Windows 10 is bringing back the Start menu, but not in the totally traditional form you’re used to — the new Start menu has two sections: A classic Windows 7 Start menu on the left side, and live-tile-laden Windows 8 Start screen on the right. Here’s how you can customize the new mashup Start menu/Start screen to suit your needs:
Switch between the Start menu and the Start screen
By default, Windows 10 is set up for PCs with a Start menu — to switch to the Start screen, open the Start menu by clicking on the Windows logo on your taskbar and click the “Expand Start” icon (four arrows pointing outward) in the upper right corner. To switch back, open the Start screen and click the “Restore Start menu” icon (four arrows pointing inward) in the upper right corner. Windows 10 remembers your choice, and will load your Start menu/Start screen on your next boot.
Change the color of the Start menu, taskbar and window borders
To change the color of the Start menu, Start screen, taskbar, and window borders in Windows 10, right-click on the desktop and click Personalize to open up the Control Panel Personalization menu. Click the Color icon along the bottom of the window to see 16 color options: An automatic option, which matches the color of the Start menu with your desktop wallpaper, or 15 presets. For each preset you can adjust the “intensity” (saturation), or, if you don’t see an option you like you can click Show color mixer to choose your own hue, saturation, and brightness.
Pin and unpin tiles
To pin an app to the Start menu as a tile, find the app in the Start menu, right click on it, and click Pin to Start. To unpin a tile from the Start menu, right click on the tile and click Unpin from Start. In the future I expect you’ll be able to drag and drop apps from the Start menu to the live tile section of the Start menu, but at the moment you can’t do this. You also can’t pin websites or files to the Start menu by dragging and dropping them, though a “Pin to Start menu” window does pop up if you drag a website or a file over the Start button/Windows logo.
Resize and move tiles
Switching up your tiles in Windows 10 is like switching them up in Windows 8. To resize a tile, right-click on it and hover over Resize until the size menu pops up. Depending on the tile, you’ll be able to choose small, medium, wide or large. To move a tile, click it, hold it and drag it to another part of the Start menu.
Edit the tile sections
In Windows 10, like in Windows 8, you can divide your live tiles into different categories. To create a new category, click a tile, hold it, and drag it to the bottom of the Start menu until a black bar shows up. Drop the tile below the black bar and your tile will end up in its own little section. Click the area above the tile (where you saw the black bar), and a white outline will appear. Start typing in this box to name your category. To rename a category, click a category name to highlight it and then start typing to edit it.
Pin items to the left side of the Start menu
Just kidding — you can’t customize the left side of the Start menu in this current build (in previous versions of the Windows 10 technical preview, you could pin items to the left side of the Start menu by dropping them on the Start button/Windows logo). The left side of the Start menu displays “Places” (File Explorer, Documents, Settings) and a list of recently used programs, which can be removed but otherwise modified. If you right-click on the taskbar and go to Properties and then the Start Menu tab, there’s a grayed out Customize box that I assume will let you customize how the left side of the Start menu looks in future versions.