Force or specify a Fixed Start Screen Layout for Users in Windows 8.1


  1. According to the MS documentation this feature only works for 8.1 Enterprise (at least for Group Policy deployment so I would expect for this method also). The method didn’t work for me on Win 8.1 Pro.

  2. Why I have to buy “Enterprise” just to be able to customise the start screen is beyond me. Previous Windows “Pro” versions have allowed customisation via GP but suddenly this has become a “premium” feature? I won’t be rolling out this crazy start screen to my user base.

  3. Consider by doing this if your users install an app via the store they now have no way to uninstall that new app… oversight?

  4. Kids will be kids and I would rather not have students poking around with powershell… too much power there.
    Instead look at delivering a default startscreen layout by putting down a appsfolderlayout.bin into the default user appdata location. As users loginto the devices for the first time they will pull this startscreen layout down and can then further alter the startscreen to suit themselves as well as uninstall apps as required while still allowing you to trim out the usual fat.

  5. Hi KPRDave,
    You suggested solution is what i am looking for too. Are you able to figure out how to do this?

  6. Sure,

    First take a look here it should get you going in the right direction:

    Second, and this may not apply to you but, I do my OS Deployments using SCCM 2012 R2. Near the end of my task sequence I have a software package containing the appsfolderlayout.bin file and run a small script:

    FileCopy (“.appsFolderLayout.bin”, “C:UsersDefaultAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindows”, 1)

    I should really revisit my process as it has been working nicely but I’m sure there is an updated method by now.

    I hope this helps.

  7. That helped a lot Dave! Thanks for the prompt reply and sorry for the late reply (was not able to find this page for a long time.)

  8. I had this working in Windows 8.1 Pro, until I updated to all
    the most recent patches. If this is indeed to differentiate between Pro and
    Enterprise versions it doesn’t really gel with the recently announced unified
    version of Windows. And to be honest, MS are really coming across as being
    petty, it’s not that the Pro OS can’t do it is it?

  9. Damn….i had this working for quite a while on 7 Windows 8.1 Pro tablets and suddenly it didn’t work anymore 🙁

    Tried everything and on the end I found out (also because of above reply) that it’s not working anymore on a Win 8.1 Pro installation and probably only on enterprise.

    This is really ridiculous because in the GPO this is not noted, there it just says: Suppored on: At least Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1.

    This should be a very basic feature Microsoft! And i’m really pissed off regarding this.
    Also when you compare both the Windows 8.1 Pro vs Enterprise features there is nowhere told that for example this GPO is not supported on the Pro version.
    They only name the major feature difference…. 🙁

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