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Microsoft is messing around with Windows 11’s Start menu again (but for a good reason)

Windows 11 Start menu
(Image credit: TechRadar)

The redesigned Start menu in Windows 11 has been one of the most controversial changes coming to the new operating system, but Microsoft isn’t done tweaking it.

The latest insider build of Windows 11, which can be installed by people who have signed up to help test out the operating system before its launch on October 5, makes a small – but useful – tweak to the Start menu, by adding ‘Sign-in options’ above the power options.

Being able to quickly change how you sign into Windows 11 is certainly helpful, so we’re glad to see Microsoft experimenting with easier access.

Even if you’re testing out Windows 11, you may not see this change just yet as the new build, 22458, is currently only out for people on the Dev Channel. This is for people testing very early versions of Windows 11, mainly to see if their apps are compatible. Most people will probably be using the beta channel instead, which offers older, but more stable, Windows 11 preview builds. If this change proves successful then it may be a few weeks before we see it in the beta channel.

Other changes

As Windows Central reports, this new build includes several bug fixes as well, including a fixing a Start menu bug that affected its performance. Here’s the full list of fixes from Microsoft’s changelog:

  • Fixed an underlying issue that was impacting Start reliability.
  • Folders with # in folder name can now be added to indexing.
  • Addressed an issue that was causing Settings to crash sometimes when trying to open the Display page.
  • Clicking “More about refresh rate” in Advanced Display Settings now opens the support page it’s supposed to.
  • Fixed an issue where the Location page in Settings wasn’t showing warning text explaining why the location services setting was greyed out if it was greyed out.
  • Changes made to preferences under Manage App Execution Alias in Settings should now be preserved.
  • Fixed a couple of typos in the output of dll (Issue #206).
  • Mitigated an issue that could make certain games unexpectedly crash when using ALT + Enter (i.e., switch between full screen and windowed) during with Auto HDR enabled.
  • Addressed an issue that was causing text truncation in the Encrypting File System window in certain cases.
  • Fixed a rare scenario that could result in an uninstalled in-box app unexpectedly reappearing after reboot.
  • Appx commandlets should now work with PowerShell 7.0+ printui.dll

This build also includes a new Tips app, which Microsoft says comes with over 100 tips “to help you get started on Windows 11 and learn new things—discover keyboard shortcuts, find ways to optimize your PC, dive into productivity tips for Office, power up your gaming on Windows, and much more.”

While this new app could help people get used to Windows 11, there’s also concern that it could mean Windows 11 also gets more annoying pop-ups. Let’s hope that’s not the case.


Analysis: Room for improvement

As we mentioned, Microsoft’s tweaks to Windows 11’s Start menu have provided to be rather controversial. Moving it to the center of the screen has frustrated a lot of people, who are used to it being I the far-left of the taskbar. Pinning and moving apps have also been restricted.

As Microsoft found out with Windows 8, where it dropped the Start menu altogether, a lot of Windows users care deeply about the Start menu. As the name suggests, for many people it’s the first thing they use when on their PC, so any changes have to be carefully thought about. After all, after the backlash Windows 8 got, the Start menu was back in Windows 10.

Part of the reason why Microsoft has made Windows 11 available early to insiders is to get feedback, and if the concerns about the Windows 11 Start menu are numerous enough, it could lead to Microsoft rethinking its plans.

This latest tweak also shows that Microsoft isn’t finished with the Start menu, and is trying out new things, even with the final release of Windows 11 coming in a few weeks. This is good news, as it shows the company is happy to keep working on the Start menu, and will hopefully find a way to make it appeal to as many users as possible.

Matt Hanson

Senior Computing editor

Matt (Twitter) is TechRadar's Senior Computing editor. 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. If you're encountering a problem or need some advice with your PC or Mac, drop him a line on Twitter.