Guide to customize Windows 10 Start Menu and Taskbar

Desktop, Start Menu & Taskbar are the crucial aspects of Windows 10 customization, especially when it comes to productivity. We have talked about how you can beautifully customize Windows 10 Desktop Background,  Color, Loock screen, and Themes. In this post, we are looking at the rest of the two features, Start Menu and Taskbar.

To change their settings, you will have to open Windows 10 Settings > Personalization.

Customize Windows 10 Start Menu

The Start menu has evolved from being a list of programs to a full-blown overlay which not only lets you pin apps and folders to it, but with the help of live tiles, you get to know more information. When it comes to usage, everyone has their own way. Some like the Start Menu to fall back to how it was during Windows 7, while others like it the way it is on Windows 10. You should know its called as just “Start” in Windows 10.

What does Start menu show by default

customize Windows 10 Start Menu and Taskbar

The image clearly shows all the parts. The majority of Start menu is taken up by Tiles. You also have Recently added programs, followed by Application list. On the leftmost section, you have access to Profile, Settings, and Power. The tiles can be grouped under different headings.

Control what shows on the Start Menu

Under Settings > Personalization > Start, you will find the following options:

Show more tiles on Start: If you want to see more tiles than the default offering, use this, and it will add a fourth column which can fill in 8 small tiles.

Show app list in Start menu: If you chose to use more tiles, hiding the app list makes sense. Turn off this option, and your start menu will no more display list of programs. This will add two more icons on the leftmost section. One will give you access to List of programs, and second will let you switch back to Start menu tiles section.

You can turn off the options to show recently added apps, show most used apps, and show recently opened items in Jump Lists on Start of the Taskbar.

Occasionally, Windows suggest apps in the Start menu. It’s a native advertisement section which Microsoft uses to tell users about the new app. While I have found it useful sometimes, if you don’t like it, turn it off by toggling Occasionally show suggestions in Start.

Choose which folders appear on Start

The left bar on the Start Menu can display more folders. This can be configured using the option that is available at the end. While I liked to keep in the taskbar all the time, if you like it on the Start menu, you can choose to show additional folders there.

Customizing Live Tiles

Unlike Icons, Live Tiles can be heavily customized. You can choose to resize it from being a small icon like tile to Large or Wide tile to display more information. Choose based on the kind of information you want to see more the tiles.

Right-click on any of the Live Tiles, and you should get the option to resize. Apart from resizing, you get two more options, first is More which offers you options like Turn Live Tile off, Pin to taskbar, rate, and review, share, and lastly uninstall. Second lets you unpin from Start menu.

If you look closely, these options offer time-saving options, especially with Uninstall option. If you want to add to the taskbar, you don’t have to find the program again and drag it here.

Pro Tip: If you don’t like the tiles at all, and want them gone, just remove all tiles from the Start menu, and you will see Windows 7-like Start menu.

Customize Windows 10 Taskbar

The Taskbar is one feature you can’t live without on any OS. On Windows 10 it offers almost everything you want to do on your PC. Right from adding folders, apps to Task manager displays notification icons on the top right, and so on. This is how the taskbar looks like. You have Start button, Search box and Cortana, Multi-Desktop, Area where you can add icons, people app, and lastly the system tray which shows important icons, and notification count.

Now, let’s go to Taskbar section in Windows 10 Settings > Personalization.  Here you get the following options:

In this page, it’s possible to change many basic options, which I will recommend you to use:

  • Automatically hide the taskbar in desktop mode which is useful if you want to get a full view of anything which is working on or reading.
  • Use small taskbar buttons, if you don’t have a huge monitor,  use small taskbar buttons. Saves you a lot of space, and you can add more App icons, and Folders.
  • Show badges on taskbar buttons which is useful for apps like Email where you need to see if you have a new email.
  • The taskbar can be used in Multiple Displays as well. You don’t need any extra software to do this. See how you can setup multiple monitors.
  • There is a People Bar in the Taskbar. This post talks about using the Peoples Bar.

Notification Area

Apart from the fly-in you get any new notification, the Notification & Action Center on the Taskbar is responsible to show how many unread notifications are there, and also display icons from Apps which are important. For example, I have OneDrive icon always on my system tray which displays staus like syncing, and so on. If you feel they are too much, you can control to show less of them, or add the ones which are important for you.

  • Select which icons appear on the taskbar.
  • Turn system icons on or off.

We can talk a lot about notifications, and how to control them, but we will have covered in the next post.

Lastly, You get to see more options for Taskbar, when you right click. If you have been using Windows 10 even recently, you would know this. However, there are few things you should take a look at:

  • You can enable Windows Ink Workspace Button.
  • You can choose to Hide Cortana or Cortana Icon or the Search box.
  • Launch Task manager from here.

This sums up everything you should know about Windows 10 Start menu and taskbar customization. I will suggest you also read our post on customizing Windows 10 Desktop Background,  Color, Lock screen, and Themes as well if you came here directly. Let us know if you have any questions about them.

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Ashish is a veteran Windows, and Xbox user who excels in writing tips, tricks, and features on it to improve your day to day experience with your devices.