Updated: 06/07/2019 by Computer Hope

Start may refer to any of the following:

Windows Start buttons

1. The Start or Start button was first introduced with the release of Microsoft Windows 95 and is found in all releases of Windows since. Start allows you to access your computer programs and configure Microsoft Windows easily 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 made a brief appearance in Windows XP. Next, the "Start" text was removed and made into the Start Orb with the Windows logo in a circle and 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 button was replaced by the Start Screen. Later versions of Windows 8, more commonly referred to as Windows 8.1, has a Start (shown in the image) that opens the Start Screen instead of the Start menu.


To determine what version of Windows is on your computer, you can review our guide on how to determine Windows version.

Where is the Start and what does it do?

By default, the Windows Start is at the bottom left part 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. Clicking Start opens the Start menu (except in Windows 8) that gives you access to all the installed programs, as well as other Windows features. Below is a visual example of the Start button and its location in Windows 7.

Windows 7 desktop with Start button

How to click the Start with the keyboard

The Start can also be activated using the Windows key or by pressing Ctrl+Esc on the keyboard.

What happens when you right-click the Start?

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

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

According to the Microsoft Manual of Style, the button should not be referred to as the "Start button" or "Windows Start button." Instead, when talking about this button, it should only be referred to as "Start." For example, you should 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 a user to start a separate window in Windows. See the start command overview for further information.

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

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

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