20 Dec 2012

Many may have already figured out the secret to backing up or saving your Start Screen with Windows 8.  You spend loads of time getting it just right, but want to make sure that if all is lost you can restore it.  That is done by backing up the appsfolder.itemdata-ms file in your appdata\local\microsoft\windows folder and restoring as need be.  But what if you want to customize it so that every user on the machine sees the same Start Screen.  There is a way...

To achieve this same customization for all users you simply copy the file below:

%USERPROFILE%\appdata\local\microsoft\windows\appsfolder.itemdata-ms

to the location:
C:\users\default\appdata\local\microsoft\windows


After this, right click the file and click properties and set read only.

It has to be set to read only, otherwise the custom menu won't be preserved when a new user logs in, they end up with the default new Screen.

The only issue is that once a new user logs in, they cant add/remove from the Start Screen because of the Read-Only setting.  So here is how I get around this issue (so no user interaction is needed):

Go to Start, Run and type Regedit to open the registry:

Drill to:

HKLM\software\microsoft\windows\currentversion\run

Right click on the right and choose New REG_Expand_SZ

**For the name, call it whatever you like, in my case I called it StartCust

For the string portion use this command (all on one line, no quotes on the ends):

"c:\windows\system32\attrib.exe c:\users\default\appdata\local\microsoft\windows\appsfolder.itemdata-ms -R"

Now click OK and close regedit.

Next time a new user logs in, they will get the custom Start Screen that you have designed and they can edit it as they wish.  Note there are ways via Group Policy to do this as well, but the registry hack worked well for my case.


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