Eager Windows Insiders have been putting preview releases of Windows 11 through the paces for a couple of months now. While there’s a lot to like about Microsoft’s upcoming OS, testers are finding some of the changes incredibly frustrating — like the tweaks to the taskbar and start menu.
For those who haven’t seen it yet, this is the current default experience on Windows 11. While the clock and system tray remain in the right corner, the start button and pinned taskbar icons are center-aligned. You have limited customization options right now. You push everything over to the left corner where they’ve been placed since the days of Windows 95 and you can enable or disable things like the search or task view icons and icon badges.
If you want to get back to a more familiar start menu setup, you’ll have to look beyond the built-in Windows 11 settings. Like clockwork, the crew at Stardock are ready to assist.
The Windows UX customization experts have just offered up a beta version of the aptly-named Start11. Like the Stardock start menu replacements that came before it, Start 11 is designed to bring an experience that’s more like what you were accustomed to in previous versions of Windows. The screenshot above shows Start11 in Windows 7 mode. There’s also a Modern mode that offers a “clean, flat style” if that’s more your cup of tea.
Start11 also allows you to apply textures to your menu. Just choose your favorite from the included images and adjust the transparency to achieve the desired effect. You can also pin the apps you use most frequently to the left side of the menu and change which shortcuts appear on the right.
If you’re a Windows Insider and currently testing Windows 11, Start11 may just help you fix one of your gripes about the new OS. You won’t be able to try it out for free, but the price of admission is fairly low. Access to the beta will cost you $4.99 US and you’ll receive the full release as soon as it’s ready.
What I’d really like to see is for Stardock to find a way to move the taskbar to the side of the screen. I’ve enjoyed being able to move it there ever since switching to a widescreen monitor and I’m not really digging the fact that the Windows 11 beta has cemented the taskbar to the bottom edge.