How to Backup Pinned Apps in Start Menu in Windows 11

If you customized your Start menu in Windows 11, you may want to backup the pinned apps section. This will allow you to restore the pinned icons to your or any other user account later.


The reworked Start menu in Windows 11 is nothing like that we have seen in previous releases of the OS. Microsoft has re-imagined the whole idea behind its look and feel.

It no longer includes Live Tiles. Instead, it shows more sections, such as pinned apps, "Recommended" files, and user folders.

Windows 11 Start Menu

The "Pinned apps" section is the topmost part of the Start menu. It shows a grid of app icons for some of the software installed on your PC. They appear there when you right-click an app and select "Pin to Start".

For the first time you sign in to Windows 11, the Start menu will only have apps pinned by Microsoft for you.  You can unpin the default set of icons and pin your favorite apps. Your choice will be synced across your devices if you use a Microsoft Account.

Today we will review how you can backup pinned items in the Start menu, and restore them.

Backup Pinned Apps in Start Menu in Windows 11

To backup the pinned icons in the Windows 11 Start menu, do the following.

  1. Open the File Explorer app with the Win + E keys or using any other method.
  2. Type or copy-paste the following path into its address bar: %LocalAppData%\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.StartMenuExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState. This folder includes Start menu files for the current user.Menu Folder
  3. Copy the start.bin and start2.bin files. Simply select them and press Ctrl + C. Note that depending on the Windows 11 version, you may not have the start2.bin file, or may have more start*.bin files. Copy them all.Backup Pinned Apps In Windows 11 Start Menu
  4. Now, paste the files (Ctrl +V) to a different folder location you want to use as a backup.

You are done! These easy steps are fine enough to make a backup of your pinned Start menu icons.

Now, let's review how to restore them from the backup.

Restore Pinned Icons in the Windows 11 Start Menu

  1. Open File Explorer (Win + E) and navigate to the folder where you store the start*.bin files.
  2. Copy the start.bin, start2.bin, and other start*.bin files you have (if any).
  3. Now, open the %LocalAppData%\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.StartMenuExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState folder.
  4. Paste the start*.bin files to the LocalState directory. Confirm the file replacement.Restore Pinned Icons In Start Menu On Windows 11
  5. Press Win + R and type cmd.exe in the Run box to open a new Command Prompt.
  6. Copy-paste the following command and hit Enter to run it: taskkill /im StartMenuExperienceHost.exe /f & timeout /t 3 & start C:\Windows\SystemApps\Microsoft.Windows.StartMenuExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy\StartMenuExperienceHost.exe. It will restart the Start menu process.Restart The Start Menu
  7. The Start menu now shows the pinned items from the backup copy.

You are done. Besides the Start menu pins for your personal accounts, you can backup them for any other user account on your computer. But in this case, you will need administrative privileges.

Backup and restore Start menu pins for a specific user account

To create a backup copy of pinned Start menu icons for a specific user, open File Explorer (Win + E). Navigate to the C:\Users\ folder and make note the folder name of the user account you will backup the Start menu items for.

The Users Folder

Now, click the address bar in File Explorer and paste the following path C:\Users\<folder name>\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.StartMenuExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState.

Replace the <folder name> portion with the user folder name you noted. Hit the Enter key to make File Explorer take you to the Start menu folder for that user. You will have to confirm the User Account Control prompt.

Open The Start Menu Folder For A Specific User

Now, you can copy or paste the start.bin and other start*.bin files using the steps for the personal user account reviewed earlier in this post.

That's it.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

2 thoughts on “How to Backup Pinned Apps in Start Menu in Windows 11”

  1. Why do they keep changing the location? I feel like Registry was the best place to store this stuff, like in Modern Windows 10.

  2. My start always looks like this!

    Windows 11:

    Windows 10 Start panel:

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