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Removing Life at a Glance and Play & explore using MDT

    Question

  • I've been having an issue that I can't find a solution to.  My company is looking to deploy Windows 10 to all our our PCs; however, I have been tasked with removing the "Removing Life at a Glance" and "Play & explore" tile sections.  I can remove all the content using some powershell scripts, however I can't seem to get the 3x5 area where the tiles sections appear to go away.

    I have changed it manually in windows 10, and then used the  Export-StartLayout , however when I import that very same file (both as a .BIN and .XML), windows gives me an error saying the file is not valid, and it fails to display as I was intending

    I'm attempting to make the change as a task using MDT, to modify the default profile, so everytime a new user logs in, they get the same look.

    Any suggestions?

    Monday, April 10, 2017 7:38 PM

Answers

  • After many days of trying, I think I have found an answer, albeit not an ideal one in my opinion.. .

    First, some things I have learned using the import/export function:

    1) the import-startlayout function will fail anytime you import a bin or XML file that has a groupcellwidth is less than 6.  so even if you only have one icon in that group (each icon is typically only a 2unit x 2unit area).

    This also means that every layout must have a <LayoutOptions StartTitleGroupCellWidth=6 />

    2) you don't need to have tiles in the tile group, as long as it's 6 units wide.  so if you want to show three icons, all vertically listed, you can, but the group width still needs to be 6 units across.

    3) Every time I tried to script the import it failed.  Even if I am simply importing the manually modified file that was exported moments prior.  It appears that Microsoft doesn't want there to be an way to remove the title groups, which aren't as useful for non-tablet workstations.

    The only solution I found was to run the task sequence, run all my scripts, and then after they were done, insert a manual pause, remove all the tiles and groups manually, and modify the unattend.xml as directed here: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh825135.aspx . once this change was completed, and the PC was joined to the domain, it appears to have removed Removing Life at a Glance and Play & explore

    I was hoping I could automate the process to make it easier to build new images once a new version of windows 10 arrives, and remove all manual modifications, but that doesn't appear to be an option.


    • Edited by Dan NC Monday, April 24, 2017 1:43 PM
    • Marked as answer by Dan NC Wednesday, December 20, 2017 7:49 PM
    Monday, April 24, 2017 1:42 PM

All replies

  • xml is better than bin. What if you re-order and add our own icons, so fill the space with other stuff you need/want. If still an issue, try to not using any groups. I bet you import start screen layout during post-steps in MDT TS, right?

    Please remember to mark my post as an answer, if I really helped you out, or vote if usefull. Thank you!

    Monday, April 10, 2017 8:30 PM
  • Hi, 

    Have you tried the group policy to deploy the Start Layout? 

    1. On a Domain Controller, open the Group Policy Management Console (gpmc.msc).
    2. In the Group Policy Management Console, browse to Group Policy Management > Forest: <forest name> > Domains > <domain name> >Group Policy Objects.
    3. Right-click on Group Policy Objects and select New.
    4. In the New GPO dialog box, provide a Name then click OK.
    5. Right-click on the GPO created from the previous step then select Edit.
    6. Go to User Configuration or Computer Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates >Start Menu and Taskbar.
    7. Right-click Start Layout in the right pane, and click Edit. This opens the Start Layout policy settings.
    8. Enter the following settings, and then click OK:
      1. Select Enabled.
      2. Under Options, specify the path to the .xml file that contains the Start layout. For example, type C:\Users\Test01\StartScreen.xml or \\ShareName\StartScreen.xml.
      3. Optionally, enter a comment to identify the Start layout.

    By default, applying Start Layout customizations via GPO will enforce the layout and prevent users from performing changes. To allow users to modify the Start Layout, go to the Partial Lockdown section.


    Blog: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/deploymentguys/2016/03/07/windows-10-start-layout-customization/


    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.

    Wednesday, April 12, 2017 7:19 AM
    Moderator
  • That was my suggestion as well, but my administration wants them gone completely, at least in the initial rollouts.  once we removed all groups, and imported the screen layout (exactly as you described it), it failed; only during a manual import was I able to view the error.

    thanks for the response.

    Wednesday, April 12, 2017 11:54 AM
  • Hi Dan, 

    We can try this guide to configure default user profile on the customized image and then deploy the new image, you will get all new users created on the deployed PC with this default layout. 

    https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh825135.aspx


    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.

    Friday, April 14, 2017 7:07 AM
    Moderator
  • I am not looking to restrict users from making any changes to their start menu configuration; if a user wants to customize their interface they are welcome to, however we don't want either of those tiles to appear by default (especially considering the bulk of our users are desktop users, not laptop or tablet users)
    Saturday, April 15, 2017 3:17 AM
  • I am not looking to restrict users from making any changes to their start menu configuration; if a user wants to customize their interface they are welcome to, however we don't want either of those tiles to appear by default (especially considering the bulk of our users are desktop users, not laptop or tablet users)

    I use import ps in OS deployment, that way it will not become mandatory and GPO is not involved here at all. Or, go through with Partial Layout feature.

    Please remember to mark my post as an answer, if I really helped you out, or vote if usefull. Thank you!

    Saturday, April 15, 2017 9:37 AM
  • here is my customized xml file:

    <LayoutModificationTemplate Version="1" xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/Start/2014/LayoutModification">
      <LayoutOptions StartTileGroupCellWidth="6" />
      <DefaultLayoutOverride>
        <StartLayoutCollection>
          <defaultlayout:StartLayout GroupCellWidth="6" xmlns:defaultlayout="http://schemas.microsoft.com/Start/2014/FullDefaultLayout" />
        </StartLayoutCollection>
      </DefaultLayoutOverride>
    </LayoutModificationTemplate>
    Best I can tell, the cell width being 6 is the reason both boxes are appearing (although with little to no content, however I can't reduce the width,  When I set the width to 0, I received an error when I try to import it.
    
    Tuesday, April 18, 2017 8:24 PM
  • Yep as you mentioned this is exactly the same problem I am having.

    I even removed everything in DefaultLayouts.xml but still no luck it always generated at least two tiles and gave me that StartLayout area.

    https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/a986bf76-a2fd-4840-9a6d-c2e8485d06b4/sccm-win10-disable-blank-empty-startlayout

    Wednesday, April 19, 2017 2:18 AM
  • After many days of trying, I think I have found an answer, albeit not an ideal one in my opinion.. .

    First, some things I have learned using the import/export function:

    1) the import-startlayout function will fail anytime you import a bin or XML file that has a groupcellwidth is less than 6.  so even if you only have one icon in that group (each icon is typically only a 2unit x 2unit area).

    This also means that every layout must have a <LayoutOptions StartTitleGroupCellWidth=6 />

    2) you don't need to have tiles in the tile group, as long as it's 6 units wide.  so if you want to show three icons, all vertically listed, you can, but the group width still needs to be 6 units across.

    3) Every time I tried to script the import it failed.  Even if I am simply importing the manually modified file that was exported moments prior.  It appears that Microsoft doesn't want there to be an way to remove the title groups, which aren't as useful for non-tablet workstations.

    The only solution I found was to run the task sequence, run all my scripts, and then after they were done, insert a manual pause, remove all the tiles and groups manually, and modify the unattend.xml as directed here: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh825135.aspx . once this change was completed, and the PC was joined to the domain, it appears to have removed Removing Life at a Glance and Play & explore

    I was hoping I could automate the process to make it easier to build new images once a new version of windows 10 arrives, and remove all manual modifications, but that doesn't appear to be an option.


    • Edited by Dan NC Monday, April 24, 2017 1:43 PM
    • Marked as answer by Dan NC Wednesday, December 20, 2017 7:49 PM
    Monday, April 24, 2017 1:42 PM