Reset your Start Screen tiles in Windows 8.1 with one easy trick

Windows 8.1 Start Screen Organized

A long time ago your Start Screen background was a verdant oasis replete with flowing streams, lush flora and cerulean skies.

A long time ago your desktop tiles were in ideal positions.

You knew where to find your Music app as well as you know where to find nearest Apple store.

And email? The Mail app and Outlook were huddled side-by-side in a tidy little Mail group.  But now your start screen is in disarray.  You’ve got stuff in the wrong groups and tiles in the wrong sizes and locations.

Windows 8.1 Start Screen Messy

And I get it, during the tumult of everyday use it’s easy for tiles to get pushed and shoved.  But this is the thing: I don’t know how you feel about this but whenever my Start Screen is a discordant pile of tiles my mind becomes turbid, my mood becomes bilious and I feel like my day is in turmoil.  I can’t work like this and neither should you.

Here’s my trenchant solution to this common problem:

Don’t scorn the Start Screen

Press the Windows Key + d to flip open the traditional desktop, then press Windows Key + r to open the Run dialog box.

We’re going open the folder Windows uses to create and manage application data.  It’s known as the App data folder.

Paste the following command into the Run box:

%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows

Windows 8.1 App Data folder

Now we’re going to backup two files that contain your Start Screen data and then we’ll delete the source files.

Find these two guys then copy them to a safe location such as to a USB jump drive.

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

Windows 8.1 AppData apsFolder

Alright, so let’s zap the source files.

There’s no need to be timorous here because we’ve always got the backups in case something goes amiss.

After deleting the two appsFolder files click the Desktop then press Alt + F4 to sign out.  You don’t have to reboot computer.  Just log out then log back in and your Start Screen will return to the factory defaults.

Windows 8.1 Signout

Unfortunately this means you’ve lost all your tile groupings and shapes; however, you should start it with a clean slate anyway.  We’re in the first month of 2014 and I’m sure one of your resolutions was to get more organized!

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