One of the biggest complaints about Windows 11 is its annoying Start Menu and Taskbar. The people have spoken and it seems the majority do not like the design of the Windows 11 Start Menu and also prefer the Taskbar the way it was and not the new design Microsoft has tried simplifying it into. Thankfully, Stardock has its Start11 software that fixes most of this.
The software has been around for some time now, with Start11 being the latest existence of it. Specifically designed for Windows 11, it allows the user to bring the Start Menu and Taskbar back to a design that is a bit more familiar to the user. While also giving extended control to customize it further.
You can select from various styles for the Start Menu, choose what shortcuts should exist, change the icon for it and more. Meanwhile, you can also align everything on the Taskbar back to the left instead of being centered the way it is. As well as play with various colors, backgrounds, transparencies, and textures for everything.
It has been a complete hit for the company and now it has received a notable update to what the company is referring to as “v2”. The upgrade is notable since it not only brings additional Start Menu styles with it that you can choose between, but you can not backup and restore your custom settings as well (something you couldn’t do before for whatever reason). It comes with a number of other upgrades but those caught our eyes the most.
The only thing that stung in our opinion was that the company is asking users to pay to upgrade if they already bought the original release of Start11. We found that a bit odd since it is Start11 v2.0 (coming from v1.47) and not a complete overhaul to something like Start12 (which would likely not come out until Windows 12 releases). The upgrade, I believe, is only like $4. But it feels like it should be included as a normal update for everyone who already paid for it.
For those that haven’t bought Start11 yet, it only costs $6.99 for a single license/install, with the option to buy a 5-install license ($14.99). Or it comes with the company’s “Object Desktop” suite of applications if you are a subscriber.
The application is fantastic and we have been testing it out since it first released. Many of us here own licenses as well. It is filled with features and offers a user-friendly interface. The fact that we hardly ever talk about software here is also a pretty solid testament. It’s just too bad they are holding an upgrade within the same release of the software hostage to an upgrade fee. Maybe this is part of an internal push to get users to consider subscribing to all of the software titles vs little upgrade fees here and there that pick at you.
There are alternative options that are free, but they don’t always offer a user-friendly interface and require a little more tech savviness. That and you usually have to layer applications on top of each other to achieve the same results vs using a single application like Start11.