Windows 11 - Deploy Default Startmenu Layout

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In Windows 11, the customization options for administrators have been further reduced. The previous possibility to customize the menu via the LayoutModification.xml file has been replaced by a JSON file named LayoutModification.json, which only allows to add new pinned apps to the start page and the "Recommended" area, but it does not allow to remove or move existing default apps.

See Customize the Windows 11 Start layout for more information.

This is of course very very unsatisfying for us admins, at the end of the day it's us who get hit with a customization by our supervisors.
So even in this early phase of Windows 11 I was looking for a quick and easy solution for the problem.

After a session with ProcessMonitor and some trial & error I came up with the following:

  • You configure your start menu in a template account as you want to distribute it. Then, copy the following file from the current profile (contains the configuration of the start menu in encrypted form):

  • After that mount your installation image and then copy this file into the "Default" Users Profile of the image in the same place (the folders and subfolders must be created!):

In the same way, the default profiles of already existing user profiles can be fueled by Group Policy, of course.

Newly created profiles then automatically receive the settings of the template start menu.

By the way, overwriting the file in already existing user profiles works fine so far in my first tests. So also already existing start menu customizations can be overwritten with this method, as long it's not again removed by Redmond...

Regards @colinardo

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Printed on: August 17, 2022 at 01:08 o'clock