How to Use and Tweak the Start Screen in Windows 10

Windows 10 Start Screen

Whether you own a Windows 10 PC or a tablet, you have a choice of using the Start menu or Start screen. Yep, that’s right, the Start screen is still alive and well, thank you. In many ways, you can now work with the Start screen as easily as you can the Start menu, and not just on a touchscreen device.

First, let’s assume your Windows 10 device is set to use the Start menu and you want to switch to the Start screen. Click on the Start button > Settings > Personalization > Start. Turn on the option to “Use Start full screen.”

How to Use and Tweak the Start Screen in Windows 10

Click on the Start button and you’ll now see that the Start menu has been replaced by the Start screen. The Windows 10 Start screen is not only friendlier than the 8/8.1 version but is more functional. The tiled portion of the Start screen in Windows 10 looks about the same as it did in Windows 8/8.1 but by default appears less cluttered and cramped because the tiles are better sized.

Okay, but what are all those icons on the left sidebar of the screen? Ahh, that’s where the improved functionality comes into play. That vertical arrangement of icons is the left side of the Start menu, so you’re looking at a cool and convenient merging of the Start menu with the Start screen.

Hover your mouse over the button at the bottom left of the screen, just above the Start button. That’s the power button. Click on it and you can shut down or restart Windows as well as put it to sleep.


Hover your mouse over the button above the power button, and you’ll discover the Settings button. Click on it to access the Settings screen.

How to Use and Tweak the Start Screen in Windows 10

Click on the button above the Settings button, and you’ll find your account options where you can lock or sign out of Windows 10 as well as change account settings.

How to Use and Tweak the Start Screen in Windows 10

Move further up the line until you reach the icon at the top for All Apps. Click on it to display the tiled All Apps screen.


Then click on the icon above for pinned tiles, and the All Apps screen is replaced by your customized tile screen.

Next click on the icon at the top, and the labels for the various icons are revealed. That’s a handy option if you don’t remember what certain icons do.


Click on the same icon, which is now labeled Start, and the sidebar shrinks back to its previous self.


What else can you do with the Start screen? Click on the Start button > Settings > Personalization > Start. Here you can play with a variety of settings.

  • The first option for “Show more tiles” reduces the size of all your existing tiles so you can squeeze more on the screen.
  • The second option for “Occasionally show suggestions in Start” suggests Windows apps you may want to install.
  • The third option for “Show most used apps” displays the apps you use most frequently on the sidebar so they’re easily accessible.
  • The fourth option for “Show recently added apps” lists apps you’re recently installed with the assumption that you want them easily accessible.
  • The fifth option for “Use Start full screen” replaces the Start screen with the Start menu.
  • The sixth option for “Show recently opened items in Jump Lists on Start or the taskbar” displays recent documents, files, settings, and other items that pop up if you right-click on one of the icons on the sidebar.

How to Use and Tweak the Start Screen in Windows 10

The seventh option with the link for “Choose which folders appear on Start” lets you place certain common Windows folders and locations on the sidebar.


You can display and access icons for File Explorer, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, and Videos, among other popular locales. So even with the Start screen enabled, you can access the same commands and features from the Start menu, offering you the best of both worlds in Windows 10.

For more, check out these other Windows 10 tips:

  • How to Control Your Battery Usage in Windows 10
  • How to Back Up, Restore Your Documents in Windows 10
  • How to Use and Tweak Your Windows 10 Lock Screen
  • How to Manage the Start Menu in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update
  • How to Try Out Windows 10 for Free for 90 Days
  • How to Clean Up Windows 10 With the Refresh Windows Tool
  • How to Juggle Multiple Windows 10 Apps With Virtual Desktops
  • How to Free Up Disk Space on Your Windows 10 PC
  • How to Launch Windows Without Entering a Password
  • How to Capture Video Clips in Windows 10


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