Add or remove pinned apps on the Start menu in Windows 11 - Configure Windows (2023)

  • Article
  • 6 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 Intune 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. When a user signs in or Explorer restarts, Windows reapplies the MDM policy. This action restores the specified layout and doesn't retain any user changes.

    To prevent users from making any changes to the Start menu layout, see the NoChangeStartMenu policy.

  • It's recommended to use a mobile device management (MDM) provider. MDM providers help manage your devices, and help manage apps on your devices. You can use Microsoft Intune. Intune is a family of products that include Microsoft Intune, which is a cloud service, and Configuration Manager, which is on-premises.

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

    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:

    • Endpoint Management at Microsoft
    • 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:

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 Intune, you can configure this Start menu layout feature, and more. For more information on the Start menu settings you can configure in an Intune 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 only be customized in Windows 11 SE using the following policy.

    (Video) Windows 11: How to Customise Pinned Apps on the Start Menu

    • Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Start Menu and Taskbar\Remove Recommended section from Start Menu

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:

    KeyDescription
    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.

(Video) New Windows 11 PC First things to do Removed unused pinned apps taskbar start menu and start to left

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 Intune, you can deploy a policy that configures the pinned list.

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

Create a pinned list using an Intune 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 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:

    • Name: Enter something like Configure Start pins.

      (Video) How to Pin & Unpin apps to the start menu or to the taskbar on Windows 11

    • 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 Intune

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.

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

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

FAQs

How do I remove pinned items from the Start menu in Windows 11? ›

Pin and unpin apps to the Start menu
  1. Select Start from the taskbar.
  2. In the Recommended section, select More and then scroll to the app you want to pin. ...
  3. Press and hold (or right-click) the app, then select Pin to Start.
  4. To unpin an app, select Unpin from Start.

How do I add pinned apps to 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.

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

In the “Settings” app window, click the “Personalization” link at the left side of the window to show the “Personalization” settings to the right. Then click the “Start” link in the list of Personalization settings to show its settings at the right side of the window.

Why can't I remove my PIN from Windows 11? ›

Turn Off the Passwordless Login Feature for Your Microsoft Account. The Passwordless account feature lets you sign in without a password using a PIN, SMS Code, or the authenticator app. You can turn off the Passwordless account feature to fix the greyed-out Remove PIN option. Click on Start and then select Settings.

How do I show all apps in Windows 11 Start menu? ›

Here's how to customize what you see on the Start menu and taskbar: To see a list of your apps, select Start , then select the arrow next to All apps to expand that pane. Scroll through the alphabetical list.

Why am I not finding all applications pinned to the taskbar after Windows 11 update? ›

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.

Why is pin unavailable Windows 11? ›

Windows stores your computer's PIN and other security-related information in the Ngc folder. You may be unable to sign in with your PIN if the data in this folder is corrupt. Deleting the folder might help resolve the “Something went wrong and your PIN isn't available” issue and other related errors.

How do I find my PIN for Windows 11? ›

Reset PIN from Settings

Open Settings, select Accounts > Sign-in options. Select PIN (Windows Hello) > I forgot my PIN and follow the instructions.

What happened to the Start menu in Windows 11? ›

Traditionally, the Windows Start menu has been in the lower-left corner of the screen, but when your new version of Windows appears, you'll find the Start icon among a group of icons in the center of your taskbar at the bottom of the screen. The Windows 11 Start menu is now a small icon in the center of the taskbar.

Is there a classic Start menu for Windows 11? ›

Enable The Vintage Start Menu On Windows 11

After the setup process is complete, click the Windows icon on the taskbar and launch 'Open-Shell Menu Settings. ' Under the 'Start Menu Style' tab, select one of three look options to choose from: Classic, Classic with two columns, or Windows 7.

Can I unpin widgets from Windows 11? ›

On Windows 11 you can do this by right-clicking the taskbar, then clicking Taskbar Settings. From here you can disable widgets.

How do I unpin from quick access in Windows 11? ›

If something shows up that you don't want to see again, right-click it and select Remove from Quick access.

How do I unpin multiple items from the Start menu? ›

Follow these steps:
  1. Open the Start Menu.
  2. Click your preferred folder in the tile section. This should expand all the tiles within that folder.
  3. Right-click on the tile you want to remove and select Unpin from Start.
  4. Finally, restore the other items to their folder by clicking the downward-pointing arrow on that folder.
Sep 4, 2022

How do I remove PIN from startup? ›

Remove PIN on Windows 10
  1. Open Settings on Windows 10.
  2. Click on Accounts.
  3. Click on Sign-in options.
  4. Turn off the “Require Windows Hello sign-in for Microsoft accounts” toggle switch. ...
  5. Under the “Manage how your sign in to your device” section, select the “Windows Hello PIN” option.
Jan 9, 2023

How do I add and customize widgets in Windows 11? ›

To open the widgets board, you can press Windows logo key + W or select the Widgets icon on the taskbar. Select your avatar to open the Widget settings①. Under Add widget, select the Plus sign ② next to any widget to add it to your board.

Can you customize widgets on Windows 11? ›

The three “More” dots let you adjust the size of the widget, customize it, or remove it. Click on the name of the widget in the upper left corner, and you will be taken to a separate page where you can access more information — more details on the weather, for example, or more of the latest sports scores.

What apps can I safely remove from Windows 11? ›

Preinstalled apps you can remove in Windows 11 Settings
  • 3D Viewer.
  • Feedback Hub.
  • Groove Music.
  • Microsoft News.
  • Microsoft Solitaire Collection.
  • Microsoft Teams.
  • Microsoft To-Do.
  • Mixed Reality Portal.
Sep 22, 2021

Videos

1. How to Add, Remove and Rearrange Apps to Pinned section of Start Menu in Windows 11
(Find Easy Solution)
2. Windows 11 - How to Customize Pinned Apps on the Start Menu
(Acer Support)
3. Windows 11 Start Menu Tweaks That Make It Better!
(TechGumbo)
4. How to show more pinned programs & apps on the Windows 11 Start Menu.
(Downloadsource.net)
5. How To Show More Pinned Apps in Windows 11 Start Menu
(Tricknology)
6. How to Backup and Restore the Start Menu Pinned Icons/Tiles in Windows 10 and 11 running computers ?
(UniqueTutorials)
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