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Windows 11 Customisation

 ·  ☕ 3 min read

Windows 11 is very similar to Windows 10 is terms of technology and core services, however with the new UI and Start Menu refresh there are some new elements that you may want to remove.

Start Menu Layout

Microsoft now expects the Start menu layout to be managed by an MDM service, if you want to do it without that then the easiest method is to copy the start.bin files.

  1. Use a existing Windows 11 install to setup the Start menu layout how you want it.
  2. Copy the start.bin file from %LocalAppData%\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.StartMenuExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState to a folder in the MDT Deployment Share - in my case, I’ll use “_custom”.
  3. Within your deployment Task Sequence you’ll want to copy the start.bin file to C:\Users\Default\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.StartMenuExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState
  4. For all new users they will now get the start menu layout you specified.

I use a PowerShell script to copy the start.bin to the correct location.

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$src = "Z:\_custom"

New-Item -Type Directory -Path "$env:systemdrive\Users\Default\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.StartMenuExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState"
Copy-Item -Path "$src\w11_StartLayout\start.bin" -Destination "$env:systemdrive\Users\Default\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.StartMenuExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState" -Force

Disable Search On The Taskbar

Currently I have not found the Group Policy settings for the new additions to the Taskbar, so here are the registry entries to disable/hide the extra icons.

The registry entry for the setting is per-user and is located here:

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HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Search"

The key is a DWORD (32-bit) Value name SearchboxTaskbarMode and it has 2 states:

  • 0 (Hide icon)
  • 1 (Show icon)

Disable Widgets On The Taskbar

The registry entry for the setting is per-user and is located here:

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HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced"

The key is a DWORD (32-bit) Value name TaskbarDa and it has 2 states:

  • 0 (Hide icon)
  • 1 (Show icon)

Disable Chat In The Taskbar

The registry entry for the setting is per-user and is located here:

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HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced"

The key is a DWORD (32-bit) Value name TaskbarMn and it has 2 states:

  • 0 (Hide icon)
  • 1 (Show icon)

Default App Associations

Importing a list of default app associations for Windows 11 is the same as Windows 10, but I think it’s worth mentioning that Windows 11 has done away with the “Default Apps” section of Settings and so now it can be a lot more work to set them all on a template system to export. You can however still import a default app associations file that was created on Windows 10 into Windows 11.

Exporting A Default App Association File

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Dism /Online /Export-DefaultAppAssociations:"C:\foo\w11_AppAssoc.xml"

Importing A Default App Association File as part of an MDT Task Sequence

You will need to create a new “Run Command Line” item just under “Postinstall” - see the image below.

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Dism.exe /Image:%OSDisk%\ /Import-DefaultAppAssociations:%deployroot%\_custom\w11_appassoc\w11_AppAssoc.xml

Importing default app associations

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-Mike

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