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Prevent promotional apps like Spotify, Facebook, Instagram etc in Windows 11

How to prevent promotional apps like Spotify, Facebook, Instagram etc in Windows 11 to be showed when a user first time loggs in.

In Windows 10 I could do this with DefaultLayouts.xml in


In Windows 11 it is this LayoutModification.json which you can create with
Export-StartLayout -Path "C:\Users\Default\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Shell \LayoutModification.json"

So I uninstalled Spotify, Instagram and WhatsApp from the Windows 11 Startmenu and did the export. The changes I can then see in the C:\Users\Default\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\LayoutModification.json.

When I login with a new user I expect that I then get the same pinned things without Spotify, Instagram and WhatsApp. But the promotional apps does not go away. So what am I missing?

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Several changes made it harder. Some german admin has documented it here:
@mods: Normally, I would not link "competing" Q&A sites, but in this case, this info does not exist elsewhere and it would not be fair to simply repeat it without giving credit.

You can use the Group Policy Editor to prevent promotional apps from being displayed in the Start menu. You may refer to the following documentation on how to do it.

Did you try that on Win11, Noah? Things have changed, I wouldn't expect that to work with the apps he mentioned.
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The solution in link did not work. The article is too old, from 2011 I think.

I tried this start.bin and also the start2.bin in the newer Windows versions. It didn't work for me. I am also looking for an out of the box method and no hacks.

@greenshots: This is no hack. This is what MS leaves you with. They want advertisements in the start menues to earn money, so they don't make it easy to remove them. I will take a Win11 22H2 test device and try it now. I would be surprised if this does not work anymore, but we'll  soon see.
@McKnife Apologies. What has specifically changed so drastic that it wouldn't work with the apps he mentioned? :)
I tried it.

What works: you may copy start2.bin of an adapted profile into the default user profile (= create/overwrite "C:\Users\default\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.StartMenuExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState\start2.bin")
That will make the start menues of new users look the way you want.

What does not seem to work in this test:
modify the start menu of existing users.

I don't know - just wanted to make sure that your hint was tried on win11 as the link does not mention w11 explicitly.

It worked. I had to create the directories Packages\Microsoft.Windows.StartMenuExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState in C:\Users\default\AppData\Local\

The pinned icons for Xbox and "Solatire & Causual Games" did come back.

But all the other things are now away.

Why does it not work with Xbox and "Solatire & Causual Games"?

No idea. But I can share your feedback with Colinardo from and I am sure he will investigate soon and update his recommended steps.

Sure, that would be nice.

I tried this on some computers now. If I removed the user profile from System / Advanced Sysmtesettings/ User Profiles and the logged back on with the same user, then the startmenu didnt work any more. So I think start2.bin and start.bin is hacky....

Looks like you can only do this in a good way with Intunes

This sounds more than strange and i doubt that it happens for me. Let me try that.
As expected, after deletion, the profile gets recreated at next logon and the start menu looks as expected.
I asked the author for his opinion whether it currently works with already existing profiles and he said that he will look at it some time in the future. It seems he has retired from client administration and does something else since else, he is always very quick in responding and re-checking.
But he suggested to activate these 3 GPOs (which will work at least on the enterprise edition of win11) to overcome some app suggestions that point to the internet:
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There are two levels of uninstall for Windows apps, like Spotify, Facebook, etc.  From the user or from the entire machine (All Users).
I use O&O AppBuster (a free portable app) to delete apps.

It requires you to select the apps from a its GUI window.

You can also uninstall Apps from a power shell