I have not had any success deploying a StartLayout via GPO. Regardless of all I have tried, the pinned Start Menu icons remain the same.

After much research to avoid many common issues, I have simplified the creation and deployment of a Start Layout to the following:


  • Clients run Windows 10 Enterprise 2016 LTSB, Version 1607 (Build 14393.2273)
  • I am logged in as a domain user: able to create and modify GPOs and a member of Administrators on the clients
  • All other settings within this GPO apply correctly

Part 1: Create custom StartLayout

  1. Unpin all icons from Start Menu
  2. Pin Windows Accessories\Paint and Windows Accessories\Notepad
  3. Set name of pinned group to MyGroup
  4. Open PowerShell
  5. Run Export-StartLayout C:\Users\Public\Documents\MyGroup.bin and confirm no errors displayed
  6. Unpin all icons from Start Menu
  7. Pin Windows Accessories\Character Map

Part 2: Modify GPO

  1. Open Administrative Tools\Group Policy Management
  2. Right click on existing GPO and click Edit...
  3. Navigate to Computer Configuration, Policies, Administrative Templates, Start Menu and Taskbar
  4. Double-click on Start Layout
  5. Set to Enabled
  6. Set Start Layout to C:\Users\Public\Documents\MyGroup.bin
  7. Click OK
  8. Close Group Policy Management Editor to save GPO

Part 3: Apply GPO to client

  1. Open Command Prompt as administrator
  2. Run gpupdate /force and confirm no errors displayed
  3. Reboot and login


  • The only pinned icon is still Character Map, not Paint and Notepad
  • I cannot unpin Character Map, pin other apps, or change a pin group name
  • The following registry value is now set:
    • Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer\
    • Name: StartLayoutFile
    • Value: C:\Users\Public\Documents\MyGroup.bin

MyGroup.bin (unmodified from earlier Export-StartLayout)

<LayoutModificationTemplate Version="1" xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/Start/2014/LayoutModification">
  <LayoutOptions StartTileGroupCellWidth="6" />
      <defaultlayout:StartLayout GroupCellWidth="6" xmlns:defaultlayout="http://schemas.microsoft.com/Start/2014/FullDefaultLayout">
        <start:Group Name="MyGroup" xmlns:start="http://schemas.microsoft.com/Start/2014/StartLayout">
          <start:DesktopApplicationTile Size="2x2" Column="0" Row="0" DesktopApplicationLinkPath="%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Accessories\Paint.lnk" />
          <start:DesktopApplicationTile Size="2x2" Column="2" Row="0" DesktopApplicationLinkPath="%APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Accessories\Notepad.lnk" />

What am I doing wrong? What else can I try?

EDIT: Follow up notes

  • Naming the file MyGroup.xml does not work either. Someone online suggested trying .bin
  • I guess GPO requires an XML file. You could try to export the Start Layout file using .xml for the filename extension.
    – krisFR
    Jul 19, 2018 at 8:22
  • @krisFR I tried the same procedure with MyGroup.xml, same behavior. A post online suggested trying .bin.
    – Steven
    Jul 19, 2018 at 18:13
  • Perhaps you just omitted the obvious but did you link the GPO to your OU and add your user/computer group to the GPO? I don’t see that in your steps. Jul 21, 2018 at 15:46

2 Answers 2


The changes you're making are to the default profile, and as such will only apply to new accounts. You'll need to delete your profile and log in again in order for the new StartLayout to apply to your account.

There's a fair amount of information here: https://www.joseespitia.com/2016/06/27/customized-a-windows-10-start-layout/


Update the time stamp on your file

(ls ).LastWriteTime = Get-Date

Example: (ls c:\defaultstartlayout.xml).LastWriteTime = Get-Date

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