Windows 8 start screen is a convenient tool for people who rely on the tiles based shortcuts. I, on the other hand, like to dig in deeper and mess around with Windows settings regardless of OS version. Back in the days, I installed the Astro shell for Windows XP because I wanted to experience everything in an entirely different manner.

Windows 8 Start screen screenshot - Google Images

Astro shell is cool as long as the visuals are concerned, but it sometimes brings its own unique problems. Stuff related to registry entry, serial keys not responding well after license purchase and etc. Anyhow, Windows 8 and 8.1 facilitate users with the ability to customize their Start screen. This way, you can place your favorite program, movies and documents shortcuts right where they are needed.

However, when the computer is not in your use, someone might actually ruin your start screen settings. As a result, either you will lose your original Windows 8 startup screen customized interface, or part of it – depending on who messed with the settings. Also, when you perform an update to Windows 8.1, and all the OS versions coming in near future, there is a probability that you will lose your start screen.

Windows 8 Command prompt run screen screenshot

How to restore my custom Windows 8 start screen?

  • You have to open the command prompt/ Run command prompt in Windows 8. The shortcut key is Windows key + R key to bring up the relevant interface.
  • Type down exactly as shown here (without inverted commas of course) “%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows” and click the Ok button, or press Enter key.

Doing so will bring up the exact location of the file, and folder, in which your Windows start screen layout is saved. Now you have to copy the following files to any backup device/ folder.

  • appsFolder.itemdata-ms
  • appsFolder.itemdata-ms.bak

This will ensure that your Windows 8 startup screen layout is saved in a safe location. The next time the start screen layout disappears or the tiles are no longer at the last known position, you can copy the files from your backup device/ location and paste them over the original files.

However, do bear in mind that future Windows 8 OS updates, excluding 8.1, might have a slightly different file structure. Therefore, it is advised that you also maintain the original copy of the aforementioned files moments before overwriting them with the old ones; you never know when you will need them.