Changes to the Start Menu have been the most noticeable and controversial feature of Microsoft’s new Windows 11 operating system. But in the early builds of Windows 11, retrieving the old Windows 10 Start Menu was always just a few clicks in Settings away. According to the changes made in the latest version of Windows 11, however, that’s no longer the case.
The shift happened in the second build of the Windows 11 beta software, which is now available through the Windows Insider program. Among other notable changes to the Start Menu, Microsoft has apparently removed the option from Settings entirely, leaving you with the bright and shiny new Start Menu whether you like it or not. And yes, that means there’s no option for left-aligning the Taskbar either.
There are a couple of caveats, however. First, there is actually a way to get back the Windows 10 Start Menu, but not so straightforward. The folks at Tom’s Hardware have discovered a backdoor method that involves tweaking a registry. Obviously, anything involving a registry change isn’t recommended and could cause some serious issues with your device. Then again, you’re on beta software to begin with, so you should be treading lightly anyways.
Secondly, it’s important to keep in mind that Windows 11 is still in its early stages of development. While the central features and design elements are likely here to stay, we’ll likely see a host of changes made between now and its eventual release date toward the end of this year. Because the ability to revert back to the Windows 10 Start Menu was already available in the initial builds, it’s not hard to imagine Microsoft bringing it back.
That’s especially true if there’s an uproar around its disappearance. Judging by the hostile reaction some have had toward the new Start Menu, I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft changed its mind once again in this regard. Giving people the option to switch between the old Start Menu and the new one has few downsides. It’ll make the stodgy traditionalists happy and encourage more of them to upgrade when the time comes.
For now, we’ll have to wait and see what Microsoft decides as additional builds of Windows 11 roll out over the coming months.