Customize a Windows 10 Start Layout

To customize the Start Menu in your images, you will need to export a ‘reference’ Start Menu using the Export-StartLayout PowerShell cmdlet.

First you will need to setup the Start Menu exactly the way you want it, and then export the layout.

Export-StartLayout –path C:\LayoutModification.xml

Now, you can import the custom XML into the Default profile before sysprep.
Note: Only new user profiles will be able to see the new layout

Import-StartLayout -LayoutPath LayoutModification.xml -MountPath $env:SystemDrive\

If for some reason you have problems with the import, you can just copy the custom XML file into the Default profile.
Note: Only new user profiles will be able to see the new layout

copy /y LayoutModification.xml “C:\Users\Default\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Shell”


  1. Did not work on Windows 10 1709 Enterprise. followed step by step and did it a few times with no luck.

    it error out when running PowerShell as admin
    Import-StartLayout -LayoutPath LayoutModification.xml -MountPath $env:SystemDrive\

    so, ended up copying the LayoutModification.xml to the default folder and still no luck. I tested by creating a new user and it didn’t show my modification.

    • Jose Espitia

      May 11, 2018 at 5:56 pm

      It sounds like you may have used COPYPROFILE to create your default profile. There are known issues with using this setting and trying to apply custom start layouts. I would recommend disabling COPYPROFILE to see if it fixes your issue. You can also try clearing out the following registry key:

  2. Hello
    I have tried both copying and importing with PS, but when I deploy image to an endpoint via MDT the start menu or task bar does not change.
    any idea?

  3. Jose,

    After trying the the import, I create a new user a try to login however the account will not login it goes to from trying to login to “Signing out” Please advise

    • Using Windows 10 Enterprise build 1709

      • Jose Espitia

        It sounds like you may have a corrupted default profile because the start layout should not be doing this at all. To get around this in the mean time, I would recommend deleting C:\Users\Default\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\LayoutModification.xml and deleting the profile that you were testing with. Then attempt to login again.

  4. Should probably be:
    copy /y C:\LayoutModification.xml “C:\Users\Default\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Shell
    Now what would the equivalent be in PowerShell?

  5. Will this work in Audit mode?

    • Jose Espitia

      May 11, 2018 at 5:47 pm

      Yes but it will only apply to new users since it copies the XML file to C:\Users\Default\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Shell.

  6. Thanks Jose, it worked great 🙂
    I normally used MDT to build and capture the image and SCCM to deploy it. The start menu is working using this process, and disabling the copyprofile, however, without the copyprofile the icons on the desktop (My Computer, control panel, recycle bin and the user folder) aren’t showing, if I enable the copyprofile, the icons appear again, but it breaks the start menu 🙁
    Any suggestion?
    Thanks so much for the info.

    • Jose Espitia

      June 11, 2018 at 3:45 pm

      Eddie, I personally do not use COPYPROFILE with Windows 10 because it has caused a lot of issues. I would suggest copying those shortcuts to C:\Users\Default\Desktop. This essentially is what COPYPROFILE does for your desktop shortcuts and it doesn’t break anything because you are only copying what you need and not everything.

  7. Hi Jose,
    In C:\Users\Default\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Shell
    there already exists DefaultLayouts.xml (I’m working with the KMS Education version of Windows 10, by the way). If I copy LayoutModification.xml into that exact location, does that mean I should delete DefaultLayouts.xml ?

    Thank you so much for hosting, sharing, and replying with your wealth of knowledge!

    • Jose Espitia

      July 20, 2018 at 6:34 pm

      Peter, you can leave the DefaultLayouts.xml in C:\Users\Default\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Shell.

  8. Thank you for this amazingly simple and easy to follow guide. Mostly everything is working for me except for the Internet Explorer Tile that I am trying to pin to Start. In my template layout, I have IE as one of the pinned tiles, and when I export to XML it is showing as one of the lines alongside the rest, however after importing start layout and logging in with the new user, it is the only tile missing.
    This is the line in my XML:

    And the user just gets a blank tile where the IE is supposed to have been.
    I checked manually and the Internet Explorer.lnk is indeed at that location.

    We’re trying to deploy Windows 10 1803 Pro.

  9. José, thanks for the post. This was extremely helpful!
    Worked like a charm in W10 1909.

    • Jose Espitia

      June 1, 2020 at 7:10 pm

      Great to hear Cleber! I have been using this since 1607 and luckily it has worked with every single build 🙂

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