How to Customize the Windows 11 Start Menu

How to Customize the Windows 11 Start Menu

So you just upgraded to Windows 11 from Windows 10, and the centered Start Menu is not to your liking. I say customize the Windows 11 Start Menu to your preferences and give it a try. I am sure there is plenty to appreciate in the revamped Start Menu. After all, the new Start is being touted as one of the best features of Windows 11. In case you still don’t like the new Start experience, you can very well go back to the classic Start Menu with Live Tiles support on Windows 11. And if you are absolutely done with the refreshed UI, you can downgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 11 at any time. But before you do that, I recommend trying to personalize the Windows 11 Start Menu to get the most out of it.

Customize the Windows 11 Start Menu (2021)

Here, we have detailed everything you need to know about the new Windows 11 Start Menu and how to personalize it as per your needs. As the new Start menu is different, you might have to give it some time to grow on you. Nevertheless, we have provided some important tips to better your Start Menu experience on Windows 11.

Rearrange Icons and Pin Apps to Windows 11 Start Menu

1. The best way to find your favorite apps on any Windows version is by pinning them to the Start Menu. And well, you can do the same in Windows 11 as well. Simply click on “All Apps” at the top right, scroll down and go to the app you want to pin to the Start Menu.

windows 11 start menu - all apps

2. Then, right-click on it and select the “Pin to Start” option. You can also do it from the desktop or any other location. And as we have explained below, you can also pin folders to the Start Menu.

Rearrange Icons and Pin Apps

3. And voila! The app will appear in the “Pinned” section front and center.

Rearrange Icons and Pin Apps

Manage Pinned Apps in Windows 11 Start Menu

1. You can also drag the app and move it to any position in the “Pinned” apps list of your liking

2. Moreover, if you pin more than 18 apps to the Start Menu, then Windows 11 adds a second page. You can scroll to move between different pages of pinned apps.

Rearrange Icons and Pin Apps

3. By the way, you can still search for apps on Windows 11 in alphabetical order. Just open “All apps” and click on any alphabet.

Rearrange Icons and Pin Apps

Tune Recommendations in Windows 11 Start Menu

1. First off, open Settings and navigate to “Personalization” from the left pane. Here, scroll down and go to “Start” settings.

Customize the Windows 11 Start Menu (2021)

2. Now, I would suggest enabling “Show recently added apps” to find the new app or program in the Start Menu immediately after installing it. You save time by not scrolling through the entire app list to find a newly installed app.

Customize the Windows 11 Start Menu (2021)

3. Next, enable “Show the most used apps” to get recommendations of frequently used apps front and center in the Start Menu.

Customize the Windows 11 Start Menu (2021)

4. Next, if the “Show the most used apps” toggle is greyed out, you need to enable a privacy setting to make it work. Open Settings and jump to “Privacy & Security” from the left pane. Here, click on “General”.

Customize the Windows 11 Start Menu (2021)

5. After that, enable “Let Windows improve Start and search results by tracking app launches”. Now, go ahead and open the Personalization page once again. You will now be able to turn on the “Show the most used apps” option.

Customize the Windows 11 Start Menu (2021)

6. Besides that, enable the “Show recently opened items in Start, Jump Lists and File Explorer” option. It will offer you quick access to files and programs you access across your Windows 11 PC in the Start Menu.

Customize the Windows 11 Start Menu (2021)

Add Folders to Windows 11 Start Menu

1. Similar to Windows 10, Windows 11 also lets you add folders to the Start Menu. Go to the Settings -> Personalization -> Start page and click on “Folders“.

Add Folders to Windows 11 Start Menu

2. Here, you can add folders such as Downloads, Documents, Pictures, and more to the Start Menu.

Add Folders to Windows 11 Start Menu

3. The folders will appear to the left of the power menu in the Start Menu. This way, you can quickly access important folders from the Windows 11 Start menu without ever needing to scroll through pinned apps or anything.

Add Folders to Windows 11 Start Menu

4. In case you want to add a custom folder to the Start menu, that’s also possible in Windows 11. To do this, right-click on that folder and click on the “Pin to Start” option. The new OS natively supports pinning folders to the Start Menu, so you don’t need to use any third-party apps or tweak the AppData folder.

Add Folders to Windows 11 Start Menu

5. Now, the custom folder will appear in the “Pinned” apps section in the Start Menu. You can use this feature to keep your desktop clean and clutter-free.

Add Folders to Windows 11 Start Menu

Bring Back the Classic Start Menu in Windows 11

In case you don’t like the Windows 10X-style Start Menu on Windows 11 and want the classic Start menu with Live Tiles support back on Windows 11, you can do that as well. Simply follow our linked article for detailed steps on how to edit the registry files to get access to the old Windows 10-style Start Menu.

Microsoft has also added an option to move to the Start Menu and other taskbar icons back to the left edge. Navigate to Settings -> Personalization -> Taskbar and select “Left” from the new “Taskbar alignment” option.

windows 10 start menu with left task bar

Move Windows 11 Taskbar, Start Menu to the Top or Side

That was all about the Start menu, but if you want to move the taskbar on Windows 11 to different sides, say the top or right side, well, you can do that with some Registry tweaks. Just follow our detailed guide on how to move the Windows 11 Taskbar to the top, left, or right side of the screen, and you will be all set.

taskbar at top windows 11

Personalize the Start Menu on Windows 11 to Get the Most Out of It

So these are some ways you can customize the Windows 11 Start Menu and improve apps and files recommendations, get quick access to your favorite programs, and more. As I use Windows 11 more and more, it’s becoming clear that Microsoft does not want you to go through the whole app list. Instead, it aims to offer a deeply personalized experience right from the Start. Anyway, that is all from us. But how has your experience been on Windows 11? Comment down below and let us know your thoughts on Microsoft’s next-gen desktop OS. And in case you have some questions regarding Windows 11, check out our Windows 11 FAQs to clear all your doubts.

8 Comments

  1. I uninstalled Windows 11 and went back to Windows 10 despite the fact that I like the look of it. The Start Menu is a showstopper for me. It seems like it was not well thought out – the inability to group icons and increase their number is very problematic. The recommended area is too large and needs to be resizable or moved to a slide off. I don’t need live tiles, what I need is the ability to nicely group the app icons – allowing different sizes like Windows 10 would be great. I don’t want to clutter my desktop again, Windows 10 was great for making the desktop nice and clean.

  2. You really need to be able to group apps in the start menu, it’s a total step backwards to lose this feature. My Windows 10 Start Menu has 99% of what I use available in a layout that’s convenient and easy to manage. Just add the option to tile within the new start menu and problem solved.

    Hopefully if MS don’t fix it, a third party solution will appear.

  3. Things are very simple. A good start menu enables to group application per category. Look at the different linux shells for example. It was possible with winows up to the version 7. After, the version 8 had no real start menu. The version 10 enables this again by letting the user create tiles containing tiles. So that it’s possible to create category tiles enabling to find easily applications, like on Linux.
    Windows 11 seems to completely erase this facility, and does not seem to give any way to create a properly organized start menu.
    Microsoft seem to create alternatively good an ugly versions of windows : XP, then… Vista ! Then Windows 7 then Windows 8 ! then Windows 10, then Windows 11 !

  4. the start menu is not bad it just needs to be fixed. It’s a much better layout for the apps than the windows 10 start menu. But after changing the taskbar to the top it breaks the registry because you cannot change it back.

  5. It’s no longer possible to pin woth right click fi “Windows Update” from the settings panel (changed!) to the “Start Menu”

  6. This is the wrost start menu ever.

    It is too small, only 18 items at one page is too less for me. No Groups.

    There are no ways to customize that.

    I have a 49 inch monitor.

  7. Window 11 latest Insider Build 22000.65 will not allow to go back to Windows 10 Classic Start Menu. I had it on initial Windows Insider Build.

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