Microsoft finally shows off the new Windows 10 Start menu

(Image credit: Microsoft)

There have been plenty of rumors and leaks recently about Microsoft overhauling the iconic Start menu of Windows 10, and now the company has officially shown off what it’s been working on.

During the Windows Insider podcast, Microsoft announced the changes it was making to the Start menu, which has been designed to “visually differentiate the Start menu from something that’s chaotic color to something that’s more uniform.”

Essentially, it seems like Microsoft has deemed the current Windows 10 Start menu to be too busy, so it’s going for a more understated look that’s more simple to use, and will make finding apps easier.

One of the biggest changes to the Windows 10 Start menu will be to Live Tiles. These have been included with Windows 10 since the start, and are animated app icons that provide extra information depending on the app they represent. While useful on mobile device with limited screen space (such as smartphones, as Live Tiles originated in the doomed Windows Phone operating system), they made the Start menu of Windows 10 look cluttered and confusing.

Not that many apps use Live Tiles any more, which led to rumors that Microsoft was preparing to ditch them altogether.

From what Microsoft has now shown of the new Windows 10 Start menu, it seems that Live Tiles will be replaced with static icons that use Microsoft’s new Fluent Design style.

However, Microsoft was keen to point out that Live Tiles are not getting killed off (yet), and that “those that enjoy their Live Tiles will continue to be able to do so.”

Familiar looking

While Microsoft appears to be keeping Live Tiles for now, albeit in a very pared-back form, their days may still be numbered. 

According to The Verge, Microsoft hasn’t made its mind up on what to do with Live Tiles just yet, and will be keeping an eye on feedback from people using Windows 10X, the dual-screen version of Windows 10, which has a Start menu that doesn’t feature Live Tiles.

Other than that, it seems the upcoming Start menu will look quite similar to the existing one, but anything Microsoft does to make the Start menu less cluttered and easier to use is a good move in our view.

We’re not sure when the new Start menu will appear in Windows 10, but it’s probably too late for it to be included in the upcoming Windows 10 20H1 (also known as Windows 10 2004) update.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.