Microsoft Windows 11 has been available since October 2021. However, though the newest version of the OS has been available for about two years, I preferred to continue using Windows 10, waiting for the latest version to become as stable as possible. The day came when I had to switch to a new laptop that […]
Microsoft Windows 11 has been available since October 2021. However, though the newest version of the OS has been available for about two years, I preferred to continue using Windows 10, waiting for the latest version to become as stable as possible.
The day came when I had to switch to a new laptop that shipped with Windows 11 Pro. I decided that September 2023 was the time to give Windows 11 a chance on my work computer. After a couple of days though, I discovered that some of the new “improvements” were affecting my productivity. I decided to look at options to make the OS work the way I preferred.
The recommendations I outline in this article are mentioned in many other places on the web. However, most of the articles I found are in the middle of pages full of ads that make following instructions a hassle.
Therefore, I explain here the five changes I made to improve my experience with Windows 11.
If you, like me, don’t enjoy that the Windows 11 start menu searches the entire web when you only want to search for something on your computer, I have good news: a simple registry change can make this irritation disappear.
Step 1: Open your Registry Editor.
Step 2: In the registry path, copy and paste the following:
Step 3: Create a new "Key" and name it "Explorer."
Step 4: Inside this new key, create a new DWORD (32-bit) Value. Rename the value: "DisableSearchBoxSuggestions".
Step 5: Double-click to change the value to “1”.
Now, you can restart Windows, which will remove Bing Search from the start menu.
Windows 11 brings a new, reduced context menu when you write in a file or folder in File Explorer. However, to see the full array of options, you must click on “Show more options.”
After trying to adjust to this method for a few days...I decided it was a waste of my time. I investigated if it was possible to bring back the old context menu (and found out it was!)
Step 1: Go back to the registry with the following path:
Step 2: Create a new key in this path with the following name:
Step 3: In the created key, create a new key inside and rename it to "InprocServer32".
Step 4: Once created, double-click on the Default file inside InprocServer32 and click OK without entering any value. (Notice that the Data field is empty.)
Close the registry, close any File Browser window (if you have any opened), and open the File Explorer again. When you right-click on any item, you will see the classic context menu without the need to click on “show more."
I tried to find the benefits of having the Windows 11 taskbar display in the center of the screen and moving to the left once you begin opening apps, but I prefer the classic taskbar. Restoring the classic taskbar display is even simpler than the tips above.
Step 1: Right-click on the taskbar and choose “Taskbar Settings."
Step 2: Begin by hiding everything in the Taskbar items section.
Step 3: Scroll down to “Taskbar behaviors" and choose the preferred alignment. In this example, I've chosen the left.
Another change I made was to hide all recent items and simplify the Start menu as much as possible.
Step 1: Right-click on the “Desktop” and click on personalization; then go to “Start” and choose the proper layout for you.
Step 1: In the same “personalization” window, go to the Device Usage section.
Step 2: Turn off all tracking options.
As mentioned at the beginning, I was trying to acclimate to the Windows 11 way of doing things, but I couldn’t let it affect my productivity.
If you find the new user interface changes are helpful and intuitive, by all means, use Windows 11 as it was designed. If you, like me, found that you preferred the Windows 10 interface, I hope you find these recommendations helpful!
Article written by Daniel Alarcon, Technical Support Manager
Edited by Katie Gerhardt, Jr. Product Marketing Manager