How To Save and Restore my Windows 8 Start Screen Tile Layout

Organizing Start Screen on Windows 8 machine isn’t difficult but quite tedious. Moving around the tiles, changing the size of it, and pinning or unpinning apps all requires your effort moving your finger or mouse to make it done. The last thing you want is to have to do it all over again if anything happened that have changed the whole layout or have reset it back to the start point.

Is there a way to save the layout of my Windows 8 Start Screen and restore it later on when needed? The answer is a surprisingly simple yes.

Turns out, the information about your Windows 8 Start Screen is all saved in a database in your user profile folder, specifically as below:

%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\appsFolder.itemdata-ms and its backup file:

%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\appsFolder.itemdata-ms.bak

Start Screen data location

To backup, just simply copy these 2 files to other location, or run a batch file that looks like this:

@Echo Off
Copy %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\appsFolder.itemdata-ms %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\GoldappsFolder.itemdata-ms
Copy %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\appsFolder.itemdata-ms.bak %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\GoldappsFolder.itemdata-ms.bak
echo "Your current Start Menu configuration has been backup up"
Pause

To restore, just copy the files back to overwrite the current one, and restart Explorer. Or run a batch file that looks like this:

@ Echo off 
Del %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\appsFolder.itemdata-ms 
Del %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\appsFolder.itemdata-ms.bak 
Copy %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\GoldappsFolder.itemdata-ms %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\appsFolder.itemdata-ms 
Copy %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\GoldappsFolder.itemdata-ms.bak %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\appsFolder.itemdata-ms.bak
tskill explorer
echo "Your current Start Menu configuration has been restored" 
Pause

Yes, that’s all you need to do. Replacing these 2 database files will not uninstall your applications, nor does it require admin rights.

/thanks to Bruce Cowper/

Kent Chen

Microsoft MVP, IT Professional, Developer, Geek, and the co-founder of Next of Windows.

Last updated: 08/04/2014

Posted in: Tips & Tricks , Windows 8
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N
Guest

I copied the two files and placed them in My Documents, then rearranged my start screen (even unpinning a couple apps), and finally replaced the updated two files with the backed up ones from My Documents. However, my start screen layout is not reverting to the original version, I am left with my rearranged app layout that I used to test if this would work. Am I missing something?

N
Guest

Upon further inspection, I found that my problem was I was using a program called “OblyTile” to customize some of my tiles. By unpinning some of my tiles, the Start screen automatically rearranged the other tiles slightly, making me think the backup didn’t work.

TechPorVida
Guest

Can I copy this file from my Surface Pro to a new Win 8 PC?

Kent Chen
Guest

Yes, theoretically. Never tried but it should work.

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