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Windows 11 Start Menu Can Be Replaced With New Stardock App

Windows 11 caused an uproar with major changes made to the beloved Start Menu. But popular Windows utility developer, Stardock, has a beta version of an application that makes Windows 11 feel a bit more familiar.

Microsoft doesn’t currently let you revert back to the “classic” Start Menu in the beta versions of Windows 11 — to the dismay of some. But that’s where Start11 comes in, which allows you to do exactly that.

Once installed, Start11 gives you the ability to change the appearance of the Windows 11 Start Menu and revert back to its classic version. And when we say “classic,” we don’t mean Windows 10. The beta version of Start11 brings back the design of the old Windows 7 Start Menu.

Stardock has long provided many PC desktop enhancement utilities that are designed to enable you to control the way Windows looks, feels, and functions. The StartX family is one of the most popular customization tools for Windows that Stardock released, which offers the Windows 7 classic Start Menu for those on Windows 10.

Today, Stardock released a beta version of Start11 that gives you the option of making your Start Menu look like that of Windows 7, with a list of your apps on the left and some settings on the right. The app gives you the option to revert to the Windows 7 Start menu or opt for a modern look. The latter has more or less the same features but is built with elements of the newer Windows 11 design language, such as rounded corners.

The recent release consists of quite a few features for the Start menu. It includes options to customize colors, fonts, shortcuts, and icon sizes. The taskbar even supports tweaks such as custom textures, transparency settings, blur effects, and more.

For now, this is only a beta version, though. According to Stardock, it doesn’t host all the features it’s going to offer in the future. Stardock plans on adding updated pages or tabs, and new features for enterprise customers. Stardock CEO Brad Wardell says he plans on adding much more functionality to the app.

Start11 costs $5 with special upgrade pricing if you have a previous StartX license, and works with Windows 10 as well, so you can buy it even if you’re not planning on upgrading to Windows 11 anytime soon.

Windows 11 is set to release later this year, currently in beta through the Windows Insider program. It’s a full refresh of the operating system, though the changes to the Start Menu have certainly commanded the most attention from potential upgraders.

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Computing

Windows 11 No Longer Lets You Use Old Windows 10 Start Menu

Changes to the Start Menu have been the most noticeable and controversial feature of Microsoft’s new Windows 11 operating system. But in the early builds of Windows 11, retrieving the old Windows 10 Start Menu was always just a few clicks in Settings away. According to the changes made in the latest version of Windows 11, however, that’s no longer the case.

The shift happened in the second build of the Windows 11 beta software, which is now available through the Windows Insider program. Among other notable changes to the Start Menu, Microsoft has apparently removed the option from Settings entirely, leaving you with the bright and shiny new Start Menu whether you like it or not. And yes, that means there’s no option for left-aligning the Taskbar either.

There are a couple of caveats, however. First, there is actually a way to get back the Windows 10 Start Menu, but it’s anything but straightforward. The folks at Tom’s Hardware have discovered a backdoor method that involves tweaking a registry. Obviously, anything involving a registry change isn’t recommended and could cause some serious issues with your device. Then again, you’re on beta software to begin with, so you should be treading lightly anyways.

Secondly, it’s important to keep in mind that Windows 11 is still in its early stages of development. While the central features and design elements are likely here to stay, we’ll likely see a host of changes made between now and its eventual release date toward the end of this year. Because the ability to revert back to the Windows 10 Start Menu was already available in the initial builds, it’s not hard to imagine Microsoft bringing it back.

That’s especially true if there’s an uproar around its disappearance. Judging by the hostile reaction some have had toward the new Start Menu, I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft changed its mind once again in this regard. Giving people the option to switch between the old Start Menu and the new one has few downsides. It’ll make the stodgy traditionalists happy and encourage more of them to upgrade when the time comes.

For now, we’ll have to wait and see what Microsoft decides as additional builds of Windows 11 roll out over the coming months.

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Computing

New Windows 11 Build Improves the Start Menu

A little over a week after Microsoft launched Windows 11 in an early preview with the Windows Insider program, the new operating system is already seeing some big updates.

Microsoft just announced a new Dev Channel build of Windows 11, improving the Start Menu and adding fixes that “make the Windows 11 experience even better.

The big improvement in this build of Windows 11 is a new search box in the Start Menu, making it easier to find what you’re looking for, without the need to open the dedicated search app. Other changes include the return of the Power Mode settings in the Power and Battery page, as well as the ability to right-click on the volume icon in the taskbar to troubleshoot sound problems.

Some smaller changes coming in this build relate to system alert dialogue boxes. The alert for battery running low and display settings all now feature Windows 11’s new visual design. Microsoft even simplified refreshing the desktop, so that you no longer need to click “show more options.”

More importantly, this latest build fixes the “PrintNightmare” vulnerability in Windows. Separate out-of-band patches fixed it in Windows 10, but today’s release patches up the remote code execution exploit in Windows 11. Other fixes cover bugs in the settings app, notifications, lock screen, Widgets, and more.

The full changelog for this build is available on Microsoft’s website and is pretty significant in length. We just hit the highlights. The log also lists several bugs which might impact your experience if you opt to install the early preview of Windows 11. These include bugs with File Explorer, search, and widgets,

As a reminder, if you’re not already enrolled to test Windows 11, you can do so right now on compatible PCs via the Windows Insider Dev Channel in just a few steps. Microsoft invites those who are beta testing Windows 11 right now to participate in a “bug bash” where quests can be completed related to the new operating system via the Feedback Hub.

At the end of those quests, you can earn a virtual badge. Quests cover looking over the new Start Menu, trying out the new multitasking features, and more.

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Computing

The New Windows 11 Start Menu Is Already Upsetting People

Microsoft is all set to announce the unveiling of its latest Windows release, Windows 11. Formerly code-named Sun Valley, the update translates to a complete redo of the user interface of the current Windows. In a version of the build that was recently leaked, a couple of new features were noticed — including one highly controversial change that isn’t getting positive reactions.

We installed the build and have added a screenshot for you to see what has changed in the update. The most obvious new feature is that there is a floating and centered Start Menu and a centered Taskbar. Windows 11 has ditched its Live Tiles and instead leverages icons linking to your apps that you can pin according to your choice and convenience.

Baidu

The redesigned Taskbar is already garnering quite a lot of outrage. People are clearly not ready to adapt to a completely new interface and let go of features they were so used to. However, the Taskbar can be customized and reverted back to something more familiar.

First off, you’ll be able to change Taskbar alignment in the Taskbar settings, which will give you an option to left-align your Taskbar. If that’s not enough, the settings also features options for customizing all other updated features, meaning you can go back to the classic Windows 10 Taskbar if you’re not ready to let go of it.

Windows 11 tip: HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerAdvancedStart_ShowClassicMode DWORD=0x1 to enable classic Start pic.twitter.com/xIfyCw68z9

— Rafael Rivera (@WithinRafael) June 15, 2021

The search bar will go through a user interface overhaul in Windows 11 as well, offering a neater and and more efficient interface than in Windows 10. There’s a new task view as well that no longer includes a timeline. The timeline has been integrated in the Start Menu under the recommended tab. Here you’ll find a list of documents and programs that you click on the most.

Windows 11 also has the option to hide the “show desktop” button in the bottom right of Windows. This feature has been there since Windows 7, and it’s a relief to finally have the option to turn it off.

Microsoft has always been mindful about people’s reactions and changed things to make them happy. During the Windows 8 era, for example, it removed the Start Menu altogether, which generated significant rage. Surprise, surprise — with update 8.1, Microsoft brought it back. Allowing people to choose between the classic Start Menu and the new version feels like a decent compromise.

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Tech News

Windows 11 might let you get your Windows 10 Start Menu back

The Internet is buzzing with opinions and discoveries on the alleged leaked Windows 11 build and what features the next Windows release will bring or miss. Unsurprisingly, much of the focus has been on Windows 11’s version of the Start Menu and Taskbar. Equally unsurprising is how some are already raising their voices against the changes. They may not be fans of the Windows 10 Start Menu in the first place, but they might not have much choice but to revert to it, which Windows 11 will apparently allow them to do with a bit of tinkering.

One of the highlights of the Windows 11 leak didn’t exactly come as a surprise. There have already been rumors that Windows 10 would adopt what would have been Windows 10X’s start menu. So different from the left-side menu that Windows has supported for decades, this put the app launcher and recommendation front and center.

Just like when Microsoft changed things in Windows 8 and then in Windows 10, users that are cemented in their ways find these changes jarring and disruptive, even before the feature has been officially confirmed. Fortunately for them, one power user, a Microsoft MVP no less, is revealing a not-so-secret way to bring back the old, equally-disliked Windows 10 version.

That method, unfortunately, does require tinkering with Windows’ registry database, not something for the faint of heart. Once done, however, you’ll probably want to set your Taskbar to be aligned to the left again, just like on Windows 10. Fortunately, Windows actually has a graphical setting for that.

Those worried about other big changes in Windows 11 probably don’t need to hold their breath too much. At least based on the leaked build, there aren’t that many disruptive changes in the next version of Windows. We won’t be waiting too long for the answers, either, as Microsoft’s event is just a few days away.



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Computing

How To Manage Disk Space With Windows 10 Storage Menu

Is your computer sluggish, taking ages to respond to a simple request? Have you run your antivirus software to ensure that your machine is clean of malware? In that case, it might be that your hard drive is full of little-used programs and years-old files, taking up space and slowing down Windows 10’s performance while contributing nothing.

Read on to learn more about how Windows 10 Storage menu and Storage Sense can help you trim the dead weight from your hard drive and improve system efficiency.

What is the Windows 10 Storage menu?

Designed to be a hub connecting all your data management features, the Windows 10 Storage menu has many features allowing you to review and alter files quickly and programs to reorganize and open up additional space. While this feature is extremely convenient, it also means you can mess up or lose your data very easily if you don’t know what you are doing. Learn about Windows 10 storage first (don’t worry, it’s easier than it looks). We’ll start with the most basic of steps, namely where to find Storage in Windows 10.

Cortana and the search menu are happy to help and take you directly there if you search for “storage.” If you prefer a more traditional way, head over to Settings > System > Storage.

When you first bring up Storage, it seems to be a basic description of your drives, how much data they are using in GBs, and how much free space remains. We’re all used to seeing this part — but the real magic happens when you select one of your drives and open up a whole new set of options, including the ability to dive deeper into what’s taking up your disk space and delete any data you decide you don’t need.

How to configure and run Storage Sense

Storage Sense is a great Windows tool that will auto-delete temporary files and empty your recycle bin and download folders. If this is your first time using this option, select Configure Storage Sense or run it now at the top of the Storage menu.

Daniel Martin/Screenshot

From the next menu, you can set when Storage Sense will run, when and if recycle bin files and downloads will be deleted, or select Clean Now to perform a cleaning based on the current menu settings. Note that the default setting for your Downloads folder is “Never” and should remain as such unless you are confident that there’s nothing you need before deleting everything.

Image of Configure Storage Sense Menu

How to manage your hard drives manually

The Storage menu features a usage window in which you can see where most of the data on your computer is kept. Note that there several sections here, including Apps & Features, Documents, Pictures, Temporary files, and Other. Select any of these to bring up a detailed list of what is taking up space on your hard drive and where’s it’s located. Apps & Features typically contain the lion’s share of dead weight, making it a good place to start if you want to clear out disk space.

Image of Apps & Features Menu
Daniel Martin/Screenshot

You should ensure that you truly do not want the apps you are eliminating, but you’ll see that ridding your storage space of unused apps, games, and large files will make a huge difference in performance and free up room for the software you will use. You can peruse the list of apps and features, search for specific apps by name or sort them according to size and location, or sort them by Name, Size, and Install date.

If you want to get rid of an app, click on it to bring up an instant Uninstall button, which works for all apps on your computer, not just those downloaded from the Windows Store. Also, note the button at the top of the window names Optional Features. These are extensions and plugins used in software all over your computer that you may not need. That said, they are negligible in size, so clearing them out isn’t worth the trouble.

Other tricks in Storage

  • Find out what’s important/unnecessary: Remember a couple of paragraphs up, when we talked about sorting options for your apps? You can do this with any drive section in Storage, which is really useful for seeing at a glance what software is taking up most of your storage space — and whether you need to have it. Also, note that you can refresh each drive once you delete something to see how your action affects the current space.
  • Automated storage decisions: All the way at the bottom of the first Storage menu, locate the Change Where New Content Is Saved button. Here, you can control exactly where new apps, docs, music, pictures, and videos will be saved. This allows for extensive future control over how your data is divided for easier storage clearing and better data management.

Third-party option: CCleaner

If you’d rather not deal with Windows 10’s options for managing space on your hard drive, CCleaner is an excellent freemium option for the average PC owner. CCleaner will analyze both internal and external hard drives and provide users with a breakdown of the largest folders and files taking up space. Additionally, this software will send this list to your PC so that you can inspect and deliberate on which items should stay or go. Other features include the ability to delete files from within CCleaner and organize data by file type to determine which extensions are bloating your hard drive, and new software updates are frequently released.

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Tech News

Starbucks’ 2021 spring menu arrives with good news for vegans

Starbucks has introduced its Spring 2021 menu, revealing the addition of new dairy-free drinks for customers who prefer a plant-based lifestyle. The new offerings will be available at stores across the United States starting on March 2, and they’ll be joined by the widespread availability of Oatly oat milk at many of the company’s corporate stores.

Starbucks’ 2021 spring menu will feature a new line of dairy-free shaken espresso drinks, including the Iced Chocolate Almondmilk Shaken Espresso and the Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso. For the first time, the company’s Honey Oatmilk Latte will be available at Starbucks stores nationwide, as well.

Customers who prefer oat milk will also be able to get other drinks made with Oatly oat milk at ‘most’ Starbucks stores in the US starting tomorrow. Joining the new drinks is a new food item for customers who are looking for plant-based options: the Chickpea Bites & Avocado Protein Box.

As the name suggests, this new food item features chickpea bites, mini carrots, snap peas, an avocado spread, and dried cranberry-nut mix. Most Starbucks stores in the United States will offer this plant-based protein box starting on March 2.

These aren’t the only products available at Starbucks for customers who avoid dairy. The company notes that it also offers, for example, its coconut milk-based Iced Pineapple Matcha drink and Pink Drink all year at most of its locations.

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