Force a template for the start menu

Windows Server 2019


The purpose of this article is to show you how to force a template for the start menu.

This change is especially useful for RDS servers to allow users to all have the same environment.

You can also apply it for Windows 8 / 8.1 / 10

Implementation of template

The implementation of the template takes place two times, first the creation of the model and then the GPO to apply the model to all the world.

If you have different operating systems, I suggest you create an OR by OS type and apply this GPO using a loopback or use the WMI filter

Model definition

Since a post (server / client) made your model.

Definir du template

Export the menu by entering the following PowerShell command :

Windows 2012(R2) / 8 / 8.1 :

Export-StartLayout -path C:exportStartLayout.xml -As XML

Windows 2016 / 10 :

Export-StartLayout -path C:exportStartLayout.xml
Powershell export-startlayout

Retrieve the XML file and copy it to a share accessible to all. \\Yourdomain\NETLOGON.

Fichier XML du menu


Now you have to create a GPO to apply the template.

Résume de la GPO

From the Group Policy Management Console create a GPO.

Find the Home Screen Layout setting 1 found in User Configuration / Policies / Administrative Templates / Start Menu and Taskbar.

Chemin jusqu'au parametre Disposition de l'écran d'accueil

Change options: Enabled policy 1 and specified XML file 2.

Activation de la GPO et spécification du fichier XML

At next logon, users will have the template configured.

Applying this policy prevents any customization by the user


Allow customization by the user

It is possible to allow users to customize sections of the template.

Open the XML file, search:


And replace with the line below to allow customization of the section:

<DefaultLayoutOverride LayoutCustomizationRestrictionType=”OnlySpecifiedGroups”>

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