customize windows 10 start menu

Deploy a Customized Windows 10 Start Menu with MDT 2013


Many of you have been requesting this article and we actually took the time and did it for you, guys. It’s all about customizing your Start menu within Windows 10 and deploying it within your MDT.

At first, we have a Windows 10 Enterprise edition machine. We have Start menu that is basically the generic one that we get when we deploy an operating system. We get two columns and within two columns we get all this gibberish stuff.

What we are going to do now is just right click and start removing stuff. Once it is done, just shrink it down. As you can see, you can easily customize your Start menu.

remove items w 10 start menu

It’s just an example, so you can do whatever you want, it’s really up to you.

Now we need to capture that Start menu. We are going to open up file explorer and go to C drive. Right now we don’t have anything right here, so it’s the same C drive that you would normally get when you deploy an operating system. Now we need to create a folder here.

So, let’s right click on the Start menu and go to Command Prompt (as Administrator). Here use the command:

mkdir c:\layout

You can create a folder manually by going to the C drive without command prompt, but we are geeky guys! 🙂

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cmd w10 start menu

The next thing we need to do is capture our Start menu. We need to go to Powershell. Just type in powershell and you will see PS letters in front of system32 path.

Now go to the layout folder and as you can see we have nothing in there. Type in

- export-startlayout -path c:\layout\layoutmodification.xml

Once it is done, you will see that you have that XML file in your folder.

You need to make sure that this is .XML file, it’s really important.

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modification windows 10 start menu

After that you can exit from Command Prompt.

Now we are going to go inside MDT. Within our MDR we have already created the task sequence. We gave it a name Windows 10 x64 Start Menu Customization TS and ID WIN10STARTMENU.

mdt 2013 task sequence

So let’s double-click on it and go to Task Sequence section. We are going to go inside Custom Tasks, because this is where we are pushing everything out. Here we have created 4 notes.

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task sequences custom

The first note is Copy Layout to Temp. We are running it as a command line. The command line basically says that we are going to use layout modification and copy it to the Windows temp folder. We need to type in the next command:

%SCRIPTROOT%\Username\StartMenu\LayoutModification.xml c:\Windows\Temp

The second note is Restart Computer. Once we have exported the .XML file with our captured layout, we need to restart the machine.

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The third note is Apply Custom Menu Layout. We are going to add an additional powershell script command. This command is actually going to run the import. Remember, we did the export, so now we need to run the import. We have created a powershell script in the ApplyCustomMenu.ps1 file.

This script contains the following code:

import-startlayout -layoutpath c:\Windows\Temp\LayoutModification.xml -MountPath $env:SystemDrive\

The last note is Create Local User. We are going to show you guys that it actually works, so we have created a local user. For some reason when the deployment finishes, it’s going to leave you inside the administrative account, where the Start menu doesn’t change. You can see the changes when you log into another account.

mdt net user add

So, once it is done, click OK. Now you can deploy your operating system. In our case, we are going to use a virtual machine.

During deployment process you will need to select a task sequence to execute. Just select the task sequence we have created before (Windows 10 x64 Start Menu Customization TS).

start menu deployment

Once deployment is completed, let’s click on the Start menu. Like we told you guys before, we are logged in as administrator and customization of the Start menu doesn’t show up. What we need to do now is just change the user. Let’s sign out and sign in account we have created in the last note.

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Let’s click on the Start menu. As you can see, our customized Start menu is there. How awesome is that! It’s not perfect, but you could basically customize it even more.

Hope you guys enjoy this article. If you have any questions, just leave comments right below.


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