The new Start screen can be confusing, but with a few simple tweaks, you can customize Windows 8 Start Screen and make it easier to use. You may not be able to get rid of it, but you can change things that will make it easier and less confusing for you. You can remove tiles, create shortcuts to programs and adjust the colors.
Custom Windows 8: Remove Tiles
One thing we all hate is the fact that Microsoft pushes programs we want nothing to do with. You can easily remove any unwanted icons on the start menu by right clicking on them and selecting ‘unpin.’
Turn off Live Tiles
Some of the tiles on the start screen provide you with live information such as weather, finance and news. Not everyone wants to see these, plus because they are live, they are always attempting to grab information from an Internet connection. This means that they are constantly eating up a small portion of your bandwidth or download limits.
To stop the live feed, simply right click on the tile and select the option that will turn live tile off. The tile will still be accessible and it will show with its name, but it will not provide you with updated information until you click to open it.
On the Start screen, there are some tiles that are larger than others. The larger tiles are determined by Microsoft and they are the ones they think are more relevant.
You can change the size of the individual tiles by right clicking on them, a menu will appear at the bottom of the screen that will give you option of larger or smaller, click on it and you have changed the size of the tile.
Organize Tiles into Groups
One nice feature about the Windows 8 start screen is that you can organize your tiles into named groups. You can divide your icons into work, family and games, or any other categorization that applies to you.
Arranging the tiles is achieved by simply dragging and dropping them. You will see spaces between the individual groups, just drop the tiles into the area you want them to go.
Right-click one of the groups and click the Name group button to enter a name, each name will now appear on the Start screen.
Change the Background & Color
The ability to customize the background and color is an ability that has been on Windows systems since the beginning.
To change background or color you can hover your mouse at the top or bottom left corners of your screen or press the Windows Key and the ‘C’ key to reveal a menu (also called the ‘charms’ bar). Click the Settings icon and select ‘Change PC settings.’
Next you will click ‘Personalize’ and select the Start screen. Now you can select your background image and color scheme. Unfortunately, unlike other versions of Windows, you can’t set custom images or color schemes, but in typical Microsoft fashion they do provide quite a few options.
Attach Files and Websites
You can attach shortcuts to your folders or favorite websites onto the Start screen.
To pin a folder right click on it and select ‘Pin to Start.’ To add a website from your browser use the menu option ‘add site to Start Screen’. This is a standard feature in Internet Explorer, other browsers may require an upgrade or add-on before the option is available.
You can also pin shortcuts to folders and websites to your Start screen. To pin a folder to your Start screen, right-click it in the File Explorer window and select Pin to Start. If you want to find some great apps to add to your Start screen check out this article.
Then you can go back into the start menu and customize the tiles or move them into the appropriate groups.
Create a Desktop Application
If you don’t like the new Windows 8 start screen you can change the Start screen into a desktop-only launcher that will bring you to the desktop you are familiar with.
Start by unpinning all of the tiles from the start screen, except for the desktop icon. Then when the start screen comes up, click the desktop icon and you should now be on familiar (or relatively familiar) territory.
Unfortunately, love it or hate it, you are stuck with the new start screen. It’s a simple process to customize Windows 8 start screen and, hopefully, make it a little easier to navigate.
Photo Credit: Dove Computer Solutions Ltd.