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. There are a few methods, but some of them are exclusive to specific releases of the operating system. You can quickly find what Windows version and build number you have installed in the "About Windows" dialog. Open it by pressing Win + R and typing winver in the Run box.
Restore Classic Taskbar in Windows 11
Note: this method works for all Windows 11 versions. It is the recommended especially if you run Windows 11 22H2 and above.
- Download the free and open source ExplorerPatcher app from GitHub.
- Run the installer. Literally you just need to launch the ep_setup.exe file.
- The screen goes blank for a half of a minute. Wait for the desktop to appear.
- You now have the classic Windows 10-like taskbar! Right-click it and select the Properties item that the ExplorerPatcher adds to the context menu.
- In the ExplorerPatcher's Properties window, click More taskbar options in the Settings app.
- Then in the Settings app that opens to Personalization > Taskbar, click on Taskbar behaviors.
- Select Left for the Taskbar Alignment from the drop down menu. This will make the Start menu appear on the left, above the Start button, instead of the middle of the taskbar.
You are done! Now you have the classic Windows 10-like taskbar on Windows 11 that works as expected.
You can also use ExplorerPatcher for fine-grain tuning of the Start menu. For example, you can make it open to the All Apps list by default instead of the default page. Additionally, there is an option to hide the Recommended section.
- Right-click the Taskbar and select Properties from the menu.
- In the Properties window, click Start menu on the left.
- Finally, place a check mark for the Open Start in All apps by default.
- Now, click the Windows logo button on the taskbar. The Start pane will directly open to the All apps list.
You are done. In this mode, it is quite closer to the original classic Start menu of Windows 9x.
Finally, you can use ExplorerPatcher to hide the Recommended section. Many users find it annoying, so luckily the app offer such an option. Here's how.
- Open ExplorerPatcher's settings by right-clicking the taskbar and selecting Properties.
- In the left side of its window, click on the Start menu item.
- On the right, enable (check) the "Disable the "Recommended" section" check box.
- Now, press the Win key on your keyboard. Enjoy the more clean Start pane.
But that's not all. ExplorerPatcher allows you customize several more options of the operating system. For example, you can get the the Windows 10 Start menu with Tiles.
- Right-click the taskbar and select the Properties item.
- In ExplorerPatcher's dialog, click Start menu on the left.
- On the right, select "Windows 10" under "Start menu style" as shown in the screenshot.
- Now, click the windows logo icon on the left. You will have the Windows 10-like Start menu.
Another feature that I find worth noting is the style of the Alt + Tab dialog.
Get Windows 10-like Classic Alt+Tab Dialog
- Right-click the taskbar, and select the Properties command added by ExplorerPatcher.
- Click on the Window Switcher entry on the left.
- On the right, select the desired style of the Alt + Tab dialog, e.g.
- Windows 10 - to have the dialog with the square corners and more natural window previews.
- Windows NT - the classic dialog without previews.
- Finally, click on the Restart explorer tiny button at the bottom left to restart the Explorer shell. You will now see the chosen style of the window switcher.
Everything above is about modern Start menus. But how about even more classic Start menu? Say something like the Start menu from Windows 7 or even from Windows XP. Well, there is also a solution for that.
Classic Start Menu
To get the classic Start menu in Windows 11, do the following steps.
- 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, because Open-Shell retains the centered taskbar and the original Start menu by default as of the moment of this writing. 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.
Solution for Windows 11 21H2, original release
Note: This method is only suitable for the original "gold" release of Windows 11. The registry tweaks mentioned below aren't applicable to the newer versions. For them, use the steps from the previous chapter.
To get the classic taskbar in Windows 11 version 21H2, do the following.
- 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 can be fixed by using apps like 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.
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.
If you followed the first method for Windows 11 22H2 and above, it is fine enough to install the ExplorerPatcher app.
Method 1. Uninstall ExplorerPatcher
- Open the Settings app by pressing Win + I or by using any other method.
- Click on Apps > Installed app.
- Find ExplorerPatcher in the list and click the three dot button next to its name.
- Select Uninstall from the menu.
- Confirm the operation and following the removal wizard.
Windows 11 will now go back to the default look with the modern Start menu and the taskbar.
If you followed the steps for Windows 11 21H2, original release, do the following. 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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62 thoughts on “How to Restore Classic Start Menu in Windows 11 with Classic Taskbar”
doesn’t work/ 5/7
I have changed the tweak and updated this post.
It also does not work for me. I click the button, it does nothing.
could you also? Date and time in the taskbar!
This is broken in the latest build today
This doesn’t work on build 22000.65. Or rather, what it does is enables the old Windows 10 taskbar but clicking on the Start button does nothing.
Same problem none of the old reg hacks work now…..
I’m having the same issue, is there a fix for this? Or an alternate way to access the start menu? I don’t mind the W11 start menu but I do hate the new taskbar. I recovered the old taskbar but now the start menu buttons don’t work.
Install the OpenShell app.
Hallo, it is not working for me
Yes, I confirm, in 22000.65 you will get the w10 taskbar and button, right click in taskbar works like w10, but the button does nothing.
you can restore the native clock wifi and sound by running:
thank you. added to the post
Not working on current build :(
The look come back, but the windows menu still dont work and some option like not grouping windows and display their name are not working….
That’s sad because this taskbar is the only thing preventing me to upgrade right now…
In build 22000.100, setting “UndockingDisabled” to 1 and restarting the Explorer… causes me to NOT be able to click in the Search box in the File Explorer. It does not matter if I use the File Explorer’s Win 11 ribbon or the one provided in Winareo version 1.30 under the Windows 11 Settings.
Again, that is the File Explorer’s Search box, not the Search on the Taskbar. I had everything tweaked just like I wanted until I discovered I lost the ability to search my files. I did a Win 11 reset for testing and with no other changes other than that Registry registry change. Changing it back to 0 and restarting the Explorer brings the ability to click in the Search box back.
I confirm the same behavior in my system.
In build 22000.194 I was able to enable the Windows 10 Start menu icon on the left side of the taskbar but clicking on the icon did nothing but change the color of the icon. Please help.
Don’t work to build 22468
Doing the restore “Classic Taskbar” also disables Clipboard History. I want to have the classic tasksbar but with working “Clipboard History & Windows key + X: Open Quick Link menu”
“In build 22000.194 I was able to enable the Windows 10 Start menu icon on the left side of the taskbar but clicking on the icon did nothing but change the color of the icon. Please help.”
I have the same Problem… :-(
Install OpenShell, as mentioned in the post.
¿it was not with Name the key “Start_ShowClassicMode” and press Enter.?
The tweak no longer works.
Unfortunately, the start button doesn’t work for me when I use the task bar when I used that option. I had some toolbars added. Which might be the problem, Idk.
Because I restored the Windows Media Player Miniplayer & Quick Launch. Which the search box or start button are not working. :(
Is there any way that I can fix it?
I broke Win-X by using enabling Classic Taskbar. Installed Start11 and fixed the other issues. Even got True Launch Bar installed and working.
Only Win-X is broken. Can that be fixed?
The search icon is visible on the taskbar, but it does not work.
Can that be fixed?
Afaik, it can’t be fixed by now.
How can we hide the dented circle (control center) in the taskar?
It also breaks Emoji keyboard
Win+X, Clipboard History and Explorer Search Bar fix:
Use regedit to delete “UndockingDisabled” from HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Shell\Update\Packages
and install this “https://github.com/valinet/ExplorerPatcher” to patch Windows Explorer.
But battery flyout is still not working…
Thank you so much! I had no issues with Win + X, but both my Clipboard History and Snipping Tool features were broken. Changing the value of the UndockingDisabled string to 0 fixed this. Not having the Snipping Tool was really bothering me.
I revised the Win11 Start Icon, which can completely cover the original Win 11 Icon. This graphic is used in Classic Shell. Please use it yourself if you need it.
snipping tool gets error,it cannot to screenshot the screen when apply “enable classic taskbar”
How to right click on file explorer without crashing windows explorer after this?
hello, this fix is great !
but two thing will not work :
1 – snipping tool
2- time of booting to windows , with fix 35-40 sec , without it 15-20 sec.
Thank you so much for all you’ve done over the years! I hope we can figure out how to get back some of the functionalities. I don’t mind the new start menu, but I feel ungrouping and dragging to the taskbar are pretty vital Windows tools. Please help!
A shortcut for running the classic Control Panel applet for system icons:
Classic Taskbar is much more broken in Windows 11 build 22581 (And possibly earlier but not on build 22000). Taskbar is 100% transparent, taskbar previews do not work and opening a file explorer window crashes explorer.exe
Hi all, great solutions as always from you, Winaero is the best. Unfortunately I keep the taskbar at the top and the control center stays at the bottom and is also cut off. If there is a solution, well otherwise thanks anyway, a request if I can is it possible to have Winareo in Italian? or create an external file of the texts that I can translate?
After several tests I have found a more serious problem the emoji keyboard is no longer displayed and the virtual keyboard is added but it does not work. Thanks all the same for your work.
Windows 11 Home
This is a disaster. My Win11 laptop (used with an external monitor and keyboard) will not reboot/restart with this installed. I must remove it from it’s stand and open it and close it before it reboots. I’ve uninstalled Open Shell and have some semblance of my desktop back in order.
This should not be put out to the public if there are still serious bugs like this.
I am especially happy with un-grouped taskbar, however can’t figure out how to put a language bar icon back on the taskbar (to switch between different languages). Can someone help?
click start and run the following:
choose “turn system icons on and off” and then choose what to turn on
(language is there)
Is there any way to do JUST the “Ungroup the taskbar icons and enable text labels”??
Most of the other items are cosmetic and can be adjusted to over time. However, forcing the task bar items to be grouped and unnamed is an absolute productivity disaster. I don’t understand how this has been allowed to persist. I use several dozen tabs and window in FF and Chrome in support of a normal work day. Having everything piled up in one icon for the entire app is just terrible.
Laura or anybody, have you found a solution? Thanks!
Look at explorerpatcher. I think it is what you are looking for https://github.com/valinet/ExplorerPatcher
Thank you. I just tried ExplorerPatcher on Windoze 11 22000.778, and everything is jake: Text on the taskbar icons, small icons, and all the Logo key stuff (esp. Logo+X) still works.
BTW, my pet theory is that someone up in Redmond has a severe personality problem — he/she came up with the new taskbar disaster, and won’t accept that it’s a complete train wreck, and fix it. (There have been a jillion complaints about it, especially the lack of text.)
Try StartAllBack as an alternative to ClassicShell. Been using ClassicShell since Windows7, but with Win11 just couldnt get it to work properly.
Switched to StartAllBack and no problems since. A lot of nice touches in it. It has a 180 day trial period, but I coughed up the $5US because I liked it so well.. and I believe its Russian in origin, so it can be tough to find now. gumroad.com (australian site) still lets you pay for it I believe still lets you pay for it though.
Does StartAllBack have the Classic Win98 style start menu?
Or do you have to you OpenShell in addition to get that?
Only OpenShell has it.
When Classic Taskbar is enabled in WIndoze 11, the Win+X keyboard shortcut no longer goes to the sign out/shutdown/restart menu. It cycles through the taskbar icons, just as the Win+T key does.
It does this with or without the recommended Open-Shell Menu tweak to the Start button.
This is with Winaero Tweaker 1.40.00, Windoze 11 Home 21H2 Build 22000.778 .
This broke in Windows 11 version 22H2, Windows Explorer is crashing and will not open up until this is disabled.
with Windows 11 22H2 add the key UndockingDisabled with value 1 in
restore the Classic Taskbar but crashes Explorer.exe when I open any folder.
If need be, I have the crash report.
Also have this problem. Everything else seems to work great.
Does Classic Taskbar enable the task bar to be placed vertically on the either side of the screen in Windows 11? (left for example)
Windows 11 is such a disaster it removed this feature for nothing.
To get a functional classic taskbar, use ExplorerPatcher.
My explorer.exe keeps on crashing after I open it.
The tweak that ungroup icons on taskbar is not working. Neither via Winaero nor ExplorerPatch.
I guess you are using the latest Insider Preview release?
Don`t do it if you are enrolled on Windows Insider
After the March 1st update Explorer Patcher doesn’t work.
Windows keeps trying to open it at hangs flashing the window.
So what now to get the labels back on the taskbar icons?
Do not use UndockingDisabled. It’s a broken method and should be removed from the article. All the other in-memory fixes by ExplorerPatcher or StartAllBack are ok since the XAML additions in 11 don’t break with them unlike UndockingDisabled.