Add or remove pinned apps on the Start menu in Windows 11 - Configure Windows (2022)

  • Article
  • 7 minutes to read

Applies to:

  • Windows 11

Looking for OEM information? See Customize the Taskbar and Customize the Start layout.

Your organization can deploy a customized Start layout to your Windows 11 devices. Customizing the Start layout is common when you have similar devices used by many users, or you want to pin specific apps.

For example, you can override the default set of apps with your own a set of pinned apps, and in the order you choose. As an administrator, use this feature to pin apps, remove default pinned apps, order the apps, and more.

To add apps you want pinned to the Start menu, you use a JSON file. In previous Windows versions, IT administrators used an XML file to customize the Start menu. The XML file isn't available on Windows 11 and later unless you're an OEM.

This article shows you how to export an existing Start menu layout, and use the JSON in a Microsoft Endpoint Manager policy.

Before you begin

  • When you customize the Start layout, you overwrite the entire full layout. A partial Start layout isn't available. Users can pin and unpin apps, and uninstall apps from Start. You can't prevent users from changing the layout.

  • It's recommended to use a Mobile Device Management (MDM) provider. MDM providers help manage your devices, and help manage apps on your devices. For Microsoft, that includes using Microsoft Endpoint Manager. Endpoint Manager includes Microsoft Intune, which is a cloud service, and Configuration Manager, which is on-premises.

    In this article, we mention these services. If you're not managing your devices using an MDM provider, the following resources may help you get started:

    • Microsoft Endpoint Manager overview
    • What is Microsoft Intune and Microsoft Intune planning guide
    • What is Configuration Manager?

Start menu features and areas

In Windows 11, the Start menu is redesigned with a simplified set of apps that are arranged in a grid of pages. There aren't folders, groups, or different-sized app icons:

(Video) How To Pin or Unpin Apps From Start Menu In Windows 11 [Tutorial]

Add or remove pinned apps on the Start menu in Windows 11 - Configure Windows (1)

Start has the following areas:

  • Pinned: Shows pinned apps, or a subset of all of the apps installed on the device. You can create a list of pinned apps you want on the devices using the ConfigureStartPins policy. ConfigureStartPins overrides the entire layout, which also removes apps that are pinned by default.

    This article shows you how to use the ConfigureStartPins policy.

  • All apps: Users select this option to see an alphabetical list of all the apps on the device. This section can't be customized using the JSON file.

    The Start/HideFrequentlyUsedApps CSP exposes settings that configure the "Most used" section, which is at the top of the all apps list.

    In Endpoint Manager, you can configure this Start menu layout feature, and more. For more information on the Start menu settings you can configure in an Endpoint Manager policy, see Windows 10/11 device settings to allow or restrict features.

    In Group Policy, there are policies that include settings that control the Start menu layout. Some policies may not work as expected. Be sure to test your policies before broadly deploying them across your devices:

    • Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Start Menu and Taskbar
    • User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Start Menu and Taskbar
  • Recommended: Shows recently opened files and recently installed apps. This section can't be customized using the JSON file.

    The Start/HideRecentJumplists CSP exposes settings that prevent files from showing in this section. This CSP also hides recent files that show from the taskbar.

    In Endpoint Manager, you can configure this feature, and more. For more information on the Start menu settings you can configure in an Endpoint Manager policy, see Windows 10/11 device settings to allow or restrict features.

    (Video) Windows 11: Remove pinned apps from the Start menu (all Users)

    In Group Policy, there are policies that include settings that control the Start menu layout. Some policies may not work as expected. Be sure to test your policies before broadly deploying them across your devices:

    • Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Start Menu and Taskbar
    • User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Start Menu and Taskbar

Create the JSON file

On an existing Windows 11 device, set up your own Start layout with the pinned apps you want users to see. Then, use the Windows PowerShell Export-StartLayout cmdlet to export the existing layout to a LayoutModification.json file.

The JSON file controls the Start menu layout, and lists all the apps that are pinned. You can update the JSON file to:

  • Change the order of existing apps. The apps in the JSON file are shown on Start in the same order.
  • Add more apps by entering the app ID. For more information, see Get the pinnedList JSON (in this article).

If you're familiar with creating JSON files, you can create your own LayoutModification.json file. But, it's easier and faster to export the layout from an existing device.

Export an existing Start layout

  1. Create a folder to save the .json file. For example, create the C:\Layouts folder.

  2. On a Windows 11 device, open the Windows PowerShell app.

  3. Run the following cmdlet. Name the file LayoutModification.json.

    Export-StartLayout -Path "C:\Layouts\LayoutModification.json" 

Get the pinnedList JSON

  1. Open the LayoutModification.json file in a JSON editor, such as Visual Studio Code or Notepad. For more information, see edit JSON with Visual Studio Code.

  2. In the file, you see the pinnedList section. This section includes all of the pinned apps. Copy the pinnedList content in the JSON file. You'll use it in the next section.

    In the following example, you see that Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Word, the Microsoft Store app, and Notepad are pinned:

    { "pinnedList": [ { "desktopAppId": "MSEdge" }, { "desktopAppId": "Microsoft.Office.WINWORD.EXE.15" }, { "packagedAppId": "Microsoft.WindowsStore_8wekyb3d8bbwe!App" }, { "packagedAppId": "Microsoft.WindowsNotepad_8wekyb3d8bbwe!App" } ] } 
  3. Starting with Windows 11, the ConfigureStartPins policy is available. This policy uses the LayoutModification.json file to add apps to the Pinned section. In your JSON file, you can add more apps to this section using the following keys:

    (Video) How to Add, Remove and Rearrange Apps to Pinned section of Start Menu in Windows 11

    packagedAppIDUse this option for Universal Windows Platform apps. To pin a UWP app, use the app's AUMID.
    desktopAppIDUse this option for unpackaged Win32 apps. To pin a Win32 app, use the app's AUMID. If the app doesn't have an AUMID, then enter the desktopAppLink instead.
    desktopAppLinkUse this option for unpackaged Win32 apps that don't have an associated AUMID. To pin this type of app, use the path to the .lnk shortcut that points to the app.

Use MDM to create and deploy a pinned list policy

Now that you have the JSON syntax, you're ready to deploy your customized Start layout to devices in your organization.

MDM providers can deploy policies to devices managed by the organization, including organization-owned devices, and personal or bring your own device (BYOD). Using an MDM provider, such as Microsoft Endpoint Manager, you can deploy a policy that configures the pinned list.

This section shows you how to create a pinned list policy in Endpoint Manager. There isn't a Group Policy to create a pinned list.

Create a pinned list using an Endpoint Manager policy

To deploy this policy, the devices must be enrolled, and managed by your organization. For more information, see What is device enrollment?.

  1. Sign in to the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center.

  2. Select Devices > Configuration profiles > Create profile.

  3. Enter the following properties:

    • Platform: Select Windows 10 and later.
    • Profile: Select Templates > Custom.
  4. Select Create.

  5. In Basics, enter the following properties:

    • Name: Enter a descriptive name for the profile. Name your profiles so you can easily identify them later. For example, a good profile name is Win11: Custom Start layout.
    • Description: Enter a description for the profile. This setting is optional, and recommended.
  6. Select Next.

  7. In Configuration settings > OMA-URI, select Add. Add the following properties:

    (Video) Customize the Number of Pinned Apps and Recommended Items on the Windows 11 Start Menu

    • Name: Enter something like Configure Start pins.

    • Description: Enter a description for the row. This setting is optional, and recommended.

    • OMA-URI: Enter ./Vendor/MSFT/Policy/Config/Start/ConfigureStartPins.

    • Data type: Select String.

    • Value: Paste the JSON you created or updated in the previous section. For example, enter the following text:

      { "pinnedList": [ { "desktopAppId": "MSEdge" }, { "desktopAppId": "Microsoft.Office.WINWORD.EXE.15" }, { "packagedAppId": "Microsoft.WindowsStore_8wekyb3d8bbwe!App" }, { "packagedAppId": "Microsoft.WindowsNotepad_8wekyb3d8bbwe!App" } ] } 

    Your settings look similar to the following settings:

    Add or remove pinned apps on the Start menu in Windows 11 - Configure Windows (2)

  8. Select Save > Next to save your changes.

  9. Configure the rest of the policy settings. For more specific information, see Create a profile with custom settings.

The Windows OS exposes many CSPs that apply to the Start menu. For a list, see Supported CSP policies for Windows 11 Start menu.

Deploy the policy using Endpoint Manager

When the policy is created, you can deploy it now, or deploy it later. Since this policy is a customized Start layout, the policy can be deployed anytime, including before users sign in the first time.

(Video) Windows 11 - How to Customize Pinned Apps on the Start Menu

For more information and guidance on assigning policies to devices in your organization, see Assign user and device profiles.


How do I add an application to the Start menu in Windows 11? ›

If you wish to add an app to the Start menu, click All Apps to view all your installed apps. Right-click on an item not already in the Start menu and select Pin to Start. Any apps added to the Pinned section can be moved to your liking.

How do I customize the Start menu in Windows 11? ›

To do this, click the regular Windows 11 Start button, go to All Apps, select the folder for Open Shell, and click the shortcut for Open Shell Menu Settings. At the Settings screen, choose the Start menu layout you prefer -- Classic style with one column, Classic with two columns, or Windows 7 style with two columns.

Where are my pinned apps in Windows 11? ›

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".

How do I add a program to the Start menu manually? ›

To do so, drag and drop the app from the Start Menu to the desktop the shortcut of that app will be created on the desktop. Open Run command box by pressing Windows logo + R keys. In the Run command field, type shell: startup and then press Enter key to open Startup folder.

How do I customize my Start menu? ›

Start menu policy settings
  1. User tile. Group policy: User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Start Menu and Taskbar\Remove Logoff on the Start menu. ...
  2. Most used. ...
  3. Suggestions, Dynamically inserted app tile. ...
  4. Recently added. ...
  5. Pinned folders. ...
  6. Power. ...
  7. Start layout. ...
  8. Jump lists.
26 Oct 2022

Can you customize Windows Start menu? ›

Head to Settings > Personalization > Start. On the right, scroll all the way to the bottom and click the “Choose which folders appear on Start” link. Choose whatever folders you want to appear on the Start menu. And here's a side-by-side look at how those new folders look as icons and in the expanded view.

How do I move a pinned app to the desktop in Windows 11? ›

Pin apps and folders to the desktop or taskbar
  1. Select Start , select the arrow next to All apps, right-click the app, then select More > Pin to taskbar.
  2. If the app is already open on the desktop, press and hold (or right click) the app's taskbar icon, and then select Pin to taskbar.

What does pinned mean in Windows 11? ›

To answer the question “What is Pin to Start?”, just open the Windows 11 Start Menu. The Pinned section is shown under the Search field and lets you quickly access your favorite apps. Pin to Start in Windows 11 adds icons to the Pinned section. In Windows 11, you can add the icons you need to the Pinned section.

Where are pinned Start menu icons stored? ›

You can access Windows Task Pinned Shortcut Folder from Windows Run : Windows + R. Type : shell:User Pinned\Taskbar.

Why can't I pin a program to the Start menu? ›

You may have set your computer to not allow changing the Start menu in Windows 10. If so, you will be unable to pin any apps to the Start Menu. You can use Group Policy Editor to enable this feature.

How will you add and remove items in Start menu? ›

Alternatively, follow these steps:
  1. Press the Windows icon on the taskbar.
  2. Right-click on one of the widgets/folders on the left (except the "user profile" and "power" options).
  3. Select Personalize this list from the options.
  4. On the next screen, turn on or turn off the relevant buttons to add or remove items.
4 Sept 2022

How do I add custom shortcuts to the Start menu? ›

Pin Apps or App Shortcuts to the Start Menu

If an app shortcut or executable (.exe) file is on the desktop, right-click it and select Pin to Start. You can also add an item to the Start Menu from the File Explorer. Open the folder containing the app, right-click the EXE file, and select Pin to Start.

How do I customize my Windows Start button? ›

You can change it from Windows Settings (press Windows Key + I). From there, select Personalization > Start and select Choose which folders appear on Start. For example, here, we've chosen to add the Music, Videos, and Personal folder to Start.

How do I move a widget to the home screen in Windows 11? ›

To move your widgets around, long-press on the top of a widget until you see an open hand. (This is as opposed to a “pointing” hand, which enables you to click on a link.) You can then change its position on the panel.

How do I pin a window on top in Windows 11? ›

Use the “Ctrl + Space” shortcut (or the shortcut you created) to pin a window on top.

How do I move apps from my computer to the pin bar to the home screen? ›

Right-click the app icon. Select Pin to Shelf.
To change the position of an app:
  1. Select and hold the app you want to move.
  2. Drag it to a new position.
  3. Release to put the app in a new spot.

What happens when you unpin the app from start? ›

If you select this option, then the item is removed from the “most frequently used” section of the Start menu. As far as the Start menu is concerned, you never ran that program.

What is the difference between pin to start and pin to taskbar? ›

Scroll to find the program you want to pin, then right-click on it. You'll open a menu that includes Pin to Taskbar (the grey line along the bottom of the Desktop) and Pin to Start Menu (making a shortcut to the program appear when you click Start).

Why are my app icons not showing Windows 11? ›

Delete the Icon Cache File

The IconCache database file has a copy of every app icon and is used by Windows to display icons quickly. The icon cache can sometimes get corrupted and is known to cause incorrect display of icons. Deleting the IconCache. db file and rebuilding it by restarting your PC can fix the issue.

Where are pinned applications stored? ›

Solution. The pinned icons are present at the location - %APPDATA%\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar which was being excluded in the profile.

Where are Start menu settings stored? ›

Everything you see and customize in the Start menu is stored in a database inside the TileDataLayer folder. The only problem is that when you least expect it, the database can get damaged causing the menu not to work properly.

How do I remove the pinned tiles tab from the Start menu? ›

Pin and unpin tiles

Click Pin to Start, or drag and drop it into the tile section of the Start menu. To unpin a tile, right-click the tile and click Unpin from Start.

Where are pinned apps located? ›

When a user pins an application to the taskbar, Windows looks for a desktop shortcut that matches the application, and if it finds one, it creates a . lnk file in the directory <user dir>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar.

Where do Pinned Applications stayed in Windows? ›

“Pinned” applications will stay in the Taskbar until you “unpin” them.

Why are my pinned apps not showing? ›

Icons of pinned apps could stop showing due to problems in Windows Explorer, a driver that needs updating, or icons that need to be refreshed. It could also be that there is a problem in one of the icon display files or the icon streams, and other reasons too.


1. How to show more pinned programs & apps on the Windows 11 Start Menu.
2. Windows 11: How to Customise Pinned Apps on the Start Menu
(Platinum Tech)
3. New Windows 11 PC First things to do Removed unused pinned apps taskbar start menu and start to left
(Windows, computers and Technology)
4. How to Change Windows 11 Start Menu Layout & Show More Apps & Items
5. How to Pin & Unpin apps to the start menu or to the taskbar on Windows 11
6. Windows 11 New Update on Start Menu - How to Group Pinned Apps & Folders on Windows 11 Start Menu

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