Windows 11 version 22H2: Start Menu changes

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 18, 2022
Windows 11 News

Microsoft reduced the functionality of several core operating system areas when it launched the Windows 11 operating system. One of these was the redesigned Start Menu, which I called barely usable in 2021.

Microsoft removed quite a bit of functionality from the Windows 11 Start Menu. Folders, groups, the ability to display all apps and pinned items at the same time, live tiles, and options to resize the Start Menu were all removed in Windows 11.

The Windows 11 start menu separated pinned programs and recommended; Windows 11 users who preferred to disable the recommended items were left with a blank area that was of no use whatsoever. Room for pinned locations was limited, which made the removal of folder and grouping options precarious, as these could have improved the lack of room somewhat.

In a hurry? Here are the main changes:

  • Folders return. Drag and drop a pinned item on another to create a folder. An animation provides hints in this regard.
  • You may rename folders, rearrange apps inside folders and remove pinned apps from folders.
  • Start Menu layouts are available. More Pins expands the Pinned section, while More Recommendations expands the recommendation section of the Start Menu.

The Start Menu in Windows 11 version 22H2

One of the goals of Windows 11 version 22H2 seems to be redemption, or at least, to bring back some of the features that were dropped in the initial release of Windows 11. Whether Microsoft had the intention to bring back these features all along, or decided to restore them based on user feedback is unknown.

Windows 11 users who open the Start Menu of Windows 11 version 22H2 for the first time won't notice many differences right away. It looks and feels like the original Windows 11 Start Menu on first glance.

Some may even miss the functionality that Microsoft restored, unless Microsoft plans to provide guidance on those.

One of the main points of criticism leveled at the original Windows 11 Start Menu was that Microsoft removed the ability to group pinned items.

The improved Start Menu supports the creation of folders. All it takes is to drag one pinned item over another to create a new folder or to add it to an existing folder. Dropping pinned items on a folder may be difficult at first, as Windows may mistake the attempt for one that moves a pinned items to a new position in the Start Menu.

A click or tap on a folder opens all included items in an overlay on the screen. From there, it takes another click or tap to execute one of the included programs. A click or tap outside the overlay area hides it again so that the full Start Menu becomes visible again.

The default name of a newly created folder is always folder, even when users create multiple folders. The name of a folder can be changed with a click on the "edit name" field when it is expanded.

Once done, the new name is displayed in the the Windows 11 Start Menu.

Folders have a few limitations. You can't drop a folder onto another to create subfolders or merge the two. There is also a limit of four pinned icons that each folder displays in the Start Menu, even if more pinned icons are stored inside. The icons of the first four pinned items are displayed as the folder icon in the Start Menu. You may reorder them to display different icons.

Another limitation is the inability to delete folders right away. You need to move each pinned item out of the folder first; the folder itself disappears into thin air once the last pinned item is removed from it.

Start Menu Layouts

Another criticism leveled at Microsoft was that the Windows 11 Start Menu had a fixed layout that could not be changed. Users who disabled the recommended section could not use the lower half of the Start Menu because of that.

Microsoft introduces Start Menu layouts in version 22H2. Three different layouts are supported: one of them is the default half-and-half layout, the other two give pinned items or recommendations more room in the Start Menu.

The "more pins" layout gives pinned items most of the available room. Recommended is reduced to a small section at the bottom.

Users who would have preferred an option to remove the recommended section entirely will be disappointed, as no such option exists in Windows 11 version 22H2.

Still, the new "more pins" layout unlocks more room for pinned items on the Start Menu, which means less scrolling for some users.

The "more recommendations" layout prioritizes recommendations over pinned items. It expands the recommended section of the Start Menu and limits the pinned section to two rows.

Options to show recently used apps and opened items need to be enabled in the Windows 11 preferences. It may take some time before recommendations are displayed in the Start Menu.

The pinned and recommended group titles in the Start Menu have a context menu now. Right-click on pinned to get a direct link to the Start Menu settings in the preferences app. A right-click on recommended displays the same link and an option to refresh the listing manually. Windows 11 refreshes recommended content automatically in intervals.

Closing Words

Microsoft restores some functionality to the Start Menu in Windows 11 version 22H2, which it removed in the original Windows 11 release. Folders give users more options when it comes to arranging and managing pinned items.

The Start Menu layouts address another point of criticism, but some users, especially those who disable recommendations, may argue that the changes do not go far enough. Microsoft could have added a switch to remove Recommendations entirely from the Start Menu to expand the pinned section even further.

Other missing features, including the ability to resize the Windows 11 Start Menu or create groups won't make a return in Windows 11 version 22H2. While there is still a chance that Microsoft may introduce them again in a future update, it is certain that Live Tiles won't make a comeback in Windows 11.

Now You: what is your take on these changes?

Article Name
Windows 11 version 22H2: Start Menu changes
Here is an in-depth overview of all the changes and improvements of the Start Menu in Windows 11 version 22H2.
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  1. ComeonWindowsYouCanDoThis said on August 25, 2022 at 1:58 pm

    I’m not going to upgrade to windows 11 either, unless windows brings the ungroup-icons-on-taskbar feature that people so demand. Let’s act together as a reaction.

  2. TelV said on August 21, 2022 at 12:12 pm

    @ Martin,

    Can the size of the Start menu be expanded to cover the whole screen?

    The reason I’m asking is because it looks like those ugly little shortcut arrows are going to reappear again as per the images with the Microsoft Edge shortcut showing in the background.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 21, 2022 at 3:25 pm

      It remains fixed in size. No option to change its size or expand it whatsoever.

      1. TelV said on August 22, 2022 at 11:34 am

        Thanks Martin.

        I did a search of ghacks to see if there were any tips on how to remove shortcut arrows on icons in Windows 11, but didn’t find anything.

        Anyway, I found a tutorial on which is this one:

  3. Debjit said on August 21, 2022 at 8:35 am

    They should first bring back window to window drang and drop feature back!…
    That was such a smooth sailing feature…

  4. Anonymous said on August 20, 2022 at 9:01 pm

    Why can’t the menu bar be moved to the top of the screen? This has been possible in all versions up until 11.

  5. Anonymous said on August 20, 2022 at 5:55 pm

    Frankly, Microsoft has lost its way:
    -They constantly Add/Remove Features.
    -They cannot even decide on the Start Menu functionality.

    Customers get crazy…

  6. Tim said on August 20, 2022 at 9:54 am

    Welcome changes after so many months. However… When I get Windows updated, even in a sensible way, I seldom feel any excitement at all. Most often I don’t care. I just watch updates come when Microsoft decides, I watch them change things I liked or didn’t like, sometimes I experience problems. No emotion, no excitement or feeling of contentment, well… Irritation sometimes. On the other hand, Linux updates make me excited. Mostly I do enjoy them and install with zeal though I’m not forced to do it. With Windows 10/11 I’m a tired
    feeble old man on a wheelchair, with Linux I’m a young boy with hormones boozing again. Sorry, Microsoft, no hate intended.

  7. Ryu Kyudan said on August 20, 2022 at 12:58 am

    I moved to Windows 11 because I like to experiment with modern systems, but the things I didn’t like about Windows 11 is that Microsoft removed the recommended list in the Bureau tab and made it in the Start menu while it was able to permanently delete it or customize it in the sense of enabling its deletion from the Start menu for people who don’t want it for this I prefer the Windows 10 menu to the Start menu in Windows 11

  8. Anonymous said on August 19, 2022 at 1:23 am

    Has ghacks made article about ExplorerPatcher? It’s a good way to fix stupid Windows 11 changes.

    1. Anonymous said on August 19, 2022 at 7:59 am
      is all you need to know

      Windows updates explorer, Explorer Patcher crashes Windows.
      Moral of the story is stick with Windows Explorer, lumps and all.

  9. leland said on August 18, 2022 at 9:31 pm

    My wife got forcibly updated to Windows 11 despite my best efforts to block the update. I tried Open Shell but it didn’t seem to work well enough so I went with Start 11. I will not use the bastardized start menu included with Windows 11; no amount of fixing will help. Also, if you install the explorer patch for Windows 11 after installing Start 11 you will need to reinstall it. No settings get lost but some functionality stopped working until reinstalling it. I discovered this the hard way. Anyway with some help Windows 11 can be usable but I prefer to let it develop further before making it my daily driver.

    1. John T. said on August 21, 2022 at 3:11 am

      Latest version of Open Shell works fine in 11 and gives you the option of a windows 7 style menu which most want. It’s robust enough to survive updates.

      1. Andrew Denver said on August 21, 2022 at 5:42 pm

        Anyway the not-strange thing is that you will have to see the same start up menu for another 4 to 5 years until the next Windows version. You can change the colour or theme colour of the windows layout and a few lazy twicks here and there if ever you are fed up. I have used used Microsoft operating system MS Dos 3.1 long time ago. But the only changes Microsoft do with every new version is trying to impress us with its STATIC startup menu and desktop GUI. Microsoft has made us lazy like them. Instead of hiring full time software developers better they hire part time or on contract developers because like every artist these developers lost their creativity over time. If the developers are not able to come with an innovative never seen ideas they should be terminated and give the place to new talented developers. Otherwise Microsoft will end up creating STATIC GUI until 2039. Good luck.

    2. Quibi said on August 18, 2022 at 10:37 pm

      Windows 11 is joke and jokers in Microsoft seem desperate to advertise Windows 11 now. We just got update that suggests us to upgrade to Windows 11 for free. Why should I upgrade to a clearly inferior OS to Windows 10? Why I should upgrade to OS where there are tons of features that are missing which I use on Windows 10. Definitely I won’t upgrade and there are other users on the same page as me on that. It’s time for Microsoft to face the reality that they failed big time with Windows 11 (which wasn’t even supposed to happen). There’s absolutely a zero reason to upgrade to Windows 11 from 10. I would suggest them to start working on Windows 12 instead than advertising their castrated Windows 11. There’s nothing that can save that moronic OS. And my second and biggest suggestion for them would be to put more features in their next OS instead of removing them. Whoever came with the idea to remove features and castrate start menu and taskbar was a complete moron. Why, would someone buy product that has less features? Seriously.

  10. Anonymous said on August 18, 2022 at 7:46 pm

    The worst OS ever published by Microsoft.

    1. Anonymous said on August 18, 2022 at 10:31 pm

      You are doing the equivalent of judging the book by its cover or a person by the color of their skin.

      Windows 11 is actually Windows NT version 10. So was Windows 10. Windows 11 is only a marketing name. Microsoft tinkered with the look and feel of NT 10 but the core remains the same for Windows 11.
      Strangely, that list does not mention Windows 95, which was arguably Microsoft’s most successful marketing exercise.

      Look and feel don’t make an OS bad. Function makes it bad. Windows 11 has some ‘skin’ elements. The Start menu is one of them. If you dislike that part, the advantage of a flexible system like Windows is you can run a 3rd party program to substitute.

      For me, Windows 10 had a catastrophic fail and that pushed me forward. So far it functions the same as other Windows OS’s in terms of doing what I need. It loads the programs I need to run and looking pretty doing that isn’t a high priority. At least it lost the incredibly annoying live tiles and moved back to simple.

      1. FanboyKilla said on August 19, 2022 at 11:52 pm

        “Strangely, that list does not mention Windows 95, which was arguably Microsoft’s most successful marketing exercise. ”

        Windows 95 isn’t on that list because it’s not built on the Windows NT codebase. So it’s not “strange” at all. What’s “strange” is all the useful functionality that was removed in Windows 11. What’s even more strange are the sheeple who make excuses for these stupid decisions and try to act like it’s not a big deal. That’s fine if you’re basic like that, but the rest of us are tired of suffering for sheeple who are a bunch of pushovers! It’s no wonder we have sheeple running around with face diapers on their face. SMFH

      2. d0x360 said on August 22, 2022 at 4:07 am

        I’m sheeple because just like in Win10 I type 2 letters then hit enter to launch something?

        Owell. Faster than any other way. Guess I’d rather be sheeple.

  11. ridiculous123 said on August 18, 2022 at 7:27 pm

    Why innovate when you can simply remove or eff up an existing feature and then get a standing ovation from the “independent” tech press when you bring it back half-way? All this fiddling with the UI is just busy-work to give an appearance of something “new” happening.

  12. DirCmpUser said on August 18, 2022 at 6:39 pm

    The more I read of Windows 10 / Windows 11 and their ever-changing issues/features/bugs/whatever, I think: this has just got to be some sort of psychological operation to drain the time and energy of their users.
    Plainly just a treadmill of futility, distraction and a complete time-sink.
    Remember, when that time’s gone, it’s not coming back again!

    1. d0x360 said on August 22, 2022 at 4:04 am

      Yes because hitting the windows key, typing 2 maybe 3 letters and hitting enter which launches the program is so hard… Oh my brain!

  13. Bindere Dundat said on August 18, 2022 at 5:43 pm

    FUBAR status averted.

  14. Win10user said on August 18, 2022 at 3:39 pm

    thank God I had a premonition of all this bugidity/impudence/obtrusiveness of Win 11 even before October 5,2021. Not concerning humans, but the same amount of rigidity of organization which destroyed Nokia in the old days.

  15. Anonymous said on August 18, 2022 at 2:14 pm

    I like a minimalist start menu and adjust reasonably well. The 21H2 version was even too inflexible for me. Recommendations I don’t need (but it is handy having a new or recently updated program pup up a shortcut to an executable so you can pin it without the hunt. Inability to group and expand pinned icons was a ridiculous decision. More pinned icon space, grouping and ability to leave white space would be a big improvement. What’s that two from three. Almost a pass.

  16. Sloth said on August 18, 2022 at 2:10 pm

    Still not able to ungroup and show captions which makes it dead in the water for me.

    Fortunately, there are Start Menu replacements for Windows 11 which return the sanity of Windows 10.

  17. Henk said on August 18, 2022 at 1:33 pm

    Interesting. I’m not on Windows 11 of course, but apparently there still exist some people who, after getting a new version of Windows, do not immediately replace the default screenspace-wasting Start Menu with a more effective, user-friendly alternative such as OpenShell?

    1. Allwynd said on August 19, 2022 at 10:14 am

      People just don’t care with time. When I was 15 in high school, I was about customizing my desktop, nowadays I just don’t care about it. If it works, it works. There are far more important things in life than what 3rd party start menu you use.

      1. Corky said on August 19, 2022 at 1:15 pm

        Clearly some people care otherwise third-party software wouldn’t exist.

        The reason they exist is because for some people it simply doesn’t work, at least not in the way they’ve either learnt or found most productive.

        You’re right there are far more important things in life than what 3rd party start menu you use, things like being productive and having the right tools for the job.

      2. d0x360 said on August 22, 2022 at 4:03 am

        It recommends what you use most based on what you’re doing. I don’t have an issue with it. Plus just like with Win10 when I want to launch something I generally find it faster than to type the first 2 letters which usually brings up exactly what I want.

        It’s significantly faster than the classic style start menu. I started doing it that way since win8. At first I used classic shell on 8 but then changed because it was unnecessary and slower then typing a couple letters.

    2. Herman Cost said on August 18, 2022 at 2:41 pm


  18. asda said on August 18, 2022 at 1:08 pm

    Wish you could remove recommendations completely, that or open All Apps (aka the oldschool menu) by default.

    1. Tony said on August 18, 2022 at 4:35 pm

      Start11 lets you basically keep the same start menu, but remove “Recommended” completely. It also offers much more customization. And it works on Windows 10 too, so you can have a Win11 start menu on Win10.

    2. D.M said on August 18, 2022 at 4:22 pm

      On askvg, I saw a manual on how to do what you described.
      I haven’t tried it myself.

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