How to Get the Classic Start Menu in Windows 11

The sleek Windows 11 menu bar is intended to provide a more efficient user experience. However, its layout is a stark contrast to its Windows 10 counterpart. Not only is the menu located at the center of the desktop, but it also displays some software you may not use frequently. Since getting used to the Windows 11 upgrades can take some time, you need a familiar and easy-to-navigate menu.

How to Get the Classic Start Menu in Windows 11

For Windows 11 Pre-22H2 Update:

For those that have not installed the 22H2 Feature Update, you can tweak the Registry using a precompiled option within it that Microsoft included in Windows 11.

For Windows 11 After the 22H2 Feature Update:

You can no longer tweak the Registry because it does not save it for Security reasons. However, you CAN use an app called ExplorerPatcher, which has many customizable options, including choosing the old Windows 10 Start Menu and the new Windows 11 Start Menu (in case you want to return to the future).

This guide explains how to switch to the classic Windows 10 Start Menu on a Windows 11 PC. You’ll also see how to customize the Windows 11 menu so that your most frequently used apps appear first.

The New Windows 11 Start Menu

There are noticeable visual differences between the Windows 11 Start menu and the familiar Windows 10 Start menu. Your pinned programs are located at the upper part of the menu, while you can access other programs by pressing the “All Apps” icon. The menu houses your recently used programs and recommended apps in its lower end. Older Windows versions allow users to power off, restart and put their device to sleep by tapping three separate buttons. However, these options are now accessible through a single power button.

The Windows 11 Start menu boasts a high-tech, polished feel and look. It was designed to improve your PC’s functionality by allowing you to access your software more efficiently. However, this new interface is a steep learning curve. Windows users used to the Classic Start menu’s layout will need time to get used to the new features. However, because they can enable the older menu, they can discover the benefits of the Windows 11 operating system using a familiar menu interface.

Windows 11 Restore Classic Windows 10 Start Menu

To change your PC’s settings and switch to the classic menu, you’ll need to use the Registry Editor.

Note: Editing the registry won’t work if you’ve updated to the 22H2 Feature Update (build 22000.65). You’ll have to skip to the next section on adding a third-party application.

Using Windows Registry Editor (Pre-22H2)

The Windows Registry acts as a warehouse that stores the fundamental settings your PC operates on. Your software relies on these resources, and you can slightly tweak the data to change how some programs work. To enable the classic Start menu with the Windows Registry Editor:

  1. Tap the Start button and enter “regedit” into the text field.
  2. When it shows up in the search results, choose the Registry Editor option.
  3. Windows will ask you whether you want the Registry Editor to modify your PC. Tap the Yes button at the bottom of the pop-up dialog window.
  4. Paste the following into the address box and hit Enter: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced\
  5. The Registry Editor will now take you to the Advanced Folder, displaying a list of saved Windows values. Scroll to the bottom of the interface, hover the cursor over Start_ShowClassicMode, and double-click.
  6. When you see the Start_ShowClassicMode window, type 1 in the Value Data box and select OK in the bottom right of the window to save the changes.
  7. Exit the Registry Editor.
  8. To launch the classic menu, restart your PC.

Some users have reported that instead of restarting their PC, they enabled the menu by logging off and on again. Using the Task Manager and relaunching the Windows Explorer processes has also helped users switch back to the older menu. Try these methods to determine which works best on your PC.

If you don’t have time to access the Registry Editor and change your device manually, there’s another option for restoring the classic Start menu. Here’s how it works:

  1. Download the Classic Start menu Windows Registry Editor file.
  2. Move the file to your PC’s desktop.
  3. Double tap the file.
  4. Once the pop-up window appears, press Run.
  5. Another window will ask you whether you want to add more data. Tap Yes to confirm.

Your Windows 11 Start menu will now resemble its processor, although it will offer a few additional options.

Using ExplorerPatcher to Use Windows 10 Start Menu in Windows 11

Since a registry tweak is no longer feasible, as of the 22H2 update in 2022, ExplorerPatcher on GitHub became a popular solution. The app has many customizable options, plus it has pre-compiled ones for switching between Windows 10 Start Menu and Windows 11.

Several apps are available that tweak your Windows 11 Start Menu, and ExplorerPatcher is one with many customizable options. Those used to the Win 10 Taskbar and the Start Menu can enjoy bringing it back along with many tweaks you can add to suit your needs.

How to Move the Start Menu in Windows 11

If you are one of many that want to keep the Windows 11 interface but make some adjustments, you can adjust the Start Menu found at the center of the screen. Most users are accustomed to seeing the menu bar in the bottom-left part of the desktop. Moving the Start menu to its previous position will combine the look of Windows 10 with the functionality of Windows 11.

To move the Windows 11 Start Menu, do the following:

  1. Use the Windows + R command to launch the Run dialog field.
  2. Enter “ms-settings:” into the text box and tap Enter.
  3. In the Settings window, type or paste “taskbar” into the search field and choose Taskbar Settings from the available options.
  4. Select Taskbar behaviors to view the pop-down menu.
  5. Navigate to the Taskbar alignment section and press the Left option.

When you restart the PC, the Start menu will show up on the left side of the desktop.

Customizing the Start Menu in Windows 11

When you enable the classic menu, it will not look like the version you’re used to. The interface will contain the same functions, but some apps might be hidden. Luckily, you can customize the menu’s appearance and access important programs more quickly.

To do so:

  1. Go to the Windows 11 Settings.
  2. Press the Personalization tab and choose the Start option.
  3. You can view recently downloaded apps, frequently used programs, and hidden software from the new window. Choose among these three options to determine which apps will appear in the Start menu.

You can also arrange how the selected programs are presented. You can drag-and-drop programs to the desired position and create a layout that serves you best.

Switching Back to the Windows 11 Start Menu

When you understand the ins and outs of the different Windows 11 features, you might feel ready to use its built-in menu again. To revert to the Windows 11 Start menu, use the :

  1. Press the Start button and type “regedit.”
  2. Select Registry Editor from the search results.
  3. Tap Yes to allow the Registry Editor to modify your PC.
  4. Paste the following in the address box and hit Enter: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced\
  5. Navigate to Start_ShowClassicMode and double click it.
  6. In the Value Data box, type 0.
  7. Again, go to Start_ShowClassicMode and right-click.
  8. Tap Delete and reboot the PC to implement the changes.

This action triggers the Start menu’s default settings. When you power on the PC, the Start menu will be at the center of the screen.

A Menu That Meets Your Needs

Windows is constantly evolving and upgrading its technology to meet the market’s growing needs. While this makes for a better user experience, it’s also necessary to have a menu that will help you navigate a range of software. Enabling the classic Start menu on a Windows 11 device will allow you to make the most out of your PC. You won’t waste time learning how to operate the built-in menu bar. The Registry Editor will restore the Windows 11 menu when you’re ready for a change.

Do you use the Windows 11 Start menu? Is it located at the center of the desktop or on your left-hand side? Let us know in the comment section below.

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