Windows – Change width of each “panel of tiles” in Win10 Start Menu

start-menuwindows 10

There are plenty of guides that show you how to change the width of the start menu. But it seems it only can grow or shrink in width from the size of each "panel" (or folder or column) of tiles.

For example, this is my start menu, and it has two "panels" of tiles — each of which can fit 6 small icons, or 3 medium icons, or 1.5 wide and large icons.

enter image description here

Is there a way to resize one of the panels so it can take: 8 small icons, or 4 medium icons, or 2 wide icons? Ideally a way to do this on a per 'panel' option.

Every attempt I have made to simply drag the start menu wider or shorter has done so one panel / column at a time.

Using Win10 Home, if that makes a difference.

Best Answer

(I realize this is three years later, but I found it when searching for how to do similar, and later learned how to do it. Maybe I can help other searchers.)

This can be done, but it is not so simple. Copy this to Notepad or similar:

<LayoutModificationTemplate
    xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/Start/2014/LayoutModification"
    xmlns:defaultlayout="http://schemas.microsoft.com/Start/2014/FullDefaultLayout"
    xmlns:start="http://schemas.microsoft.com/Start/2014/StartLayout"
    Version="1">
  <LayoutOptions
    StartTileGroupCellWidth="8"
    StartTileGroupsColumnCount="2"
    FullScreenStart="false" />
  <DefaultLayoutOverride>
    <StartLayoutCollection>
      <defaultlayout:StartLayout GroupCellWidth="8">
        <start:Group Name="Productivity">
          <start:Tile Size="2x2" Column="0" Row="0" AppUserModelID="microsoft.windowscommunicationsapps_8wekyb3d8bbwe!Microsoft.WindowsLive.Calendar" />
          <start:Tile Size="4x2" Column="2" Row="0" AppUserModelID="microsoft.windowscommunicationsapps_8wekyb3d8bbwe!Microsoft.WindowsLive.Mail" />
          <start:DesktopApplicationTile Size="2x2" Column="6" Row="0" DesktopApplicationLinkPath="%APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Accessories\Notepad.lnk" />
        </start:Group>
        <start:Group Name="Explore">
          <start:Tile Size="2x2" Column="0" Row="0" AppUserModelID="Microsoft.WindowsStore_8wekyb3d8bbwe!App" />
          <start:Tile Size="1x1" Column="6" Row="0" AppUserModelID="Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe!MicrosoftEdge" />
          <start:Tile Size="4x2" Column="2" Row="0" AppUserModelID="Microsoft.BingWeather_8wekyb3d8bbwe!App" />
          <start:DesktopApplicationTile Size="1x1" Column="7" Row="0" DesktopApplicationLinkPath="%APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\OneDrive.lnk" />
        </start:Group>
      </defaultlayout:StartLayout>
    </StartLayoutCollection>
  </DefaultLayoutOverride>
</LayoutModificationTemplate>

Save that into a file with the .xml extension, like Layout.xml, and put it somewhere easy to type, like C:\Temp.

Next, open PowerShell as Administrator. Run:

Import-StartLayout -LayoutPath "C:\Temp\Layout.xml" -MountPath "C:\"

assuming you put the file in C:\Temp.

At this point that layout would apply to all users created after this point. You probably want it to apply to your own user profile too. The easiest way is to wipe your start menu.

Unfortunately the way to do that seems to change every year. If you're on Windows 10 version 1809, run:

Remove-Item 'HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\CloudStore\Store\Cache\DefaultAccount\*$start.tilegrid$windows.data.curatedtilecollection.tilecollection'  -Force -Recurse

If you're still on 1709 or so, run:

Remove-Item 'HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\CloudStore\Store\Cache\DefaultAccount\$start.tilegrid$windows.data.curatedtilecollection.root' -Force -Recurse

(source: https://www.joseespitia.com/2019/03/13/how-to-reset-your-start-menu-layout-in-windows-10-1809/ )

After all that, either reboot, or kill the Explorer process with Get-Process Explorer | Stop-Process

And here it is applied: screenshot showing Windows 10 Start Menu with two groups of width 8

Note in particular the StartTileGroupCellWidth="8" in the XML. Unfortunately I have not figured out how to change this per panel/group; it appears to be all-or-nothing, despite the separate GroupCellWidth="8" entry. Also a size of only 4 does not seem to work.

Still, hopefully now you or anyone stumbling across this later can get the idea of how to use this template to make their own custom Start Menu layout file. I tried to give a variety of sizes and types to help.

Bonus: To get the name of an app to put in AppUserModelID, run in PowerShell Get-StartApps
(I find Tile better than DesktopApplicationTile because it doesn't matter where the shortcut .lnk file is. It also allows for 'placeholders' before the app is even installed.)