You made the exciting jump from Windows 7 to Windows 8. Then, you most likely upgraded to Windows 8.1 for the better performance features. When Microsoft originally introduced Windows 8, it came under scrutiny for replacing the classic start menu in favour of a more touch-optimised, tiled Start screen. To avoid any more criticism, Microsoft included a decent range of Start screen personalization capabilities in the original shipping version of Windows 8. Now, it has dramatically improved things in Windows 8.1, offering a truly customizable experience. We’ve detailed our five best Start screen customization tips that you should try on your Windows PC, so check them out:
1. Change The Background
First things first. You should use the same background for your Desktop and Start screen so switching between them no longer feels awkward. Right click the taskbar, and select Properties. Open up the Navigation tab and check the box that says “Show my desktop background on Start”.
2. Add Custom Tiles
Most apps use small icons for their Start screen tiles. While this may be nice, to gain a bit more flexibility, you can use Oblytile to add tiles with custom icons to the Start screen.
Once the program is downloaded and up running, simply add the Program path, the Tile Name and the Tile images. Oblytile also lets you add different images for different sizes, so you won’t need to worry about scaling issues. Once your done, click “Create Tile” and your customized tile will be ready on the Start Screen.
3. Organize Tiles Into Groups
The Windows 8.1 Start screen also lets you arrange various tiles into groups, each of which can be named. For example, you could have a Works app group, a Gaming group and so forth. To arrange tiles into a group, drag and drop them – you’ll see areas of space in between groups while dragging and dropping.
To name your groups, right click on any icon present in the Start screen. On the bottom of the screen, click on the “Customize” option that appears.
You’ll now see a text field above each group that will allow you to specifically name them.
Each name will appear on the Start screen, allowing you to categorize your tiles, apps, and shortcuts.
4. Disable or Enable Live Tiles
A lot of the default app tiles provide live, updated information. For example, the Weather app tile provides you live weather updates whenever you open up the Start screen. Now, if you’re not really a fan of these updates cluttering your Start screen, you can right-click a tile and click “Turn live tile off”. The tile will show only the app’s name – you can click it to open the app and view the information at your leisure.
And of course, if you don’t want a tile on your Start screen at all, you can click the “Unpin from Start button” instead.
5. Pin Folders & Files
For quicker and easier access, you can also pin shortcuts to folders and files to your Start screen. To pin a folder to the Windows 8.1 Start screen, simply right-click it in the File Explorer window and select “Pin to Start”.
So that’s it for our top 5 Start screen customization tips. Got any other useful tip you’d like to share with us? Be sure to tell us about it in the comments below.