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The Windows 11 start menu moved: How to put it back where it belongs

The Windows Start button should be on the left side of the taskbar. We'll show you where to find the setting to move it back.

Windows 11 update on a laptop

After updating to Windows 11, you'll need to change this setting if you want to Start menu back where it normally is. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

For as long as I can remember, the iconic Windows Start button has been in the bottom left corner of my PC's screen. It's a predictable location for a button that's a critical piece to navigating your computer, but in Windows 11, Microsoft has redesigned the taskbar. (You can check out CNET's Windows 11 review here.) With the release of Windows 11 starting Oct. 5, all of your taskbar icons -- including the Start menu-- will default to being centered at the bottom of your computer's display. 

Fear not! Windows 11 will let anyone with a compatible PC move the Start button, along with the rest of your taskbar, to its tried-and-true location. We'll show you how to do it.

By the way, not all PCs will be able to get the free upgrade to Windows 11 now that it's released. You can use this Microsoft tool to check if your PC meets all of the requirements. And if you don't want to install the new OS, you may not have to. That is, until 2025, when Microsoft will stop supporting Windows 10

Read more: All the features new to Windows 11 and how it compares to Windows 10

Windows 11 Settings Start menu

You'll need to jump into the Settings app in order to move the Start button.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

How to move the Windows 11 Start menu back to the left

There are several different ways to get to the Settings app. You can either press the Windows key and the letter I at the same time, or click the Start button and click the Settings gear icon in the Pinned apps section. Another option is to open the Start menu and start typing "Settings." There are, of course, other ways to get there, but I think you get the point. 

Move Start Button to the Left

With just a few clicks, you can return the Start button back to where it belongs. 

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

With the Settings app open, click on Personalization in the list of options on the left side of the window. Scroll down until you see the Taskbar option and click it. Once there, scroll to the bottom of the options where you'll find Taskbar behaviors and click the Taskbar Alignment dropdown that currently says Center; change it to Left

And just like that, the Start menu and the rest of your taskbar items are shifted all the way to the left side of your screen just like it's always been.

Remember, not every PC that runs Windows 10 will update to Windows 11 later this year. Here's how you can check if your PC will. There are plenty of new features coming to Windows 11, we walk you through some of the highlights.  

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