How to reset the Start menu layout in Windows 10

In Windows 10, the Start menu was added again to make the Desktop more complete again. However, Microsoft did not add the Windows 7 Start Menu, instead the Start menu in Windows 10 has some features of the Start screen. Now it is possible to pin Live tiles of Modern apps and icons to the right side of the Start menu. If you customized the Start menu from the default and wish to reset it to the default layout, here is how you can do that in Windows 10.


Update: Microsoft removed the files from the folder listed below. It is unclear currently if it is still possible to backup and restore the start menu in newer builds and also the final version of Windows 10.

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


start menu file in Windows 10
To locate that 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 menu layout in Windows 10, you need to perform the following simple steps.

  1. Exit Explorer.
  2. Delete the 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\

cmd in appdata
Do not close this window, leave it open, you will need it a bit later.

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 file

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


This will remove and 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 key together on your keyboard. It will open the Task Manager. Choose File -> Run new task and type explorer in the 'Create new task' dialog and click OK or press Enter:
run explorer in windows 10
The Taskbar will reappear. Open the Start menu, you will see that its layout has been reset to default.
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.

12 thoughts on “How to reset the Start menu layout in Windows 10”

    1. indeed. It was written for the older build, not for RTM.
      I am still looking for the working way for Windows 10 RTM.

      1. It’s now (win Win 10 release version) here: %localappdata%\TileDataLayer
        (in another format, just copy the whole folder)

  1. I dont have those files i have just the folders.. how should I get them back… Maybe this is why my start menu is empty?

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