How to Backup and Restore Start Menu Layout

After configuring the start menu layout, you can back up the layout. Here’s how to backup and restore the start menu layout on Windows 10.

In Windows 10’s Start menu, you can modify the layout any way you want to customize the look and feel to meet your needs. One of the benefits of customizing the Start menu layout is that you can pick and choose what applications to pin and what not to pin. Not only that but you can also group pinned applications depending on their category or use cases.

After carefully and painfully customizing the Start menu, It is important that you backup the Start menu layout. You can use the backup to restore the Start menu layout when you reinstall or upgrade Windows 10. No need to configure the Start menu from the start.

So, without further ado, let me show you how to backup and restore the Start menu layout on Windows 10.

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Backup and Restore Start Menu Layout

In previous versions of Windows 10. i.e, versions prior to 1709, you can copy a single folder called Database within the TileDataLayer folder to backup start menu layout. When you want to restore start menu layout, all you have to do is replace the already existing Database folder with the one you backed up. However, Start Menu has changed a lot since v1709, and the old backup and restore method no longer works.

That being said, you can either use a PowerShell command to export the start menu layout and import it when needed. Alternatively, you can also use a third-party application to backup and restore the start menu layout in one-click.

The PowerShell method is useful if you don’t want to use any third-party application. If you don’t like the command line, you can follow the third-party application method. I will show both methods. Use the one you are comfortable with.

Use PowerShell backup and restore Start menu layout

You need to be a Pro or Enterprise edition user to use this method. If you are a Home edition user, follow the second method.

PowerShell command to backup Start menu layout

  1. Open the Start Menu.
  2. Search for “PowerShell” and open it.
  3. Execute the below command while replacing “C:\save\location\backup.xml” with the actual path of where you want to save the backup file. In my case, I’m saving it on my desktop.
    Export-StartLayout -Path "C:\save\location\backup.xml"

    Backup restore start menu layout 01

  4. As soon as you execute the command, PowerShell will backup the start menu layout and saves it to the location you chose earlier.
    Backup restore start menu layout 02

Restore Start menu layout using group policy

To restore the Start menu backed up using the PowerShell command, you have to use the group policy editor. Here’s how.

  1. Open the Start Menu.
  2. Search for “gpedit.msc“.
  3. Right-click on it and select “Run as administrator“.
    Open group policy as admin
  4. Go to “User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Start Menu and Taskbar” folder.
  5. Double-click on “Start Layout” policy.
    Backup restore start menu layout 03
  6. Select the “Enabled” option.
  7. Under the Options section, enter the backup file path.
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  8. Click on the “Apply” and “Ok” button.
  9. Reboot Windows.

That is all. After restarting, your Start menu layout is restored.

Use BSML to backup Start menu layout

Using an aptly named free and portable application called Backup Start Menu Layout, you can backup and restore the Start menu layout with a single click. Additionally, the application even lets you reset the Start menu layout to its default state.

  1. Download the BSML application.
  2. Extract the contents of the zip to the desktop.
    Backup restore start menu layout 05
  3. Open the extracted folder and execute the application according to your system architecture.
    Backup restore start menu layout 06
  4. Click on the “Save” icon to back up the start menu layout.
    Backup restore start menu layout image 07
  5. The backup file is saved to the same location as the application.
    Backup restore start menu layout 08
  6. To restore the start menu layout, select the layout in the application.
  7. Click on the “Restore” icon.
    Backup restore start menu layout image 09

That is all. It is that simple backup and restore start menu layout on Windows 10.

If you like this article, you might also like to learn how to enable pin security on Windows 10 and how to disable caps lock on Windows 10. Do check them out.

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