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Thoughts from David Cornelius


I like to keep all my computers upgraded with the latest versions of their respective operating systems. This goes for Mac and Android devices as well as all machines running Windows--even my virtual machines get the most recent upgrades whenever I use them. My development systems all use Windows but only one has been upgraded to Windows 11--the rest are still on Windows 10.

Windows 10 Live TilesThe reason isn't technical--the computers are compatible and I've used my Windows 11 laptop enough to feel confident it's plenty robust and ready for serious work--after all, Windows 11 has been out for over a year now. The main reason is actually kinda silly--but not uncommon: familiarity. People, by and large, are resistant to change and with change often comes a temporary reduction in productivity accompanied by a learning curve for doing things differently. I usually embrace new technology eagerly but the removal of Live Tiles in Windows 11 threw me a curve ball!

The screenshot at the right shows some of the tiles I've placed and carefully arranged on my main development machine: Development IDEs and source control/analysis programs at the top, a section for databases underneath, and a long assortment of utilities and tools in the next column. I like to keep my desktop clean so don't want these icons there and while there are many I just type and select from the search list, there are some seldom-used tools that I want displayed in this list to remind me that I have them--and what they're called. So the Live Tiles list has become quite useful to me--not because I need information updated on the tile themselves but just so I have a list of icons to quickly see and access all the applications installed.

Windows 11 took that away.

We're now relegated to sets of 18 pinned apps with simple icons that can't be resized or grouped. You can't see all the icons at once and you can't even scroll slowly through them--you simply have a set of icons you can page through, 18 at a time. Of course, you can click the All Apps button and get a big list of everything that's been installed but that's not quick and concise like the curated list of tiles I had before.

Yes, there are alternate solutions like Live Tiles Anywhere that provide live tiles functionality on your desktop or pinned to your start menu or  task bar. There are also Start Menu replacements like Start11 or StartAllBack. I'll probably end up trying one of these to give me the list of tiled menu items I've come to like and depend on.

For now, I'm dealing with three pages of icons on my laptop:

Windows 11 Start Menu

EDIT (2022-Oct-17):

I just discovered there's a Start menu Personalization option to show "More pins" in Windows 11. This adds one more row of pinned apps making the total available 24 instead of 18 as shown in this screenshot:

Start menu with 24 pinned apps

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