Sync Start menu / Start screen across our devices to OneDrive (please read)
OneDrive used to support syncing your Start experience across your devices. It was always an option, along with syncing your wallpaper, lock screen, and other settings to OneDrive across your devices. Unfortunately, OneDrive in Windows 10 no longer supports this feature. Let's take a look at the three main problems, and see why the time has never been better for Start sync:
In Windows 8.1, many Windows Phone apps weren't available on PC and vice versa, which meant Start sync left "holes" where certain apps didn't exist on a given platform. However now with Windows 10, we have UNIVERSAL apps that are available across ALL your devices (think the Office & Outlook Calendar/Mail, maps, alarms & clocks, calculator, camera, voice recorder, etc.). Also, it has been revealed that Microsoft is working on bringing universal versions of their Messaging, Voice and Video apps from Windows Phone to Windows Desktop. This means all of the apps you would expect to see on a Windows Phone screen will soon be available on your desktop as well. We could literally have our Windows Phone screen on our desktop Start menu/screen as a tile group!
Now let's consider the converse of Difficulty #1. Not all Windows Desktop apps are available on the Windows Store, which also implies "holes" when you try to sync your Start layout. However, there are two things to note here. First, we have heard Microsoft talk about Project Centennial, which allows traditional Win32 desktop apps to be packaged as Windows Store apps (these "ported" apps might also work on future x86 Windows 10 Mobile devices with Continuum, although admittedly this is just speculation). But these points aside, it should more importantly be noted that this problem doesn't preclude syncing Windows Phone screen to desktop as a tile group. One-way sync (phone to PC) is better than no sync at all.
More interesting, it used to be that Windows Phone had 3-tiles-wide columns and Windows Desktop had 4-tiles-wide columns (which made syncing your Start layout across devices more complicated). However today with Windows 10, there is now a 3-tiles-wide column standard across both phone and PC! We could literally have our Windows Phone screen on our desktop Start menu/screen as a tile group!
Finally, the official reason for removing the app from Windows 10 is that "it was observed that some users liked to customize their Start layout on each device". Pause. Wait a minute. It was always an optional feature in Windows 8.1, not mandatory. We must be honest that these individuals weren't being forced to use Start sync and could always turn it off. On the other hand, there are THOUSANDS of requests from users who loved this feature and want it back, both in the Windows Feedback App as well over on the Windows Uservoice where one popular suggestion has attracted an impressive amount of votes and feedback (however sadly it looks as though it is being ignored by Microsoft):
If we be honest with ourselves, the time has never been better for this feature, thanks to universal apps and 3-tiles-wide columns in Windows 10. Let's restore syncing the Start experience, at least as an optional feature that people can turn off, and keep true to the "One Windows" vision. Thanks OneDrive team!
Thanks for the suggestion and the feedback here. Let’s redirect these votes to the Windows UserVoice where there’s already support for this ask. Here’s the link: https://windows.uservoice.com/forums/265757-windows-feature-suggestions/suggestions/8976184-sync-start-menus-between-various-windows-10-device
Count me as one who reverted back to 8.1 primarily due to the removal of this feature in W10.
I see W10 as a step backward, rather than a refinement building on the advances and creative thinking embodied in 8.1.
Not good you have closed down the ability to vote for this and provided a bum link for input as a feature suggestion. Is this dead in the water?
Ethan J. Alvarée commented
Hi Douglas, thanks for the official comment here. It looks like the Uservoice site you linked to isn't taking feedback anymore, unfortunately. Nonetheless, is the OneDrive team still considering this suggestion? It would be great to be able to sync your "Start" layout, apps and settings across your devices in Windows 10.
San Ji commented
I personally think this feature is one of the best feature of Windows 8 and 8.1.
please make this come back
Leka Shameti commented
I'm sad with this feature missing. I signed up for win10 as an insider on Oct 2014, in two PC-s and after some time, in my Lumia phone. These feature was working in initial builds. When I re-installed win10 on 4 Aug, this feature was not any more active. There still is a [sync other windows settings] feature available, but no, start screen does not sync. Syncing installed apps has been made more difficult to dig and find. Windows feedback? MS does not have enough resources to listen to all of them? Can you believe that Edge/Spartan does not synchronize favorites either?
Support! Here is Winbeta's article about this missing feature:
Why would you take away a feature that was "Optional" in the first place. If people didn't want to use it they could turn it off in windows 8.1.
I have 8 computers I now have to go and customize and make them look identical on each one! Very time consuming AND if I add an App on one, I will have to go customize the Start screen again on all devices!@*&^#@$
Along with the sync of the start menu, they messed up the sync of the Theme settings (there is less customization of the themes and they only sync ONE picture in a group)!
what a shame we have to ask for features to be back, how dare they ask us to upgrade when previous versions have functionality we no longer have today, what a joke really
very disappointed this feature did not carryover from windows 8. This was always an optional feature that could be turned off. It worked great for me since I have a desktop, surface pro 3, and other tablets running windows. I've held back from upgrading all of my devices to Windows 10 since I would have to download an app on each device every time I do it on one and would have to rearrange my live tiles every time I do it on a device...does NOT make sense. Bring this feature back!!!
Jay Barry commented
I just bought a tablet assuming this would be part of the package. This is just stupid.
@James I wouldn't say it's reason to downgrade. But it certainly is a regression. We know the technology is there - they had it enabled in Windows 8.1 - and it could easily be made even better in Windows 10 thanks to universal apps and the 3 tiles wide standard.
Hopefully they remember their vision and ambition and reconsider this feature. Microsoft's mantra is "Mobile First, Cloud First" and they consistently give lip service to "One Windows" and "Three Screens and a Cloud" - a seamless experience across all your devices. This is what OneDrive is supposed to be about!
This is reason enough for me to downgrade back to Windows 8.1 or even start switching to Android and iOS. I was expecting MSFT to improve and build on this capability in a big way, and bring more control and customization to the user, not remove it altogether.
Mike Pell commented
Support, bring it back!
This is not just about syncing between devices - this is an incredibly useful feature for re-installing devices - vastly reducing the amount of customising one has to do when moving to a brand new PC, or refreshing an old one.
I have a desktop PC at home and a Surface tablet for carrying with me to school, both upgraded to Windows 10. And, I like to keep same setups (apps, desktop, start menu) between my workstations so that the transition is seamless between the two.
It's disappointing that these are not synced automatically.
I understand that not everyone feels the same way. But we should at least have the choice of selecting which devices are synced together.