Switch quickly between Windows 10 Start Menu and Start Screen

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 12, 2014
Updated • Jul 5, 2017
Windows, Windows 10

If you are running Windows 10 you may have noticed that you can either display the start menu or the start screen, but not both.

The start menu is the default option on desktop systems that are controlled with a mouse and keyboard. While that is the preferred option for most users, some may want to access the start screen at times.

I write a weekly best of Windows apps over at Betanews for instance and one of the issues that I ran into using the start menu was that new apps were not highlighted anymore.

This meant lots of searching for these apps in the start menu or finding a way to switch to the start screen to access them there right away.

You can switch between start menu and start screen in the following way:

  1. Right-click on the taskbar and select properties from the context menu.
  2. Switch to start menu in the properties window that opens up.
  3. Check or uncheck "use the start menu instead of the start screen".
  4. If checked, the start menu is displayed, if unchecked, the start screen is used.
  5. Log out and on again.

This is not really that comfortable, especially the requirement to log out and on again before the changes that you have made are visible.

start menu toggle start screen

A Registry switch is used to determine what to display. The key EnableStartMenu under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced is used for that.

  • Set to 1, Windows will display the start menu only on the system.
  • Set to 0, Windows will display the start screen instead

A user on TenForums has created a script that you can use to quickly toggle between the Start Menu and Start Screen on Windows 10.

This means that you don't have to use the taskbar or the Registry to make the switch, and also don't log out of the system before the change becomes active.

Double-clicking the script on the system will change the Registry value and restart the explorer.exe process so that the changes are applied.

This means that you don't have to log off and on again before that is the case. (via Deskmodder)

Switch quickly between Windows 10 Start Menu and Start Screen
Article Name
Switch quickly between Windows 10 Start Menu and Start Screen
You can either use the start menu or start screen in Windows 10, and switching is a complicated process. Find out how to speed that process up.
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  1. Anonymous said on October 15, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    just think of the start screen as a maximized start menu … or of the start menu as a start screen in a window at the lower left corner … there’s not really much difference between then … no big deal … really

    1. Ashrak007 said on October 16, 2014 at 6:37 am

      It’s been made into a huge huge deal…

  2. Dave said on October 15, 2014 at 8:19 am

    I bet no one will need to use the start screen . This is the most hated piece of software ever designed and there is a reason for that.

  3. Ashrak007 said on October 13, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    I have seen nothing on Windows 10 thus far that is a significant improvement over 8.1, for me anyway. Now I’M the one that needs to be convinced to use 10 over 8.1. I was fine with the start screen from day 1. I have become used to it and now I don’t want to be without it. I can’t understand how anyone could say the Start Menu is more productive than the Start Screen. It just isn’t. This can be easily proven and has been by several people. I just don’t get it. Why? Why would you want to go back now? If I were to use 10 in its current form I would be setting the registry to show the Star Screen permanently. This isn’t 1995. Times change.

    This is why Apple is the largest company on earth because they never make big changes to their OS(s). They never try anything innovative and forward looking. They only make tiny changes because their user base is a bunch of idiots. I’ve been on the front lines for over a year now trying to sell folks on Windows 8. It’s been a challenge. But I have found that people are not nearly as resistant as the vocal minority on the internet. After a couple of minutes of showing them how it works they pretty much always bite. If they want a new computer, Windows 8 doesn’t stop them in 90% of cases. The other 10% are stubborn old people who would cry if you moved an icon 1 inch out of place. Those people are impossible anyway. They’re the ones that answer phone calls from “Microsoft” and give them their life savings along with their passwords.

    Now I’ve been out of the corporate world for some time now so perhaps things are different in the office. Mabye it makes more sense to use the Star Menu than have to train workers on the Start Screen.. I just don’t know.

  4. jasray said on October 13, 2014 at 1:29 am

    Okay, all good and fine. We have another tweak. Start8, ad nauseam, have taken care of the Start Menu. Maybe IOBit is the closest. What I don’t understand:

    1. The obsession with the Start Menu–really, this is an entire world or nerds displaying obsessive-compulsive behavior. Scary.
    2. Why the “thinkers” at Microsoft can’t figure something out that is relatively simple. “What we have here is a matter of miscommunication.” [Cool Hand Luke?]
    3. Who cares–cancel, cancel–Who could possibly care about the Start Menu?

    Point A to B–that’s all you have to do mouse.

    My students in class; Bammo! They are wherever they want to be, firewalled and all, within seconds.

    Gosh, I am so glad I don’t have to deal with such a choice; hate to mention the name–Cinnamon is a nice build with a great Start Menu.

    Maybe watch Barry Schwartz and “The Paradox of Choice.”

    Oh, Martin owns the blog, so Martin makes the choices about what he thinks is important. Click to a different site if Windows 10 coverage isn’t interesting. I don’t think Martin will notice the difference–classical case of a narcissistic personality disorder with sociopathic tendencies.

    1. Robert Palmar said on October 13, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      There is no consensus in the medical profession as to whether
      the use of Linux causes Windows derangement syndrome or
      if Windows derangement syndrome causes the use of Linux.

    2. Anonymous said on October 13, 2014 at 5:04 am

      Is this speech the result of using Linux too long?

  5. Blue said on October 12, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    I do believe Microsoft was the first to use a start button on screen or on keyboard to activate a start-up menu, and people know that and love that.

    But then they tried to deviate from that and launch everything from a live tile menu like a portable touch screen device with it’s own built-in apps that works separately from the desktop.

    They should of gave Windows 8/8.1 users that option to switch between the two instead of forcing the live tile system on them.

    If they could honestly say more than 50% of all computer users had a touch screen monitor, then by all means make a touch screen operating system, but we don’t… Like Google glass – way before it’s time but not in a good way for the current market.

  6. Robert Palmar said on October 12, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    This is one feature that I thought should be and hopefully
    will be incorporated by the time the the final build is available.
    I would like to see this incorporated without an explorer restart.

    Ideally I would like to keep the Start Screen appearance with
    the keyboard Windows Key as it is in Windows 8.1 and
    the Start Menu launch by clicking the Start Button.

  7. bunda said on October 12, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    why is nearly 50% of your newsletter concerned with win10, which is still non-existent?
    I believe you may lose your readers, who are more interested in real world IT issues

    1. Robert Palmar said on October 12, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      In the US (and likely elsewhere) Windows 10 is a real world IT issue.
      Enterprises have avoided Windows 8 and IT administrators are
      quite keen on leaning how Windows 10 addresses concerns.

      As for this site itself, only 12 of the last 200
      articles were on the subject of Windows 10
      which is hardly disproportionate attention.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on October 12, 2014 at 4:24 pm

      Windows 10 is a hot topic right now. It will change again so don’t worry about it too much.

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