Customize the Taskbar on Windows 11

Looking for OEM information? See Customize the Taskbar and Customize the Start layout.

Your organization can deploy a customized taskbar to your Windows devices. Customizing the taskbar is common when your organization uses a common set of apps, or wants to bring attention to specific apps. You can also remove the default pinned apps.

For example, you can override the default set of apps with your own a set of pinned apps, and in the order you choose. As an administrator, use this feature to pin apps, remove default pinned apps, order the apps, and more on the taskbar.

To add apps you want pinned to the taskbar, you use an XML file. You can use an existing XML file, or create a new file. If you have an XML file that's used on Windows 10 devices, you can also use it on Windows 11 devices. You may have to update the App IDs.

This article shows you how to create the XML file, add apps to the XML, and deploy the XML file. To learn how to customize the taskbar buttons, see CSP policies to customize Windows 11 taskbar buttons.

Before you begin

  • There isn't a limit on the number of apps that you can pin. In the XML file, add apps using the Application User Model ID (AUMID) or Desktop Application Link Path (the local path to the app).

  • There are some situations that an app pinned in your XML file won't be pinned in the taskbar. For example, if an app isn't approved or installed for a user, then the pinned icon won't show on the taskbar.

  • The order of apps in the XML file dictates the order of pinned apps on the taskbar, from left to right, and to the right of any existing apps pinned by the user. If the OS is configured to use a right-to-left language, then the taskbar order is reversed.

  • Some classic Windows applications are packaged differently than they were in previous versions of Windows, including Notepad and File Explorer. Be sure to enter the correct AppID. For more information, see Application User Model ID (AUMID) and Get the AUMID and Desktop app link path (in this article).

  • It's recommended to use a Mobile Device Management (MDM) provider. MDM providers help manage your devices, and help manage apps on your devices. You can use Microsoft Intune. Intune is a family of products that include Microsoft Intune, which is a cloud service, and Configuration Manager, which is on-premises.

    In this article, we mention these services. If you're not managing your devices using an MDM provider, the following resources may help you get started:

Create the XML file

  1. In a text editor, such as Visual Studio Code, create a new XML file. To help you get started, you can copy and paste the following XML sample. The sample pins 2 apps to the taskbar - File Explorer and the Command Prompt:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
            <taskbar:DesktopApp DesktopApplicationID="Microsoft.Windows.Explorer" />
            <taskbar:DesktopApp DesktopApplicationLinkPath="%APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\System Tools\Command Prompt.lnk" />
  2. In the <taskbar:TaskbarPinList> node, add (or remove) the apps you want pinned. You can pin Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps and desktop apps:

    • <taskbar:UWA>: Select this option for UWP apps. Add the AUMID of the UWP app.
    • <taskbar:DesktopApp>: Select this option for desktop apps. Add the Desktop Application Link Path of the desktop app.

    You can pin as many apps as you want. Just keep adding them to the list. Remember, the app order in the list is the same order the apps are shown on the taskbar.

    For more information, see Get the AUMID and Desktop app link path (in this article).

  3. In the <CustomTaskbarLayoutCollection> node, the apps you add are pinned after the default apps. If you want to remove the default apps, and only show the apps you add in the XML file, then add PinListPlacement="Replace":

    • <CustomTaskbarLayoutCollection>: Keeps the default pinned apps. After the default apps, the apps you add are pinned.
    • <CustomTaskbarLayoutCollection PinListPlacement="Replace">: Unpins the default apps. Only the apps you add are pinned.

    If you want to remove some of the default pinned apps, then add PinListPlacement="Replace". When you add your apps to <taskbar:TaskbarPinList>, include the default apps you still want pinned.

  4. In the <defaultlayout:TaskbarLayout> node, use region=" | " to use different taskbar configurations based on the device locale and region.

    In the following XML example, two regions are added: US|UK and DE|FR:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
      <CustomTaskbarLayoutCollection PinListPlacement="Replace">
        <defaultlayout:TaskbarLayout region="US|UK">
          <taskbar:TaskbarPinList >
            <taskbar:DesktopApp DesktopApplicationID="MSEdge"/>
            <taskbar:DesktopApp DesktopApplicationID="Microsoft.Windows.Explorer"/>
            <taskbar:DesktopApp DesktopApplicationID="Microsoft.Office.WINWORD.EXE.15" />
            <taskbar:DesktopApp DesktopApplicationLinkPath="%APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\System Tools\Command Prompt.lnk"/>
        <defaultlayout:TaskbarLayout region="DE|FR">
            <taskbar:DesktopApp DesktopApplicationID="Microsoft.Windows.Explorer"/>
            <taskbar:DesktopApp DesktopApplicationID="Microsoft.Office.WINWORD.EXE.15" />
            <taskbar:DesktopApp DesktopApplicationID="Microsoft.Office.EXCEL.EXE.15" />
            <taskbar:UWA AppUserModelID="Microsoft.WindowsTerminal_8wekyb3d8bbwe!App" />
            <taskbar:DesktopApp DesktopApplicationID="Microsoft.Windows.Explorer"/>
            <taskbar:DesktopApp DesktopApplicationID="Microsoft.Office.WINWORD.EXE.15" />
            <taskbar:UWA AppUserModelID="Microsoft.WindowsTerminal_8wekyb3d8bbwe!App" />

    The taskbar applies when:

    • If the <TaskbarPinList> node has a country or region, then the apps are pinned on devices configured for that country or region.
    • If the <TaskbarPinList> node doesn't have a region tag for the current region, then the first <TaskbarPinList> node with no region is applied.
  5. Save the file, and name the file so you know what it is. For example, name the file something like TaskbarLayoutModification.xml. Once you have the file, it's ready to be deployed to your Windows devices.

Use Group Policy or MDM to create and deploy a taskbar policy

Now that you have the XML file with your customized taskbar, you're ready to deploy it to devices in your organization. You can deploy your taskbar XML file using Group Policy, or using an MDM provider, like Microsoft Intune.

This section shows you how to deploy the XML both ways.

Use Group Policy to deploy your XML file

Use the following steps to add your XML file to a group policy, and apply the policy:

  1. Open your policy editor. For example, open Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) for domain-based group policies, or open gpedit for local policies.

  2. Go to one of the following policies:

    • Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Start Menu and Taskbar\Start Layout
    • User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Start Menu and Taskbar\Start Layout
  3. Double-select Start Layout > Enable. Enter the fully qualified path to your XML file, including the XML file name. You can enter a local path, like C:\StartLayouts\TaskbarLayoutModification.xml, or a network path, like \\Server\Share\TaskbarLayoutModification.xml. Be sure you enter the correct file path. If using a network share, be sure to give users read access to the XML file. If the file isn't available when the user signs in, then the taskbar isn't changed. Users can't customize the taskbar when this setting is enabled.

    Your policy looks like the following policy:

    Add your taskbar layout XML file to the Start Layout policy on Windows devices.

    The User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Start Menu and Taskbar policy includes other settings that control the taskbar. Some policies may not work as expected. Be sure to test your policies before broadly deploying them across your devices.

  4. When you apply the policy, the taskbar includes your changes. The next time users sign in, they'll see the changes.

    For more information on using group policies, see Implement Group Policy Objects.

Create a Microsoft Intune policy to deploy your XML file

MDM providers can deploy policies to devices managed by the organization, including organization-owned devices, and personal or bring your own device (BYOD). Using an MDM provider, such as Microsoft Intune, you can deploy a policy that configures the pinned list.

Use the following steps to create an Intune policy that deploys your taskbar XML file:

  1. Sign in to the Intune admin center.

  2. Select Devices > Configuration profiles > Create profile.

  3. Enter the following properties:

    • Platform: Select Windows 10 and later.
    • Profile type: Select Templates > Device restrictions > Create.
  4. In Basics, enter the following properties:

    • Name: Enter a descriptive name for the profile. Name your profiles so you can easily identify it later. For example, a good profile name is Win11: Custom taskbar.
    • Description: Enter a description for the profile. This setting is optional, and recommended.
  5. Select Next.

  6. In Configuration settings, select Start > Start menu layout. Browse to, and select your taskbar XML file.

  7. Select Next, and configure the rest of the policy settings. For more specific information, see Configure device restriction settings.

  8. When the policy is created, you can deploy it now, or deploy it later. Since this policy is a customized taskbar, the policy can also be deployed before users sign in the first time.

    For more information and guidance on assigning policies using Microsoft Intune, see Assign user and device profiles.


For third party partner MDM solutions, you may need to use an OMA-URI setting for Start layout, based on the Policy configuration service provider (CSP). The OMA-URI setting is ./User/Vendor/MSFT/Policy/Config/Start/StartLayout.

In the layout modification XML file, you add apps in the XML markup. To pin an app, you enter the AUMID or Desktop Application Link Path. The easiest way to find this app information is to use the Export-StartLayout Windows PowerShell cmdlet:

  1. On an existing Windows 11 device, pin the app to the Start menu.

  2. Create a folder to save an output file. For example, create the C:\Layouts folder.

  3. Open the Windows PowerShell app, and run the following cmdlet:

    Export-StartLayout -Path "C:\Layouts\GetIDorPath.xml"
  4. Open the generated GetIDorPath.xml file, and look for the app you pinned. When you find the app, get the AppID or Path. Add these properties to your XML file.

Pin order for all apps

On a taskbar, the following apps are typically pinned:

  • Apps pinned by the user

  • Default Windows apps pinned during the OS installation, such as Microsoft Edge, File Explorer, and Microsoft Store.

  • Apps pinned by your organization, such as in an unattended Windows setup.

    In an unattended Windows setup file, use the XML file you created in this article. It's not recommended to use TaskbarLinks.

Apps are pinned in the following order:

  1. Windows default apps are pinned first.
  2. User-pinned apps are pinned after the Windows default apps.
  3. XML-pinned apps are pinned after the user-pinned apps.

If the OS is configured to use a right-to-left language, then the taskbar order is reversed.

OS install and upgrade

  • On a clean install of the Windows client, if you apply a taskbar layout, the following apps are pinned to the taskbar:

    • Apps you specifically add
    • Any default apps you don't remove

    After the taskbar layout is applied, users can pin more apps, change the order, and unpin apps.

  • On a Windows client upgrade, apps are already pinned to the taskbar. These apps may have been pinned by a user, by an image, or by using Windows unattended setup. For upgrades, the taskbar layout applies the following behavior:

    • If users pinned apps to the taskbar, then those pinned apps remain. New apps are pinned after the existing user-pinned apps.
    • If the apps are pinned during the install or by a policy (not by a user), and the apps aren't pinned in an updated layout file, then the apps are unpinned.
    • If a user didn't pin an app, and the same app is pinned in the updated layout file, then the app is pinned after any existing pinned apps.
    • New apps in updated layout file are pinned after the user's pinned apps.

    After the layout is applied, users can pin more apps, change the order, and unpin apps.