Deploy a custom start screen in Windows Server 2012 R2 (Remote Desktop)

I am currently working on a terminal server environment based on Windows 2012 R2 and wanted to deploy a custom start screen to all my users.

There are plenty of material out there that describes the process, for example here. Another good description is found here: http://www.thewindowsclub.com/fixed-start-screen-layout-windows-8-1

When I tried this i was not able to get it to work, my imported start screen was always missing some items.

This was my original exported screen:


But my imported screen looked like this:


It took me a couple of days of research, but i finally found the problem:
Each start screen item must have a corresponding shortcut in you start menu folder.

I was pinning items from my personal start menu, for example creates the XML Notepads only icons in the current users start menu.

You can get really fooled by this, since in the XML file there are no references to the start menu items, just to the target of the start menu items.

This was my XML file for the start screen:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

<launcher version="2">

  <view name="Start">

    <group name="Standardverktyg">

      <tile AppID="Microsoft.Windows.Computer" size="square150x150" FencePost="0" />

      <tile AppID="Microsoft.Windows.ControlPanel" size="square150x150" FencePost="0" />

      <tile AppID="Microsoft.InternetExplorer.Default" size="square150x150" FencePost="0" />

      <tile AppID="Microsoft.Windows.Desktop" size="square150x150" FencePost="0" />


    <group name="Microsoft Office">

      <tile AppID="{7C5A40EF-A0FB-4BFC-874A-C0F2E0B9FA8E}\Microsoft Office\Office15\EXCEL.EXE" size="square150x150" FencePost="0" />

      <tile AppID="{7C5A40EF-A0FB-4BFC-874A-C0F2E0B9FA8E}\Microsoft Office\Office15\WINWORD.EXE" size="square150x150" FencePost="0" />

      <tile AppID="Microsoft.Office.OUTLOOK.EXE.15" size="square150x150" FencePost="0" />

      <tile AppID="{7C5A40EF-A0FB-4BFC-874A-C0F2E0B9FA8E}\Microsoft Office\Office15\POWERPNT.EXE" size="square150x150" FencePost="0" />


    <group name="My Icons">

      <tile AppID="{7C5A40EF-A0FB-4BFC-874A-C0F2E0B9FA8E}\XML Notepad 2007\XmlNotepad.exe" size="square150x150" FencePost="0" />

      <tile AppID="{1AC14E77-02E7-4E5D-B744-2EB1AE5198B7}\notepad.exe" size="square150x150" FencePost="0" />

      <tile AppID="{6DEC581E-3BA9-413B-A79C-98ED8853ECBA}\MyFolder" size="square150x150" FencePost="0" />

      <tile AppID="C:\temp\worddoc.docx" size="square150x150" FencePost="0" />

      <tile AppID="{1AC14E77-02E7-4E5D-B744-2EB1AE5198B7}\SnippingTool.exe" size="square150x150" FencePost="0" />

      <tile AppID="C:\temp\readme.txt" size="square150x150" FencePost="0" />





I hope this helps someone else some day…

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