How to reset the Start Screen layout in Windows 10

In Windows 10, you can reset the Start menu layout. If you changed the organization of Tiles in your Start menu, here is a way to reset its layout to the defaults.

To reset the Start Menu layout in Windows 10 build 10240 and above, you need to do the following.

The main idea behind this trick is to create a new account in Windows 10 and put its Start menu layout files into your primary user account. This will reset your Start menu layout in Windows 10.

Step 1. Add a new local account

You need to create  a new local account. Do it as follows.

  1. Open Settings. Windows 10 settings
  2. Go to Accounts -> Family & other people: Windows 10 Settings Accounts Windows 10 Settings Family and other people
  3. Click "Add someone else to this PC: Windows 10 Settings add new acount
  4. In the next dialog, click "I don't have this person's sign-in information": Windows 10 add new account first page
  5. The following dialog will appear.
    Windows 10 add new account second page
    Here you need to click "Add a user without a Microsoft account" as shown above.
  6. The page named "Create an account for this PC" will appear on the screen. Enter details for the new local account and then press the button "Next" to create it: Windows 10 add new account third page Windows 10 add new account created

Step 2. Sign in with the new local account you created
Do the following.

  1. Sign out from your Windows 10 user account and sign in with the new local account you just created. Windows 10 sign in with new local account
  2. Don't do anything in this new account. Sign out from this account immediately after you see the desktop: Windows 10 sign out from new local account

Step 3. Reset the Start menu layout in Windows 10

Finally, you will be able to reset the Start menu layout in Windows 10. Do the following.

  1. Enable the built-in Administrator account in Windows 10.
  2. Sign out from your Windows 10 user account and sign in with the Administrator account you just enabled. Windows 10 sign in with administrator
  3. When you are signed in as Administrator, make File Explorer show hidden files and folders as described in the article How to hide and unhide files quickly in Windows 10. Windows 10 show hidden items
  4. Go to the following folder:
    C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Local\TileDataLayer

    Replace the <user name> portion with the name of the user whose Start Menu layout you need to reset. In my case, the username is "winaero": Windows 10 tiledatalayer folder Here, delete the Database folder: Windows 10 reset Start menu layout

  5. Now, go to the following folder:
    C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Local\TileDataLayer

    Replace the <user name> portion with the name of the local account which you created before. In my case, the username is "mylocalaccount": Mylocal account tiledatalayer folder

  6. Copy the Database folder to the appropriate folder related to your user account. In my case, I need to copy the folder C:\Users\mylocalaccount\AppData\Local\TileDataLayer to C:\Users\winaero\AppData\Local\TileDataLayer.
  7. Now, sign out from the Administrator account.
  8. Sign in with your regular account. You will see that the Start menu layout was changed from your customized one to defaults. Windows 10 start menu layout reset
  9. Disable the built-in Administrator account.
  10. Now you can delete the local account you created above.

That's it.


The information below is related to pre-release builds of Windows 10. It is outdated and can be useful only for those who still use those builds for testing purposes. It is not applicable to Windows 10 build 10240 and above. See

How to find the Windows 10 build number you are running


The Start screen in Windows 10 keeps almost all data related to pinned apps and tiles in the following file:

%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\appsFolder.itemdata-ms

start screen file in Windows 10
To locate the appsFolder.itemdata-ms file, you may also use the following trick:

  • Press Win + R keys together on your keyboard. The "Run" dialog will be displayed on the screen.
  • Type the following:
    shell:Local AppData

    Tip: You can get the full list of shell commands from here: The full list of shell commands.

To reset the Start screen layout in Windows 10, you need to perform the following simple steps.

  1. Exit Explorer.
  2. Delete the appsFolder.itemdata-ms file.
  3. Run Explorer again.

Let's see how it can be done.

Exit Explorer

Before you leave the Explorer shell, open an elevated command prompt and type:

cd /d %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\

Do not close this window, leave it open, you will need it a bit later.
cmd in appdata
To exit the Explorer shell, use the secret "Exit Explorer" context (right-click) menu item on the Taskbar or Start Menu, which is described in the following article: "How to properly restart the Explorer shell in Windows".
Exit explorer
Your Desktop wallpaper and the taskbar will disappear when you exit Explorer:
taskbar wallpaper disappear

Delete the appsFolder.itemdata-ms file

Now type the following at the command prompt (you may need to switch to command prompt using Alt+Tab):

del appsfolder.itemdata-ms
del appsfolder.itemdata-ms.bak

This will remove appsFolder.itemdata-ms and appsfolder.itemdata-ms.bak files from your hard drive. Note that these commands do not produce any message, they are completely silent. Now you can close the elevated command prompt window.

Run Explorer again

Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc shortcut keys together on your keyboard. It will open the Task Manager. Choose File -> Run new task and type explorer in the 'Create new task' dialog. Click OK or press Enter:
run explorer in windows 10
That's it. The Taskbar will reappear. If you switch to the Start screen now, you will see that its layout has been reset. Actually, Windows 8 also allows you to do this trick.

One thought on “How to reset the Start Screen layout in Windows 10

  1. kid

    i’m not shure but it looks like this won’t work anymore in Windows 10 (build 10056) cannot find “appsFolder.itemdata-ms”
    and StartScreen (Expand) are really buggy… :(

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    Reply

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