Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 Start Screen is reset when Sysprep

After creating my Windows Server 2012, I installed all my software required. I then called Sysprep which prepares my machine so that it can be cloned and used multiple times on the network.

 After rebooting the machine and gone through the configuration of Product Key, Configuring Language etc, when I logged in for the very first time, none of the programs I previous installed and placed on the start screen menu were there.

 To ensure the menu is there after sysprep and for every user that is added to the machine afterwards follow these instructions. 

  1. Run the SysPrep tool to initialise system clean up. For example from the command prompt type: %windir%\System32\Sysprep\sysprep.exe”
  2. Select Enter System Audit Mode and Restart and click OK.
  3. Once the system has restarted, copy the AppsFolderLayout.bin file of the users start menu you wish to copy. For example c:\users\TestProfile\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\AppsFolderLayout.bin and copy to c:\users\Default\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows
  4. Run Sysprep again Select Enter System Out of Box Experience (OOBE) and tick Generalize. Select Shutdown options as Shut Down and click OK.
  5. Once your machine has shut down, feel free to copy the Virtual Machine. When someone next starts the virtual machine the basic set up will appear which they will need to configure, but when they hit the new Start Screen menu, they will see all the menu items available to them.