How To Change, Customize The Windows 11 Start Menu Layout

How To Change The Windows 11 Start Menu LayoutHow To Change The Windows 11 Start Menu Layout

When Windows 11 was first launched in 2021, it was not welcomed by many. If the computers met the notorious system requirements, many did not update to it and remained with their older Windows versions, like Windows 10 and Windows 7.

Apart from the modern user interface (UI), the curved edges, and many new features and support, certain elements were not adopted by many Windows users, such as the centered, redesigned Start menu. For many, the new Start menu was the deal-breaker when considering upgrading to Windows 11, as it seemed cramped and almost useless.

In a Reddit post, a user even mentioned that they like everything about Windows 11, except its Start menu. There are a plethora of similar concerns all over the internet. So what can be done to fix it, without having to revert to an older operating system?

The solution lies in using alternative styles of the Start menu. This way, you can remain on Windows 11 while taking advantage of the older and familiar Start menu layout, where everything will be just as you want it.

Several third-party applications change the layout of the Start menu on Windows 11 to an older version, like it was on Windows 10, and Windows 7, or even offer other customization options. In this post, you will learn about different third-party apps that will allow you to personalize the Start menu on a Windows 11 PC.

Start11

Start11
Start11

Start11 is an application by Stardock that allows you to customize different aspects of the Windows 11 OS, including the Start menu, the taskbar, the search box, and also how the different clicks behave. It is a paid application priced at $5.99 but gives a free 30-day trial period. So you can check it out well before making a purchase decision.

With Start11, you can not only change the position of the Start menu button in the taskbar but also change its UI. For example, you can set it to look and feel as it was in Windows 7, or Windows 10. Other than that, it also offers other Start menu templates that you may like.

Start menu templatesUI un Start11
Start menu templates/UI un Start11

Once you have selected a design, you can customize the elements that appear inside that new Start menu UI. Additionally, some templates even offer sub-templates, so you can make further customizations to the Start menus look.

Moreover, Start11 offers to give the Windows 11 taskbar , which has been criticized for its shortcomings and lack of adaptability, the support it needs to optimize it again. You may change the taskbar’s size, position it on a primary and secondary monitor, change its color and transparency, and determine whether or not to combine the taskbar’s buttons.

StartAllBack

StartAllBack
StartAllBack

StartAllBack is another tool that lets you customize your Start menu, as well as other Windows elements, such as the taskbar, its layout, the icon behavior, etc.

Priced at $4.99, StartAllBack is a strictly Windows 7-themed customizer. As soon as you install it, you will notice that the taskbar shifts to the left, and the Start menu changes to the Windows 7 theme. However, you can right-click the Start menu, click Properties, and customize the Start menu (and other) settings from the StartAllBack settings window.

Customize the Start menu with StartAllBack
Customize the Start menu with StartAllBack

As you can see from the image above, StartAllBack does not offer as many controls for the Start menu as Start11. However, for simpler software, it does let you convert your existing Windows 11 Start menu into the legacy and popular Start menu of Windows 7.

That said, although the taskbar shifts to the left, you can still choose its interface, and whether it looks as it does in Windows 11, Windows 10, or Windows 7. These settings go by the name “Proper 11,” “Kinda 10,” and “Remastered 7,” respectively.

Choose the type of taskbar UI with StartAllBack
Choose the type of taskbar UI with StartAllBack

Open Shell Menu

Open Shell Menu
Open Shell Menu

Open Shell Menu is another third-party app that changes the UI of the Start menu. However, unlike the other two tools we have discussed, this is a free utility and does not require a payment. That said, Open Shell Menu only provides a Start menu UI similar to that of Windows 7, and not Windows 10. However, it does offer various customizations from the legacy Windows 7 UI.

Once installed, the Start menu layout will immediately change. You can then modify the default Windows 7 Start menu by opening the “Open-Shell Menu Settings” app, by searching for it in the Start menu. From there, choose either the “Classic style,” the “Classic with two columns,” or the “Windows 7 style.”

Additionally, you can also change the Start menu button and bring it to an older version of Windows with the Open Shell Menu. Note that the software still needs some tweaking, so all the Start menu buttons may not fit perfectly in the taskbar and could have errors. For example, the legacy start menu button is bigger, and therefore, it overlaps the adjacent icon.

Choose the STart menu style and button with Open Shell Menu
Choose the Start menu style and button with Open Shell Menu

Start Menu X

Start Menu X
Start Menu X

Start Menu X comes at the bottom of my list since, even though it is a great option to customize the boring Windows 11 Start menu, the navigation across the new Start menu is a bit complicated. As you can observe from the image above, the icons are too small and everything seems cramped up into a tiny window.

That said, some users may find this extremely helpful, especially those who quickly need to access a plethora of different software. Start Menu X can accommodate many icons into a tiny space, and you can open your apps and programs at the click of a button.

Start Menu X does not provide a settings menu, and therefore, its UI is not customizable. However, you can click Options and manage certain Start menu settings, like changing its button in the taskbar, deciding which buttons to show in the bottom bar, etc.

Manage Start menu customization with Start Menu X
Manage Start menu customization with Start Menu X

Ending thoughts

Windows 11 may be liked by many, but it still is disliked by some. For those users, there are a ton of customization options using which you can fix whatever is bothering you, and still keep using the latest, supported Windows operating system with the latest features and security updates.

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Subhan Zafar is an established IT professional with interests in Windows and Server infrastructure testing and research, and is currently working with Itechtics as a research consultant. He has studied Electrical Engineering and is also certified by Huawei (HCNA & HCNP Routing and Switching).

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