Ostensibly, the most protruding and distinctive feature in Microsoft’s Windows 8 is Start Screen. All you can see is beautiful and colorful tiles flipping around providing you the latest updates fetched from the web. Initially, bewildered by such tile based interface and notifications, tech pundits vituperated Microsoft adapting to such Windows Phone like interface. The striking resemblance with WP7 interface was also cursed, and they predicted that it will meet the same fate. The tech industry was divided into two battalions, one who strongly felt that Modern UI concept will fail miserable, and the second group of people believed that it is a just a matter of time before people get used to it (read Windows 8 for dummies free book). After few weeks of release, it seems that the second group was right. No doubt, the interface is different but easy to operate once you get hang of it.
However, the same problems also persist in Windows 8 as well. Unfortunately, there is nothing much you can do to personalize Start Screen. No doubt, Start Screen looks good, but lack of customization ability should not be an excuse. Probably, this is the reason why as a Windows Phone, and now Windows 8, user I’m dismayed with Microsoft. But not anymore. Stardock developers have created Decor8 that circumvent Windows 8 and let you personalize Start Screen in Windows 8. Some basic customization capability like changing background picture, colors and other options come in very handy for the users.
Before, you jump from the first floor with joy, let me tell you that Decor8 is not a free tool. It costs $4.99 USD. Currently, it is in a beta stage, and you can try out 30 days free trial. Stardock is known to provide the best desktop customization tools. Some of the most popular offerings from them are Fences and Object docks, which is till hugely popular desktop tweaking software for Windows users. Some of the highlighted features are; personalize start screen with background images and colors, define your own backgrounds, user’s personal photos and images, randomize background images at timed intervals, customize start screen colors, fade images, define maximum number of rows displayed on start screen, parallax effect control etc. Previously, we covered their Start8 program, which is a Windows 8 start menu replacer program (its better alternative is pokki).
How to Change Start Screen Background and Colors?
Go to the official page of Decor8 on Stardock website and grab the trial version of the software (link at the bottom of the post). Once installed, it will open an application in full screen mode. You can switch between app and Start Screen interface using the Windows button to quickly glance at the changes you made using Decor8.
As you can see from the above screenshot, you can see three (in fact four) options to change Start Screen elements. The very first option is Background, from where you can apply predefined images or your own custom images. Along with that you can apply certain settings related to background images of the start screen. For example, an option like Parallax will let you horizontally scroll the background image along with the live tiles, though slowly. It creates a nice effect compared to static background where background remains still. Here are all available options in it.
- Make background fill the entire screen (Fill)
- Make complete background fit the screen (Fit)
- Tile the background (non moving)
- Stretch the background to cover the screen
- Center the background on the screen
- Parallax scrolling (using smart tiling)
That’s not all. It comes with pre-loaded background images which are not impressive, but also colorful. Apart from that, it will also let you select folders on your computer from where it will scan the images and display in the right pane. This option will let you use your own image, or image of your girlfriend/ boyfriend, as a background image of Start Screen.
Colors option will let you use standard Windows color scheme or you can use available schemes. The next option is Options tab, which will let you define manage or edit number of available rows on the start screen. You could also reduce or stop the parallax scrolling effect altogether. In case, if you want to not apply color options in charms bar then you can do so from Options setting. By default, it displays the maximum number of rows that can be displayed on the start screen. There is no direct registry hack to change so. Decor8 will let you use less rows in case if you prefer so, however, there is no way to exceed the maximum limit.
We have applied the background image on Start Screen which looks something similar to below. It definitely gives your Windows 8 OS a different look. It will set your device, and OS consequently, to look different from others. Overall, Decor8 decorates your Start Screen with different effect and colors to give it a unique look. However, it comes with a price tag of $4.99, which may set you back. Nevertheless, you can try out the 30 days trial period for free. You can later decide whether to stick with the software or not.
Would you like to show off your start screen? Well, what are you waiting for? Upload your image to image uploading site and share the link with us. Explore more tips from our Windows 8 tutorial section.