Microsoft’s War Against Third Party UI Customization For Windows 11

Source: The Register Microsoft’s War Against Third Party UI Customization For Windows 11

Love The New Start Menu And Taskbar, OR ELSE!

There are many of us who despise the changes made by Microsoft in Windows 11, which now resembles a Mac more than a Windows machine.  There are also the wonderful new features, such as intermittently losing the ability to use your mouse to interact with your taskbar until you click the Windows button on your keyboard.  Another favourite is tying task manager into Explorer.exe so that you can’t restart that service as easily as you could before Windows 11.

It is possible to remedy at least some of these wonderful features with the use of third party UI customization software however, as many have discovered, Microsoft seems to like to find ways to break them.  The latest UI customization packages to experience this are ExplorerPatcher or StartAllBack.  If you are running Win11 22H2 and apply the optional KB5022913 February 2023 non-security preview update, you may find you are now unable to boot to desktop.

Microsoft have blamed the third parties, as you would assume, suggesting that the “apps often use unsupported methods to achieve their customization“.  The effect of this is Explorer.exe getting stuck in a loop and never properly launching; something of a problem if you intend to use your computer.

In the case of StartAllBack version 3.5.6 or later should ensure you don’t encounter the issue, but you need to ensure to upgrade before applying the patch.  As for the other third party UI customization tools, Microsoft suggests you remove them before updating.  If you are faced with a machine that won’t boot to Windows their only suggestion is to contact the app developer and ask for assistance.

"Windows devices with some third-party UI customization apps might not start up," the IT titan noted on the Windows Health Dashboard site.

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About The Author

Jeremy Hellstrom

Call it,, or PC Perspective, Jeremy has been hanging out and then working with the gang here for years. Apart from the front page you might find him on the BOINC Forums or possibly the Fraggin' Frogs if he has the time.


  1. James

    Unfortunately Microsoft lost all touch with third party customization after Windows XP.

  2. Scott

    Until Microsoft can fix the problem with dialog boxes opening halfway across 2 monitors then it can just sit down.

    • Daniel Watkins

      What about Stardock Start11? As far as explorer.exe, it seems that you can press Restart within the Processes tab but maybe you can no longer go to details right click and process and then go to file -> run -> explorer.exe?

      • Nittani

        Microsoft is a piece of shit, tho i did find a way to completely ditch the taskbar widgets and file explorer, all free and opensource software and a program ive written in autohotkey to open apps manage windows resize them pin them and fade the windows. Its most useful feature is the screenshot, / record my desktop and make it a gif keybind, look at archcraft to get a preview of the ui the open box edition, ontop of all that rainmeter is also your best freind

      • Eric

        Start 11 has been fine for me, with all latest updates.

    • Eric

      “Windows 11, which now resembles a Mac more than a Windows machine.”

      Do you even realize how asenine of a statement that is? Literally the ONLY similarity is the Taskbar being centered by default.

      Windows, on its worst day, looks 100x better than MacOS.

  3. JoshTekkBeer

    Thanks to Brett for the tip a few weeks ago about PopOS. I put it on a laptop to replace Win 11 and loving it.

  4. Roy Anderson

    instead of Microsoft fighting everybody they need to understand what people want and incorporate it into the software not try to take it out of the software.

    • Lupércio

      Exatamente, eu nunca me acostumei a usar apenas ícones na barra de tarefas, prefiro usar a barra mais “fininha” com os nomes dos programas abertos (exatamente como era padrão no Windows XP e anteriores), até o Windows 10 a Microsoft dá a opção de modificar para usar assim, mas, no windows 11 ela tirou este recurso.

  5. Treb

    I use Windows 10 with Open shell and TranslucentTB, not enough customization with Start 11 for me

  6. vayu

    I updated to 2023-02 Cumulative Update for Windows 11 Version 22H2 for x64-based Systems (KB5022913), and TranslucentTB stopped working. What to do now?


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