Web User Masterclass

Ad­vanced hacks for the Win­dows 10 Start menu

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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

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