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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.

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