The Start menu was introduced in Windows 95 and it worked perfectly well for almost 20 years. Then for no reason, no good reason that is, Microsoft decided to remove it in Windows 8. There was such an outcry that Microsoft put it back into Windows 10.
However, this new Start menu is completely different to the old one that everyone was familiar with and loved. It works in a different way and it has different features. Some of them are obvious, but others are not, so let’s take a look at what it can do.
This guide is not about tiles, but about the left side of the Start menu, which is the part that most resembles the Start menu we loved in previous versions of WIndows.
1 File Explorer jump list
Click Start and then left click the arrow to the right of File Explorer or right click File Explorer itself. A menu appears that is the same as the jump list when the File Explorer icon on the taskbar is right clicked.
Where does that menu come from? It is the list of items in the Quick access list in the top left corner of Explorer windows. Any item you add to Quick access is added to the this File Explorer menu on Start.
On the More submenu are other useful items from Explorer, such as Manage, Map network drive, and Disconnect network drive. If you use these functions you can go straight to them.
2 Most used list
Near the top of the Start menu is the Most used section, which is exactly what it says. A short list of the most used apps and programs on your PC. Click the arrow on the right or right click any program in the list for a menu.
It varies with the application and it might show a list of recently opened files. In the case of Paint shown here, it has a list of recently edited images.
The More menu has useful options such as Pin to taskbar. If you have pinned a program on the taskbar then there is no reason to have it duplicated here, so you could select Don’t show in this list. That will then leave room for a different program to be displayed.
Some programs need to be run as an administrator (even if you are logged in with an administrator account). The option is on the More menu.
3 Power options
Click Start, Power and there are options to Sleep, Shut down, and Restart. If you hold down the Shift key as you click Restart, Windows does not boot. Instead it presents a series of troubleshooting options that enable you to start in safe mode, refresh Windows to fix problems, and more. If Windows is messed up really badly and it cannot boot the the desktop, you can Shift+Restart on the login screen too.
4 Account options
Click your name at the top of the Start menu and a menu is displayed. You can lock the computer, which goes to the lock screen and requires your account password to unlock it. That is useful if you are stepping away from your computer because it keeps all your windows open and programs running, but all people see is the lock screen with the prompt to log in.
Sign out closes any running programs before going to the lock screen. Any other accounts on the computer are listed at the bottom and you can switch to another user without closing any programs or windows.
5 All apps
Click Start, All apps and a complete list of all the software installed on the computer is listed in alphabetical order. If the list is long and a program you want starts with W for example, you have to do a lot of scrolling to get down to the bottom of the list.
There is a quicker way and by clicking 0-9, A, B, C and so on, a grid of letters is displayed. Click any letter to jump to that part of the All apps menu. It is a quick way to get to the items near the bottom.
6 Useful options
Right click an item on the Start, App apps menu and menu options enable it to be pinned to the Start menu as a tile, pinned to the taskbar as an icon, or run as administrator. This last item is useful with things like Command Prompt.
7 Uninstall apps
If an app can be uninstalled, and some cannot, such as system apps, then there is an Uninstall menu option. Right click an app and uninstall it if you do not want it.
The Windows 10 Start menu is very different to Windows 7, but as you can see, it has some useful features.