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.
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.
- Open the File Explorer app with the Win + E keys or using any other method.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Open File Explorer (Win + E) and navigate to the folder where you store the start*.bin files.
- Copy the start.bin, start2.bin, and other start*.bin files you have (if any).
- Now, open the
- Paste the start*.bin files to the
LocalStatedirectory. Confirm the file replacement.
- Press Win + R and type
cmd.exein the Run box to open a new Command Prompt.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Now, click the address bar in File Explorer and paste the following path
<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.
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.
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