Microsoft announces new Windows 10 Start menu design and updated Alt-Tab

Microsoft is introducing a new Windows 10 Start menu design that will de-emphasize its Live Tiles. The software giant first hinted at the refreshed design earlier in 2010, and it’s arriving for Windows 10 testers today. “We are freshening up the Start menu with a more streamlined design that removes the solid color backplates behind the logos in the apps list and applies a uniform, partially transparent background to the tiles,” explains Microsoft in a blog post.

Essentially, the reduction in along with of the blocky tiled interface on the Start menu will simplify it slightly and make it simpler to scan for the apps you use every day. It’s a subtle change, but it undoubtedly makes the Start menu look just a little less chaotic and avoids many tiles sharing the same blue color.

The old Start menu versus the refreshed one.

Alongside an updated Start menu, the newest Windows 10 build includes some big changes to Alt-Tab. “Beginning with today’s build, all tabs open in Microsoft Edge will start appearing in Alt-Tab, not just the active one in each browser window,” explains Microsoft. This may seem like a change that would be a little confusing for veteran Windows users, but Microsoft is thankfully allowing you to switch back to the classic Alt-Tab experience.

Microsoft attempted Alt-Tab changes in Windows 10 builds in the past, when the company was planning to add tabs to every app. There is going to be a lot of feedback around any Alt-Tab changes here, particularly if Microsoft plans to turn this on automatically when its next major Windows 10 update ships later in 2010.

New Alt-Tab interface.

Microsoft is also making some smaller changes with this specific new Windows 10 build. The default taskbar appearance will also now be more personalized with the Xbox app pinned for Xbox Live users or Your Phone pinned for Android users. This will soon be limited to new account creation on a PC or first login, so existing taskbar layouts will remain unchanged.

Notifications now include an X in the very best right corner to allow you to quickly dismiss them, and Microsoft is also improving its Settings app in Windows 10. Links that will typically push you toward the system area of the legacy Control Panel system page will now direct you to the About page in Settings. This will now house the heightened controls on average found in that system area of the Control Panel, and Microsoft is promising “there will be more improvements coming that will further bring Settings closer to Control Panel.”

Windows 10 taskbar changes.

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