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How to replace the Windows 11 Start menu with a third party app?

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The Windows 11 Start Menu put off many of them, with its clunky layout and lack of customization options. Instead of strengthening and improving the previous Windows 7 and Windows 10 menus, Microsoft has opted for a backward redesign that discourages many users.

If you hate the new Windows 11 Start Menu as much as I do and want something more usable and customizable, here’s how to replace it.

Several third-party apps can replace the Windows 11 Start Menu with a more familiar look and a variety of ways to customize it. The program I use on my Windows 11 machines is Start11. But there are other utilities worth checking out, including StartAllBack and Open-Shell Menu. So here’s how to get the Windows 11 Start Menu you deserve.

Start 11

Start11 is a start menu customization application of Windows 10 and 11. Thanks to it, you can position the menu and taskbar as you wish, change the color and icons, etc.

  • Release date : 16/05/2022
  • Author: Stardock
  • License : Demonstration
  • Categories:
    Utility
  • Operating system : Windows 10/11

Priced at $ 7.99 for a single license, this software lets you choose from four different Start Menu layouts. Both the Windows 7 and Modern styles feature the traditional two-column view, with all your favorite apps or apps on the left and links to different Windows features and locations on the right. Windows 10 style uses the familiar combination of menu and side-by-side screen. There is also a Windows 11 style, but it offers more functionality and flexibility than the built-in menu. I’ve always liked the two-column view, that’s why I use the menu in a modern style:

Start 11 Start menu choices

Whichever menu you choose, you can change its appearance, layout and design. You can opt for a regular menu that uses the full width or a more compact design that cuts down on some elements. In addition, you can configure the list of all applications, add and remove shortcuts, adjust the color and appearance, and determine when and how the Start menu 11 is activated:

Launch 11 configuration options

Start 11 also provides much-needed support for the Windows 11 taskbar, which itself has been criticized for its limitations and lack of flexibility. You can change the color and transparency of the taskbar, adjust its size, choose where it should appear on a primary and secondary monitor, and decide if and when to combine the taskbar buttons:

Launch 11 taskbar options

Another benefit: you can rename, move and delete folders and shortcuts right from the Start menu, just like Windows let you do a long time ago. Whether you use Start 11 as it is or dive into its many customizations, you’ll find it an easy-to-use and effective alternative to the regular Windows 11 Start menu:

Start 11 Boot Menu

StartAllBack

Owner of the new Windows 11 operating system, StartAllBack gives you the familiar interface, Start menu and left-aligned taskbar of Windows 7 or Windows 10.

  • Release date : 06/12/2022
  • Author: StartCom
  • License : Demonstration
  • Categories:
    Personalization
  • Operating system : Windows 11

Priced at $ 4.99 for a license, StartAllBack is a simpler but perfectly acceptable Start menu replacement. Immediately, the program asks you which theme you want to use for the menu, giving you three choices: despite their names, all three follow the traditional two-column layout, with program shortcuts on the left and windows on the right. The differences between them are quite aesthetic and depend on your preference for rounded or square corners, for example (Figure 5).

StartAllBack Start menu choices

StarAllBack

After choosing your preferred theme, go to the Start Menu section of the program to change the style, appearance and functionality of the menu. You can control the size of the menu icons, choose to show modern apps in their own folder, choose to highlight recently installed programs, and configure the shortcuts on the right side as menus or shortcuts (Figure 6).

StartAllBack configuration options

StartAllBack

Like Start 11, StartAllBack has the power to beautify the taskbar. You can choose a custom image for the Start button, select a visual style for the taskbar, and determine how to combine the taskbar buttons. Even better, you can position the taskbar top, bottom, left or right – a feature that Microsoft offered in Windows 10 but disappeared in Windows 11 (Picture 7).

StartAllBack taskbar options

StartAllBack

StartAllBack also leverages File Explorer, allowing you to choose between the ribbon interface or the command bar, enable the classic search box, and restore the classic Windows 10 context menus. If you want a simple but competent replacement from the Start menu, StartAllBack is a good choice (Image 8).

StartAllBack Start menu

Open the Shell menu

Open the Shell menu

While not designed specifically for Windows 11, Open Shell Menu is a free Start Menu replacement that works in the new operating system but requires some tweaking. After downloading and installing the program from its GitHub page, you will need to activate a new Start button to access the menu. To do this, click on the normal Windows 11 Start button, go to All apps, select the Open-Shell folder and click on the link to the Open-Shell menu settings.

Change the interface of Windows 8, Vista or Windows 7

  • Download: 2
  • Release date : 05/27/2022
  • Author: Open shell – Ivo Belchev
  • License : Free software
  • Categories:
    Personalization
  • Operating system : windows

On the Settings screen, choose the Start menu layout you prefer: classic one-column style, classic two-column style, or Windows 7 two-column style. Then check the Replace Start button box and select one of the built-in images (Image 9).

Open-Shell Menu Start menu choices

Open the Shell menu

The settings screen allows you to change many other options. You can determine how to activate the Open-Shell start menu, show recent or frequently used programs, choose the behavior of the Stop button, and choose to show the search box. Then you can change the skin options to set the font and icon sizes. A section dedicated to the taskbar allows you to adjust the size, color and opacity of the latter. Finally, you can choose which functions you want to appear in the Start menu and whether they appear as shortcuts or menus (Image 10).

Open-Shell menu configuration options

Open the Shell menu

To learn more about the program, check the Show all settings box and review the additional options. If not, click the Start button to see the results. While not as refined as Start 11 or StartAllBack, the Open-Shell menu is worth considering, especially if you’re looking for a free Start menu replacement (Image 11).

Open-Shell Menu Start Menu

Source: “ZDNet.com”

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