Update existing users Windows 8.1/ 2012 start tiles

Microsoft Windows Server 2012

Microsoft do not provide any method for updating existing users Windows 8.1 or 2012 start tiles, however it can be scripted to a degree.

Start tiles live in two files within a profile namely:


These two files live within c:\users\%Username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows portion of a profile which is hoovered up and stored within profile management products. The initial creation of these files stem from the default user account of the server being accessed however once these files have been created there is no clever management function/feature/group policy to update the tiles with say a link to a website or another corporate app that should displayed.

However you can update them using a batch file or similar. I have created a couple of quick and dirty lines of code to do this for you globally. There are a number of steps that you need to take in order for this script to run correctly.

1. Login to a server of desktop and customise the start tiles to the desired configuration then log out.
2. Copy that users appsFolder.itemdata-ms and appsFolderLayout.bin file from that local profile location.
3. Place both the files and the .bat script file into the root of the profile share (example E:\profiles)
4. Open an administrative command prompt with an account that also has administrative access over the profile directory.
5. Run the script.

The script (as below) will search through the directory it is placed in recursively and replace any hits it finds with the new files that are located along side the script file.

See I told you it was quick and dirty.
Unfortunately this does have the side effects of removing any customisations that the user may have made and also removing the ability to right click on the start tile screen (also removing future user customisation posibilities). So its far from ideal however does serve a purpose.

As its a script I would recommend that you test this out in a dev environment first and ensure you have working recent backup’s of these locations. Also as usual I cannot take any responsibility for damage etc, that being said so far it has worked without any issues for me.

Code Snippet:
for /F “tokens=*” %%P in (‘dir /b /s appsFolder.itemdata-ms’) do copy /Y %~dp0appsFolder.itemdata-ms “%%P”
for /F “tokens=*” %%P in (‘dir /b /s appsFolderLayout.bin’) do copy /Y %~dp0appsFolderLayout.bin “%%P”


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