Computer tip: Resetting the Windows 8.1 Start Screen

If you ever need to reset your Start screen in Windows 8.1 back to the default screen for whatever reason, there are a couple of ways but the simplest is the following:

Navigate to the C:\Users\{yourusername}\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows folder. This folder is hidden. So either show hidden folders or within Windows Explorer bar, type in the rest of the path.

You will see the following files:

  • appsFolderLayout.bin – This is the Start screen layout file.
  • appsFolder.itemdata-ms – This is the Start Screen customization settings file.
  • appsFolder.itemdata-ms.bak – This is backup to the Start Screen customization settings file.

Take the three files and move them out of the folder, placing them anywhere.

If you log out of Windows and then log back in, Windows will rebuild the customization file, and you will notice that the Start Screen appears just like it did the first time that you opened Windows.