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Windows 11 21H2 Customisation

 ·  ☕ 2 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 and Taskbar Layouts - Current Issues

Another change with Windows 11 is the format of the exported Start Menu layout, it is now a .json file instead of XML.

Unfortunatly, there is a currently an issue where importing the Start Menu layout fails with an error. I’ve reported this to Microsoft via the Feedback hub.

Finally, Microsoft say that removing the apps that are pinned to the Taskbar will not be allowed, however you can add some apps.

To export a Start Menu layout in Windows 11

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Export-StartLayout -Path "C:\foo\StartMenu-Layout.json"

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.

Disable Search On The Taskbar

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

1
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:

1
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

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

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