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5 ways to clear out the junk in your Windows 10 Start menu

Windows 10 is a handy tool, but it’s not optimized for your needs right out of the box. This software comes with many valuable tools, but it also comes pre-loaded with bloatware and annoying features that can get in the way of productivity.

The good news is you aren’t stuck using Windows 10 in its stock format. There are ways to clean up and customize the Start menu in Windows 10 to make it work better for your needs. Want more Windows help? Tap or click here for the Windows 10 secret everyone needs to know.

Whether it’s getting rid of annoying app suggestions or removing unwanted bloatware, you’ll want to clean up Windows 10. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to do. If you’re ready to get rid of all that junk lurking in your Start menu, here’s how.

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1. Get rid of annoying suggestions

You may have noticed a few suggested links popping up when you open the Start menu. That’s because Windows 10 Start menu has a feature that automatically shows recommended app links it thinks you may find helpful. The Windows Store page will open for the app to buy and download when you click the link.

While these suggestions can be helpful in some situations, they can also be annoying. If you’re tired of seeing these suggestions, you can turn them off so they aren’t cluttering up your Start menu.

To get rid of suggestions in Start:

  • Open Settings on your desktop
  • Click the Personalization icon
  • Click Start, located on the left-hand side of the pane
  • Toggle the slider to disable Show suggestions occasionally in Start

2. Simplify the app list

The app list that pulls up in the Start menu can be a nuisance, especially if it came filled with pre-installed bloatware. It’s pretty standard for computers to come loaded with bloatware, like unnecessary apps and software, which can create a mess and make it difficult to find what you’re looking for.

Even a simple install of Windows 10 can come with useless apps like Candy Crush Friends Saga or Cooking Fever. You can clear out this type of bloatware from your Start menu pretty quickly. Or, if you don’t need the app list to pull up in the Start menu, you can disable the “Show app list in Start menu” instead.

To hide the apps list in the Start menu:

  • Open Settings on your desktop
  • Click the Personalization icon
  • Select the Start tab in the left sidebar
  • You’ll see the Show app list in Start menu option in the right-side pane. Toggle this option off
    • If you turn it off, you’ll see only live tiles in the Start Menu
  • You can still click the All apps button at the top left of the Start Menu to expand the apps list you’ve hidden

To remove programs you don’t need or use:

  • Log in to your computer as an administrator
  • Type Apps into the Windows 10 search box
  • Under the search results, select Apps & Features
  • Select an application you want to remove
  • Tap Uninstall
  • Repeat the process for each application you want to remove

RELATED: If you’re having issues with the Microsoft update, click here for tips to debug

3. Disable options you don’t use

The Windows 10 Start menu is set to show you things like recently added or your most-used apps. Seeing new apps you’ve added in recent weeks can be helpful initially, but you may not find that feature as useful over time. Or, you may not want to be inundated with a list of regularly used or recently added apps.

If that’s the case, you can disable those other options to clean up your Start menu. To disable the different options in Windows 10:

  • Open Settings on your desktop
  • Click the Personalization icon
  • Select the Start tab in the left sidebar
  • Toggle off the Show most used apps feature
  • You can also toggle off Show recently added apps in this section if you don’t want all of your newly installed applications to show up

4. Organize tiles to your liking

One of the unique features of Windows 10 is the Start tiles, which are large, bright boxes that give you quick access to certain apps. Some people may find those large Start tiles built into Windows 10 useful.

Not everyone likes being greeted by a load of square tiles with quick access to the Microsoft Store or the calendar when logging in, though. If you prefer to go without the tiles built into Windows 10, you can turn them off. It’s pretty easy to do, too.

To turn off Show more tiles on Start:

Note: You must be signed in as an administrator to enable or disable the “Show more tiles on Start” setting.

  • Click Start > Settings > Personalization
  • Select Start
  • Toggle off Show more tiles on Start

To rearrange or organize the tiles on Start:

  • Click the Windows button in the lower-left corner
  • To move a tile, click and drag it to the desired location

RELATED: Windows 10 pro tips

5. Choose which folders appear

Three folders populate the Start Menu as a default setting in Windows 10. They include Documents, Pictures and Settings, which may not be the most valuable folders for your needs.

If you want to add different options to the Start menu, you can add additional folders to the mix alongside the default ones. Maybe you want to add File Explorer, Settings, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Videos, Network or even a personal folder. You can add one or all of these folders — or as many that will fit — to the Start menu.

You’ll have to work within the Start menu screen’s height constraints, but you can customize what folders appear as often as you like.

To add, edit or remove folders from the Start Menu:

  • Open Settings
  • Select Personalization
  • Tap Start > Choose which folders appear on Start
  • You will see a list of folder options for the Start Menu, including File Explorer, Settings, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Videos, Network and Personal Folder
  • Toggle each folder option on or off
  • Turning on a folder will add it to the Start Menu
  • When you toggle off a folder, it’s removed from the Start Menu

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