The History of Windows Start Menu

Written by Techsviewer

Back in 1995, Windows launched its first and foremost Start menu on Windows 95 where people got crazed about. The first invented Start menu was first appeared in Windows 95 alongside with the taskbar. This was where you could find the important apps running on the computer, such as the volume, network connectivity, time and date.

Windows 95 Start Menu

Windows 95 Start Menu

And even up to this date, the Start menu has still been incorporated in any types of Windows – whether it is installed in Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10.

When Windows 8 was launched, the Microsoft users got saddened by the disappearance of the Windows Start Menu. The menu is the portal and shortcut to all applications and software installed in the system. They can just type down the app they want to find and it will then show them where it is located. This is why the Microsoft users were astonished when they could not find the Start menu on Windows 8.

Windows 10 Start Menu

Windows 10 Start Menu

However, this was not neglected for long period because the people demanded for it. Hence, the Windows manufacturer upgraded and added its system with Start menu to its latest OS after thorough deliberation.


WINDOWS 95 – 2000:

There was a little difference between Windows 95, 98 to 2000 and the Windows Me. However there were additional tools added to the latter Operating Systems. The “quick launch” and “show desktop” were among the new features.

The first feature allowed the users to pin their favorite apps so they could be seen and found quickly when needed. The second feature allowed the users to have a peek in their desktops and to minimize some running apps. There was also a folder “favorites” on the Start menu to complement the joint forces of the Internet and the OS.

Start Menu 95, 98 ,2000, Me

Start Menu 95, 98 ,2000, Me

Widgets were added to the desktop, which users became so fond of saving documents there. The “show desktop” was once a useful feature because it complemented the taskbar and the Start menu. There was another OS released – the Windows ME, which was not that very popular before. The Start menu in this system was way too ugly, but luckily, it did not last long. The Start menu on Windows 2000 and Windows ME is almost alike, but Microsoft made a minor change that they pinned Windows Update on Windows 2000, which is quicker to install and update important software and apps.


There are immense renovations and changes of the Start menu on Windows XP to Windows 7. The manufacturer opts to go for blue and green theme for Windows XP, which received criticism and notices from the Windows users. It looks like the significant difference has been made to last a lifetime, which it is of today to those who are still using it. The color of the taskbar is completely blue, and some icons were hidden by default, which are often unused. They could easily be retrieved by dropping them back to the system tray. In fact, it is a good idea since many app developers took advantage of them.

Windows XP Start Menu

Windows XP Start Menu

The Start menu has two panes – on the left side are the pinned apps or the ones that are frequently used, and on the right pane are a quick access to documents, pictures, music, control panel, etc. The old application list can still be found on All Programs in the Start menu. On Windows Vista, the two panes on the Start menu were very confusing, and the pinned apps were a long list, which were not convenient. The Start menu on Windows XP to Windows 7 has darker look and feel showing only simple icons in the taskbar, which made it easy to scan a document and revisit a pinned app.

Windows 7 Start Menu

Windows 7 Start Menu

On Windows 7, everything has changed. The shutdown button can be easily accessed once the Start menu is clicked. But the manufacturer kept the flat texts and visual elements for shortcuts. The biggest and helpful feature is its “search” tab on the Start menu to provide faster queries and look-ups.


The first concept was made on Windows 8 where there was a disappearance of the Start menu. This shocked everyone; however, the demand and the complaints of the Windows users were brought up, and Microsoft changed its idea – bringing the old concept back to its latest OS.

Windows 8 Start Menu 2

Windows 8 Start Menu

Before, the Start menu was a full-screen Start screen with vibrant Live Tiles. Windows 8 made the Start menu become extremely different, which also made the OS unique. Many users did not like the Live Tiles on Windows 8 because it made them confused. But the concept of Microsoft was to make it touch-friendly interface for both PCs and touch-screen devices.

Windows 10

Windows 10

Until Windows 8.1 arrived, Microsoft added some old Start menu tools, such as “search” and “shutdown” but this still made the users feel unease and uncomfortable. With Windows 10, Microsoft ensured that the old START menu would be brought back. The Start menu is back on Windows 10, a better OS than all previous upgrades. Windows 10 has a better yet more touch-friendly design. The Start menu is still on the right pane and Live Tiles are on the left pane – similar face with the traditional OS but more high-quality, updated, and colorful this time. This is how it all began – the history Windows start menu.

About the author


Hi. I am very happy to welcome you my friends. Myself John, and I am a founder & admin of I love to spend time to writing useful tech posts for people and that is the main reason behind the development of the blog. Blogging is my hobby and I am doing it for part time. I am full time worker who is working as an administrator in system & network.

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!