How to export and import Windows Start layout

The layout of your Start menu includes a full screen, that is how the tiles of pinned items are sized, arranged into groups, group names, and used in Live Folders. If you like, you can specify a default Start a layout in Windows 10 for users and prevent them from changing it via GPO, etc. For related content, see Single App Kiosk Mode Configuration using MDM Bridge WMI Provider and also how to deploy Kiosk mode on Windows 10 with an AD Domain User Account.

The easiest method for creating a customized Start layout to apply to other Windows 10 devices is to set up the Start screen on a test computer and then export the layout. After you export the layout, decide whether you want to apply a full Start layout or a partial Start layout.

When a full Start layout is applied, the users cannot pin, unpin, or uninstall apps from Start. Users can view and open all apps in the All Apps view, but they cannot pin any apps to Start.

Export the Start layout file and modify it. From the Start menu
– Right-click on Windows PowerShell
– Launch PowerShell with Administrators privilege (or else Access will be denied when you run the cmdlets).
– At the Windows PowerShell command prompt, enter the following command.

Export-StartLayout –path <path><file name>.xml
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Export-StartLayout –path <path><file name>.xml

Run the following command
- PS C:WINDOWSsystem32> export-startlayout -path .start1.xml 

The output will be saved in this location: C:WindowsSystem32 as shown below.

Let’s discuss the structure of the XML file

  • A configuration XML can define multiple profiles. Each profile has a unique Id and defines a set of applications that are allowed to run, whether the taskbar is visible, and can include a custom Start layout.
  • A configuration XML can have multiple config sections. Each config section associates a non-admin user account to a default profile Id.
  • Multiple config sections can be associated with the same profile.
  • A profile has no effect if it’s not associated with a config section.

Import the Start Layout:
You can deploy (import) the resulting .xml file to devices using one of the following methods below:
– Group Policy
– Windows Configuration Designer provisioning package
– Mobile device management (MDM)

I hope you found this blog post helpful. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comment session.

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