How do I create a standard Windows 10 Start menu for all users?

Users can customize the Windows 10 Start menu, but you might not want them to for business reasons. Luckily, there's a way you can make it so all workers use the same Start menu configuration.

The Windows 10 Start menu is designed to be highly dynamic and to give each user a personal experience, but in some organizations, that might not always be desirable. You might have to create a standard Start menu configuration for all users in the organization. Fortunately, this is somewhat easy to accomplish.

If you want to standardize the Windows 10 Start menu, you must first set up a model PC. Use this PC to arrange the tiles on the Start menu the way that you want them to appear on users' PCs. Once you are satisfied with the Start menu layout, use PowerShell to export the Start menu layout to an XML file. The command for doing so is:

Export-StartLayout –Path C:\temp\Start.xml

Once you have created the XML file, the next step is to import it to the Group Policy Editor. There is one gotcha, however: According to the documentation, the required Group Policy setting, Start Layout, only works for Windows 10, Windows Server 2016 -- which the documentation calls Windows Server 10 -- and Windows RT 10 -- which does not exist. In other words, if you are currently running Windows Server 2012 R2 domain controllers, you probably won't be able to use this Group Policy setting unless you import it directly into the local security policy for your Windows 10 desktops.

Start Layout is located at User Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Start Menu and Taskbar. To use this setting, simply enable it and then provide the XML file that you created in the previous step.

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