what about the older start menu is so wildly different from what we have now?


Jacked this from Paul’s Twitter. Why do people want this design back? It’s not that different from what we have now. Am I missing something?

Comments (35)

35 responses to “what about the older start menu is so wildly different from what we have now?”

  1. Daekar

    It's really not that different. I've never understood what the big deal was.

    Honestly, I think the current Windows 10 Start Menu is structurally very like Android handles things - you have a customizable space (home screen) and then you've got the app drawer with everything plus the kitchen sink. In Windows 10, the Start Menu with tiles is like the home screen, and the all apps section is the app drawer. It works just as well in both contexts.

    I think this is really a case of "thing different, no like" more than "thing objectively bad."

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to Daekar:

      Objectivity has nothing to do with this. It's subjective preference, like what one wants on one's pizza. If I can get pepperoni, why should I care whether someone else gets banana and jalapeno?

      • Daekar

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        That's not true, really. Sometimes UI design is just plain bad. It can be inefficient, undiscoverable, unintuitive and illogical, etc. The modern Start Menu has been accused of being all of these things.

  2. jean

    the issue/problem/difference (whatever you may call it) that usually comes up with my customers is the fact that you only have 2 levels in "Start Menu Programs".

    then there is the biggest issue: (programmatically / dynamically) managing the Tiles in a managed desktop environment - tons of bugs, unexpected behavior and fundamental changes related to where and how that information is being stored

    personally I use the Start Menu in the following order:

    a) Apps/Programs I use most -> "Taskbar"

    b) Apps/Programs/Folders I use regularly -> "Start Tiles"

    c) all the remaining stuff is listed in "Start Menu Programs"

    Update: I do mostly work with Documents with whatever content - hence I am "launching" the application by double-clicking the document

  3. earlster

    I'm probably the outlier here. While I don't care to much about live tiles, short of the weather and news app, I love being able to group tiles and have them heavily organized by 'Work', 'Play', 'Create' and 'Explore' groups. I have a good amount of folder shortcuts that I need and I love being able to right click on the RemoteDesktop tile and go straight to the machine I want to log in, same for my VisualStudio tile and solutions to open.

    My Win 10 start menu is rather large, when opened it takes about 2/3 of my main monitor.

    And I can't stand an unorganized mess of shortcuts on my desktop.

    • jimchamplin

      In reply to earlster:

      Totally with you. But if they gave me the option to organize icons instead of tiles on Start, at this point, I might do it.

      • earlster

        In reply to jimchamplin:

        Icons vs. tiles is not that much of a difference, to me that's mostly a difference in looks. The one functional difference is that tiles can be resized and I do use that to group and prioritize them. E.g. my office tiles are 4 small tiles for excel, word, powerpoint and access (and I barely use them, I usually use search for those

  4. wright_is

    I pin the most used apps to the Taskbar, I have removed all tiles from the start menu and shrunk it down to a single column.

    That said, I probably actually "look for" a program in the menu once or twice a month; generally I press the Windows key and start typing the application name and press Enter.

  5. justme

    This is, of course, a very subjective question. Why do people like AC/DC over Van Halen? But to answer it - why should I be forced to accept a launcher I dislike to the point of contempt? Why did it have to change? Why couldn't Microsoft have given me the option of going back to a Windows7 style start menu vice having to have a third party program to do it?

    For me, its about organization. I am one of those that use the start menu a lot. My desktop is my workspace, so there are no shortcuts there. I find it too disorganized if there are. I have very little on my Taskbar - browser, fileview, store.  That's it.  Even my email client is on my start menu. Live tiles can eff right the h3ll off as far as I am concerned. The shortcuts in my start menu are generally grouped in folders, meaning I don't have to scroll a half mile just to find what I want.

  6. lwetzel

    The beauty of the Start menu, Taskbar, in my opinion is that they are configurable. Most of the comments here prove that it is a good thing as everyone has their own way of working and likes and dislikes. It is great that even Stardock's Start10 can be used to make it usable the way you like it. Paul (or maybe someone else) recently introduced FalconX for the Taskbar which allows Paul to get the Taskbar just as he wants it. That is one reason I am fond of Windows.

    • earlster

      In reply to lwetzel:

      Agreed, customization is what makes Windows in general so great, we can all make it look and feel the way we want to (mostly), unlike iOS ;)

      However, I put a decent amount of effort into customizing my start menu and every time I reset my machine, or get a new one it's all lost and needs to be redone. MS has to figure out how to sync the start menu and task bar customization to the MS account if they really want more adoption

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to earlster:

        every time I reset my machine, or get a new one it's all lost and needs to be redone

        Thus Linux's advantage when putting /home on a different partition from /.

        Part of the problem with Windows configuration is the registry. FWIW, it's possible to store lots of customizations in .REG files then apply those .REG files on reset/new machines. FWLIW, I have one to make the console run an initialization script every time it starts; I want/need a different %PATH% for commandline and GUI.

  7. jimchamplin

    I'd like to add one thing... Just because Microsoft developed a new Start experience for 10X - and that it's absolutely likely that 20H2 will have this menu - that they're going to discontinue the tiles. The tiles are supported by the modern app model, and aren't really something you can just "take out" from what I understand.

    Pretty likely that you'll be able to choose the new icon-based Start or the now-classic tile-based version. So far, the prereleases add it as another option beneath the list view on the lefthand sidebar. Until we see the final design let's not worry.

    Go on loving your tiles if you love your tiles! :)

    • wright_is

      In reply to jimchamplin:

      I have removed all the tiles on my machine and just have a "normal" looking start menu.

      It is also something I do to "panicy" users upgrading from Windows 7, when I set up their machines, the first thing I do is remove all the tiles and let them get used to using Windows 10's menu. If they want tiles, they can add them themselves.

      Very few normal users complain about the tiles. Most don't use them anyway - we don't have any Windows Store apps on the machines, only Office, ERP software, AutoCAD, ePlan and the like. So interactive tiles are non-existent anyway.

  8. jules_wombat

    So what launcher 10 configuration is that - with the menu and search bar elevated from the Task Bar ?

    Looks pretty cool to me if that is what MS is bringing to us in the next Windows 10 update.

  9. martinusv2

    I see you are using Star10 Paul :)

    I use the Modern style. It mimic a bit like the start screen from a phone. All it needs is badges on the icons :)

  10. yaddamaster

    I generally resist complaining about Windows 10 as I think it's the best OS Microsoft has made. But the Start menu has always been a mess. It's gotten to the point where I frankly don't use it anymore and just use the command line to launch everything I need.

    Windows XP7 were limited but it was simple to customize what I wanted everything to look like. If I remember correctly all I had to do was create a simple folder structure and that's what my start menu looked like.

    Now it's a ridiculous patchwork of xml config files in different app and user profile folders. Or I have to try and organize everything by dragging them around.

    That type of tediousness I just don't have patience for anymore.

  11. wunderbar

    I don't use the live tiles on the Win 10 start menu on my desktop, and the collapsed start menu without live tiles is everything I need. honestly I rarely even use the start menu anyway as I just start search everything, or it's pinned to my taskbar.

    on my surface go I do use live tiles because in tablet mode that's the best way to launch apps.

  12. hrlngrv

    Subjective preference. Is there any objective reason some people like chocolate and others don't?

    Me, I use Classic Shell and configure it to look like Windows 2K's Start menu plus a search box. Why? No particularly good reason other than I'm used to an old-style hierarchical organization. For me, Windows 8 and forward single-level grouping is going back to everything that was wrong with Program Manager in Windows 3.x. FWLIW, I used Norton Desktop back in the early 1990s in order to have groups within groups and toolboxes (similar to pop-outs in the taskbar). IOW, I really hated Windows 3.x's Program Manager, and Windows 8 and subsequent launchers are a return to what I hated.

    I accept my views are purely subjective, but is there ANY good reason I should meekly accept a launcher I hate?

    ADDED: The old Start menus made it easier to right-click on Start menu entries and add keyboard shortcuts to launch them. Keyboard shortcuts are the fastest way to launch programs. My 20-odd most used programs each have a keyboard shortcut. Good thing I don't use EMACS.

  13. ErichK

    Do we have telemetry on how many people use the Start menu vs. simply plastering icons all over their desktop?

    • miamimauler

      In reply to ErichK:

      This is from a Zac Bowden article on WC.

      "I've seen internal documentation from Microsoft that suggests people aren't really opening the Start menu to look at or customize live tiles. Users prefer pinning everything to the taskbar"

      It helps to explain why the tiles have been removed from the Neo. It also help to explain why the Store appears to be struggling.

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to miamimauler:

        This was always the cognitive disconnect between Windows phones and Windows PCs. Everyone glances at their phones frequently during the day. Damn few have most of their PC desktop visible for more than a few minutes a day. Live tiles were simply not going to provide much benefit on PCs.

        Cynical me, I'll continue to believe the ONLY reason there were live tiles on PCs was to force PC users to get used to the Windows Phone UI. It wasn't to give PC users any appreciable additional functionality. Besides, if live tiles were so great, why was there never a tool to make one's own live tiles tied to RSS feeds or other web services?

      • navarac

        In reply to miamimauler:

        Call me what you will, but I still use the Quick Launch Taskbar. Much tighter and tidier than the Taskbar. Again, personal preference.

        • miamimauler

          In reply to navarac:

          "Call me what you will"

          Why would I call you anything derogatory? I don't take your OS preferences personally mate.

          I have simply posted a possible explanation why MS is in the process of discontinuing tiles.

        • hrlngrv

          In reply to navarac:

          I also use the Quick Launch toolbar, but for things I need a few times a month but not every day, e.g., CharMap, Paint, some documentation files (mostly VBScript and Windows Script Host).

      • justme

        In reply to miamimauler:

        One of the justifications Microsoft later gave for removing the Start Menu from Windows 8 was that they had telemetry that people weren't using it. And then the world screamed when they took it away, to the point they put it back. Which way is right? <shrug> Who's to say?

      • Daekar

        In reply to miamimauler:

        This is evidence that people are idiots, not that the Start Menu is bad. The taskbar is tiny, and also serves as a location to show the open applications and windows. It gets filled up and cluttered easily, and isn't really organizable except in one direction.

        The Start Menu is big, as big as your screen if you want it that way (I do) and can be configured just how you want it, with buttons ranging from tiny taskbar-sized up to crazy huge based on your needs. It makes zero sense to shove everything onto the task bar unless you don't use that many apps at all, in which case yeah... your needs are minimal so the discussion doesn't even really apply to you - practically any solution would work if you only need a few buttons.

  14. Tony Barrett

    Unless MS have radically overhauled the start menu again, and taken a step backwards in time, that is literally the start menu from Win7 - lock, stock.

    Sorry, I take it back, that is Stardock's Start10 menu replacement, with the Win7 skin and translucency enabled.