Deploy custom start-menu and taskbar to a Windows 10 device through Intune device configuration policy.

Well lets be honest start-menu layouts is not a thing that many IT tech people considering to be a big talking point or something that have highest priority when planning a deployment rollout. But the customers almost always wants a start-menu and/or taskbar, in some modified way and the end users loves the streamlined, manageable and clear design. So after all the start-menu is a quite important first impression experience for the end users and how they overall will rate the receivel of the Windows 10 platform.

In this scenario we will clean and build a new customized start-menu that also includes an custom taskbar on a Windows 10 device and use an Intune device configuration policy to apply the new start menu and taskbar.

Step 1 : Lets first try to make a custom start menu for a Windows 10 device.

  • First we need to clean out (unpin) and customize the Windows 10 default start-menu.
  • Right click on the icons and remove them all (unpin from Start)
  • After the icons has been removed the start-menu is cleaned for any default tiles apps:
  • Now lets pin some tiles to the start-menu – Right click on the app that you want to pin to the start menu and choose Pin to Start:

Note: In this test lab we will pin Office 365 Pro Plus products, Microsoft Edge and a handful of other Windows apps.

  • After adding the tiles the start-menu our layout looks like this (Optinal: Give the apps a headline):

Note: Now we need to export the start-menu to an XML file that we can use in our Intune policy as the new company standard layout for the start menu.

  • Start a Windows PowerShell session (remember to run it a elevated admin):
  • Run the command line Export-StartLayout -Path C:\xxxx.xml:

Note: Now it creates a start-Menu layout that is based on our customize start menu at the location c:\xxx.xml.

  • Open the new XML file and see what’s been created:

Note: If you also want to allow users to add their own shortcuts to the start-menu, edit your .XML file and change



<DefaultLayoutOverride LayoutCustomizationRestrictionType="OnlySpecifiedGroups">

See picture below:

Step 2 : Now lets make a custom taskbar for out Windows 10 devices.

  • Find the XML file that just was created and right click and choose edit (I use notepad for that part):
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the XMl file and find </DefaultLayoutOverride> :
  • Now copy to the lines below and paste them into the XML file between line </DefaultLayoutOverride> and </LayoutModificationTemplate>

Note: By adding PinListPlacement="Replace" to <CustomTaskbarLayoutCollection>, you remove all default pinned apps; only the apps that you specify will be pinned to the taskbar.

  • Then it should look likes this:
  • Now its time to to copy the Microsoft taskbar scheme -> xmlns:taskbar=”” into the XML file where the other schemes also is located then save the XML file:
  • Now open the XML file to view the settings and check for errors:
  • To compair with our XML dowload a picture file (JPG) here ->

Note: if you can open the XML file without any errors then it should work just fine.

Step 3: Lets configure a policy and then deploy the XML file from Intune to the Windows 10 device.

  • Strip the (unpin) start-menu once more or to see the magic happens: (Or leave it, the new start-menu will overrule all user made pins etc.)
  • Click on Profiles and Create profile:
  • Fill out Name, Description, Platform and select Profil typeDevice restrictions. Then Choose Start and Import the XML file that just was created:
  • Proventing users from unpinnig apps from taskbar (Optinal) click OK:
  • Just for fun, we used a applicability rule and created a criteria to check if “Windows 10 Enterprise” is the right OS edition and then it may assign the profile – Click Add and then Create:

Note: In this test labWindows Pro etc. will not get this profile assigned because of the criteria we made.

  • Select All users when assigning the policy:

Step 4 : – A sync from the Windows 10 device or direcly from the Azure or Inune portals is not always enoght to force the policy and apply the start-menu and taskbar, so we need to restart the devices.

  • After a restart the policy hits the Windows 10 device:
  • Check the Windows 10 device and see how a fresh new custom made start-menu and taskbar looks like.:

Happy deployment.

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