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Windows 11 blocks testers from using classic Windows 10 Start menu

A Screenshot Of The Windows 11 Start Menu
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Windows 11 has fully blocked the ability to switch back to the traditional Windows 10 Start menu in the latest preview build of the incoming OS, disappointing some testers in the process.

This isn’t really surprising, because the ability to revert to the normal (left-aligned) Start menu was only present as a fudge – as Tom’s Hardware points out, you needed to go into the Registry and apply a workaround to do this.

Remember, editing the Registry isn’t normally recommended, and certainly not for those who aren’t confident about what they’re doing, because putting a foot wrong can potentially be seriously bad news for your system. That said, of course Windows 11 testers should be more tech-savvy types, but even so, messing in this way with beta software which can already be buggy by its very nature comes with its own caveats.

At any rate, with the new build 22000.65, Microsoft has changed Windows 11 so that this Registry tweak no longer works, and now there’s no way to bring back the old Start menu for those who don’t like Windows 11’s fresh take on this part of the UI.

Testing times

Doing this makes sense with the preview build considering that Microsoft will doubtless want testers to be using the new Start menu and finding bugs or problems with that – after all, that’s the whole point of the Windows Insider program.

It’s not clear whether with the final version of Windows 11, Microsoft could bring back an option to switch to a Windows 10-like Start menu, but that obviously remains to be seen. It would make sense in terms of tempting those who aren’t keen on the new menu – which makes some controversial changes, including a central alignment, rather than the traditional left-sided one – to make the switch and upgrade to Windows 11.

Obviously, we don’t know what Microsoft will end up doing – and feedback from testers (or indeed elsewhere online) will likely be a sizeable determining factor – but even if there is no official setting to change the Start menu away from the new configuration, there’ll doubtless be third-party apps from the likes of Stardock on hand to help those who want to turn back the UI clock.

Windows 11 will start rolling out late in 2021 and it’ll be a free upgrade for Windows 10 users, or indeed for those on Windows 7 or 8.1 theoretically.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).