Backup and Restore Backup and Restore Pinned Items on Start Menu in Windows 11


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Pin_to_Start_banner.png

The Start menu is comprised of three sections: Pinned, All apps, and Recommended.

The section at the top of the Start menu is called the Pinned section. This section consists of pins arranged in a grid. The items in this section are a subset of all the apps installed on the PC; not all installed apps are included in this section by default. The number of rows and items in this view are consistent across device panel sizes.

If you like, you can back up pinned items on the Start menu for any account, and restore the pinned items to the Start menu for any account.

This tutorial will show you how to back up and restore all pinned items on your Start menu in Windows 11.


Contents



EXAMPLE: Pinned items on Start menu

Pinned_on_Start.jpg





Option One

Backup Pinned Items on Start Menu


1 Open File Explorer (Win+E).

2 Type the path below you want to use into the address bar of File Explorer, and press Enter. (see screenshot below)

(current user)
%LocalAppData%\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.StartMenuExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState

OR

(specific user - requires to be signed in as administrator)
C:\Users\<user profile folder name>\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.StartMenuExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState

Substitute <user profile folder name> in the path above with the actual user profile folder name (ex: "Brink") for the account you want.

For example: C:\Users\Brink\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.StartMenuExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState


3 Copy (Ctrl+C) the start.bin file.

4 Paste (Ctrl+V) the start.bin file to where you want to save it as a backup.

5 You can now close File Explorer if you like.

start.bin.png





Option Two

Restore Pinned Items on Start Menu


This option requires a backup of the start.bin file from Option One.


1 Open File Explorer (Win+E).

2 Type the path below you want to use into the address bar of File Explorer, and press Enter. (see screenshot below)

(current user)
%LocalAppData%\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.StartMenuExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState

OR

(specific user - requires to be signed in as administrator)
C:\Users\<user profile folder name>\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.StartMenuExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState

Substitute <user profile folder name> in the path above with the actual user profile folder name (ex: "Brink") for the account you want.

For example: C:\Users\Brink\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.StartMenuExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState


3 Delete (Ctrl+D) the start.bin file from this folder location in step 2.

4 Copy (Ctrl+C) the backup start.bin file from its location you saved it to from Option One.

5 Paste (Ctrl+V) the backup start.bin file to this folder location in step 2.

6 If this is for the current account, restart the Start menu process to apply.

7 You can now close File Explorer if you like.

start.bin.png



That's it,
Shawn Brink


 

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hsehestedt

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Question: When I go to the %LocalAppData%\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.StartMenuExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState location in order to backup the .bin file, my file is called start2.bin rather than start.bin. Any idea on why this would be?

If I had to venture a guess, I suppose that it might be due to the new features in in 22H2 for the start layout. Maybe this indicates "version 2" of the start layout. Again, this is only a guess, was just curious if anyone knew for sure.

This is on 22H2 Build 22621.1
 

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Brink

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Question: When I go to the %LocalAppData%\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.StartMenuExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState location in order to backup the .bin file, my file is called start2.bin rather than start.bin. Any idea on why this would be?

If I had to venture a guess, I suppose that it might be due to the new features in in 22H2 for the start layout. Maybe this indicates "version 2" of the start layout. Again, this is only a guess, was just curious if anyone knew for sure.

This is on 22H2 Build 22621.1

Hello, :-)

I just checked, and I have both a "start.bin" and "start2.bin".

"start2.bin" could be a backup the system created and slapped 2 on it since there may have been a "start.bin" at one time.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
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    Custom self build
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    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
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    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
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    2 x Samsung Odyssey G75 27"
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    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
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    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G phone
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    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
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    HP Spectre x360 2in1
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    i7-1065G7 3.9 GHz
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garlin

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After a clean install, I only have start2.bin.

My guess is start2.bin supports Start Menu app folders, and start.bin doesn't. The bigger problem (as Michael Niehaus mentioned on OOFHours) is Export-StartLayout doesn't capture any folder data -- apps are exported in the 21H2 format (single array).

I'm sure they'll fix that, but worried MS will follow 21H2's pattern of slowing dripping out customization details to InTune/SCCM customers first, before spilling the beans to everyone else.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 7

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