back to article Microsoft makes tweaks to Windows 11 Start Menu for Insiders but stops short of mimicking Windows 10

Microsoft's long-suffering unpaid testers are to start seeing some improvements in the Windows 11 User Interface. Build 22509 arrived last night for Windows Insiders on the Dev Channel and, as well as making things a bit more accessible by improving the web browsing experience with Microsoft's Edge browser and the Narrator, …

  1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Is that a feature or is it a bug?

    Think how popular Windows would be if every new version offered users the option of choosing any of the previous versions Start menus as the default choice?

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Is that a feature or is it a bug?

      I'd like to be able to ditch the slow, confusing, glitchy Metro/Modern/Whatever It's Called This Week UI for the classic one used in Win95 through Win7.

      1. Col_Panek

        Re: Is that a feature or is it a bug?

        That's now called ZorinOS.

        1. martyn.hare

          Just copy progman.exe from XP

          Easy peasy way to have the best UI every time

      2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Is that a feature or is it a bug?

        Open Shell is what you are describing.

        (Used to be called Classic Shell.)

        1. beekir

          Re: Is that a feature or is it a bug?

          I was just thinking about that wonderful app while reading this article.

        2. X5-332960073452

          Re: Is that a feature or is it a bug?

          Open Shell now needs a little help in Windows 11 (as of three weeks ago).

          It also helps with other annoying changes (IMHO)

          (Not sure if I can post links)

          1. mark4155

            Re: Is that a feature or is it a bug?

            Of course you can post links! The EL Reg family are open decent people with more than enough warmth in their hearts for all their readers!

            1. FIA Silver badge

              Re: Is that a feature or is it a bug?

              You're new here??

        3. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

          Re: Is that a feature or is it a bug?

          I use Open-Shell (and Classic Shell before it, for many years). It fixes the start menu and adds a couple of other minor things, but doesn't touch the UI appearance.

      3. J27

        Re: Is that a feature or is it a bug?

        The UI Paradigm in Windows 95, was revised in 98 and 2000 and slaughtered in Windows XP. Windows XP's UI was blown up in Windows Vista, which was then revised in Windows 7.

        Which of these many UI styles are you talking about?

    2. ChrisC Silver badge

      Re: Is that a feature or is it a bug?

      The abysmal excuse for a UI that MS introduced with W10 and seems only too keen to continue foisting on its victusers is right up there at the top of the list of reasons why I refuse to let go of W7 on either of the PCs I own and use as daily workhorses. I have to use 10 every day when I'm at work, and whilst that's given me an appreciation for the stuff that MS did get right this time, it also makes me ever more determined with every minute I have to look at that godawful UI that it, or anything like it, will never infect any of my own PCs.

      And whilst it's good that third-party solutions do exist to deal with this problem, I'd prefer not to hitch my wagon to the W10/11 train and then be reliant on the continued abilities of the third-party coders to continue keeping one step ahead of whatever changes MS make next time around.

      1. badflorist Silver badge

        Re: Is that a feature or is it a bug?

        "...I refuse to let go of W...."

        Hey you said it, we didn't.

        What I can say is, just let go of W all together.

        1. ChrisC Silver badge

          Re: Is that a feature or is it a bug?

          Once my hand is forced by finally upgrading to hardware on which getting W7 to run (outside of a VM) involves dancing naked around the garden chanting incantations to the goddess of all things digital, then I'll be turning to whichever flavour of Linux takes my fancy as a primary OS. I'll still then be setting up some Windows VMs though, to maintain access to those Windows-only tools for which there isn't any Linux alternative (and by that, I mean something that will read in the binary datafiles created by the Windows original, not just something that provides equivalent functionality at the expense of having to start all over again), as well as to let me continue running some of the older PC games I still like to dabble in now and again - Linux (or some other non-Windows OS) really isn't the answer to *everything*...

          But right now I'm quite happy with Windows 7 as my OS of choice - it does everything I need, in a way that pleases me, and I've now got sufficient experience of administering it across numerous different PCs over the years that I'm not entirely crap at dealing with the occasional wibble it throws. But TBH, even those are few and far between these days - it was already a fairly decent OS at the time of release, and it's matured into what's probably going to end up being the high point of the Windows story.

    3. Snake Silver badge

      Re: previous versions

      Because many individuals that proudly describe themselves as "techies" would still be using a Windows 95 interface, if only because they in actuality so incredibly resistant to any change that requires them to put a bit of effort into something that they don't wish to??

      Note the flamesuit icon. It simply amazes me how much vitriol is placed on the Windows UI every time they change something, because almost *any* change Microsoft does seems pretty much automatically treated to hatred. From my own personal perspective I am constantly amazed how resistant to any change people are when it comes to the UI; I really wonder exactly how many people insist on sticking with their Windows 2000 and Windows 95/98 UI's, really I am.

      1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

        Re: previous versions

        News flash - people are opposed to pointless effort. Windows makes pointless UI changes, requiring people to make pointless effort to adapt, whereupon people complain. Not sure why that amazes you.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: previous versions

          Each new version of Microsoft anything seems to have reduced user control and introduced unneeded obstacles to working the way we want to, rather than how some Microsoft marketing type thinks we should be working.

          I- and I'm not alone PCPro had a letter about this published a few months back- I want to be able to control what my Start menu shows and where. Because I have software I only use from time to time and I find programme names pretty unhelpful half the time. (Partly, to be fair,because publisher vanity means they think their clever name is more important than something that describes the function of the programme)

          I need to be able to group my programmes according to function, not list them by damn fool name in a long cluttered,over complicated alphabetical list of programmes and folders-with-programes-in. That way I can quickly find the programme I need to perform the job I need it for without having to go down the list and try to guess which programme it was.

        2. Snake Silver badge

          Re: previous versions

          "News flash - people are opposed to pointless effort. Windows makes pointless UI changes"

          See? You proved my point.

          Exactly what IS "pointless UI changes"? You people argue complain about almost *every* change. To WHOM is the change "pointless" to? You? And that makes you the declarative of every living human being on Earth? Because YOU didn't like the change, it is fundamentally "pointless" to the entire world and therefore, "wrong"??

          Then why evolve a system at ALL, if pretty much every change gets hit with a "pointless" argument? What made Windows 95's, or for that matter Windows 7's Start Menu so 'perfect', exactly? Besides your experience and comfort with it?

          Maybe they DO have reasons for changing that you, personally, simply can't accept because you are rigidly focused on the facts that they have to meet YOUR agenda and YOUR acceptance. All, that is ALL, UI's progress and change, if only to take into account modern style choices, color palettes, system abilities, user tastes, enhancements in the understanding of user dynamics...or, even just fashion. Remember when El Reg changed its look? Oh, did hell break loose! But let's stay in a user experience that's 10 years behind the times, if only because everyone is COMFORTABLE with it!

          I am not only a system admin. I am also a photographer and a graphic designer. And style changes, and we keep up with the change (does your iPhone look exactly like it did a decade ago, plastic rear, small screen with the camera separate and on top, and all)?. Our tastes constantly change and, if only in the graphic design sense, we keep up or be called "outdated" (hello, BlackBerry :waves hi!:) The dentist sharing our floor in the building we are in tried to pressure us into petitioning the management to repaint the floor's lobby, and she chose beige and light magenta. When I heard this, I said out loud (within ear shot of our young intern) "Oh, welcome to the 1980's!!" and, as a design student, she completely understood and fully agreed.

          You people are bitter because you constantly want the world to cater to your tastes. Pretty exclusively. Any change that you do not like, or can not personally justify, must be the wrong change. They change Windows UI in order to, HOPEFULLY, create a better user experience for the majority of users. Not all of it is successful, everyone admits that. But people like features like Peek, for example, and that was canned as "pointless"; on the other hand, only some people liked / got a grasp of the simply concept of Start Menu Tiles (gasp! You can remove them if you don't like them), yet the complainers expected everyone to also HATE them and then petition Microsoft to kill them...even the people who did indeed use them (and, I do).

          1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

            Re: Creativity vs Standards

            Snake: Interesting discussion piece.

            I think it may have highlighted the nub of the controversy. Do we want Creativity or do we want Standards?

            Not mutually exclusive, but this decision can interfere with usability.

            The design concepts established year's ago, where e.g., menus were at the top, with a shortcut key indicated for those preferring keyboard access, gave a boost to standardisation.

            Why are standards important? Ask Shadow Systems and others who require set standards to *navigate* an application, regardless of that application. Applications should be designed with standards in mind, such that anyone can install an application, run it, make use of it, and close it without any need to seek advice on how to do so.

            Everything should be obvious. The Operating System: the Platform, first and foremost, is a tool.

            It enables the application designers to focus their efforts on supporting the nitty gritty of the application, which is what the user is paying for. There should be no need to worry about the outside environment, where other applications hang out. The bain of my life is borderless windows, panels, menus; menu bars that have no contrast when scrolling down the option list. There is often now no means to differentiate between modal and modeless forms, and whatever happened to the X in the top right hand corner of a panel? The only way to resolve some situations is to dial in to a users's pc (not always easy if they haven't a suitable vehicle for that pre-installed), or to go on-site.

            Originally MS arguably had a vested interest in everyone adopting these Standards that were set out. But now it wants to get rid of the "pilot fish" because in some cases those pilot fish have grown too big. So it wishes to act as disruptor. It thinks it can rid itself of standards, but what will, and is happening is that other standards are evolving through the walled garden of environments: browsers being the biggest category of such. Environments where developers can set their own standards. Unfortunately this makes life difficult for those that want a universal platform to work with. Typical example is the stock market where - unless you've got thousands to spend - there are lots of separate islands of information that are difficult to knit together without manual rekeying.

            To emphasise: We are returning to the bad old days where *islands of data* proliferate. Yes there are macros where a script can be trained to pull data from one application and surface it in another, but that only works so long as neither the source nor the destination (or the gubbins in the middle) does not change, causing the mechanism to break.

            Creativity is good. Not averse to that at all, but it has to stay within the bounds of Standards previously laid down. One of my clients, a world renowned luxury goods manufacturer/retailer, opened up a store in central London many years ago. Though the architect's brief was to pervade luxuriousness throughout the design of the building, there was no getting away from having to provide e.g., standard Fire Exit signs. The analogy here is that *navigation* through a fire to the Fire Exit has to be such that there are no nasty surprises when deity forbid, such an eventuality materialises. That's what these Standards are for.

            Planning permission was rejected for shutters essential for security, so an alternative compromise between security and appearance had to be struck - make no mistake that compliance trumped the aesthetics.

            So the bottom line might be: Careful What You Wish For. Just think that one day you may be in a venue where the Architect has decided to allow the aesthetics to override safety considerations. Maybe a sports or concert venue. It will never happen? Hmm, history has the answer to that.

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: Creativity vs Standards

              In the computer world there's the added fact that no one gives a damn about aesthetics after the first 5 minutes of practical usage. Home users can manage their own OS aesthetics if the OS publisher lets them. And commercial buyers just want a machine that the staff can use efficiently.

          2. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: previous versions


            Some complaints are about change because not everyone likes change, true. Many more are simply because the change has no functional purpose on a functional devices . Most are about changes that mean tasks become more difficult or simply require a new learning curve for no advantage.

            Interestingly, you seem more emotional about all this than we are. This is interesting.

          3. DJSpuddyLizard

            Re: previous versions


            Windows 8 and onwards (whatever that hideous GUI is called) was designed to function on phones and tablets, because remember, Microsoft was going to completely take over those segments?

            What they forgot was that 90% of their users had desktops.

            These were not changes to benefit the majority of users...

          4. rajivdx

            Re: previous versions

            I totally agree, I think dropping tiles was a bad idea - we have gone back to the 90's era of having static bitmap icons. If you don't like tiles don't use it, just pick the smallest size and it behaves like a boring icon. Those of us who don't want to spend our days opening every app to see if there is a message for us just use a large tile and get the info we need at a glance.

            I don't like how Windows 8 forced tiles and modern UI down our throats, but Windows 10 achieved a good balance between the classic UI and the 'modern' UI. I feel we have gone backwards with W11.

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: previous versions

              "opening every app to see if there is a message for us".

              This does not sound like a normal PC use case. Our programmes don't usually leave us messages.

          5. ChrisC Silver badge

            Re: previous versions

            "And style changes, and we keep up with the change (does your iPhone look exactly like it did a decade ago, plastic rear, small screen with the camera separate and on top, and all)?"

            A modern iPhone might not look physically *identical* to the original, but there's more than enough similarity between what was and what is to enable someone who'd only ever used one to be in with a damn good chance of using the other without much difficulty. And physical changes aside, if you consider the OS itself, just how much has that actually changed in terms of the UI it presents to the user? It might have undergone massive changes behind the scenes, but the UI has remained strikingly consistent over the years.

            "Our tastes constantly change and, if only in the graphic design sense, we keep up or be called "outdated""

            Here's the thing that a growing number of graphic designers seem to fail to understand thees days. A UI is NOT a static work of art to be admired from a polite distance, or even a way of conveying information in a read-only manner. It's a dynamic thing that users expect to be able to interact with in order to control and monitor the underlying system, and functionality is therefore key.

            If that means having to forego the latest trends in graphic design, then tough shit, you swallow your designer pride and ego and make the UI work, because making sure the UI is useable is THE thing that truly matters here. If you can also make it look good in the process then that's a bonus, but the moment style is allowed to override substance in the UI design process is the point at which it all starts to go badly wrong and you end up with UIs that are so unuseable out of the box that you have to spend time customising them, assuming you're even given the option of doing so,

            And that latter point is key here - it's one thing for companies to come out with modern UI concepts as the default out of the box look for their products, but it's quite another if they make that the ONLY way in which users can interact with that version of the product, forcing us to adapt to THEIR idea of what the UI should look like rather than simply givng us the choice of tweaking it so that it looks more like what WE want.

            So we're not demanding that everyone is forced to abandon the modern look and use something that makes people go "oh, welcome to the 1990's!!", we'd just prefer not to be forced into using that look ourselves.

            And yes, our tastes might change, but a) we're all still individuals with our own personal taste preferences, and b) we don't always ditch the stuff we used to like just because something new comes along to take our fancy - sometimes our tastes merely expand to encompass new things without pushing aside the things we've loved all along.

            But whatever our tastes may be, they're still beholden to our physical capabilities, which take rather longer to evolve. Looking at some aspects of modern UI design, you'd be forgiven for thinking that some designers now believe the Mk.1 eyeball has evolved to the point where it can detect the difference between one block of pixels set to white, and another block of pixels also set to white...

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: previous versions

              See icon

        3. mcswell

          Re: previous versions

          Maybe they'll bring back square corners! I can't wait!

          Actually, I can... I'm still on Windows 10.

      2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: previous versions

        But these days everyone is told that each version of Windows is a "New OS" but essentially it's just a new GUI, with minor changes being made the Operating System that the GUI Start Menu runs on ... and what do the minor changes affect? Every OS upgrade seems to need faster CPUs and more memory so effectively the upgrade just improves PC makers profits.

        "Any research done on how to efficiently use computers has been long lost in the mad rush to upgrade systems to do things that aren't needed by people who don't understand what they are really supposed to do with them." -- Graham Reed

      3. a_yank_lurker

        Re: previous versions

        I use multiple UIs across multiple devices. Three of them have stable look and feel across versions and they are not the same look and feel (MacOS, Android, Cinnamon on Linux). Once I learn how to use the UI I appreciate it staying stable as much as possible. On these 3 I can find rarely used apps fairly easily because I have a good idea where it is likely to be. The Rejects of Redmond and their idiot apologists have not grasped there are some areas were stability is appreciated. The Bloatware changes lead to frustration because there is serious lack of consistency on locations and UI structure.

      4. ChrisC Silver badge

        Re: previous versions

        It's not as simple as that, certainly not in the case of W10.

        The UI is your interface to the system. You look at it, you interact with it, so how it looks and behaves inherently defines how you consider the system.

        When you stop having to think about the UI because it just lets you do whatever it is you're trying to do without a second thought, then it's doing its job well.

        When you find yourself constantly fighting the UI, because the way its designed makes it all but impossible to do even simple tasks consistently, then it's doing a god-awful job.

        W10, with its focus on swathes of blank space, limited, if at all, contrast betwen active and non-active parts of the screen, and poor/non-existent use of colour/shading/A.N.Other visual means to differentiate one thing from another, falls squarely into the latter category IMO, and is deserving of every bit of UI-focused cricitism it gets.

        So it's not merely a case of disliking change, it's a case of disliking change when what we had worked really quite well, and what we've been given instead, well, doesn't.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: previous versions

        > incredibly resistant to any change that requires them to put a bit of effort into something that they don't wish to??

        So how would you feel if you went to fetch your car from the garage and found that someone had decided to "upgrade" and swap the brake and accelerator pedals round?

        Could you still touch type if every patch Tuesday the order of the keys on the keyboard changed?

        1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: Could you still touch type if every patch Tuesday the order of the keys on the keyboard changed?

          One of the most consistent features of computing over the decades (4 to be precise) is the Ctrl Alt Del key combination. Billy Boy even wanted to change that, but factors outside even his demiurgic control meant that it is still with us today. If he had had his way then a whoops moment with the keyboard could have had detrimental consequences to your current session of work.


          Hardware manufacturers don't seem to think things through, either. Typical example is the all-singing-all-dancing keyboard. During lockdown I had to sort out a hardware problem on customer site (so they could WFH). No access to anything pre-bootup with the supplied keyboard. Luckily they hadn't discarded all of their legacy ones and I was able to plug in a standard wired one to do what was needed.

        2. FIA Silver badge

          Re: previous versions

          So how would you feel if you went to fetch your car from the garage and found that someone had decided to "upgrade" and swap the brake and accelerator pedals round?

          How would you feel if you bought a new car and everything was exacly the same as the previous model?

          Sure the major controls will still be the same, but the button for the heated windows might have moved.

          Could you still touch type if every patch Tuesday the order of the keys on the keyboard changed?

          This hasn't actually ever happened though has it?

          1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

            Re: This hasn't actually ever happened though has it?

            Maybe not exactly, but when the menus at the top of the screen disappear, historically it has been good to know that you can still press Alt V to get them back, and put the appropriate tick against the relevant option.... Except that there are now applications you do that... and nothing happens.

            Thing is, there's no guidance for this sort of thing. Users are left to find this out for themselves, with negative consequences to productivity. For many users, recovery is brief, but there are many users that find such changes difficult to navigate: you have to remember that tech is a tool for many people, not something to be messed around with like some sort of game where satisfaction is gained through second-guessing the developer's intent. Those sort of users will be ringing me up, asking me to dial in and try to put things back to how they were: users incidentally who in their own field of endeavour are world-class.

            Just remember: there are users who use technology as a means to an end.

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: This hasn't actually ever happened though has it?

              Just remember: there are most users who use technology as a means to an end.

              FTFY but otherwise 100% agree.

          2. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: previous versions

            That is a disingenuous counter argument. The controls of a car don't tend to be part of a purchase decision unless it's a change to q different type of car. So while significant unjustified changes to these would be a disaster, they would be improbable , because the actual purchase choices are image and lifestyle lead, unlike computers (other than maybe Apple) so aesthetics are far more significant.

            But switching from, say a manual petrol car to a modern, hybrid, automatic car does necessitate adjusting how we use the controls. And no one who makes the choice to shift (no pun intended) to an automatic has any problem with that.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: previous versions

            > How would you feel if you bought a new car and everything was exacly the same as the previous model?

            So, not 'exactly', but I have a 2006 3 series and tested a 2011 one, and was pleasantly suprised to find all of the controls in the same place, with some functional improvements here and there (like an extra option for auto headlights on the existing headlight dial, same for auto-windscreen wipers). I could get in and drive off without needing to read the new manual, and there was nothing functionally wrong with any of the existing controls to begin with.

            Things like ditching the start menu and changing how the taskbar works are the equivalent of 'hey, let's move the air con controls from the centre panel to the driver's door armrest, because why not?'

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: previous versions

              Actually, thinking about this analogy more. We swapped our first Honda Jazz for a better, more up to date Jazz, in due course. Then an H-RV and we're waiting for delivery of an eH-RV. And for all the steady improvement and even switching to a larger vehicle a big plus is that they don't f*ck about with the controls- or change stuff that works well, and just improve stuff when they need to because the users want it or they have something new and better to offer. (We notice that the USB charge ports have been moved and will be easier to get to, the current ones are a bit fiddly to reach. And everyone complained about not being able to play their own choice of phone satnav into the console, so now you can through that easier to reach USB port, for example).

      6. FIA Silver badge

        Re: previous versions

        Because many individuals that proudly describe themselves as "techies" would still be using a Windows 95 interface, if only because they in actuality so incredibly resistant to any change that requires them to put a bit of effort into something that they don't wish to??

        I've often wondered what most people would be like using something like 95 or XP after more modern Windows.

        Sure there's the familier UI, but there's also all those little features that have been added since which you don't realise you use until they're nolonger there.

        Last time I used something old I had to really think how to find something as hitting start and typing didn't do anything.

        1. ChrisC Silver badge

          Re: previous versions

          "I've often wondered what most people would be like using something like 95 or XP after more modern Windows.

          Sure there's the familier UI, but there's also all those little features that have been added since which you don't realise you use until they're nolonger there.

          Last time I used something old I had to really think how to find something as hitting start and typing didn't do anything."

          Which is kinda the point. We're not saying we want to lose new functionality where it genuinely enhances the user experience (such as being able to type directly into the start menu to find stuff), but gaining access to this useful new functionality shouldn't come at the expense of being forced to adopt a UI which, in many respects, is a big step backwards compared to what we used to have.

      7. Dave K

        Re: previous versions

        I don't mind positive change where I can see the advantages it brings. I thought the Start Menu that Windows 95 introduced was superior to Program Manager. I also grew to like the updated Start Menu in XP (and liked that you could switch it to Classic Mode if you preferred). Similarly, I had no problem with the updated menu in Windows 7.

        That changed with Windows 10 as lots of options from the W7 menu are either missing or more deeply hidden, I don't see the point of the "live tiles", and the menu is far, far less customisable than it was in Windows 7. Plus of course no "Classic" options or anything like that. Win 11s menu continues that tradition of being very rigid, missing in functionality and missing many customisation options.

        Same goes for task-bars. There was little change up to Vista, but the Windows 7 task-bar had genuine advantages and I liked it! I also liked that it was fairly customisable. Windows 10's taskbar isn't bad either (despite the bland, flat look). Windows 11 once again adds no real benefits and instead removes a lot of customisation. Want to change grouping of icons? No can do. Want the buttons to expand to bars with program/file text included? Can't do it.

        In summary, I don't mind positive change. But when the "new" version offers no real advantages but lots of disadvantages and missing features, then I consider it a design fail and a usability regression. What do you think incidentally? "Woo-hoo a new taskbar and start menu with far less functionality than the old one - how awesome"??

    4. itsborken

      Re: Is that a feature or is it a bug?

      I wonder how many resources it took MSFT to dribble out this 'incremental' change. Who did they promote to Director of Eye Candy, and what has happened to the 'real' programming staff?

    5. Persona Silver badge

      Re: Is that a feature or is it a bug?

      It's pretty much the same with all user interfaces. Most people agree the previous one was always the best with the rest preferring the one before that.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Is that a feature or is it a bug?

        No, I get the impression that 'nux users tend to be pretty split about that, and most seem to disagree about distros instead, or ( since the majority are very techie)about stuff that goes on "under the hood".

        Also there's a difference between disliking a UI and disliking changes in the key functionality. You can change the layout, icon shapes or whatever and leave the user's control alone. You could, equally remove or add the degree of control the user has but leave everything looking and (otherwise) responding in the same way.

        Win 8's stupid "charms" were a total pain in the arse to most users- being invisible and impossible to find when you wanted them( if you ever did) and then suddenly popping out in your face after an incautious movement of the mouse. But were irrelevant to the functional control.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can't understand why Microsoft doesn't open up their UI customisation after decades of skins and themes emerging for previous iterations. Corporate IT can still lock down the vanilla UI while home users could "rice" their desktop however they please. Surely it would free up their engineers to implement actually useful features instead of users having to rely on them buying the likes of SysInternals to do it for them. PowerToys is hinting at windows always on top function after 30 years. Even Amiga Workbench had depth and zoom gadgets, multiple screens, icon and windows snapshots etc back in 1990.

    1. badflorist Silver badge

      The idea is this:

      1. Give users options.

      2. Take options away and sell or give them back on the "app store".

      3. Give users options.

      4. Take options away...

      Notice the ever increasing trap forming? They're not alone either, Google has built their entire product line on gelding and herding.

  3. Phones Sheridan Silver badge

    Classic Start is a thing still in Windows 11. Been working all through 8 and 10. Install it and press the windows key on the keyboard to bring it up.

    1. ITS Retired

      My keyboard doesn't have a Windows key. It is an IBM model M. Found it in a dumpster, some 15+ years ago.

      But whatever the Classic Shell, start button works fine for me.

      1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

        I remap right-control to be the Windows key. It's never used otherwise.

      2. Steve Jackson

        CTRL & ESC is the WIN key :) Hope things aren't forgotten.

        They need to fix the Tray Overflow and return 'Show All' please.

        Been using StartIsBack / StartAllBack since W8.1, still doing.

  4. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Change needed I think


    "Microsoft's long-suffering unpaid testers "

    Should really be changed to

    "Microsoft's long suffering customers"

    1. thosrtanner

      Re: Change needed I think

      They're the same thing. Didn't you know?

      1. MiguelC Silver badge

        Re: Change needed I think

        "Explaining a joke is like dissecting a frog. You understand it better, but the frog dies in the process."

        E.B. White

  5. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    I noticed that Dell now offers most of its laptops with Windows 11 pre-installed and very few with a Windows 10 option

    I thought Windows 11 was still in beta. At least, that's the impression I get from everything written about it.

    What gives Dell?

    1. ITS Retired

      I'm starting to think Microsoft has a hidden Easter egg in Windows 11, to be released with a future update you can't refuse..

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Microsoft's 'PC Health Check' is the new name for Get Window 10 'malware'.

      It's called PC Health Check, the new name for Get Windows 10 App - GWX.

      Top Tip: While installing Windows 11 updates, keep the (old) Control Panel Uninstall App Dialog open, keep refreshing it - as soon as this PC Health Check installs, remove it to prevent it ever running. This seems to be the Microsoft intrusive 'malware' that is modifying and installing the 'Get Windows 11 Notification Panel" nag in Windows 10 Update, because PC Health Chec you stop 'PC Health Check' from running the nag isn't there. Though, just like GWX, this app is persistent, will try to install multiple times, it can't be uninstalled via the KB and the Win11 notification 'nags' can't be removed once they are in place. Note too, there are two versions of the PC Health Check app that seemed to get installed.

      In a word, just shocking and 'abusive'. (as per usual with Microsoft).

      The regulators really need to haul Microsoft across the coals on this, because if any other company managed to install malware like this, they would be prosecuted. Just because Microsoft sold you Windows 10, should not give them permission to push Windows 11 malware notifications on your install, placing labels in the OS, that the hardware can't run Windows 11.

      1. keith_w

        Re: Microsoft's 'PC Health Check' is the new name for Get Window 10 'malware'.

        Just a reminder: Microsoft licensed you to use the operating system, they didn't sell it to you. They still own it so they can do to it whatever they please. If you are not happy with this, you should not have agreed to the license.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Microsoft's 'PC Health Check' is the new name for Get Window 10 'malware'.

          " If you are not happy with this, you should not have agreed to the license."

          Not all license terms are enforcible, especially in jurisdictions that are not the USA. That's why none of the big companies ever go to court when challenged, and always "settle", ie pay the hush money. The lasy thing they want is the licenses and/or T&Cs to be scrutinised by a court.

      2. Ramis101

        Re: Microsoft's 'PC Health Check' is the new name for Get Window 10 'malware'.

        Yea yea, if you have modern enough hardware and don't want W11, go in the bois & turn off tpm2 then you'll never get it. Simples.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Microsoft's 'PC Health Check' is the new name for Get Window 10 'malware'.


          You're missing the point, Microsoft are still trashing your machine with malware leaving a prominent message in Windows Update that "This machine doesn't meet the system requirements for Windows 11". It's no different to Tesla (hypothetically) coming round in the middle of night and graffiti-ng "You bought the old model, sucker!" on the previous 2019 model of Tesla.

          If I start my car first thing, everyday in the morning, I don't want a prominent message telling me I bought last years model.

          Microsoft have absolutely no right to do this, even if you agree to a licence for Windows 11, this is pure and simple 'abuse', of their market share. By all definitions of malware, Microsoft's PC Health Check ticks all the boxes, yet isn't flagged by any antivirus software.

          Criminal behaviour, by all those concerned. As said, shocking behaviour. Shameful.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Microsoft's 'PC Health Check' is the new name for Get Window 10 'malware'.

        Don't really have to worry about this currently, as Microsoft in their infinite wisdom has decided 1st gen Ryzen chips just can't hack it.

        The good news is I can still run Windows 7.

  6. amritsingh

    I still love windows 10

    1. ICL1900-G3 Bronze badge

      I wouldn't go that far!

    2. Alumoi Silver badge

      You missed a point between 1 and 0. Should have been 1.0, right?

  7. techulture

    Combining task bar buttons?

    I can hardly imagine not being able to directly select different window instances of an application, like documents of the same type or browser windows.

    1. Robin Bradshaw

      Re: Combining task bar buttons?

      Do you mean how you hover over the icon in the task bar and see mini versions of all the windows pop up and you can then move the mouse over the one you want to show it on the screen and then click on it to focus? Because that works fine on windows 11

      1. techulture

        Re: Combining task bar buttons?

        I want a separate button for each instance/window. Never combine.

  8. LDS Silver badge

    more settings moving from the venerable Control Panel to the Settings app

    ... more settings moving from the venerable very usable Control Panel to the unusable Settings app...

  9. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Kiosk Windows

    I have several customers who would be happy with a kiosk version of Windows.

    The Operating System is a tool and Microsoft should never forget that.

    (Tool as in an implement used to accomplish tasks, not a marketing tool).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Kiosk Windows

      One app Kiosk mode is available

  10. aqk

    GREAT! Moving back to Win-10!

    My old machine does not meet the the requirements for Win-11, so I'm stuck at Win-11's Build 22000.

    MS keeps threatening to move me back to Win-10.

    If I wait long enough, Win-11 will be there with me!

  11. Troutdog

    How to make Windows 10 bearable

    1. Disable Cortana.

    2. Disable Bing search from start button.

    Now, you have a very useable search function for things on your computer without being plagued by shitty suggestions from Bing.

    1. JamesTGrant

      Re: How to make Windows 10 bearable

      And install ‘everything’ ( and wonder why windows search is so slow and belligerently unhelpful.

      If only I could make the edges of the ‘windows’ contrast against other ‘windows’ (like a boarder) coz that is irritating and slows me down.

      And if only Defender wasn’t incredibly inefficient, debilitating (resource hog) when running and so integrated that it’s impossible to remove without borking the OS.

      If only update wasn’t still appallingly slow, and prone to breaking - apt and yum are sooo much better and the source code is right there…

      If only the programs and applications I install were not presented in a useless flat list and were grouped (by default) according to the program vendor or vendor name and easy to move or copy into other groups.

      I could go on.. (why is copy/paste *still* broken (shadow copy, background copy before context menu is shown….) Why does Teams and Onenote knacker charcoding when you paste text into it and copy out of it….

      Goodness, fixing a users Windows/Microsoft account where the users e-mail is incorrect or has changed is incredibly difficult…

      Default ‘crimes against users’ include: Bing/cortina, preinstalled and hard to remove irritating paytoplay ‘games’, amazingly rubbish tile/desktop ui that’s so obviously jarringly poor that it’s amazing it was ever internally demoed let alone deliberately released, updates that break non-obscure functionality, forced updates that run when you’re in the middle of something or presenting or in a meeting etc etc etc

      However you look at it - it’s amazingly crappular given the resources available to making the core ux decent. It’s UX is worse overall than Win XP/Win95 (not saying they were amazeballs not particularly stable…)

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: How to make Windows 10 bearable

        Here's one for your list; Why do computers fail to see shared folders when on or other of them logs in to a Microsoft account and the other(s) on a local account.

        I discovered this wonderful "feature" the hard way. Setting up a new PC last month I let it use a MS account ( don't know why, I was rushing).

        For weeks couldn't get it to show its shared folders to my other PCs. I tried all the usual methods suggested on the interwebs and one or two less usual ones. Nothing.

        The I remembered they were on different kinds of account- and wanted to switch that anyway. As soon as the new PC was on a local log-in like the others my network shares were back!

        1. JamesTGrant

          Re: How to make Windows 10 bearable

          Funny I was going to mention exploer’s constantly poor behaviour if a folder contains any network mounted drives or folders!!

    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: How to make Windows 10 bearable

      I never really understood that. So Win10 often spends a lot of time searching and indexing. I guess this is because MS likes to hide what's happening under the hood. Or doesn't know, so is constantly searching for meaning.

      Then when you try to find something, it wants to go via Bing. Maybe that's because MS knows you're as likely to find your file faster on the 'net than on your own PC. But you now when it happens because things slow down, Edge gradually edges into memory, and a list of sponsored links appears. And then probably sucks up more cycles adding those results to a local index. Which you can't view because using an index to find stuff is an old-fashioned concept.

      I then after closing Edge, you find it's still wasting memory. Luckily task manager is still there to terminate it.

      I live in hope that some day, MS will allow a minimalist mode that only loads essential services into memory. No matter how often it looks, mine is never going to find an XBox.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        MS Thinks that SEARCH is the only app needed

        yet for years, many of us never used search at all.

        We'd pin apps or put them on the desktop or in a quick launcher. One-click that they would be running.

        Now they want us to 'search' for everything.

        Progress? Yeah backwards and at a great rate of knots.

        1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: MS Thinks that SEARCH is the only app needed

          You could say that MS are on a hiding to nothing.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How to make Windows 10 bearable

        No one used MS Search because it was shite and didn't work. It never been close to being Google for your Desktop, and probably deliberately so.

    3. -v(o.o)v-

      Re: How to make Windows 10 bearable

      My start menu often doesn't accept key presses. Nothing happens when keyboard is used. So I need to hit the win button twice

  12. Trigun Silver badge

    Urgh I never really use the Start menu any more unless I have to as, since windows 8, it's been utter kak.

    Slow. Web-prioritised web searches, cluttered, tiles. Basically, for me anyway, not at all productive or useful. Other peoples' experiences may differ of course.

    The above isn't a judgement on Windows 11 start menu for the moment as, to be fair, I've not used it hugely. But you can keep the Windows 8-10 versions.

    Just for the record: I'm actually for the most part a supporter of windows 10, although recently it's begun to bloat like previous versions of Windows did. Seems Microsoft can't help themselves *sigh*.

    Start menu aside, I still don't understand why the time in Windows 11 wasn't on all task bars / multi displays from launch and why Microsoft appears to be relunctant to allow it (even as an opt in) even now.

  13. grizzly

    My biggest complaint with Windows 11 is that it is no longer possible to tell the time accurately. Some genius UX committee decided it would be "cleaner" if we no longer saw seconds after clicking the clock. Not optionally removed, removed end-of. Cannot be reinstated.

    There are many circumstances where knowing the time more accurately than to-the-last-minute is essential. In Win10 I often clicked the clock to be more puctual when attending ubiquitous remote meetings, or doing quick estimates of execution times when writing code.

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      RE: is no longer possible to tell the time accurately

      Maybe they've finally taken people's comments about "Microsoft Minutes" to heart.

      Microsoft Minutes are where a progress bar appears and tells you how many Days/Hours/Minutes/Seconds the current operation will take.

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Not optionally removed, removed end-of

      That's the key point. The vast gulf between hiding a feature that users may not want or need and removing it entirely when they might want or need it.

      It's been a big deal since The Ribbon at least. not because said Ribbon is a bad thing, necessarily, but because they removed the flexibility of the menu system to move components out of menus or into different ones to match with users' working system.

    3. -v(o.o)v-

      They are starting to run out of features to hide so seconds needed to go.

  14. jason_derp

    Installed my Win10 update yesterday

    And now the start menu doesn't open at all! Beautiful! Always a surprise as to what the next update will cripple!

  15. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

    Fscking hell I'm sticking with Windows XP

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