Windows Windows Server

Windows 11 Taskbar: Modifying via Intune and GPO

Windows 11 Taskbar and Desktop

Discover the Windows 11 Taskbar – widely embraced since its release by Microsoft. While similar to Windows 10 customization, a.json file replaces the Start Menu section in XML. This guide demonstrates how to modify the Windows 11 Taskbar with ease using Intune and Group Policy Objects.

You can also learn how to Hide or Remove the Search Button from Windows 11 Taskbar, how to Hide or Remove the Search Button from Windows 10 Taskbar.

Also see how to create Task Manager Shortcut: How to add access, pin the Task Manager on Windows 11, Microsoft blocks workaround that enables Windows 11 users to avoid its Edge Browser. See how to carry out some other common tasks on Windows 11 in the following guides; how to end a program via the Task Manager in Windows 11, how to enable or disable Screen Saver in Windows 10 or Windows 11 via Windows Settings or Group Policy, and 5 ways to take screenshots on Windows 11.

Before you can modify the Taskbar using GPO, you need to create the start layout XML file with the below code. I have created mine as Taskbar.xml and saved it on the Desktop of my PC.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
  <CustomTaskbarLayoutCollection PinListPlacement="Replace">
        <taskbar:DesktopApp DesktopApplicationID="MSEdge"/>
        <taskbar:DesktopApp DesktopApplicationID="Microsoft.Windows.Explorer"/>

Removing "PinListPlacement="Replace" from the XML file will simply add pinned apps to the TaskBar and make it different from the default one.

Modify Windows 11 Taskbar using Intune

With the same Configuration Profile employed for the Windows 10 Start Menu layout, we can install a Custom layout on the Windows 11 Taskbar using Intune. Before the end user logging in for the first time, the policy must be implemented.

To do this, login into your Intune account using this link, and click on All Services->Devices-> Windows

All Services in Intune

Next, create a configuration profile and select "Device Restriction".

Creating Configuration Profile

In the Device Restriction tab, click on the "Start" section to import the.xml file to use. I have my XML file saved in a folder named “Custom Taskbar.”

Taskbar.xml file

Now import the XML file:

Importing XML File

Enhancing Desktop Navigation with Group Policy

The “Start Layout” policy we utilized for Windows 10 to import the Windows 11 Taskbar and Start Menu layout can also be applied to deploy a personalized Taskbar through Group Policy. The Taskbar functionality remains unaffected. Place the .xml file on a shared location for client accessibility.
Note: If this approach is utilized, the end user will no longer be able to PIN any apps to the Start Menu.

To modify Windows 11 Taskbar using Group Policy, follow the steps below:

  1. From the floating on your Windows 11, click on the search for Group Policy
Windows 11 Taskbar

As highlighted in the image below, double-click to open it.

Search for Group Policy

2. In the Local Group Policy window, expand the Computer Configuration tab and navigate to Administrative Templates. Look for Start Menu, specifically the Start Menu Layout settings to customize your Windows 11 Taskbar.

Manage the Taskbar in Windows 11

3. Double-click on the Start Layout and select "Enabled". In the Group Policy, you need to point to the “taskbar.xml” file you want the computer to use as shown on the screenshot below.

Pointing the Start layout to the Start Layout File

The change the end user made to the Taskbar on the next login will be overwritten if the Group Policy is applied to a computer that has already been deployed.

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