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Hate the Windows 11 Start menu? There’s already an app to change it

Start11 app running on Windows 11 desktop
(Image credit: Stardock)

Windows 11 has made sure users can’t switch away from the new centrally-aligned Start menu – recently blocking a workaround which did just that – but there’s already a third-party app out for the beta of Microsoft’s OS for those who want to change this part of the interface.

Start11 is in itself still in beta, but is now available for those testing Windows 11, and it allows users to ditch the current Launcher-style Start menu. You can switch back to either a ‘modern’ take similar to Windows 10 (aligned to the left, not the center), or indeed you can travel back in time to a Windows 7 effort – whichever best floats your UI boat.

The initial beta of Start11 can be grabbed right now for $5. As Windows Central reports, Brad Wardell, Stardock’s CEO, observed: “This first beta is designed to regain some of the lost functionality in the current Windows 11 Start menu. We have a lot of exciting new features planned to make the Start menu not just more accessible, but also more useful to companies and power users.”

That includes bringing in “ideas such as the concept of pages [and] tabs” as well as keeping things nicely minimalistic.

Analysis: Let’s not forget what betas are about, though

If you really can’t stand the new design of the Start menu, then this is a route away from that pain (for a small fee). More choice around the type of Start menu you might want is always a good thing, and hopefully when Windows 11 is actually released, there’ll be an option to switch back to the Windows 10 menu (or something close to that layout, anyway, even if elements like Live Tiles are still killed off).

It makes sense for Microsoft to give users that choice, and the only reason it’s not available in the beta of Windows 11 could well be because the software giant needs people to actually test the new way of working. After all, if the majority of folks running Windows 11 preview builds switched away from the new Start menu, then with many fewer testers using it, problems would be much less likely to be discovered.

Remember, the beta is all about testing and making sure Windows 11 works well and runs smoothly, so it’s understandable that Microsoft would want people using the revamped Start menu (and providing feedback on the reasons why they dislike it, if that’s the case – testing goes beyond bug squashing, of course).

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).