Windows 10 Start menus: Start10 vs. Classic Shell

The best Windows 8 Start menu replacements bring their Win7-inspired magic to Windows 10. Which should you choose?

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What’s wrong with Windows 10 Start?

Many users will have no problems at all with Windows 10’s Start menu, shown in Figure 1.

Windows 10 Start menu

Figure 1. The Windows 10 Start menu in a fresh install.

What’s not to like?

First, the live tiles on the right look a lot like advertising (in many cases, they are), and their movement is distracting. You can unpin all of the tiles (right-click), but when you do, you’re left with an ugly black strip that can’t be removed. The Win10 Start menu can be resized, but only in fixed-size blocks.

Windows 10 Start menu

Figure 2. The All Apps list keeps going and going and going.

Second, there is a woeful lack of customization. You can create tiles for programs or folders among the tiles on the right (right-click and choose Pin to Start), but changes on the left side are limited to a list of items that can be added to the bottom of the menu: Start, Settings, Personalization, Start, Choose which folders appear on Start. What you see here is basically what you get.

Finally, the All Apps list on the left is an unmanageable one-dimensional mess, as you can see from the shot of Office 2013, as installed on a bone-stock copy of Windows 10 (Figure 2). You can’t move the entries or slide them underneath other header entries. You can’t even delete them without deleting the app itself.

While Windows 10 has a phone book view of the All Apps list, with tiles for each letter of the alphabet, the fundamental lack of a hierarchy makes the whole thing unwieldy. Heaven help you if you forget that Paint is listed under "W" for "Windows Accessory."

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