Light Theme and Start Menu Changes

Windows 10 has offered both a light and dark theme for some time now. But with version 1903, the light theme gets a major overhaul. In previous versions the default task bar and start menu color was black, but you could choose between light and dark for applications and most recently, File Explorer, which gained a dark mode in the October 2018 update.

The new light theme is a true light theme, affecting not only the app backgrounds but also the taskbar and start menu. The color choices are clean and refreshing, and it really look great. It also includes a new background, based on the original blue Windows 10 background, but lightened up to match the new theme.

Text on the taskbar switches from white text on black to black text on white, and to avoid being lost on the task bar, some of the white icons such as mail and Store are color reversed to make sure they are still easily found. The File Explorer icon also got a makeover since it was too light for the light theme. Microsoft has subtly changed the color scheme to work better in either light or dark modes.

The Start Menu has probably never looked cleaner than it does in 1903, where the new color scheme really works well. Microsoft is also changing the default start menu for new accounts to a more simplified version, with just a single column of applications rather than the two it was by default previously. You can of course still customize this any way you’d like, with groups of apps, and different tile sizes, but the out of box experience is a nicer look to start with. In addition, some of the icons have been updated to fit in better with Fluent design, which is Microsoft’s design language for Windows.

The Start Menu now also supports unpinning of groups of icons from the Start Menu, so if you don’t like the default, or just want to start over, it’s easy to remove everything. In addition, Microsoft is allowing more of the default applications. The following applications can all be uninstalled via the Start Menu:

  • 3D Viewer (previously called Mixed Reality Viewer)
  • Calculator
  • Calendar
  • Groove Music
  • Mail
  • Movies & TV
  • Paint 3D
  • Snip & Sketch
  • Sticky Notes
  • Voice Recorder
  • Microsoft Solitaire Collection
  • My Office
  • OneNote
  • Print 3D
  • Skype
  • Tips
  • Weather

You’ll no longer need to brush off your PowerShell skills to remove some of these default applications.

In addition, the Start Menu is being isolated into its own process. In past builds, Start was hosted as part of the larger ShellExperienceHost.exe, but now it gets its own StartMenuExperience.exe. Anyone who has had the Start Menu stop responding will appreciate the effort here, since one of the main goals of breaking it into its own process is reliability and debugging.

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  • willis936 - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    That sandbox is really exciting. It opens up a lot of room for creative applications. Remember that linus tech tips project where one huge machine ran like 5 gaming VMs? I’m sure the sandbox is more stable and performant than virtualbox.
  • TheWereCat - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    The sandbox is quite limited vs CM. You can also run only one instance of it
  • prophet001 - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    Wow this sandbox looks really sweet.
  • SkyDiver - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    The UI is ugly - flat and boring. I'm glad that I didn't update to it until now.
  • Dragonstongue - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link


    was wanting/needing this to be THE update (prior to this years hot new CPU-GPU stuff) to "set it right" sounds like it just might be that "the new Windows 7 Ultimate"

    Windows 10 likely is NOW ready for 99% of people (including me) just in time for Ryzen 2 and Navi 2019

    YAY....why the hell did they not just do Windows 7 and update its "core" to make into Win 10, instead of #%^#%^# metro, live tiles and all that crpa most people HATE

    NOW yay......Thanks MSFT, does this mean you are ACTUALLY paying attention to Win 10 going forward,, not rush launch patch crap?

    as well, ability to NOT force update is such awesome, to "act" like is a new novel feature is crap, at least now they "wised up" and made for ALL users regardless of version can disable/turn off a good chunk of the "crap" to make it


    stupid....but thank you....about damn time...3 year+ later?


    here you go....
  • Wardrop - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    I swear half the emails in my spam folder were written by you.
  • Agent Smith - Saturday, May 25, 2019 - link

    I thought a child who’d just discovered CAPS-LOCK had just entered the room.
  • GlossGhost - Saturday, May 25, 2019 - link

    God bless.
  • mobutu - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    "Arguably the biggest feature that most people will see is the new Light Theme."

    "giving some control back to users on how updates get pushed out. Windows 10 Home now supports up to seven days of delay for an update."

    really? a theme and seven days max. delay for updates?
    these are some of the major points for this update?

  • Alexvrb - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    It's not seven days max, it's seven days at a time. I don't recall what the total is, but it's decent for Home. If you really have an issue installing updates, get Pro and you can delay them longer, or take control yourself. Realistically this change will be good enough for 99% of normal users, without risking the never-updater scenarios we saw constantly with malware-infected Win7 and older installs. It's a compromise to make sure people are semi-current without rushing updates. My time spent as tech support for friends and relatives has been cut down to almost zero since they've all got Win10 now.

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