Microsoft still desperately trying to make Windows 11 Start Menu recommendations more useful

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 25, 2023
Windows 11 News

When Microsoft launched Windows 11, it changed the Start Menu of the operating system drastically. Gone were tiles with different sizes, app folders, groups and more features. In fact, the only addition to the Start Menu that Microsoft added was a Recommended section, which users, up to this day, can't get rid of entirely to make room for more app icons.

I called the Start Menu of Windows 11 barely usable at the time, but even former Microsoft employees criticized Microsoft for it.

To Microsoft's credit, it did launch Start Menu improvements in Windows 11 version 22H2. The company returned folders support, which allow users to organize multiple icons in a single folder. The Windows release introduced Start Menu layouts, but these still did not allow for the full removal of the recommended section.

Things took a turn for the worse soon thereafter, as Microsoft started to experiment with highlighting websites in the recommended section, even websites the user never visited before. Then in March 2023, Microsoft started to roll out Start Menu promotions, which is an euphemistic term, as it tries to get the attention of non-Microsoft users to use a Microsoft account, and of Microsoft account users, to use the company's cloud services.

windows 11 start menu recommended

Twitter user PhantomOcean3 revealed a new Recommended section change that Microsoft is working on. Users of developer builds may hover over icons to get information about files and also thumbnails, if it is media.

Files displayed as recommended items show the name and last modification date only by default in current stable versions of Windows 11. Users may hover over the file to reveal the file's path, but that is about it.

The new hover feature that is being tested currently in developer builds of Windows 11 adds a thumbnail to the preview. Clearly, this works only for some files, especially images. It is likely that some other file types may also show thumbnails or previews of content.

Closing Words

The new thumbnail preview feature is a useful addition, as it adds more information to certain file types. Windows 11 users who use the Recommended section of the Start Menu regularly may appreciate this new feature.

Windows 11 users who find no use in the Recommended section will likely not be persuaded to start using it when the feature is introduced in stable versions of the operating system. At least some are still waiting for the off-switch to turn off the recommendations in the Start Menu entirely.

Now You: what is your take on this development? Do you use the Recommended section of the Windows 11 Start Menu?

Microsoft still desperately trying to make Windows 11 Start Menu recommendations more useful
Article Name
Microsoft still desperately trying to make Windows 11 Start Menu recommendations more useful
Microsoft is testing a new Windows 11 Start Menu feature that is adding more value to the Recommended section. Is it enough to convince users to give it a try?
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  1. yanta said on July 29, 2023 at 5:55 am

    The terms “windows 11” and “useful addition” are oxymoronic. That is, they can never go together :)
    Seriously, this advertising rubbish is out of control.
    M$ need to spend time fixing bugs and stop focusing on useless garbage.

    @bruh… I’d venture a guess that most people fit into your 2nd group… and many of these wouldn’t know anything better because the decline in standards is endemic in every industry, not just Microsoft.

    People have never experienced quality, robustness, and indeed, privacy.

    How many times do you see a developer release something only to release a point release bug fix 24-48 hours later.

  2. PJC said on July 26, 2023 at 10:55 am

    Start Menu is just a fraction.
    The Big Picture: Microsoft has lost its Focus.
    Every New Windows Release has been more Bloated than the Previous one(s).

    1. bruh said on July 27, 2023 at 12:38 am

      Microsoft lost it’s focus a long time ago, sadly. Many of the great coders, developers and visionaries that propelled Windows into success are not at the company any more. I am saddened when I think about how, there was a time when Windows was NOT a laughing stock, and genuinely stacked up well against the competition. There is barely any reason to defend Windows now, it’s not a great experience and people are aware.

      Two big camps of people stuck on windows now either 1) don’t have a choice or 2) don’t care about it’s declining quality.

      To put it into perspective, they fired many people after the failure of Windows 8, many of those people also worked on Windows 7 and earlier versions. They got to a point where they couldn’t maintain the control panel effectively because of how much “knowledge” had left the company, hence the move to port everything to new “ms-settings” app, one feature at a time.

  3. Micro$oft said on July 25, 2023 at 11:10 pm

    They can start by paying attention to our criticism about the overall UI deterioration. Why can’t the start menu only have a list view? Why can’t we hide the recommendations section when recommendations are turned off, why waste an entire area of space for more icons? Why can’t we change the size horizontally and vertically? Don’t forget about the taskbar being useless still.

    Microsoft truly employs some of the most untalented people on earth.

  4. TelV said on July 25, 2023 at 6:08 pm

    Is there a Start Menu Recommendations? Never knew that. But then I wouldn’t use it even if I knew about it. To me, Windows 11 is an operating system and little more than that. I primarily use it to launch my browser (Floorp) and spend most of my time visiting news media sites.

    I’ve put the machine into aeroplane mode as a security precaution and use Ethernet to surf the web with. I’ve also hidden the desktop so that I don’t have to be constantly reminded about Microsoft’s Edge browser (which I can’t delete). Whatever apps I need I’ve pinned to the taskbar and launch them from there.

    I just need to find a way to remove the annoying “Search” bar which appeared on the taskbar after installing 22H2 since I only use Everything Search and don’t need Microsoft’s tools for that.

    I never used the Windows Store when it first appeared on Windows 8 and don’t intend to start now.

  5. Tachy said on July 25, 2023 at 4:22 pm

    When someone refers to something with the same false name the original person did, are they lying too?

  6. bruh said on July 25, 2023 at 3:39 pm

    “Suggestions” I suggest you don’t use Windows 11, or 10, and move away from Microsoft entirely.

    As long as you consider learning an alternative OS an “investment” of your time that will actually pay off in the future, you will be less angry about the differences alternative OSes have, and may have more patience with them.

    I love Windows operating systems but their contemporary offerings are a joke.

  7. John G. said on July 25, 2023 at 2:06 pm

    Please, someone tell Microsoft that W11 is like a poisonous hungry snake inside the pants.

  8. Blutarsky said on July 25, 2023 at 11:58 am

    I bought stardock Start11, 5 licenses for 20 euros. Best money I ever ever spent. All my computers are now just a little bit less annoying to use.

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