Updated: 10/01/2023 by Computer Hope

Start may refer to any of the following:

Windows Start buttons

1. The Start or Start button was introduced with the release of Microsoft Windows 95 and found in all releases of Windows since. Start lets you access your computer programs and configure Microsoft Windows by accessing the Start menu.


If you have an Apple computer with macOS, the Apple menu is Apple's version of the Windows Start and Start menu.

In the picture are examples of the different Start buttons in Windows. The gray Start at the top was the first Start featured in early versions of Microsoft Windows. In the second picture, this green Start briefly appeared in Windows XP. Next, the text "Start" was removed and made into the Start Orb, which was used with Windows Vista and Windows 7. In Windows 8.1 and 10, the orb was removed and only shows the updated version of the Windows logo.


In the initial release of Windows 8, the Start Screen replaced the Start button. Later versions of Windows 8 (e.g., Windows 8.1), have a Start that opens the Start Screen instead of the Start menu.


To determine what version of Windows is on your computer, see: What version of Windows do I have?

Where is Start and what does it do?

In Windows 10 and earlier versions, the Windows Start is at the bottom left of the desktop screen. However, Start can be placed at the top-left or top-right part of the screen by moving the Windows taskbar. In Windows 11, Start is located in the middle of the taskbar. Clicking Start opens the Start menu (except in Windows 8) that gives you access to all the installed programs and other Windows features. Below is a visual example of the Start button and its location in Windows 7.

Windows 7 desktop with Start button


The Start button is only part of the Microsoft Windows operating system and is not found on Apple computers that run macOS or Chromebooks running ChromeOS.

Where is Start on a mobile device?

Mobile devices, like Android smartphones and tablets, iPads, and iPhones, do not have a Start button. Instead, they have special icons on the home screen for accessing apps.

Despite using a Windows-based operating system, Windows mobile devices, like Windows Phone and Windows Mobile smartphones, also do not have a Start button.

How to click Start with the keyboard

Start can also be activated using the Windows key or keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Esc.

What happens when you right-click Start?

In new versions of Windows (Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and Windows 11), when you right-click Start, it gives you access to the Power User Task Menu.

Why can't I find Start on my computer?

If you can't see or find the Start button on your Windows computer, the taskbar (which contains the Start button) is hidden. Move your mouse cursor to the bottom of the Windows desktop screen to see if the taskbar becomes visible. If you see the taskbar, the auto-hide feature is enabled, causing the taskbar to hide until you move the mouse cursor to the bottom of the screen.

How to get out of the Start menu

Moving the mouse pointer anywhere outside of the Start menu and clicking closes the Start menu. To use your keyboard, press Esc.

Other buttons similar to the Start button

Microsoft Windows 95 and later are the only operating systems with Start. If you're more familiar with Windows and are using a computer that's not running Windows, you may want to find a button similar to Windows Start.

On a Chromebook running ChromeOS, the App Launcher is similar to Start. On an Apple computer, the Apple menu is similar to Start.

Should I refer to Start as Start or the Start button?

According to the Microsoft Manual of Style, the button should not be called the "Start button" or "Windows Start button." Instead, when discussing this button, it should only be called "Start." For example, write "Click Start to open the Start menu." and not "Click the Start button to open the Start menu."

2. Start is a Windows command line command that enables users to start a separate window in Windows. See the start command overview for further information.

3. The term start (startup) can also describe when a computer loads a program or is first booting.

4. Start, in general, refers to the beginning of something. For example, Computer Hope is an excellent place to learn more about computers.

5. Start is an HTML attribute. It continues a numbered list broken up by other elements or objects, such as an image.

Apple menu, Button, Operating system terms, Push-button, Start menu, Taskbar