Start11 is Getting a Big Update Next Week

Posted on September 30, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 11 with 42 Comments

Next week, Stardock will issue a major update to Start11 that dramatically improves this Start menu replacement on Windows 10 and 11.

“We put the first beta out quickly in order to regain some of the lost functionality from the Windows 11 Start menu,” Stardock CEO Brad Wardell said. “For this release, we’ve added several new Start menu layouts to choose from, restored context menu functionality, enabled repositioning of the taskbar, plus one of our users’ favorite features: Fences integration.”

Start11 is just $4.99. Key features include:

Start button customization. You can move the Start button to the left of the taskbar, even when the taskbar buttons are centered.

Taskbar customization. You can change the size of the taskbar and determine which side of the screen it appears on. There’s even a Task Manager option when you right-click the taskbar.

Start menu customization. You can use the Windows 10 or 11 Start menu, the latter with additional themes, go with a compact Windows 7 version, and other options.

You can learn more about Start11 from the Stardock website. The new version arrives October 7.

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Comments (42)

42 responses to “Start11 is Getting a Big Update Next Week”

  1. SvenJ

    MS should just hire these guys to do their UI for them. Hire, not buy.

    • hrlngrv

      I absolutely agree Stardock understands Windows customization better than anyone else, including (especially) MSFT itself, I have to wonder whether MSFT has any interest these days in providing Windows users with customization options. From my perspective, the most that one can expect from MSFT is continuing to include the necessary subsystems which allow 3rd parties to develop utilities to customize the Windows desktop shell.


      MSFT making Stardock a partner or, Gawd Forbid, acquiring Stardock would only eliminate functionality. Getting the best from Stardock requires keeping Stardock as independent as possible from MSFT.

    • igor engelen

      Was thinking the same thing. It's amazing how good a job they do compared with Microsoft.

    • smartin

      Ya, at Microsoft customization is adding a Dark theme. Which only took about 30 years. Another 30 years and all of the windows and dialogs might get the same theme. In the meantime, we can't change the position of the Taskbar because the guy who designed that retired.

  2. brettscoast

    Good stuff I love stardock

  3. Maverick010

    I will stick with the default Windows Start and task ar. Works well for me and I am use to it now too.


    Something tells me also that Microsoft may go to extreme lengths to enforce the new UI and security features.

    • hrlngrv

      There are good arguments for TPM and 8th gen or later Intel processors. Are there any good arguments for NOT allowing users to move the taskbar to left/top/right sides of the screen? Any good arguments for the changes in how drag-and-drop works with icons pinned on the taskbar?


      I figure MSFT wants to simplify its own development efforts by effecively outsourcing ALL customization to 3rd parties. This kind of outsourcing has happened before. Windows 3.x included a Recorder applet which recorded and could play back mouse and keyboard actions. Gone in Windows 95 and Windows NT4, but there have been 3rd party macro recorder/playback apps since the mid 1990s.

      • Maverick010

        Applications are one thing, but when you have one that modifies some of Windows files, that may prompt Microsoft to either push an update to continually break the software or lock down parts of Windows to stop that type of tampering. They have done this kind of stuff before, to protect the OS, or stop certain changes. I say part of that is due to when it causes issues, it all reflects on Microsoft and possibly their support team is the one getting the call. That is all I am saying.


        Microsoft also may not block or make changes to disrupt Start11. One can only guess, and for me I have gotten use to the new Start and Taskbar, and not missing anything that would otherwise slow me down, and one less application that takes up some resources.

        • hrlngrv

          Windows 11 ain't done till Start11 won't run?


          A blast from the pre-US v MSFT past? Certainly MSFT used to, er, tweak Windows to fubar some 3rd party software, but would it still do so these days? I suppose that can't be ruled out, and MANY 3rd party desktop shells have dropped by the wayside over the years since Windows XP's EOS.

  4. tfinch

    They had me at, "There’s even a Task Manager option when you right-click the taskbar."

  5. ebraiter

    So a sales pitch for Start11 take precedence over Office 2021 announcement? OK.

    • StevenLayton

      Posts like this don’t age very well when there is a Office 2021 post on the site. Paul clearly didn’t check with you to ask for your preference on the order of his post uploads.

  6. redstar92

    When is Stardock going to put their apps on Windows 11 store?

    • LocalPCGuy

      That's a good question. Maybe they don't want to embarrass Microsoft by selling inexpensive replacements for Windows missing features. Stardock apps work great, by the way.

  7. petteri

    Huh, interesting these guys developed for OS/2 back in the day. For that reason alone I might give this a go, not that I expect anything OS/2 related here at all. Still have fond memories of stumbling into an OS/2 machine at college back in the early 90s and making that my OS of choice for the next few years.

  8. LT1 Z51

    I used Start10 until the Windows 10 Start Menu became usable after the Anniversary update.

  9. ggolcher

    I installed Start 8 and ModernMix when Windows 8 was first released and it made Windows 8 tolerable.


    I didn't need any improvements for Windows 10.


    For Windows 11, this is an absolute must for me. The Start Menu and Taskbar are irritatingly bad.


    Thank you, Stardock. No thank you, Microsoft.

    • jg1170

      I had the same exact experiences and also the sentiments about each version. I am still on windows 8.1.1 with those two products installed, and I still love it.

  10. hrlngrv

    Consider: this proves MSFT could have included these customization options itself if it had wanted to, so this is evidence MSFT intends to make Windows more difficult to customize. Ponder the implications.


    Damn good thing there are dozens of very usable Linux distributions.

  11. taswinfan

    Is it possible microsoft wamts to attract developers and designers to add more function to windows on purpose? And relieve themselves of doing anything but the distribution of the os? I mean first it was things with Linux... Now chromium for the browser... What next... Changeable windows "launchers"? Maybe that is the plan and reason for ads and other monetization schemes in the os.

  12. polloloco51

    Microsoft really needs to bring back customization to Windows!


    XP, had the Luna and Classic Themes

    Vista, Aero Glass, Aero Basic, and Classic

    Windows 7 had the same as Vista


    Then it all went down from there! Microsoft should take cues from Stardock, especially what users want!


    It would be nice if Microsoft reintroduced, Windows 98 classic theme. Snuck it in there secretly without telling anyone.

    • hrlngrv

      I never used Vista, so I have no recollection what it may have included. However, I don't recall Windows 7 having much customization for its Start menu beyond what items appeared on the right side of it, Unlike Windows XP, Windows 7 lacked an option for a Windows 2K-like Start menu, which was one of the reasons Classic Shell (now Open Shell) came to be.

  13. clowg

    Is it seriously right that you can't move the Taskbar from the bottom position to left/right/top of screen in W11????!!!!???? WTF!

    • StevenLayton

      Deep breaths man, deep breaths.

    • christophercollins

      Yes, it is terrifying. I'm so scared of what will happen. Oh my.


      Stop being a baby and move forward with tech. Don't like it? Win10 has years of support left.

      • navarac

        A very rude and patronising comment, mate.


        W11 is change for change's sake and to fill coffers of PC makers, including MSFT. Nothing else.

      • bettyblue

        Baby? Move forward?


        Great response! More like move backward.

      • Ron Diaz

        Lol, this is the same stupid comment we all heard about Windows 8….

      • Greg Green

        Ridicule, insult, condescend. Nice approach.

      • compuser

        Two questions. One, how is removing UI customizations that don't affect anything outside of the system being customized "moving forward"? 2. Why are so many people who think they are tech savy so arrogant?

      • philly30

        Windows11 is a step back not forward

      • hrlngrv

        Don't like it, use 3rd party utilities to get the desktop you want.


        Credit to MSFT that they make it relatively easy for 3rd party developers to create such alternatives to MSFT own desktop UI components. What's disappointing is that so few Windows users take advantage of such 3rd party tools which would make their subjective Windows usage better.

        • aretzios

          I have been using Startdock's Start10 (and now Start11 beta) since the original release of Win10. They are absolutely solid and Stardock is maintaining very well. The reason that many users have not discovered them is that it is not easy to discover. I am also certain that in many corporations, they are not allowed.


          In any case, they are excellent additions for those who want to customize their Win experience.

        • wright_is

          Except business users usually can't. The company defines what software can be installed and the installation of personal software is:

          1. usually forbidden
          2. usually blocked by group policies, AV software and the user not having admin access to the PC

          That means that users can't just add 3rd party software, they will have to apply for it to be purchased, it will need approval etc.


          I know several of our users, who have the taskbar on the side to safe room in the vertical, because of widescreen monitors having limited height, but more than enough width.

          • hrlngrv

            I understand the restrictions in enterprise environments. However, the enterprise for which I work includes 7zip and Notepad++ in the standard image, and GNU R as an option for those who produce a lot of statistical analyses. Haven't convinced IT to shell out for RStudio yet. Point is, IT is comfortable with FOSS. No reason that couldn't include Open Shell.

          • bettyblue

            I know at my company, we will NOT be moving to Windows 11 until probably late 2024 if not longer.

  14. fuller1754

    Did I read this right that for $4.99, Start11 it will also include Fences? I hope Fences is getting a UI update to match the overall W11 look.

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