I believe the workday can be a tad less cluttered if certain stuff have a fixed placement. In a managed environment there might be interesting to customize the start menu layout for all users giving a default set of pinned apps in a fixed order. This blog post will walk you through the routine of setting this up on Windows 11 by use of Microsoft Intune.
Note: A customized start menu layout overwrites the entire existing layout. A partial locked layout like offered on Windows 10 is not available on Windows 11. The layout can be changed by the user.
Table of Contents
Create a JSON Settings File
Set up your preferred Start menu layout on an existing Windows 11 computer. Pin the apps you like on the start menu and arrange the order of these apps.
Start Windows Powershell and export the configuration to a JSON file.
The following code is used for exporting the JSON file with the start menu layout.
The JSON file can be inspected and edited in JSON editor like Notepad or Visual Studio Code.
Inside Visual Studio Code, you can format the document for better readability.
Settings Catalog Profile in Microsoft Intune
The configuration settings found in the JSON file can now be distributed to enrolled and managed Windows 11 devices by use of Microsoft Endpoint Manager. Create a new Configuration profile based on the settings catalog profile type for this purpose.
Give the configuration profile an appropriate name and description according to your standards.
You should now add settings for the Start Layout where you will paste the content from the JSON file with the configuration of the start menu layout. Notice your option to add the layout in policies for both user and device, where user policies will override device policies.
Assign the configuration policy accordingly to your devices/users and you should have a uniform start menu layout across your organization.
Note! The settings catalog which is in preview did not manage to set the start menu configuration on the Windows 11 devices. I had to use a custom profile instead.
Custom Profile in Microsoft Intune
Since the settings catalog didn’t manage to push the setting to the Windows 11 devices, I returned to the old custom template.
In the configuration settings I add the OMA-URI setting ./Vendor/MSFT/Policy/Config/Start/ConfigureStartPins which got populated with the vaules from the JSON file collected earlier.
This did add the desired start menu layout to the Windows 11 computer.
Complementary Info to Customize The Start Menu
You can find more information related to this subject in the following documentation from Microsoft. I have also added some references to other community contributions on this subject.
- Customize the Windows 11 Start menu | Microsoft Docs
- Customize the Windows 11 Taskbar | Microsoft Docs
- Customize Windows 11 Start Menu Layout Settings Using Intune HTMD Blog (anoopcnair.com)
- Windows Startmenu Creator Tool (rockenroll.tech)
No extra charge for the mistakes – solution shared as it is – use it at your own risk. It might be wise to test run the routine in a lab environment before putting it in production.
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