Manage Windows 10 Start and taskbar layout

Applies to

  • Windows 10

Looking for consumer information? See what's on the Start menu

Organizations might want to deploy a customized Start and taskbar configuration to devices running Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, or Education. A standard, customized Start layout can be useful on devices that are common to multiple users and devices that are locked down for specialized purposes. Configuring the taskbar allows the organization to pin useful apps for their employees and to remove apps that are pinned by default.

Note

Taskbar configuration is available starting in Windows 10, version 1607.

Start and taskbar configuration can be applied to devices running Windows 10 Pro, version 1703.

For information on using the layout modification XML to configure Start with roaming user profiles, see Deploy Roaming User Profiles.

Using CopyProfile for Start menu customization in Windows 10 isn't supported. For more information Customize the Default User Profile by Using CopyProfile

Start options

start layout sections

Some areas of Start can be managed using Group Policy. The layout of Start tiles can be managed using either Group Policy or Mobile Device Management (MDM) policy.

Note

The MDM policy settings in the table can also be configured in a provisioning package using Policies > Start. See the reference for Start settings in Windows Configuration Designer.

The following table lists the different parts of Start and any applicable policy settings or Settings options. Group Policy settings are in the User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Start Menu and Taskbar path except where a different path is listed in the table.

Start Policy Local setting
User tile MDM: Start/HideUserTile
Start/HideSwitchAccount
Start/HideSignOut
Start/HideLock
Start/HideChangeAccountSettings
Group Policy: Remove Logoff on the Start menu
none
Most used MDM: Start/HideFrequentlyUsedApps
Group Policy: Remove frequent programs from the Start menu
Settings > Personalization > Start > Show most used apps
Suggestions
-and-
Dynamically inserted app tile
MDM: Allow Windows Consumer Features
Group Policy: Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Cloud Content\Turn off Microsoft consumer experiences

Note: This policy also enables or disables notifications for a user's Microsoft account and app tiles from Microsoft dynamically inserted in the default Start menu.
Settings > Personalization > Start > Occasionally show suggestions in Start
Recently added MDM: Start/HideRecentlyAddedApps
Group Policy: Computer configuration\Administrative Template\Start Menu and Taskbar\Remove "Recently Added" list from Start Menu (for Windows 10, version 1803)
Settings > Personalization > Start > Show recently added apps
Pinned folders MDM: AllowPinnedFolder Settings > Personalization > Start > Choose which folders appear on Start
Power MDM: Start/HidePowerButton
Start/HideHibernate
Start/HideRestart
Start/HideShutDown
Start/HideSleep
Group Policy: Remove and prevent access to the Shut Down, Restart, Sleep, and Hibernate commands
none
Start layout MDM: Start layout
ImportEdgeAssets

Group Policy: Prevent users from customizing their Start screen

Note: When a full Start screen layout is imported with Group Policy or MDM, the users cannot pin, unpin, or uninstall apps from the Start screen. Users can view and open all apps in the All Apps view, but they cannot pin any apps to the Start screen. When a partial Start screen layout is imported, users cannot change the tile groups applied by the partial layout, but can modify other tile groups and create their own.

Start layout policy can be used to pin apps to the taskbar based on an XML File that you provide. Users will be able to change the order of pinned apps, unpin apps, and pin additional apps to the taskbar.
none
Jump lists MDM: Start/HideRecentJumplists
Group Policy: Do not keep history of recently opened documents
Settings > Personalization > Start > Show recently opened items in Jump Lists on Start or the taskbar
Start size MDM: Force Start size
Group Policy: Force Start to be either full screen size or menu size
Settings > Personalization > Start > Use Start full screen
App list MDM: Start/HideAppList Settings > Personalization > Start > Show app list in Start menu
All Settings Group Policy: Prevent changes to Taskbar and Start Menu Settings none
Taskbar MDM: Start/NoPinningToTaskbar none

Note

In local Settings > Personalization > Start, there is an option to Show more tiles. The default tile layout for Start tiles is 3 columns of medium sized tiles. Show more tiles enables 4 columns. To configure the 4-column layout when you customize and export a Start layout, turn on the Show more tiles setting and then arrange your tiles.

Learn how to customize and export Start layout

Taskbar options

Starting in Windows 10, version 1607, you can pin additional apps to the taskbar and remove default pinned apps from the taskbar. You can specify different taskbar configurations based on device locale or region.

There are three categories of apps that might be pinned to a taskbar:

  • Apps pinned by the user
  • Default Windows apps, pinned during operating system installation (Microsoft Edge, File Explorer, Store)
  • Apps pinned by the enterprise, such as in an unattended Windows setup

    Note

    We recommend using the layoutmodification.xml method to configure taskbar options, rather than the earlier method of using TaskbarLinks in an unattended Windows setup file.

The following example shows how apps will be pinned - Windows default apps to the left (blue circle), apps pinned by the user in the center (orange triangle), and apps that you pin using XML to the right (green square).

Windows left, user center, enterprise to the right

Note

In operating systems configured to use a right-to-left language, the taskbar order will be reversed.

Whether you apply the taskbar configuration to a clean install or an update, users will still be able to:

  • Pin additional apps
  • Change the order of pinned apps
  • Unpin any app

Note

In Windows 10, version 1703, you can apply an MDM policy, Start/NoPinningToTaskbar, to prevents users from pinning and unpinning apps on the taskbar.

Taskbar configuration applied to clean install of Windows 10

In a clean install, if you apply a taskbar layout, only the apps that you specify and default apps that you do not remove will be pinned to the taskbar. Users can pin additional apps to the taskbar after the layout is applied.

Taskbar configuration applied to Windows 10 upgrades

When a device is upgraded to Windows 10, apps will be pinned to the taskbar already. Some apps may have been pinned to the taskbar by a user, and others may have been pinned to the taskbar through a customized base image or by using Windows Unattend setup.

The new taskbar layout for upgrades to Windows 10, version 1607 or later, will apply the following behavior:

  • If the user pinned the app to the taskbar, those pinned apps remain and new apps will be added to the right.
  • If the user didn't pin the app (it was pinned during installation or by policy) and the app is not in updated layout file, the app will be unpinned.
  • If the user didn't pin the app and the app is in the updated layout file, the app will be pinned to the right.
  • New apps specified in updated layout file are pinned to right of user's pinned apps.

Learn how to configure Windows 10 taskbar.

Start layout configuration errors

If your Start layout customization is not applied as expected, open Event Viewer and navigate to Applications and Services Log > Microsoft > Windows > ShellCommon-StartLayoutPopulation > Operational, and check for one of the following events:

  • Event 22 is logged when the xml is malformed, meaning the specified file simply isn’t valid xml. This can occur if the file has extra spaces or unexpected characters, or if the file is not saved in the UTF8 format.
  • Event 64 is logged when the xml is valid, but has unexpected values. This can happen when the desired configuration is not understood, elements are not in the required order, or source is not found, such as a missing or misspelled .lnk.