Microsoft has added a new kind of centralized Start menu to Windows 11. If you haven’t fallen in love with the default Start menu in Windows 11, then maybe you should consider changing it.
You can change Windows 11’s Start menu to a different kind of menu with Start Everywhere and Start Menu X. Those third-party software packages add replacement Start menus to Windows 11. This is how you can change your Start button’s menu with those software packages.
Start Everywhere is a lightweight and portable app that adds a Start menu with a very different look to the default one. That menu is smaller but incorporates many additional submenus for accessing programs, folders, and files. Some users might prefer Start Everywhere to the default menu because of its superior accessibility. You can add the Start Everywhere menu to Windows 11 like this:
- Bring up the Start Everywhere page on Softpedia.
- Select the Download Now option.
- Click Softpedia Secure Download (US) – x64 to get the software downloaded.
- Open the folder Start Everywhere downloaded to by pressing the Windows key + E keyboard shortcut and navigating to it in File Explorer.
- Double-click the startevery.exe file to run the software. You don’t need to install it.
- Go ahead and click the Start button to bring up the Start Every menu shown directly below.
Now you’ve got an entirely different Start menu at your disposal. You can access software from its Programs menu, shortcuts in Desktop, and your files from User Profiles. That Start menu’s System menu is a handy addition from which you can open Control Panel applets, Windows tools, and Settings app pages.
You can add custom shortcuts to that menu. Right-click the Start Everywhere system tray icon and select Others > Settings > Open. Click the Select Menu tab and select a Custom checkbox for a menu. Select the Custom menu with the mouse in the Settings window, and click the Change tab that appears.
Press the Directory button for your selected menu on the Change tab. Select a software or user file folder for the shortcut to open, and click the window’s OK button. Select the Save tab to apply the new settings. Then you’ll see a shortcut for your newly added folder on the Start Everywhere menu from which you can select to open its files or software.
You can open the Start Everywhere menu in numerous ways. It has an active corners feature that enables you to open the menu by moving your cursor to desktop corners. To activate that feature, select Others > Active Corners > Enable on the menu. Then the four active corner options on the General tab in Start Everywhere’s Settings window will work when you select them.
Alternatively, you can open the Start Everywhere menu anywhere on the desktop with a hotkey. Select two of the hotkey checkboxes on the Settings window’s Advanced tab. Choose a letter to combine with those keys on the drop-down menu. If you then select the Cursor position hotkey location option, pressing the keyboard shortcut will open the menu at your cursor’s position.
Start Everywhere’s Settings window also includes Color and Font tabs from which to customize the menu. Choose an alternative menu color on the Colors tab. Click a radio button on the Font tab and press Change to customize the menu’s text. Then select the Save tab to apply.
Start Menu X adds a much more customizable menu to Windows 11 with novel personalization and time-based shutdown features. That software has freeware and professional versions, but the difference between them is relatively marginal. This is how you can change Windows 11’s Start menu with the freely available Start Menu X:
- Open Start Menu X’s webpage, and click its red Download button.
- Click File Explorer’s taskbar shortcut, and bring up the folder that includes the StartMenuX_Setup_7_33_PRO.exe file download.
- Double-click StartMenuX_Setup_7_33_PRO.exe to bring up Start Menu X’s setup wizard.
- Select I accept the agreement and click Next to view license type options.
- Then click the Free version radio button.
- Press Next and Install to add Start Menu X.
- After installing Start Menu X, it should start automatically. If not, type Start Menu X in Windows 11’s search box and select to run it from there.
- Click the Start to view your new menu!
Start Menu X resembles a slightly more conventional Windows Start menu than Start Everywhere. It looks a bit like a hybrid Start menu from the Windows Vista and 7 eras. However, this is anything but a conventional menu from times gone by.
Start Menu X incorporates Programs, Control Panel, This PC, Videos, Music, Pictures, Documents, and Desktop menus. The Programs menu provides access to installed software; you can open your user files from the Videos, Music, Pictures, and Documents submenus. Its Control Panel menu enables you to bring up applets from there.
The top part of that Start Menu above the line is an area where you can add custom shortcuts. Click the Add items into Menu button, and select the Choose your item option. Then you can select a folder or file shortcut to add and click OK.
This Start menu isn’t attached to its button. You can move it anywhere on the desktop by left-clicking the dotted line at the top of the menu and dragging it to a different position. The menu will open at that position whenever you click Start.
When you click Power Control to shut down, you can select several options. Each option there has an hourglass button you can press to select scheduling settings. To schedule Windows to shut down, press the hourglass button for that option. Then click the minutes button, enter a value in the text box, and select Run. Windows will automatically shut down when the set timer has elapsed.
To check out Start Menu X’s customization settings, press its Options button. Click Options on the smaller menu, and select the Personalization tab. There you can choose numerous menu themes on the Skin drop-down menu.
This menu provides different Start button icons for users to choose from. Click the Start button tab to view its selection. You can select alternative Start icons from a choice of 39 in the basic set. Or add your own by clicking the Select Image options on the Custom tab.
Start Menu X enables users to add and remove control buttons to and from the menu. To do so, click the Controls tab. Then select or deselect the checkboxes to add or remove buttons from the menu.
Customizable Start Menu X hotkeys for some options are another nice feature. Select Shortcuts to view that tab’s options. You can see what the default menu hotkeys are there, and change them by entering different keys in the boxes.
The Start Everywhere and Start Menu X Start menu replacements offer clear enhancements over Windows 11’s default menu. Both incorporate more extensive menus that provide wider folder, file, system tool, and software access. They also pack in much more in the way of built-in customization settings. With all their other additional novelties on top, many users might well prefer them to Windows 11’s Start menu.
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