Make the Windows 11 Start menu to your liking

Windows 11 default Start menu

If there’s one thing that exercises a lot of Windows 11 users, it’s the Start menu and taskbar.

Okay, that’s two things, both related.

In Windows 11, the default position of the Start menu is centred above the taskbar, not ranged to the left as was the case in Windows 10. In addition, the app icons in the taskbar are also centred instead of ranged left.

Microsoft want to some lengths explaining why.

Some people don’t like that at all, though, preferring the ranged-left visual appeal of how it was in Windows 10. Likewise the taskbar, with many complaints about the disappearance of right-click functionality on the taskbar to bring up the Task Manager that only works in Windows 11 on the Start menu icon.

Personally, I love the new Start menu and taskbar in Windows 11! But if you do want to change it, one thing you can change is the alignment of both via a setting in Settings > Personalisation > Taskbar, choosing Left or Centred alignments.

That’s pretty much it, though. For anything deeper you need to look for a third-party alternative.

One such alternative is the excellent Start 11 utility from Stardock. I was a huge fan of the version for Windows 10 that gave me more attractive options than the awful live tiles and useless start menu that was the default.

With Start 11, you have similar flexibility beyond changing the alignment of the Start menu and taskbar icons including making the menu look like Windows 10 (each to their own!), even Windows 7.

Windows 11 Start menu with Start 1
Start 11 in Windows 11, 3 April 2022

Until today, I didn’t use Start 11 with Windows 11 as I like the native menu as I mentioned. But I do like one thing especially – changing the label on the listing of recently-used apps, documents, files, etc, from ‘Recommended’ in the default to ‘Recent documents’ in Start 11. It’s far more logical. That’s the only change I’ve made so far, keeping the native centred alignment as is.

There’s much more to Start 11 than just this – see detailed information on new features in the beta version 1.19 in this good explainer from Stardock. Take a look at Start 11. For just a penny under $6 it’s worth it to tweak a few things.

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