How to change to the older style ChromeOS app launcher menu

The ChromeOS 104 update offers lots of new features for your Chromebook. One of these is the new ChromeOS app launcher menu. Personally, I love the new ChromeOS start menu, which is why I wrote an article on how to enable the new Chrome OS start menu before it was available by default.

The new ChromeOS app launcher takes up a lot less space, as it no longer takes up the whole screen. The new menu is very similar to the start menu found on Windows 7, and I’m aware many people much prefer it over the older style menu.

It looks a lot neater and you no longer have to worry about managing all the empty spaces between icons. This was something that I found frustrating with the older menu, as you had to constantly move the icons.

Change back to the older ChromeOS app launcher menu

You may have tried the new menu and decided it isn’t for you. Luckily, at the moment you can change the menu back to the older style. Therefore, if you prefer the older style start menu it’s very easy to change this back.

I’m not certain how long this will be an option. This is because to change it back you have to change a ChromeOS flag. ChromeOS flags are easy to use and are accessible from the stable channel. Therefore, you can use ChromeOS flags without having to worry about leaving the stable channel.

The main purpose of ChromeOS flags is when the ChromeOS team is checking out new functionality, which is not yet available on the stable channel. Flags can change and be removed at any time, and this usually happens once the flag is no longer needed as the functionality has been rolled out by default.

How to change the ChromeOS Start menu

Follow the steps below to change back to the older style menu:

  • Open the Chrome Browser
  • type the following into the address bar chrome://flags
  • Search for productivity launcher
  • Change the setting from default to disabled
  • Click the Restart button to restart your device
ChromeOS app launcher flag
The ChromeOS flag to change the app launcher

Will this be an option in the future?

As I’ve already mentioned flags can be removed at any time, which means the above method may not be available in the future.

Now that we are seeing a lot more customisation settings for ChromeOS. I think it would be a good idea for these flags to be left how they are. I’m sure many people would prefer to have access to flags, so they can customise their devices to suit their needs.

I’m not too sure how practical this would be, but if it doesn’t cause too many issues leaving flags available. I think it’s a great way to let individual users change how their Chromebooks work. Have a look at all the new features rolled out with the ChromeOS 104 update.