Start11 Might Give Some Windows 11 Users A Bit Of Sanity

Since Windows 8 in 2012, Microsoft has been trying to change the venerable Start menu and has been met with so much backlash that forced it to compromise, one way or another. With Windows 11, however, it's finally setting its foot down on what the new Windows desktop experience would be like, without the option to go back to the old ways. Not unless you use some third-party utility, of course, like Stardock's Start11 that will let you partially bring back the old Start menu that, itself, was controversial in the first place.

The Windows 11 Start Menu and taskbar seem to have been taken from what should have been Windows 10X, a version of the operating system that was believed to be designed for touch-first PCs, especially dual-screen ones like the Surface Neo. Microsoft changed its direction last year, but it stayed the course for the Start menu.

Not everyone is a fan of the new center-oriented, search-centric Start menu on Window 11, though. And many are unamused about the limitations on the equally center-aligned taskbar. Adding insult to injury was Microsoft's decision not to let users revert to the old Start menu, even through registry hacks. Fortunately for Stardock, that does open an opportunity for business.

After several beta releases, its Start11 utility is finally available to let Windows 11 get something like the Windows 10 start menu back, though not all of it. Since Microsoft actually removed Live Tiles functionality, it can only replicate tile sizes and colors. Of course, Start11 does more than change the way the menu looks and even improves the taskbar experience for many users.

Despite its name, Start11 actually works on Windows 10 and offers users a chance to use a Start menu similar to Windows 11, if that's their cup of tea. It isn't a free utility, though, and costs $5.99 right off the bat. It might sound pricey, but it does offer more customization options than Microsoft would ever allow anyway.