5 Additional Tips for Using the Windows 10 Start Menu More Efficiently

8 Tips for Using the Start Menu in Windows 10

The Windows 10 Start Menu is not to everyone’s taste. However, the general consensus appears to be that it is a significant improvement on Windows 8. If you have read one of our previous articles, you’ll already have an idea of some of the Start menu’s capabilities. But just in case you are still not convinced, here are another five tips for using the Windows Start Menu in Windows 10.

1. Configure Start Menu Properties


The main configuration options for the Windows 10 Start Menu are located in the Settings app. You can access Settings either from the Start Menu or by right-clicking on the Desktop and selecting “Personalize.”

“Show more tiles”

The default behavior for the Start Menu is to have three columns of medium-sized tiles within a tile group. If you want an extra column so that you can have two wide or large-sized tiles side by side in a group, then enable this option. We’ll talk about tile groups in a bit.

“Occasionally show suggestions in Start”

If you enable this, then you’re allowing Windows 10 to show ads for suggested applications.

“Show most used apps”

This option shows a list of your most frequently-used applications at the top of the left side of the Start menu. Clearly, the longer you have been using Windows 10, the more representative this list will be. One thing to note is that once you add a program to the tile area, it no longer appears in this list.

“Show recently added apps”

Before Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14328, this only showed the latest application you installed. In later builds, it displays three.

“Use Start full screen”

Enable this to use the entire screen to display your tiles, like you might expect to see on a tablet. The text items that are usually placed on the left-hand side of the regular start menu are now hidden. However, you can access them via the “hamburger” icon. Once you have selected an application (or have pressed escape to cancel), you’re back to the regular desktop.

“Show recently opened items in Jump Lists on Start or the taskbar”

This makes it easier for you to access recent files without trawling through File Explorer. Jump Lists are associated with individual applications and display the files most recently used by that application:


“Choose which folders appear on Start”

This allows you to add links to standard folders like Documents, Downloads, Music or Pictures.

2. Add Your Most Useful Shortcuts


To pin an application to the Start Menu as a tile, first locate the application you require in the Start Menu. Right-click on it, and select “Pin to Start.” If you want to add it as a tile, just drag and drop it into the tile area of the Start Menu. To unpin a tile from the Start Menu, right-click on the tile and select “Unpin from Start.”

3. Uninstall Applications


You can uninstall an application from the Start Menu by right-clicking it and selecting Uninstall. This operation is not quite as smart as you might expect. It simply opens up the Programs and Features option in the Control Panel and does not even highlight the application you selected. However, it saves you a couple of clicks.

4. Group Tiles


This, for me, is one of the best features of the new Windows 10 Start Menu. It allows me to quickly find applications I need for particular tasks that I perform all the time.

Once you have the individual tiles looking the way you want, you can move them into groups. Just leave a bit of space between one group of tiles and the next and Windows 10 will figure out what you’re trying to do.

Hover over a group and a little icon with two parallel horizontal lines appears. Click on it and type a name for the group.

5. Get Back the Windows 7 Look


If you’re just not into the whole tile look, you can change the Start Menu to a reasonable approximation of the old Windows 7 version. Just delete every tile in the tile area (by right-clicking each one in turn and selecting “Unpin from Start”). When all the tiles are gone, simply resize the Start Menu so that the tile area disappears. If that’s not “Windows 7” enough for you, consider using a third party utility such as Open Shell.

That’s our five tips for using the Start Menu in Windows 10. Have any favorite tips we haven’t covered here? Let us know in the comments!

Mark Lewin
Mark Lewin

Mark Lewin has been developing, teaching, and writing about software for over 16 years. His main interest is web development generally and web mapping in particular. He also has a passion for open source and Linux.

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