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New Windows 10 Start menu design official, plus other UI tweaks in the pipeline

The new translucent Start menu picks up automatically on the system theme. (Image: Microsoft)
The new translucent Start menu picks up automatically on the system theme. (Image: Microsoft)
After hinting at upcoming changes to the Start menu, Microsoft has officially announced that it is coming to Window 10 in the near future. Currently only available in Windows 10 Preview build 20161, users can start to play with the new Start menu and other design and UI tweaks coming to the shipping build soon.
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We’ve known that Microsoft has been working on a redesigned Start menu for a while and it has now officially revealed it and discussed the new design approach. Other changes coming to Windows 10 include new ALT + TAB functionality, a new personalized Taskbar, notification tweaks as well as an improved tablet UI for 2-in-1 users. Microsoft has also added new features for developers where the latest Windows SDK is flighting continuously with the Dev Channel.

The new Start menu largely replaces the look and feel introduced with the Live tiles feature that first made its way to Windows from Windows Phone. The new more static design approach uses translucency to create what Microsoft is calling Theme-aware tiles that pick up on the system theme chosen by the user. Microsoft says it makes it easier to identify apps and creates a more uniform look and feel. You can still go back to the old look if you choose, however.

The new ALT + TAB functionality is targeted at multitaskers so that they can quickly choose between any of the open tabs in the Edge browser. Previously, ALT + TAB only showed the active window you were in each browser window. The previous behavior can be reinstated in settings if is not to your liking. The new personalized Taskbar is going to use user telemetry to update the Taskbar layouts according to what a user is doing at any given time, presumably making it easier to select related functions according to task.

Given Microsoft sells its own popular range of Surface 2-in-1 PCs, it is no surprise to see the company move towards trying to improve the user experience when the keyboard is detached. Now, instead of asking a user whether they want to switch into tablet mode, it will automatically occur with touchscreen devices and will include “some improvements for touch.”

Microsoft says the new features aren’t tied to any particular release and could roll out at any time. They are currently available to test out in the Windows 10 Preview build 20161.

 

 

The new Start menu UI without theme applied. (Image: Microsoft)
The new Start menu UI without theme applied. (Image: Microsoft)
The ALT + TAB functionality. (Image: Microsoft)
The ALT + TAB functionality. (Image: Microsoft)
The new 'personalized' Taskbar functionality. (Image: Microsoft)
The new 'personalized' Taskbar functionality. (Image: Microsoft)
 

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Sanjiv Sathiah
Sanjiv Sathiah - Senior Tech Writer - 1226 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2017
I have been writing about consumer technology over the past ten years, previously with the former MacNN and Electronista, and now Notebookcheck since 2017. My first computer was an Apple ][c and this sparked a passion for Apple, but also technology in general. In the past decade, I’ve become increasingly platform agnostic and love to get my hands on and explore as much technology as I can get my hand on. Whether it is Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Nintendo, Xbox, or PlayStation, each has plenty to offer and has given me great joy exploring them all. I was drawn to writing about tech because I love learning about the latest devices and also sharing whatever insights my experience can bring to the site and its readership.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 07 > New Windows 10 Start menu design official, plus other UI tweaks in the pipeline
Sanjiv Sathiah, 2020-07- 2 (Update: 2020-07- 2)