Because Microsoft decided to remove the Start button and the Start Menu in Windows 8, they have created a hidden replacement for what once was the Start Menu. Since then, they have reintroduced the Start button in Windows 8.1 and they will reintroduce the Start Menu in Windows 10. But, this hidden replacement - the WinX menu is still there. Let's see what this menu is, how it can be useful to you and how to access it in Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.
What Is The WinX Menu?
The WinX menu is named this way by many websites just because Microsoft has not given it an official name. Others have name it the power user menu. Today, almost everyone is using its default keyboard shortcut to name it: Windows + X. If you are using Windows 8, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, press these keys and see what happens. Below you can see a screenshot of this menu in Windows 8.1.
As you can see, it includes the following shortcuts:
- Programs and Features - Opens the Program and Features window from where you can change, repair and uninstall desktop applications.
- Power Options - Opens the Power Options window where you can change the active power plan.
- Event Viewer - Opens the Event Viewer. You can learn more about this tool and how it works, from this guide: The Basics About Working with the Event Viewer in Windows.
- System - Opens the System window where you can learn basic information about your computer or device.
- Device Manager - Opens the Device Manager. You can learn more about this tool and how it works, from this guide: Find Missing Drivers & Hidden Devices in Windows with Device Manager.
- Network Connections - Opens the Network Connections window from which you can change the properties of your network connections.
- Disk Management - Opens the Disk Management tool. You can learn how to use it from this tutorial: How to Manage Partitions with the Disk Management Tool, in Windows.
- Command Prompt - Opens the Command Prompt.
- Command Prompt (Admin) - Opens the Command Prompt with administrative permissions.
- Task Manager - Opens the Task Manager.
- Control Panel - Opens the Control Panel.
- File Explorer - Opens File Explorer.
- Search - Opens the Search charm.
- Run - Opens the Run window.
- Shut down or sign out - Opens a menu with the following options: shut down, restart, sleep and sign out. Accessing this menu is also one of the fastest ways to shut down Windows.
- Desktop - Takes you to the Desktop, which is not exactly useful since, in most cases, you will access this menu from the Desktop.
The WinX Menu In Windows 8, Windows 8.1 & Windows 10
The WinX menu has evolved since its introduction in Windows 8. As you can see in the screenshot below, in this operating system it included 15 shortcuts that were useful mostly to power users and IT professionals.
In Windows 8.1, it has 20 shortcuts, including easy ways to shut down or restart your computer.
So far, in the early Windows 10 preview builds, this menu has remained the same as in Windows 8.1. However, we do expect Microsoft to make further changes and improvements to it. But let's see how the development process goes for this version of Windows.
How To Access The WinX Menu
The easiest way to access the WinX menu is to press Windows+X on your keyboard. This works in all three versions of Windows where this menu is included: 8, 8.1 and 10. In Windows 8, if you are using the mouse, you can access it by going to the Desktop and taking your mouse cursor to the bottom-left corner of the screen. Keep it there until you see the Start tooltip.
Then, right-click on it to display the WinX menu.
In Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, the procedure is much simpler: go to the Desktop and right click the Start button. If you are using touch, go to the Desktop and press and hold the Start button. The WinX menu will be displayed.
Now that you know what the WinX menu is, how it works, how to access it and its evolution in the different versions of Windows, don't hesitate to try it out and let us know how well it works for you. Do you use it on a regular basis?