In Windows 10 Microsoft added an updated Start menu besides the Start screen. Now you are able to switch between the Start screen and Start menu. You can customize the Start screen by pinning various items and organizing it as you want. After that, it is a good idea to create a backup of your Start screen layout, so you will be able to restore its look later after you reinstall Windows or if for some reason, your Start screen settings are lost. Here is how you can do it.
The Start screen in Windows 10 keeps all data related to pinned apps and tiles in the following file:
- Open an elevated command prompt and type:
cd /d %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\
- Do not close this window, leave it open, you will need it later. Next, you need to exit the Explorer shell, as it uses this file and can write some data in there. 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".
Your Desktop wallpaper and the taskbar will disappear when you exit Explorer:
- Now switch back to the command prompt using Alt+Tab and enter the following command in the elevated command prompt window which you opened earlier:
copy appsFolder.itemdata-ms c:\backup\*.*
Replace the path (c:\backup) with the actual path on your PC. If your path contains spaces, include it in quotes, e.g.:
copy appsFolder.itemdata-ms "c:\my backup\*.*"
That's it. Now you have a backup of your Start screen layout in Windows 10.
- Run Explorer again. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc 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 and the Taskbar will reappear.
Restore the backup of your Start screen layout
After you reinstall your OS, you will be able to restore the Start screen layout quickly. You need to perform these simple steps:
- Open an elevated command prompt.
- Exit explorer.
- Enter the following command:
copy /y c:\backup\appsFolder.itemdata-ms "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\appsFolder.itemdata-ms"
- Start Explorer again.
Now, when you open the Start screen, you will see your previous customized Start screen layout. It is also possible to transfer it between multiple PCs.