You can restore the classic Start menu in Windows 11, which will be similar to the good old Windows 10's Start with the app list. Windows 11 introduced an updated centered taskbar and a brand-new Start menu. It no longer allows users to pin Live Tiles, and the list of apps is now hidden behind the dedicated "All apps" button.
Not all users like those changes. If you have just updated Windows 10 to Windows 11 and are not impressed by all the new changes to the taskbar, here is how to restore the old classic Start menu in Windows 11. Do note that this won't restore Live Tiles for you. This feature is gone forever.
Unlike the centered taskbar, which is easy to disable, Microsoft, for now, does not offer a simple way to restore the classic Start menu in Windows 11. To revert this quite a controversial change, you need to use a third-party tool.
This post will show you how to restore the classic Start menu in Windows 11.
Restore Classic Start Menu in Windows 11
- Download the Open-Shell app from its official GitHub repository using this link.
- Install the application. We recommend you to customize the setup and select only the Start menu component.
- Click the Start menu button and open Open Shell Menu settings from All apps.
- Place a checkmark next to the Replace Start button option. After that, Open-Shell will place its icon in the bottom-left corner of the screen where the Start menu button used to be in almost every previous Windows version.
- After that, switch to the Skin tab, and select some nice looking skin. My choice is the Windows 8 look.
- Now, disable the centered taskbar in Windows 11. This will move the stock Start menu button to the left, and replace it with the classic one from Open-Shell.
You are done! You will get the following appearance.
The last step is mandatory, as Open-Shell currently retains the centered taskbar and the original Start menu by default. That means you can use both the classic Windows 7-style Start menu and the new one. So, if you want to make your system look like Windows 10 as much as possible, you better disable the centered taskbar.
It is worth mentioning that Open-Shell uses an icon that looks quite different to Start menu buttons in Windows 11, 10, or 7. Luckily, you can change that and use any other icon.
- Launch Open Shell Menu Settings from the Start menu.
- In the Replace Start menu section, click Custom, then Pick image. A nice image for the Start menu can be found on this DeviantArt page.
- Select the new icon and save changes. You'll get the following look.
Open-Shell settings provide many other customization options that let you change various behaviors, change context menus, personalize the appearance, etc.
Now you know how to restore the Classic Start menu in Windows 11. The next step to take is to enable the classic taskbar.
Restore the Classic Taskbar in Windows 11
- Launch the Registry Editor , for that press the Win + R shortcut and type
regeditinto the Run box.
- Navigate to the following key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Shell\Update\Packages. You can copy this path and paste it into the address bar in the Registry Editor.
- On the right side of the window, right-click the empty space and select New > DWORD (32-bit value.)
- Rename the new value to
- Double-click it and set the value date to 1.
- Right-click the Start menu button and select Shut down or sign out > sign out.
You now have the classic taskbar.
Ready-to-use Registry files
If you do not feel comfortable browsing the vast jungles of Windows Registry, we have prepared a set of REG files for enabling and disabling the classic taskbar in Windows 11 with one click.
- Download this ZIP archive.
- Extract the included files to any folder.
- Double-click the
Enable classic taskbar in Windows 11.regfile and confirm the UAC request to merge the Registry change.
- Restart your computer or sign out of the system.
You are done. By the way, in the archive, you will find two files. The one mentioned above enables the old classic Windows 10-like taskbar, and another one,
Restore default taskbar in Windows 11.reg, restores the default Windows 11 taskbar.
Sadly, this method has a number of disadvantages.
- Taskbar stopped showing the clock, network, and sound icons
- Both the Win+X menu and the Start menu no longer open. The latter is already fixed by the Open-Shell.
- The search icon and Cortana taskbar icon do nothing.
- The Task View crashes when you open it from the taskbar.
Let's resolve these issues.
Restore the clock, network, and sound icons
You can restore the native clock, network, and sound icons by running the classic Control Panel applet for system icons. Press Win + R and type the following command into the Run dialog.
That command opens the Notifications classic Control Panel applet. There, click on Turn system icons on or off.
Turn on Volume, Network, Sound, and other icons you like.
Alternatively, you can use the following third-party apps.
- Sound Icon:
Now, let's remove everything non-working from the Windows 10-like taskbar.
Remove non-working taskbar icons
- Right-click the taskbar and uncheck the Show Cortana button item.
- Now, open the Registry editor (Win + R > regedit.exe) and go to the following key:
- Here, modify or create a new 32-bit DWORD named
SearchboxTaskbarModeand leave its value data as 0.
- Finally, open Settings (Win + I), and open it to the Personalization > Taskbar page.
- Under Taskbar items, turn off the Task View toggle option.
Bonus tip: If you are used to have the taskbar icon non-grouped with text labels, you can now ungroup them with the classic Windows 10 taskbar, again in the Registry.
Ungroup the taskbar icons and enable text labels.
- Launch the Registry editor (Win + R > regedit.exe).
- Browse it to the key
- Create here a new subkey,
Explorer. You will get the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer path.
- Here, create a new 32-bit DWORD value
NoTaskGroupingand set its value data to 1.
- Sign out from your user account and login back to apply this change.
Using Winaero Tweaker
Starting in Winaero Tweaker 1.20.1, it easy to switch between the new and classic appearance with just one click. Navigate to Windows 11 > Classic Start Menu and Taskbar, and turn on the option.
It will restore the classic Taskbar for you.
Update: We have found a way to restore the Ribbon in File Explorer. The steps are reviewed in detail in a dedicated article. Here, let's have a quick overview.
If you changed your mind and decided to return back to the newest appearance of Windows 11, you need to revert the all the changes. First, you need to uninstall the Open-Shell app to undo the menu modification. After that, you have to disable the Windows 10 taskbar on Windows 11, and finally, you have to restore the Ribbon.
Here is how to revert changes and restore the default modern Start menu in Windows 11. Long story short, you need to uninstall the Open-Shell app.
To restore the default Windows 11 start menu, do the following.
- Open the Settings app; press Win + I for that.
- Go to the Apps > Apps & features.
- Find the Open-Shell app in the list.
- Select it in the list, and select Uninstall from the three-dot menu.
- You may need to sign out to make the change take effect.
Restore the modern taskbar
- Open Windows Registry Editor (use search or Win + R - regedit again.)
- Go to the
- Find the UndockingDisabled DWORD value.
- Right-click it and select Delete.
- Restart the computer or sign out to make the change take effect.
Finally, if you downloaded the ready-to-use Registry files, you can restore it with one click and get back the default Start menu. Just double-click the
Restore default taskbar in Windows 11.reg file to disable the Windows 10-like menu with tiles, and confirm the UAC prompt.
Now you know how to switch between different Start menu and taskbar styles in Windows 11.
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