How To: Backup and Restore the Windows 8 Start Screen Layout

The various options of customizing the Windows 8 Start Screen allow us to make that screen just the way we like it, especially in Windows 8.1 which includes a few extra options.
Should anything happen, no one would want to go through all that hassle again. Instead you can backup the Start Screen layout and restore it at any time, even after you reinstall Windows 8.

1. Press the Win+R shortcut (or select Run from the Start button menu in Windows 8.1) to open up the Run dialog.

2. In the Run box, type “%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows” (without the quotes) and click on OK. A Windows Explorer window will open up at that location, where the Start screen layout files are stored.

Windows 8 - Run Dialog - Access Start screen layout files
Windows 8 – Run Dialog – Access Start screen layout files

3. Copy the files “appsFolder.itemdata-ms” and “appsFolder.itemdata-ms.bak” to a backup location of your choice. You’ve now succesfully backed up your Start screen layout.

Windows 8 - Explorer - Copy Start Screen layout files
Windows 8 – Explorer – Copy Start Screen layout files

To restore it, simply return to this location and copy the backup files here, overwriting the ones that are already in the folder.