Windows 10 Start menu is losing its Live Tiles

Win10 live icons

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Windows 10 Start menu is losing its Live Tiles — the variable-sized squares loaded with real-time app information that was added in Windows 8 as part of the Metro user experience. This will be the biggest redesign to the start menu since 2012.

So, if you couldn’t give a rat’s behind about Windows’ Live Tiles, you’ll be happy to know that in future version of Windows 10 it will no longer be the focal point of the Windows 10 Start menu. The Live Tiles are going to be replaced by big static icons for each app you want to pin in the Start menu.

Microsoft has also cleaned up and streamlined the entire menu, with a new icon column and separating common system functions — like file explorer, settings, and power — on a simple first column that also serves as a spacer to give some air to the entire menu.

“The idea is to visually unify the Start menu, from a somewhat chaotic color, to something a bit more uniform,” Mike LaJoie, an icon designer on the Windows team, said.

The Live Tiles won’t be killed off entirely, though.

“Live Tiles are not going away – entirely. Those that enjoy their Live Tiles will continue to be able to do so, the switch to the new look will be optional, at least for the next two Win 10 updates.” said Brandon LeBlanc, a senior program manager on the Windows Insider team.

Senior Product Manager Jason Howard of the Windows Experience team explained that the new icons will provide users with greater control over their layouts. Options will be dependent on whether the user enables a light or dark theme.

Live Tiles were actually a good idea that was first introduced in Windows Phone. It answered two simple questions. First, why have space wasted by static app icons when you can convey information at first glance? And then, why force users to open an app when you can give them a glimpse of what‘s happening — like a summary of the weather, messages, or any notifications — by just glancing at the screen?

But, with Windows Phone’s failure, it appeared that people didn’t care much for Microsoft’s Metro or Live Tiles. Developers were slow to adopt them and, eventually, Microsoft stopped updating them, effectively killing them off.

Windows 10X, the upcoming operating system designed to be compatible with dual-screen devices, has already abandoned Live Tiles and is poised to launch for the 2020 holiday season alongside Microsoft’s Surface Neo.

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