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How to reset the Start menu layout on Windows 10

On Windows 10, Microsoft introduced an updated version of the Start menu that combines the familiarity of the classic menu from Windows 7 with parts of the Start screen included with Windows 8.

In this new version, you get a left rail with buttons to access different settings and locations. Then there is your list of apps installed on your device, and on the right, you get your Live Tiles, which are always lighting up keeping you up to date without you even needing to open the app.

All the information about the Start menu layout is stored in a database inside the TileDataLayer folder. The only issue is that sometimes the database can get corrupted causing the menu not to work properly. Fortunately, there is a workaround you can use to reset the Start menu layout on your Windows 10 computer.

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to reset the Start menu layout to its default settings if for any reason it's not displaying or working correctly.

How to reset the Start menu layout on your PC

In order to reset the Start menu layout on Windows 10, you'll need to have three user accounts on your computer.

  • Your account: The account with the Start menu that isn't working correctly.
  • Local account: This is a temporary account that you'll need to create to copy the Start menu files to reset the menu on your account.
  • Administrator account: You'll need an administrator account to copy the Start menu files between accounts, because you can't overwrite files while they're in memory.

How to create a new local account

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Accounts.
  3. Click on Family & other people.
  4. Click on Add someone else to this PC.

  1. Click the I don't have this person's sign-in information link.

  1. Click the Add a user without a Microsoft account link.

  1. Enter the information required to create an account.
  2. Click Next to complete the task.

How to enable the built-in Administrator account

You'll need another account to copy the database files between accounts. You can either create another account with administrator permissions, or you can quickly enable the Windows 10 built-in Administrator account to complete this task.

To enable the built-in Administrator account, do the following:

  1. Use the Windows key + X keyboard shortcut to open the power user menu and select Computer Management.
  2. Expand Local Users and Groups.
  3. Select Users.
  4. Double-click the Administrator account.
  5. Clear the Account is disabled option to enable the account.

  1. Click Apply.
  2. Click OK to complete the task.

How to reset the Start menu layout

  1. Sign-out of your account with the Start menu that isn't working correctly.
  2. Sign-in to the newly created local account to populate and set the environment.
  3. Sign-out of the newly created local account.
  4. Sign-in to the Administrator account.
  5. Open File Explorer.
  6. On the View tab, check the Hidden items option to show hidden files.

  1. Navigate the following path:C:\Users\BROKEN-START-USERNAME\AppData\Local\TileDataLayerRemember to replace BROKEN-START-USERNAME in the path with the name of the user account with the Start menu that isn't working properly.
  2. Right-click the Database folder that contains all the Start menu layout settings and select Rename.
  3. Rename the folder Database.bak and press Enter.

  1. Navigate to the TileDataLayer folder of the newly created local account:C:\Users\WORKING-START-USERNAME\AppData\Local\TileDataLayerRemember to replace WORKING-START-USERNAME in the path with the name of the local user account you created earlier.
  2. Inside the TileDataLayer folder, you'll find a Database folder that contains a working layout of the Start menu, right-click the folder and select Copy.

  1. Navigate the following path:C:\Users\BROKEN-START-USERNAME\AppData\Local\TileDataLayerRemember to replace BROKEN-START-USERNAME in the path with the name of the user account with the Start menu that isn't working properly.
  2. Right-click inside the folder and select Paste to copy the new Database folder to your account.

  1. Sign-out of the Administrator account.
  2. Sign-in to your original user account to complete the task.

Once you completed the steps, the Start menu should be reset and working properly.

If everything is working as expected, you can now delete the Database.bak folder containing the corrupted Start menu data.

  1. Use the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut to open the Run command.
  2. Type the following command to open the TileDataLayer folder and press Enter:%HOMEPATH%\AppData\Local\TileDataLayer
  3. Right-click the Database.bak folder and select Delete to complete the task.

In addition, you shouldn't forget to disable the built-in Administrator account.

  1. Use the Windows key + X to open the power user menu and select Computer Management.
  2. Expand Local Users and Groups.
  3. Select Users.
  4. Double-click the Administrator account.
  5. Check the Account is disabled option to disable the built-in account.

  1. Click Apply.
  2. Click OK to complete the task.

And you should also delete the temporary local user account you created.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Accounts.
  3. Click on Family & other people.
  4. Click on the temporary account you've created previously.

  1. Click the Remove button.
  2. Click the Delete account and data button to complete the task.

If the problem persist, you can use this guide to move to a new account, which may fix this and other issues with your current Windows 10 account. In case you have any questions, you can also head over the forums on Windows Central to find help.

Were you able to reset the Start menu layout on Windows 10? Tell us in the comments below.

More Windows 10 resources

For more help articles, coverage, and answers on Windows 10, you can visit the following resources:

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

7 Comments
  • Good stuff. This might come in handy at some point. One time an update killed the start menu (right when 1607 was released) and that needed to be updated again which required turning off wuauserv I believe it is and bits, deleting content from the SoftwareDistribution folder, and then turning back on bits and the windows update service again.  Another problem we had was the menu got corrupted on an upgrade and we had to delete one file deep in local app data to get the start menu working.  But mostly we fixed it by running a dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth followed by an sfc /scannow and maybe a chkdsk /f on restart. But if the start menu dies again I will try this out and see. :) Thanks for the tip! :)
  • Unless I'm seriously pressed for time to get a project done or whatever else, I'd rather just reset my W10 install and rebuild the software stack from scratch, by that point.
  • I wish they didn't remove the option to sync the Start Menu across devices. It was amazingly convenient in Windows 8.1. Little things like that were what made me love Windows and then they removed it.
  • Really. I never need to reset the Start Menu. I need a better way to restore it when switching a client to a new machine. The removal of sync is VERY disappointing.
  • Agreed start menu sync needs to come back :-(. You can use this guide to export layout and back it up and deploy it on your other machines. https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/windows-10-star...(12b4d7308d016ce2607f4c80b6a23c49)(256380)(2459594)(TnL5HPStwNw-9KMkgMNi00LMysXwi_jQXg)()
  • Windows 10 users should not have to go through these hoops. I am so disappointed that after using Windows 10 for so long now that I am still dealing with the occasional start menu glitches.
  • I been dealing with the windows 10 start menu problems since they changed it after the first public preview. Doing what you are suggesting may make matters worst. Trust me I deployed all version of previews and now gold builds to 100s of machines. The best way is to use the recently released article https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/windows-10-star.... Before this MSFT had no real public documentation. Use PowerShell to export your start menu layout. Then use group policy editor to lock your start layout any time you want to go back. I keep mine locked always since I see no point on changing it once I'm up and going on a machine.