The brand new Start menu in Windows 10 is highly customizable. You can pin apps, drag tiles, group tiles, resize tiles, create your own app groups, and unpin tiles.
Many users customize the Start menu right after installing the operating system. Users who have heavily personalized the Start menu to their desire might want to export the Start menu layout so that they can deploy the same Start menu layout on other Windows 10 devices as well.
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to export and import Start menu layout in Windows 10. That said, you can use the Windows PowerShell to export and import Start menu layout to a .xml file. The exported Start menu layout .xml file can then be imported on other PCs running Windows 10.
In this guide, we will see how to export and import Start menu layouts in Windows 10.
IMPORTANT: It’s not possible to export and import Start menu layout in Windows 10 Home edition. This method works best on Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions.
NOTE: There is a third-party tool out there to enable you backup and restore Start menu layout with a click and it works with all editions of Windows 10. Refer to our how to backup and restore Start menu layout in Windows 10 guide for step-by-step directions and download link.
Export Windows 10 Start menu layout
Step 1: First of all, customize your Start menu layout by pinning apps, resizing tiles, creating groups and reordering all tiles.
Step 2: Open Windows PowerShell as administrator. To do so, right-click on the Start button on the taskbar and then click Windows PowerShell (Admin). Alternatively, if you cannot find Windows PowerShell when you right-click on the Start, simply type PowerShell in Start/taskbar search field, right-click on Windows PowerShell entry, and then click Run as administrator option.
Step 3: At the PowerShell window, execute the following command:
Export-Startlayout –path <path><file name>.xml
Export-StartLayout -Path “C:\Start\Layout.xml”
It will create a .xml file in the specified folder.
Backup or export Windows 10 Start menu layout
Importing requires using Group Policy. As you might know, Group Policy is not part of Windows 10 Home edition. So, attempt if you are on Enterprise or Pro edition of Windows 10 only.
WARNING: During our test, we noticed that some of the tiles on the Start menu were showing download icon or down arrow after applying or importing the Start layout. So, we advise you to create a system restore point before applying the new layout.
Also, when the new layout is in use, you cannot pin or unpin tiles.
Step 1: Type Gpedit.msc in Start/taskbar search filed and then press Enter key to open Local Group Policy Editor.
Step 2: In the Local Group Policy Editor, navigate to the following folder:
User configuration > Administrative templates > Start menu and Taskbar
Step 3: On the right-side, double-click on Start layout policy to open its properties.
Step 4: Select Enabled option. Under Options section, in the Start Layout File field, type the path to the Start menu layout .xml file which you got when you executed the export command in PowerShell.
Step 5: Finally, click the Apply button. Reboot your PC, or logout and log in once. That’s it!