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Windows 10 Start menus: Start10 vs. Classic Shell

Woody Leonhard | Aug. 20, 2015
The best Windows 8 Start menu replacements bring their Win7-inspired magic to Windows 10. Which should you choose?

The Windows Universal apps are all there, too. Look for them in the final All Programs folder, called Apps. Or you can search for them in the Search bar.

Much to Classic Shell’s credit, you can uninstall the app in the usual way. Click Start > Control Panel > Programs and Features, and you end up in the old-fashioned (and still fully functional) “Uninstall or change a program” Control Panel applet. Click on Classic Shell, click Uninstall, reboot, and it’s gone.

The Start10 approach

Start10 is very similar to Custom Shell, but there are important twists.

The main setup screen (Figure 6) includes alternative Start menu layouts that include a Windows 10 style with tiles, and a Modern style that’s something of a hybrid between Win7 and Win10.

When you install Start10, it first asks if you want to hide Cortana (the taskbar search box). Take all of the defaults, and you get a Start menu that looks like Figure 7.

Windows 10 Start menu
Figure 6. The initial Start10 choices.

Comparing Figure 7 to Figure 4, you can see a number of differences in the way the Start menu has been implemented. The most used list in Start10, for example, draws on the old Windows 7 most used programs, whereas Custom Shell draws on the existing Windows 10 most frequently used apps list.

Windows 10 Start menu
Figure 7. The Start10 Start menu on a clean Windows 10 machine.

Start10 offers many more customization settings, while Custom Shell gives you most of the customizations without asking. In the Start10 customizing menu, shown in Figure 8, you can choose to include or remove the shortcuts at the bottom of the right side of the menu.

Like Classic Shell, Start10 supports full hierarchical menus in the All Programs list, as you can see in Figure 9. But Start10 is much more limited in how those menu items can be manipulated.

For example, in Classic Shell I can drag and drop a program, moving it from one folder to another. Start10 doesn’t have that ability. In Classic Shell, I can right-click on a folder and create a new folder. Start10 can’t do that, either.

More than anything, in Classic Shell I can move a program from, say, the bottom of a folder’s list to the top -- very important with Word in the Microsoft Office folder, for example, which deserves to be near the top of the folder, instead of squirreled away at the bottom. In Start10, you can’t reorder items by drag and drop.

Windows 10 Start menu
Figure 8. Start10 supports very detailed customizations.


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