4 ways to have fun stretching, squeezing and setting the Start Menu

Gone are the days of boring Start Menus.

In Windows 10, you get the glitz of the garish Start Screen with the utility of the under-rated Start Menu.

Today I want to show you five fun things you can do to mash, mold and mix up that good ol’ Start Menu so you can make it look exactly the way you want.

We’ll toy with colors, tinker with live tiles and twist and turn the Start Menu until it looks just right.

Check it out kid!

Here’s the agenda for today:

  1. Making Windows 7 blush
  2. Start Menu Calisthenics
  3. Punching and pinning your tiles around
  4. Pimping it out
  5. Getting colorful with your preferences

First let’s start with the boring stuff.

Humans are creatures of habit and are generally loath to change.  We like doing things our way and we love our routines.  That’s part of the reason we get so perturbed when something we use all the time changes and infringes upon our delicate little ecosystem of familiarity.

So let’s start with making Windows 7 blush…

1. Making Windows 7 blush

How do you make Windows 7 blush? Oh, it’s so easy my friend.

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery and if you want to make Windows 7 blush just go to the heart: make the Windows 10 Start Menu look like the Windows 7 Start menu.

You can read the above article if you want but you really don’t need to.  Making the two look identical is just a matter of unpinning all your tiles and then changing the Start Menu background color to muted gray.

I’ll show you how to get colorful a little later in this guide.

2. Start Menu Calisthenics

Welcome to your new resized start menu in Windows 10

Who said calisthenics is just for children during school fitness day?  You can whip your Start Menu into shape too.

Simply drag the top edge of the Start Menu up and down to squeeze and stretch the menu to the desired size.

Resizing the Windows 10 Start Menu

Notice as you shrink the Start Menu’s height the live tiles squeeze out to the right along the horizontal edge of the taskbar.

If you don’t want that weird effect you need to unpin a few tiles.

3. Punching and pinning your tiles around

Introducing the Wacky Windows 10 Start Menu

My opinion on unpinning is that you should unpin as many tiles as possible.

Live tiles are annoying.  Case closed.  So unless you want to see color cubes featuring breaking headlines and health news, zap the ones you don’t like and only keep the ones you do.

Just right click a tile and select Unpin from Start.

Windows 10 Unpin from Start

You can get it back by clicking All Apps near the bottom of the Start Menu and then scrolling through all your apps.  When you find the one you want, right click it and choose Pin to Start.

Pinning a tile back to Start in Windows 10

Easy enough.

You can also resize your tiles to be smaller or larger.

Resize your tile in Windows 10

Right click the tile again but this time mouse over Resize.  You’ll see four options:

  • Small
  • Medium
  • Wide
  • Large

Large is about the width of the left side of the Start Menu and approximately the half the height of the default Start Menu dimensions.

It’s pretty freekn’ big.

Wide is the same width as Large but half the height.  Medium is a cozy cute little square that looks best and Small is a quarter size of the Medium.

Keep in mind that not all tiles can be stretched Wide or Large but if it supports those sizes it’ll show up as a clickable option.

You can also drag live tiles around to change the layout or keep the tile but remove the live refreshes by choosing Turn live tile off from the context menu.

Turn Windows 10 live tile off

Also, to pin stuff to the first half of the Start Menu (you know the side without all those crazy tiles) you can either right click the icon and choose Pin to Start or simply drag the icon over the Start Menu button in the lower left corner. When you hover the icon over the Start Menu, it’ll open allowing you to drop the shortcut in the desired spot.

4. Pimping it out

If you really want to pull and push the Start Menu into shape try customizing it by adding stuff you really care about.

For example, right click on an empty part of the horizontal bar laying across the bottom edge of the screen and choose Properties.

Customize Start Menu in Taskbar and Start Menu Properties in Windows 10

Choose the Start Menu tab and pick the Customize button.

Now you can pin frequently used stuff such as your Control Panel, Music Library and Downloads folders directly to the Start Menu.

Adding stuff to the Windows 10 Start Menu

The really nice thing about this is now not only are your favorite folders pinned to the Start Menu but also if you mouse over some applications you’ll see a list of recent places or bookmarks.

For example, if you mouse over the Control Panel will see a trail of the places in the Control Panel I’ve visited.

If you mouse over an item you can permanently affix it to the Start Menu by clicking the little thumb tack icon in the right corner of the option.

Windows 10 Start Menu with Recent items

Internet Explorer shows you a list of wealth of options too.  You can access frequent sites with a click or even reopen your last web session before your browser crashed.

Internet Explorer frequently places in Windows 10

5. Getting colorful with your preferences

If you want to infuse some color juice into your banal Start Menu right click an empty part of the menu and choose Personalize from the popup.

Now you can have fun with every color from lime green to bubble gum pink.  It’s all there so you can annoy your friends.

Changing the color and appearance of the Windows 10 Start Menu

The Bottom Line

The Start Menu goes elastic in Windows 10.  You can unpin all your tiles to make it resemble the Windows 7 Start Menu.  You can pin, unpin, resize and remove tiles.  You can splash up the colors and make it beautiful and you can add useful applications that show your history for quick access.

Oh! And by the way – if you want to hide your Recent Items history from the Start Menu so that when you mouse over the Control Panel it doesn’t show up, go back into the Start Menu properties (Right-click Taskbar, Properties, Start Menu tab) and set Number of recent items to display in Jump Lists to 0 (that’s a zero).

Of course someone could easily view your history by changing this to a non-zero value so a better tip is to probably right click the Recent item and choose Remove from this list.

Removing Recent items from the list in Windows 10

Let me know if my article helped you at all.

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And as always, thank you for taking the time out of your day to read my little site. I really appreciate all my visitors and I know you could be using your time to do other things.

All the best.

By the way, I’ll take a pizza order from Umberto’s Pizza instead of a Twitter follower or membership join.  hahahaha. have a good one.

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Posted in Windows, Windows 10