Microsoft Windows 11

The Expected Start menu customization features in Windows 11

The taskbar in Windows 11 is a huge step back in terms of usability when compared to Windows 10, but Microsoft is slowly improving it. On secondary or more monitors, a new update that is presently being tested by Windows Insiders restores the clock and date to the taskbar. It’s a welcome development for multi-monitor users, who previously had to rely on third-party apps such as ElevenClock to gain this fundamental feature in Windows 11.

I’ve been vocal about my dissatisfaction with the taskbar changes in Windows 11. I despise the new taskbar, so I’m glad Microsoft has made this first change. There’s still a lot to be improved, and we’re hoping to see the ability to drag and drop files into taskbar apps, as well as more general customization choices.

When you upgrade to Windows 11, you’ll notice two key differences right away. First, rather than being left-aligned, the Start menu is now center-aligned. The second and most visible difference is that the Windows 11 operating system has completely removed the Live Tiles from the Windows 8 era.

A mobile launcher-like interface has taken the place of the gleaming live tiles. Apps and recommendations have been added to the Start menu. The apps are displayed in a list, and the menu cannot be changed in any way. You may just reorganize the apps and unpin them for the time being.

Microsoft, thankfully, is aware of the limitations of the Start Menu and is working on customizing possibilities. The new Build 22509 customization choices will allow users to display more apps or recommendations in the Start menu, and these improvements will be included in the next major update, which will arrive in the fall of 2022.

In addition, Microsoft is improving the Start menu in Windows 11 in several ways. In the current 22509 Insider release, you can customize the Start menu to show additional pins or recommendations instead. This gives the Start menu a bit more flexibility, however many Windows 11 users are still using third-party apps.

As part of Microsoft’s ongoing push to incorporate more Control Panel options in the main Settings app, this latest Windows 11 release offers more changes to the Settings app. “We’ve relocated advanced sharing settings (including Network discovery, File and printer sharing, and public folder sharing) to a new page in the Settings app called Advanced Network Settings,” says Amanda Langowski, Microsoft’s Windows Insider program manager.

To open the Settings app, simply right-click anywhere on the Start menu and select the settings option.

Microsoft has provided new choices to customize the default layout, as shown in the screenshot above. Within the menu, you can now have more pins or recommendations.

According to the feedback on Feedback Hub, many users aren’t fond of the new “recommendations” because it can leave an empty space on the Start menu.

It also has the ability to duplicate items that are already pinned to the Start Menu. Simply select the “additional pins” option in Settings if you only want to use the app pins.

If you’d rather have recommendations than pinned apps, simply choose the third option to get more suggestions. If you change a lot of papers and want to see the activity on the Start menu, this may be useful.

Microsoft has also repaired issues with the Start menu, in addition to the customization features. When the system scaling is set to 125 percent, for example, a bug has been corrected that causes the Start, Search, Task View, Widgets, and Chat icons to seem huge.

Another fault was that selecting the “app settings” option in the Start menu would open the wrong settings window. The shortcut to open ms-settings:app features has been altered by Microsoft. Previously, clicking the same link would bring up a list of installed programs.

Microsoft is also working on taskbar enhancements, but drag-and-drop functionality and the option to expand the Start menu remain unavailable.