I could really use some help with this.

Following the official instructions on technet.microsoft.com, I am trying to deploy a start menu to my windows 10 machines.

Unfortunately, this doesn't work as expected, the start menu is not changing for the user. It is locked, though, which just means that the GPO was actually applied, and I could confirm this using GPRESULT.

Furthermore, I checked the registry, the two registry values

HKCU\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer\LockedStartLayout  DWORD 1
HKCU\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer\StartLayoutFile String \\domain.local\share\pathtoxml.xml

are set correctly.

The xml file is on a file share, I reference it using the UNC path in the GPO. The "domain users" group has read access to the file. I verified that from a user account.

What else could have gone wrong here?

3 Answers 3


Looks like you have all the basic troubleshooting steps complete. Some points that are easily missed:

  • Are you running Windows 10 Enterprise? Start layout control is not supported in Windows 10 Pro.

  • Is the target system the same architecture as the system you exported the layout from? Start layout can only be applied to a device using the same architecture (32-bit or 64-bit) as the device on which Start layout was created.

If neither of those is an issue, for testing purposes, copy the XML file onto a target system, and change the path to point to it locally, just to rule out any possible strange network issues.

Also, try manually importing the layout to a target system using the Import-StartLayout PowerShell script. This would rule out any issues with the XML file

Finally, check it the source and target machines running the same version/build of Windows 10, with the same updates. Although not explicitly stated anywhere, it wouldn't be the first time Microsoft has failed to ensure backward compatibility with an update.

EDIT: Confirmation on the lack of Windows 10 Pro compatibility is given here under the section entitled "Existing Fundamentals":

enter image description here

EDIT #2: With the newest release of Windows 10 Pro (version 1703) it is now possible to deploy a customized start layout via GPO (only to W10 systems running v1703, though). See: What's new in Windows 10 1703

Enterprises have been able to apply customized Start and taskbar layouts to devices running Windows 10 Enterprise and Education. In Windows 10, version 1703, customized Start and taskbar layout can also be applied to Windows 10 Pro.

  • I have checked all this. Identical machines, same versions and updates, xml via unc file share and mapped drive. Can you elaborate on import-startlayout? I thought that only works on a wmi file, and only on the default user. As for the version, no, I have Pro. From the linked technet page: In Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Enterprise, and Windows 10 Education, you can use a Group Policy Object (GPO) to deploy a customized Start layout to users in a domain. Though I admit that a few paragraphs later they just change the wording.
    – vic
    Nov 15, 2015 at 16:56
  • @vic The version is why it's not working. In the TechNet article, it explicitly states "Start layout control is not supported in Windows 10 Pro." Nov 15, 2015 at 16:58
  • To elaborate, it looks like the first mention is just a screw-up on Microsoft's part. This kind of feature segmentation is extremely common. Remember that the vast majority of Pro customers are still non-domain consumers who would have no need for such features. Nov 15, 2015 at 17:01
  • So you are absolutely sure about that? Because I did find some forum entries where there were voices saying Pro is supported. Anyway, let's assume for the moment it really doesn't work with Pro: how am I supposed to know which administrative template or policy will work with pro and which one won't? Can you point me to a list that will confirm the information in a less ambiguous way?
    – vic
    Nov 15, 2015 at 17:04
  • I'm not absolutely sure, just saying that I encounter this scenario frequently. This is what they refer generally to as "Advanced Granular UX control", and you can see where it falls in the comparison chart here: goo.gl/B7ayMX. Microsoft assumes that most business users large enough need Group Policy are running Enterprise. You could certainly call your volume licensing vendor for clarification - I'm sure they'd be able to provide confirmation from their Microsoft reps. There's no definitive list I'm aware of, though many policies have a "Supported On" box that is somewhat accurate. Nov 15, 2015 at 17:12

It turns out that the answer I initially accepted is wrong.

I can confirm that it is perfectly possible to distribute the StartLayout via GPO to Windows 10 Professional, too. It works for both the computer configuration as well as the user configuration GPO.

The problem in my specific case lay elsewhere. I had both a permission problem on the share of the xml file and, apparently, a corrupted xml file. The event viewer messages were not helping to figure this out.

After sorting out the permission issues and recreating the xml file, everything works the way I expected it to.


You can deploy a start screen without this gpo with some limitations mainly that you can only configure it once during the production of a standard syspreped image.

When creating the image setup your start screen as you would like it then shutdown and boot from a usb key. When you are booted from another os you can copy the TileDataLayer folder from c:\users\you\appdata\local\ to c:\users\default\appdata\local\

When this is done all new user accounts created using this image will have the preconfigured start screen regardless of their edition.

This has the added benefit over enterprise edition + the gpo in that users can pin new items to the menu.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .