In an official blog post, Microsoft is placing the spotlight on a feature that allows IT administrators to configure and set the default layout of the Start screen in Windows 8.1 Enterprise edition.
“Windows 8.1 Enterprise is now available, and included in it is a brand new feature called Start screen control. For those not familiar with this new feature, it is designed to allow IT pros to configure the layout of the Start screen for a group of users, preventing those users from making changes to that layout,” Microsoft stated in an official blog post.
The process is fairly simple and requires the IT administrator to set the Start screen layout the way they want it. An example of this would be the screenshot shown above. Microsoft then suggests exporting this layout using this PowerShell command:
PS C:\> Export-StartLayout –As XML –Path \\contoso-mgmt\Layouts$\ManagedUser.xml
The next step involves heading over to the Group Policy Management Editor, which you can do by typing gpedit.msc in the Run command. Navigate to User Configuration > Policies > Administrator Templates > Start Menu and Taskbar, and find the Start Screen layout policy string. The final step involves enabling the setting and linking to the layout file you exported via PowerShell.
This will result in the Start screen being completely locked, preventing the user from making changes to the layout. The user will not be able to add new tiles, remove tiles, or re-arrange tiles.Further reading: Microsoft, Windows 8.1