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How to back up Start menu without TileDataLayer folder on Windows 10

If you pin tiles to the Start menu, you know that it takes some time to organize them all. That isn’t time you want to have to spend again if you can avoid it which is why, it’s always a good idea to back up the Start menu layout before you install a major feature update. Unfortunately, the one easy method for backing up the Start menu layout was made obsolete after Windows 10 1703. If you’re running Windows 10 1703, or later, you will have to back up the Start Menu without the TileDataLayer folder. Here’s how.

Back up Start menu without TileDataLayer folder

This solution comes from Jose Espitia and it works perfectly on Windows 10 1903.

Open PowerShell with admin rights and run the following command.

Export-StartLayout –path $env:LOCALAPPDATA\LayoutModification.xml

This will create a file called LayoutModification.xml at the following location.


This file is the back up of the Start Menu’s layout. You can leave it here and you will be able to restore whatever layout it is you backed up. It is however a good idea to back it up somewhere else just to be safe. Keep it on an external drive, a cloud drive, or any drive that isn’t the Windows drive.

Restore the Start Menu layout

To restore the Start Menu layout from the back up, make sure the LayoutModification.xml file is in the location mentioned above. Open PowerShell with admin rights and run the following script to restore the layout.

If((Test-Path $env:LOCALAPPDATA\LayoutModification.xml) -eq $True) {
Copy-Item $env:LOCALAPPDATA\LayoutModification.xml $env:LOCALAPPDATA\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\LayoutModification.xml -Force
Remove-Item 'HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\CloudStore\Store\Cache\DefaultAccount\*$start.tilegrid$windows.data.curatedtilecollection.tilecollection' -Force -Recurse
Get-Process Explorer | Stop-Process

Your background, taskbar, and other UI elements will disappear for a few seconds when the layout is being restored but that is perfectly normal.

Missing tiles

The above method works almost perfectly. During tests, it failed to restore one particular tile; a pinned Settings app tile. The tile is still present however, it doesn’t open anything and it doesn’t have an icon to indicate what it is for. The only thing you can do is unpin it and pin it back. It is possible that the same may happen with other tiles.

While this method does miss one or two tiles, it works for most apps that are pinned to the Start Menu. You can use it to restore most of your Start menu layout and spend a few minutes pinning items it was unable to restore. As for the TileDataLayer folder, it isn’t going to be coming back so the old method is only good for older versions of Windows 10 which you really should be running anymore.

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