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How to switch between the Start menu and Start screen in Windows 10

Both are available in Microsoft's new version of Windows, but you can choose which one to work with.

win10-start-menu.jpg
You can easily switch between the Start menu and Start screen in Windows 10, screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Microsoft finally revived the Start menu, as seen in Windows 10 . But those of you keen on the Start screen can use that instead. How do you switch between the two? Let's take a look.

Your device will determine whether the Start menu or Start screen is the default option in the new version of Windows. On a PC, the Start menu will be turned on by default when you log into Windows 10. On a pure touch-screen device, such as a tablet, the Start screen will be the default.

After killing the Start menu in Windows 8, Microsoft received complaints from PC users, who yearned for the traditional menu. That move opened up a large market for third-party Start menu replacements. But tablet users can find the touch-screened based Start screen easier to navigate. With Windows 10, you can have both worlds. Whether you use a PC, a tablet or a hybrid, you can easily switch between the new Start menu and the Start screen.

Here's how it works in Windows 10:

Let's say, the Start menu is the default option on your device.

  • To make the Start screen the default instead, click the Start button and then click the Settings command.
  • At the Settings window, click the setting for Personalization.
  • At the Personalization window, click the option for Start.
  • In the right pane of the screen, you'll see a setting that says "Use Start full screen" that's currently turned off. Turn that setting on so the button turns blue and the setting says "On.
  • Now click the Start button, and you should see the full Start screen.

Let's say the Start screen is the default option on your Windows device and you want to change that to the Start menu. Just do the opposite.

  • Click the Start button and then click the Settings command.
  • At the Settings window, click the setting for Personalization.
  • At the Personalization window, click the option for Start.
  • In the right pane of the screen, the setting for "Use Start full screen" will be turned on. Just turn it off.
  • Now click the Start button, and you should see the Start menu.

Your switch to the Start menu or Start screen as the default will stay permanent unless you change it back.

Editors' note: This article was first published October 3, 2014. It has been updated with newer details about Windows 10.