While the Windows Start menu is quite popular, it does have its fair share of issues. For example, a built-in Bing search makes the results seem confusing. And lately it’s even causing the start menu show blank results. Although you can get rid of Bing within the Start menu, it breaks after every Windows update. Therefore, it would be better to switch to an alternative. On that note, here are some start menu alternatives to try on Windows 10.
Best Start Menu Alternatives for Windows 10
1. PowerToys Run
The first alternative to the Windows Start menu is our own PowerToys Run. In case you don’t know, PowerToys is a new experimental tool created by Microsoft for advanced users. However, in terms of the visual department, it looks more like Spotlight on Mac than the Start menu on Windows.
Appearances aside, PowerToys Run is quite useful compared to the Start menu. It not only allows you to search for applications, but you can also search for files effectively, perform quick math calculations, etc. What I like best about PowerToys Run is that you can even search through open tabs in applications that are already running. For example, if you have a chat with “Bob” open in Slack, you can directly search for Bob in PowerToys Run and jump to the window.
To fully transition to PowerToys Run, you can reassign the Windows key to activate PowerToys Run. Unfortunately, Windows 10 does not provide a native method for remapping shortcuts. So you will have to use a third party tool like KeyExtender which allows you to reassign native keyboard shortcuts.
- You can browse files and settings submenu
- You can search for tabs in already open applications
- RegEx support
Download Microsoft PowerToys
Wox is basically PowerToys Run but more stable and advanced options. Basically Wox and PowerToys Run are the same, but here’s something Wox offers in addition: plugins. It has currency converters, shell, and more than 280 plugins. My favorite plugin is “Shell” which allows you to run cmd commands directly within Wox. Other plugins like the browser allow you to launch bookmarks directly from Wox.
Another reason to consider Wox is that Microsoft PowerToys are still experimental features. In case you want a more stable option, Wox would be a better option.
- Plugin support to integrate cmd, browser, etc.
- Option to search within the application
3. Classic shell
Classic shell It replaces the Windows 10 Start Menu with the classic Windows 7 Shell, which means there will be no more Cortana or Bing searches.
The classic menu also allows you to customize the sound, the Start menu icons, the quick options, the look of the taskbar, and more. It will take you literally weeks to discover all the customizations. My favorite option is the “Metallic” theme in Windows XP. Pair it with the Windows XP Themes and you’ll have a nostalgic look at Windows 10. The only caveat with Classic Shell is that you won’t be able to search for submenus within the new Windows 10 settings.
- Provides the good Windows 7 start menu
- Option to customize taskbar and start menu shortcuts
- Apply themes to the taskbar and start menu
- You prefer the Control Panel instead of the new Windows 10 settings menu
- No longer in development
Download Classic shell
Start10 is the same Windows 7 start menu but with a modern redesigned look. Start10 and Classic Shell are essentially the same, but Start10 looks more modern than Windows 10. The icons and overall look better complement Windows 10. The great thing about Start10 is that it removes “Cortana Search” from the taskbar . Also, it provides you with some customizations. Allows you to add custom web shortcuts, files or applications to the taskbar.
Start10 is a paid app that will cost you $ 4.99 as a one-time fee. The app offers you a 30-day free trial so you can get a feel for things.
- Windows 7 start menu with a modern twist
- Remove Cortana’s search from the
Download Home10 (30-day trial, $ 4.99)
5. Start menu X
The Start menu X is the same Windows 7 start menu with a different twist. Unlike Start10, Start Menu X does not provide you with a modern touch. However, it optimizes the Start menu for new Windows 10 applications. For example, when you start the Start Menu X for the first time, you will have all your applications arranged on the right side. Automatically group similar apps into folders. You can also manually change the contents of the folder or create your own group.
My favorite feature is the option to run cmd commands directly from the X Start menu. For example, if I want to ping an IP address, I can type the same into the X Start menu search and hit Enter. It will automatically run the command within the command prompt.
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- Group similar apps into folders
- Directly enter cmd commands
- Prefers the newest Windows 10 apps in searches.
Download Start Menu X
6. macOS Transformation Pack
MacOS Transformation Pack is a theme rather than a Start menu alternative. It doesn’t remove the Start menu, but it does feature a macOS-style dock at the bottom. You can put all your favorite apps and even files at the bottom. It also provides you with the top panel and the macOS-like launcher. Besides, it also provides you the same font, cursor, pointer, etc. from macOS and the desktop looks beautiful.
In case you only want the bottom base of macOS, install ViFind instead of.
Additionally, macOS Transformation Pack replaces all modern Windows 10 apps with classic ones. For example, when you click Music, it opens Windows Media Player instead of Groove Music. Similarly, when you click Settings, the old Control Panel opens. That is awesome!
In case you want to uninstall the launcher, just close it by right clicking on it, select “Exit” and uninstall “macOS Transformation Pack”.
- MacOS-style dock for launching applications
- Quick start menu on the top panel instead of the start menu
Download MacOS Transformation Pack
7. Maverick 10
Maverick 10 brings the Ubuntu look to the Windows 10 desktop. While it’s not a Start menu alternative, hear me out. Maverick 10 provides you with a dock where you can store your favorite files and applications. For the most part, you spend 70% of your time on the same apps. The theme also takes the start menu out of your eyes so you see less of it and use more of the dock. The only caveat is that the Maverick 10 is a paid item ($ 2.99) but it’s definitely worth the penny.
- Ubuntu base for launching applications and files
- Hide the Start menu and taskbar
Download Maverick 10 ($ 2.99)
I would recommend the X Start Menu in case you are looking for an old school Windows 7 look. Wox is an absolutely must-have utility on Windows 10. For more issues or inquiries, please let me know in the comments below.
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