Microsoft is “exploring” a new Windows 10 Start menu design that will see the company de-emphasize its Live Tiles. The potential changes were revealed in a Windows Insider podcast today and are designed to “visually differentiate the Start menu from something that’s chaotic color to something that’s more uniform.” Microsoft is looking at reducing the color of the blocks of the tiled interface on the Start menu to simplify it and make it easier to scan for apps.
The software maker has been using Live Tiles on the Start menu in Windows 10 ever since it launched nearly five years ago, providing animated and flipping icons that were similar to Windows Phone. Microsoft has already dropped Live Tiles from its Windows 10X Start menu for dual screens, but the company claims the colorful tiled interface isn’t going away in the main desktop OS despite this new design direction.
“Live Tiles are not going away, we have not announced anything of the sort,” says Brandon LeBlanc, a senior program manager on the Windows Insider team. “Those that enjoy their Live Tiles will continue to be able to do so.”
Despite these reassurances, it certainly looks like Live Tiles will be scrapped fully at some point in the future. Not all of Microsoft’s built-in Windows 10 apps support them, and developer support hasn’t been strong either. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that a final decision on Live Tiles in Windows 10 hasn’t been made yet despite rumors, and that the feedback from the change in Windows 10X will determine their future.
The new Windows 10X Start menu looks very different to the existing menu found in the desktop version of Windows 10. It includes apps you can pin in place and a list of recent documents, and looks like more of a task launcher than what exists right now. Windows 10’s Start menu design has come into focus recently after Microsoft started rolling out colorful new Windows 10 icons. The new icons clash a little with the colorful background of the Start menu tiles, and this small design update is clearly aimed at resolving that.