How to Replace the Start Menu in Windows 11

Windows 11 has some interesting new features, but its UI is polarizing. If you’re like me, you want to play around with the new operating system, but don’t like its version of the Start menu because it takes much more screen real estate.  In the first preview build of Windows 11, you were able to tweak a registry setting and get back Windows 10’s Start menu, but Microsoft killed that option with the first major update.

Fortunately, with a third-party app and possibly a registry tweak, you can get a different style of Start menu that’s closer to the look and feel of Windows 7 than Windows 10 and gives you lots of options. There are a few different utilities out there but I tested with the two most popular: Open-Shell (formerly Classic Shell), a free open-source app, and Stardock’s Start10, which costs $5 and has a more polished and Windows 10-like look. Both worked, though Start10 had a bug where its Start button wouldn’t appear unless I made a change in the registry that would brand back a classic taskbar look (more on that later). 

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