Windows 10 Technical Preview: focus on the start menu

Windows 10 Technical Preview has been available for download since the beginning of the month and some of you may be wondering what the hell is all about. It must be said that this version goes much further than the previous one. Proof of this is that it even marks the return of the “start” menu and it is precisely this last one that will be mentioned throughout this article. With a little video as a bonus, because you deserve it.

We must admit, Windows 8 did not make people happy. It has even been the subject of a number of harsh criticisms mainly relating to its interface and home screen.

Windows 10 Technical Preview Focus On The Start Menu

The Windows 10 “start” menu, or when the Windows 7 “start” menu spawns with the Windows 8 start screen.

Microsoft has obviously listened to the feedback from its users and the publisher took advantage of the launch of the Technical Preview of Windows 10 to reintroduce this good old “start” menu that we missed so much. With two or three little things more.

Shortcuts and tiles

The first thing that strikes you with the new version of this menu is its ambivalence. It is effectively divided into two distinct entities and if we will find the shortcuts of our applications on the left, we will also have to reckon with these good old tiles, this time placed on the right.

Weird? Certainly, especially on the first start. But in fact, you get used to it very quickly and this configuration is even very comfortable since the tiles keep exactly the same attributes as in Windows 8.x. The user can thus reorganize them as they wish, and even change their size.

Dynamic notifications are also part of the game. The mail client tile will thus be able to display the last mails received. The same goes for the agenda or for the application in charge of storing photos.

Another interesting feature, the menu window will automatically adapt to its content. The more tiles we pile up, the more it will extend on the horizontal axis. On the other hand, if we want to increase its height, then we will have to do it by hand by placing the mouse cursor over one of its borders and dragging it up.

Windows 10 Technical Preview Focus On The Start Menu 1

Each tile can be resized on the fly, just like what the traditional home screen offers.

Well-ordered shortcuts

The left part of the Windows 10 “start” menu does not just pile up shortcuts, it is also able to group them according to their nature.

At the top, we will find the portrait and the name of the user, with a button allowing to turn off or restart the machine. To lock or close the session, you will need to click on our name or portrait. Not very practical, it would probably be more judicious to bring all these options together in a single menu and this may be the case in the next beta.

Then, well we will have the right to shortcuts pointing to our personal folders, the control panel and the file explorer. Fun fact, by hovering the mouse cursor over this entry, we will see a sub-menu appear with the most used directories. Not stupid.

Shortcuts pointing to tools or applications installed on the machine appear a little further down. There, well it will all depend on how you use your computer. The content of this list will constantly evolve. Importantly, if you want to transform a shortcut into a tile, then you will have to swing a little right click and find the appropriate option in the context menu. Same thing if you want to pin it in the taskbar.

Finally, at the bottom, we will find a first button to display all the installed applications, and a field giving direct access to search.

Windows 10 Technical Preview Focus On The Start Menu 2

And yes, we can easily find the last files used by the user. You'll have to be careful where you stash… er… your mail.

Intuitive and well thought out research

Research and Windows are a long love affair and even if it has changed a lot over the versions, it has often left me unsatisfied. Fortunately for us, Windows 10 goes a little further than its predecessors.

Proof of this is that it is not limited to the content of our machine. In fact, when you type a few letters in the field dedicated to this effect, then the contents of the “start” menu will automatically disappear to make room for suggestions , with a hint of auto-completion behind.

In the upper part of the window, we will see the tools, options and documents corresponding to the terms indicated but, further down, we will have search queries. It will then be enough to click on these to launch the research… on Bing. No need to go looking for the browser, then.

Windows 10 Technical Preview Focus On The Start Menu 3

It will be perfectly possible to launch a search on the web from the “start” menu.

The power of right click

On Windows 8.x, it was possible to bring up a context menu by right-clicking in the lower left corner of the screen. Menu grouping together a number of shortcuts pointing to the control panel, and other parameters of the same kind.

This great menu is still present in the Technical Preview of Windows 10, and it offers exactly the same options. Through it, we will be able to instantly access the list of programs, the network management tool, the task manager, the file explorer or even the terminal.

The whole question is obviously whether Microsoft will keep this menu on the final public version. And to find out, we will have to wait for the next betas.

Windows 10 Technical Preview Focus On The Start Menu 4

Fortunately, the famous right click is still there. But for how long?

And to go further?

The user remains in control of his machine and if the Windows 10 interface will evolve according to the terminal on which it is installed, it will be perfectly possible to swap this new “start” menu in favor of the original home screen, the very one that has caused so much ink to flow in recent months.

To do so, simply right click on the taskbar and go to the “Properties” option. Then, it will be necessary to uncheck the box which goes well in the tab “Start Menu”. Easy, right?

And we end with the little video that goes well.

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