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Create a customised & consistent Win10 Start Menu

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New to Smart Deploy - so hoping somebody has a simple answer to this one!

We are deploying Windows 10 Professional via SmartDeploy from original MS media - no bloatware in theory.

When Windows 10 is deployed, it insists on displaying various entertainment Apps in the tiles section of the Start Menu - Candy Crush seems particularly determined and tenacious. We have tried uninstalling apps before imaging, and have seen discussions about creating a custom XML file. However, this does not stop items reinstalling the first time the machine starts.

We would like an easy way to customise the Start Menu so it displays business apps (office and a LOB) and a small amount of content e.g weather, news.

Thanks in advance for your help and suggestions.







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  • 3 months later...
  • 3 months later...

Hi all,

Certainly - here they are.

If you want to customize the Start Menu or Taskbar, then there are new ways to do that for Windows 10 1607 and later. Doing it through Group Policy is probably the easiest most manageable way, but if you want to do it directly then you basically need to create a layout XML file, and then import it. There are a few articles on doing this.






We have one that we use, it’s attached to this post (renamed to .txt). Basically makes an Office Start Menu collection, and then puts Outlook, Explorer and IE in the taskbar. You copy this .xml into the folder below in your reference VM (that is basically what the PowerShell Import-StartLayout cmdlet does):


Or you can use the PowerShell Export-StartLayout cmdlet to generate an XML of your own, and copy it to the same location.

Feel free to reach out to support (at) smartdeploy.com if you have any questions or issues.

SmartDeploy Support Team



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There are changed in 1703 not sure how this now effects things. Settings now in reg..



There is indeed a cached version of the Start menu in the registry as of v1703. Removing the cache and the TileDataLayer folder will allow Windows to apply your Start menu modification if you're using manual user customizations in audit mode.

The key is HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\CloudStore. For the default user in a clean WIM file from Microsoft, there are no subkeys here, so feel free to delete the "Store" key you see under CloudStore. 

For me, since my image was already created, I had to mount the WIM file, load ntuser.dat from the Administrator user, remove this key, unload the hive (never forget to unload hives!), then commit the changes to the WIM. During deployment, the CopyProfile flag will copy the Administrator user to the Default user and all will be well! ?

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I've been building images with SD for builds 1607 through now.  Beginning, I believe in build 1709, MS began changing/deprecating some items in Copyprofile that affected default applications associations and start menu/profile customization.  Most recently I've been struggling with Win 10 LTSC 2019 (build 1809).  Since LTSC already has Appx apps already stripped, I mainly needed to work with getting the customization's into the default profile.  For our environment (for our student labs) I'll be pushing default app associations via GPO.  To get our 'standard' look for each student (we use Deepfreese, so logins for each day are completely new so basically always generating profile on new logins), my process for building images for use with SD platform is the following:

Having a desire to keep more than just the Start Menu layout, I still have a need to utilize most of what CopyProfile does (or in my case Defprof). I have many items I'd like to have in my 'Golden Image', so I do the following:

1. Build the image using default admin account and customize to our needs.

2. I export default application associations out(to utilize in GPO)

3. I then utilize another admin account to run Defprof for the "Administrator" account.  This copies a majority of what is needed to the 'default' profile.

4. Back under "Administrator" account, I copy the following to the 'Default' user:





5. I shutdown VM and capture image.

Once device is imaged and is added to the domain, my users (many are first time logins in student labs & not using roaming profiles), users get the exact desktop experience each time and with GPO, have the default applications associations applied without Windows 10 LTSC 2019 (build 1809) resetting application associations.


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