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How to create a default Start Screen Layout in Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview (and don’t let the users change it…)

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spanougakis

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start_thumb.png?w=560&h=314

 

We’ve discovered this feature to be available in this new 8.1 Enterprise Preview of Windows, the so called “Start Screen Control”. What can you do if your users always change the Windows 8.1 Start Screen, but you want to give the same layout and prevent them to change it?

A Group Policy Object should be a good idea. Actually if you take a look at the Computer Configuration node, you will see the setting that appears in the next picture:

gp1_thumb.png?w=575&h=232

 

Here we are: Start Screen Layout is here, so let’s check the settings:

gp2_thumb.png?w=580&h=487

 

The only thing that you need to do is to specify the path (could be a network one) and the name of the XML file that you need to create and represents the Start Screen layout that you want to be enforced to every computer in the company. So we need to create this XML file on our “reference” computer, just by using Powershell and the Export-StartLayout cmdlet:

powers_thumb.png?w=615&h=106

 

If you take a look at the contents of this file, you can understand that contains all the settings that control how the tiles and apps will be placed on screen:

xml_thumb.png?w=624&h=322

 

So Active Directory and GPOs are here and now there is an easy way to customize the look and feel of the Windows 8.1 Start Screen.

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