How to customize the Windows 10 Start menu

Make the new Start menu look pretty.

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Windows 10 is bringing back the Start menu -- or, well, a hybrid of the Start menu and the Windows 8 Start screen. The new Start menu has two sections: A classic Windows 7 Start menu on the left side (complete with an All apps link), and a tile-laden Windows 8 Start screen on the right.

Here's how you can customize the new mashup Start menu/Start screen to suit your needs:

Switch between the Start menu and the Start screen

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If you're using a PC, Windows 10 will automatically give you a Start menu. But if you'd prefer the Windows 8-style Start screen, you can force your PC into tablet mode. To switch to the Start screen, open Settings and click Personalization. Click Start and under Start behaviors you'll see an option to Use full-screen Start when in desktop. Click the toggle to turn this option on, and you will now see a full-screen Start menu when you click the Windows button on your taskbar.

Change the color of the Start menu, taskbar and window borders

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To change the color of your Start menu, Start screen, taskbar, and window boarders, open up Settings and click Personalization. Go to Colors and choose an accent color (you can also opt to have an accent color chosen automatically from your background image).

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If you want your Start menu and Start screen to be brightly colored, you must turn on the option to Show color on Start, taskbar and action center. If this option is turned off, your Start menu, taskbar and action center will be dark gray, but tiles will be colored in your accent color. You can also choose to make your Start menu/Start screen transparent or opaque.

Pin and unpin tiles

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To pin an app to the Start menu as a tile, find the app in the Start menu, right-click on it, and click Pin to Start, or drag it and drop it into the tile section of the Start menu. To unpin a tile from the Start menu, right-click on the tile and click Unpin from Start. You cannot yet pin websites or files to the Start menu by dragging and dropping them, though a "Pin to Start menu" tooltip does pop up if you drag a website or a file over the Windows button.

Resize and move tiles

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Switching up your tiles in Windows 10 is like switching them up in Windows 8. To resize a tile, right-click on it and hover over Resize until the size menu pops up. Depending on the tile, you'll be able to choose small, medium, wide or large. To move a tile, click it, hold it and drag it to another part of the Start menu.

Add more tiles

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By default, the Start menu's right side is three tiles wide, which means you can place three medium-sized tiles side by side before you'll need to move to the next line. If you have a larger screen or you just want a bigger, more tile-riffic Start menu, head over to Settings > Personalization > Start and turn on the toggle under Show more tiles. This will let you place four medium-sized tiles side by side.

Edit the tile sections

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In Windows 10, like in Windows 8, you can divide your live tiles into different categories. To create a new category, click a tile, hold it and drag it to the bottom of the Start menu until a black bar shows up. Drop the tile below the black bar and your tile will end up in its own little section. Click the area above the tile (where you saw the black bar), and a white outline will appear. Start typing in this box to name your category. To rename a category, click a category name to highlight it, then start typing to edit it.

Pin items to the left side of the Start menu

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Just kidding -- you can't customize the left side of the Start menu, though you can remove items from the Most used list. To do this, right-click on the item you want to remove and click Don't show in this list. To keep recent items from appearing, go to Settings > Personalization > Start and turn off Store and display recently opened items in Start and the taskbar.

Editors' note: This How To post was originally published on January 26, 2015 and was updated on November 17, 2015 to reflect new information regarding Windows 10 Build 10586.

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