Since its launch, Microsoft’s Windows 11 has stirred conversations, especially around its Start Menu. The feature has been both applauded and critiqued for its design, functionality, and customization options. Now, Microsoft seems to be making another attempt to refine it. According to a hacker known as PhantomOfEarth, the tech giant is testing a new pop-up folder feature designed to replace the “More” button in the Start Menu’s recommended section.

The New Pop-Up Folder: What to Expect

PhantomOfEarth’s discovery suggests that this pop-up folder will list items like recently installed apps, particularly useful when a user installs multiple apps simultaneously. Currently part of the latest Windows 11 Insider build, the feature can be enabled using the ViVeTool.

How to Enable Using ViVeTool

  1. Download ViVeTool: Obtain the latest version from this link and extract the zip file to a folder.
  2. Open Command Prompt: Run Command Prompt or Windows Terminal as an administrator, then navigate to the folder where you extracted ViVeTool.
  3. Run the Command: Type ViVeTool.exe addconfig <FeatureID> 1 and press Enter. The FeatureID for this new Start menu design is 46045587.
  4. Restart Your Computer: A simple reboot will apply the changes.

For those more comfortable with graphical interfaces, ViVeTool GUI can be downloaded here.

A Rollercoaster of Reactions to the Windows 11 Start Menu

The Start Menu in Windows 11 has had a tumultuous journey since its inception. When Microsoft first unveiled Windows 11 and its new, centered Start Menu in June 2021, the reactions were divisive. Some users appreciated the sleek design, likening it to Chrome OS or macOS, while others were quick to express their disapproval.

By July, Microsoft released the first preview build to Windows Insiders, opening the floodgates of feedback. Among the most common complaints were a lack of customization options, such as the inability to change the Start Menu’s size, shape, color, or position. Users also reported various bugs, including disappearing icons and slow loading times.

In August, Microsoft rolled out an update that introduced some improvements but also brought along features that users didn’t ask for, like random website recommendations. Microsoft seemed to be listening, though, as they later removed the website recommendations in September, albeit keeping the OneDrive prompts, which continued to annoy users.

October saw the public release of Windows 11, and with it, a fresh wave of opinions on the Start Menu. Users were so polarized that some even turned to third-party alternatives to replace the Start Menu altogether. Subsequent updates in November and December added minor changes and hinted at future improvements, signaling Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to refining the feature based on user feedback.

Looking Forward

As Microsoft continues to evolve the Start Menu, this new pop-up folder feature could either streamline the user experience or become another point of contention. Only time—and user feedback—will tell.

For those eager to get their hands on this feature, the Windows 11 Insider program is the place to be. So keep an eye on those updates; Microsoft’s plans for the Start Menu are far from over.