down a bit further to ‘ Show the accent colour on the following surfaces’ and tick the box next to ‘ Start, taskbar and action centre’. There is an option to use the same colour for window title bars, too.
Remove Start menu tiles
If you don’t want to display tiles on the Start menu and would rather see an alphabetical list of apps, right-click each tile and select ‘ Unpin from Start’. When the last one is removed, the Start menu collapses to only show the list of apps.
Resize the Start menu
The width of the Start menu depends on how many groups of tiles are displayed – up to five or maybe more, depending on the resolution of your screen. Click and drag the right-hand edge of the Start menu to resize the width. To choose the number of tiles displayed in a group, go to Settings, Personalisation, then Start. Toggle the switch under ‘ Show more tiles on Start’. Click and drag the top edge of the Start menu to change the height.
Remove a most-used app
By default, the Start menu contains a list of your most used apps, which is handy for quick one-click access. Sometimes, however, an app can appear in this list that you don’t want – perhaps you used it a lot on a particular day and never again. To get rid of it, right-click the app in the ‘ Most used apps’ list. In the menu that is displayed, select More, then ‘ Don’t show in this list’. It won’t appear again, no matter how much you use it.
Select a different Start mode
There are three different views for the Start menu: the alphabetical text
listing all your programs; the tiles; or both. Normally, both programs and tiles are shown, but you can switch to the other modes by opening Settings, Personalisation, then Start. Switch off ‘ Show app list in Start menu’ to make the Start tiles the default view. On the far left, you’ll see two new icons which can be used to switch between tiles and apps list views.
Use an old-style Start menu
If you’ve recently converted from Windows 7 and miss the old Start menu, you can continue to use it in Windows 10 by installing the free tool Classic Shell ( www.classicshell.net). Development for it stopped last December, but it still works with the latest Windows 10 April 2018 Update.
Install and run the program, and you’ll be offered a choice of three different Start menus: a version that’s similar to Windows XP; a Vista-style two-column version; and one that looks like Windows 7’s. The program does a good job of making Windows 10 look and work like previous versions of Windows.
The menu can be set to show your most used apps on the left and links to popular items on the right, such as Documents, Pictures, Music, Control Panel, Run and so on. There is an All Programs button that shows all the software installed on your PC, so you can easily find programs and run them.
Switch off any Start-menu elements that you don’t like
Classic Shell offers three different Start menus for Windows 10
Replace the Windows 10 Start menu with a classic menu from the past