Customize Windows 10 Start and taskbar with mobile device management (MDM)

Applies to

  • Windows 10

Looking for consumer information? Customize the Start menu

In Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Enterprise, and Windows 10 Education, you can use a mobile device management (MDM) policy to deploy a customized Start and taskbar layout to users. No reimaging is required. The layout can be updated simply by overwriting the .xml file that contains the layout. This feature enables you to customize Start layouts for different departments or organizations, with minimal management overhead.

Note

Support for applying a customized taskbar using MDM is added in Windows 10, version 1703.

Before you begin: Customize and export Start layout for desktop editions (also works for taskbar customization).

Warning

When a full Start layout is applied with this method, 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. When a partial Start layout is applied, the contents of the specified tile groups cannot be changed, but users can move those groups, and can also create and customize their own groups.

How Start layout control works

Two features enable Start layout control:

  • The Export-StartLayout cmdlet in Windows PowerShell exports a description of the current Start layout in .xml file format.

    Note

    To import the layout of Start to a mounted Windows image, use the Import-StartLayout cmdlet.

  • In Microsoft Intune, you select the Start layout XML file and add it to a device configuration profile.

    Note

    Please do not include XML Prologs like <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> in the Start layout XML file. The settings may not be reflected correctly.

Create a policy for your customized Start layout

The following example uses Microsoft Intune to configure an MDM policy that applies a customized Start layout:

  1. Sign in to the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center.

  2. Select Devices > Configuration profiles > Create profile.

  3. Enter the following properties:

    • Platform: Select Windows 10 and later.
    • Profile type: Select Templates > Device restrictions > Create.
  4. In Basics, enter the following properties:

    • Name: Enter a descriptive name for the profile. Name your profiles so you can easily identify it later. For example, a good profile name is Customize Start menu and taskbar.
    • Description: Enter a description for the profile. This setting is optional, but recommended.
  5. Select Next.

  6. In Configuration settings, select Start:

    • If you're using an XML file, select Start menu layout. Browse to and select your Start layout XML file.
    • If you don't have an XML file, configure the others settings. For more information on these settings, see Start settings in Microsoft Intune.
  7. Select Next.

  8. In Scope tags, select Next. For more information about scope tags, see Use RBAC and scope tags for distributed IT.

  9. In Assignments, select the user or groups that will receive your profile. Select Next. For more information on assigning profiles, see Assign user and device profiles.

  10. In Review + create, review your settings. When you select Create, your changes are saved, and the profile is assigned. The policy is also shown in the profiles list.

Note

For third party partner MDM solutions, you may need to use an OMA-URI setting for Start layout, based on the Policy configuration service provider (CSP). The OMA-URI setting is ./User/Vendor/MSFT/Policy/Config/Start/StartLayout.

Next steps