Microsoft is beta testing an improved Start Menu in Windows 10, which features a more streamlined design that better fits with the rest of the operating system.
Available in the latest beta release from the Windows Insider Dev channel, Microsoft is experimenting with changing the way that apps and Live Tiles look in the Start Menu. The company says the new Start Menu should “create a beautiful stage for your apps.”
This new design comes by way of removing the solid-color backplates behind the logos in the app list of the Start Menu. Things are now instead partially transparent, creating a more clean look that matches Microsoft’s new iconography in Windows 10. The new Start Menu look also comes in both a dark and light theme, but it is more noticeable with the light theme, as seen below.
“This design creates a beautiful stage for your apps, especially the Fluent Design icons for Office and Microsoft Edge, as well as the redesigned icons for built-in apps,” said Microsoft
The new color options can be applied by picking an accent color and through Settings, Personalization, and Color in Windows 10. Microsoft also says that not all beta testers will see the new Start Menu at first to “help quickly identify issues that may impact performance and reliability.”
This new Start Menu design was teased several times by Microsoft, most recently in a video from Panos Panay, the chief product officer of Microsoft’s Devices group. However, since the new look is being tested in the Dev Channel of the Windows Insider Program, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be coming in this year’s Windows 10 Update, scheduled for release in the fall.
As Microsoft explained in a previous blog post, any features coming from the Dev Channel of the Windows Insider Program (such as this Start Menu) are newer code that’s early in the development cycle. These features are not tied to an upcoming release.
Only features announced for the Beta channel are tied to a specific release, so the new Start Menu might or might not make it to a final non-beta version of Windows 10. However, with Panay now in charge of the team that oversees Windows, there is some hope that its’ on the way, along with the chance of seeing some of the other teased features like a brand-new File Explorer.