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Windows 11 – Customize the Start menu layout

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 have a customized 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 Endpoint Manager.

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.

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.
Configure a preferred start menu layout on an existing Windows 11 device

Start Windows Powershell and export the configuration to a JSON file.

Export the configuration to a JSON file

The following code is used for exporting the JSON file with the start menu layout.

Export-StartLayout -Path “C:tempLayoutsWin11StartLayoutModification.json”
The JSON file can be inspected and edited in JSON editor like Notepad or Visual Studio Code.
You can format the document for better readability

Settings catalog Profile in Microsoft Endpoint Manager

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.

NB! 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 Endpoint Manager

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 information

You can find more information related to this subject in the following documentation from Microsoft:

No extra charge for the mistakes – solution shared as it is – use it at your own risk.
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One Comment

  1. […] You can also take a look at customizing the start menu. This will give you a chance of putting your company’s most beloved applications at the center of the managed Windows devices. This was covered in this blogpost released earlier this year: Simon does… Windows 11 – Customize the Start menu layout ( […]

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