Most claim the reason Windows 8 failed was due to the Start Menu or basically lack thereof. I was able to adapt to it, but most people do not take change easily, never mind drastic change – which is what it was. Now as others have stated Microsoft could have explain the features better and it may have helped but I really think people are too ingrained into how they do things and don’t wish to spend time learning something new.
So along comes WIndows 10 and while the Start Menu is back where it belongs, it is still new enough that it is an adjustment for people. The learning curve here is far smaller if you are coming from Windows 7 than if switching from Windows 8.
Not only is the change here easier to adapt to, I think overall it makes for a better Start Menu.
It is entirely rewritten from the Start Menu of old, so there is only a resemblance with the Windows 7 version as far as placement and size. You have a column of programs on the left and tiles on the right. If you really want the tiles to go away, you are able to do that, but do have to remove tiles one at a time. However you do lose functionality by doing so.
Whether you like them or not, Microsoft had to keep trying to go with tiles, it couldn’t dump them. It is essential to their vision to combine Windows 10 Mobile with the desktop and have them work similarly. I think most people will get used to the tiles once they start using them. Although, I admit the live tile aspect isn’t very useful for most apps. I most use it for weather, mail, photos and calendar.
You can resize the tile section, including making it full screen if you wish. The tiles can be group, named and moved around and resized. Everything you expect, but one awesome addition. Before with the Start Menu it forced tiles to go a certain way and it was difficult to group things to your liking, now you can put them almost wherever you want. That freedom really helps.
In fact in the next update to Windows 10 there will be the ability to put tiles 4 across (medium) where right now that is 3. I’ve had it since I’ve been using Windows 10 but most people have not, but it will become the default. This will greatly assist people in setting up the menu how they want it.
Of course you can go without tiles by removing them all and just use the left section. This works similar to Windows Phone in that you can click on a letter to jump to that section of the menu. Of course you can easily use Cortana to search for each app (or file) which works beautifully – highlighted in future article. Old programs written for the desktop will tend to add a lot of useless entries like always but the new apps from the Windows Store are cleanly listed.
There is a recently used listing which I never use (you can hide it in settings) and there are a few quick links which you can adjust for what you wish to have access to within easy reach.
Incidentally there is still a hidden right click menu (same way as Windows 8, right click on the Start Button itself) that gives you quick access to several admin type settings. Very handy and glad it is there.
While there are some features of the menu I didn’t cover here (right click to re-size, uninstall, etc) I have covered the basic functionality. I really think they did it right (though need to fix live tiles as mine don’t all work – I might try a fresh install to see if that fixes it). It has moved into the future (new programming underneath) and yet still provides a place for the tiles that isn’t in your face.
It won’t satisfy everyone, some just either can’t learn new things or don’t wish to. However, I really think Microsoft has found a way to move forward with the Start Menu but retain enough of the past that it gives experiences users a chance at learning the new system.