customize-windows-8.1-start-screen

Windows 8.1 has introduced new ways to customize the Start screen, including different sizes for tiles. We’ll show you how to resize tiles, rename groups along with a comparison of what Windows 8 offers.

One of the big announcements Microsoft lauded in the Windows 8.1 preview was the ability to further customize Start screen tiles. Windows 8.1 not only lets you resize tiles, but it also lets you more easily customize the Start screen in general which is an added bonus. Many Windows 8 users were dismayed at the lack of customization options available for the Windows 8 Start screen.  Windows 8.1 tries to alleviate that with these changes.  Let’s take a look at the new Windows 8.1 Start screen tiles.

How To Resize The Windows 8.1 Start Screen Tiles

Right-click on any single tile on the Windows 8.1 Start screen and click “Resize.”

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A pop-up will appear showing you what options you have for that tile. In this case, you can only size the tile to Small or Medium.

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If we click “Small,” it’ll automatically change the Twitter tile to the smallest option possible.

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Most of the Windows 8 Modern apps can be sized in four ways: Small, Medium, Wide and Large.

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For this example, we’ll click “Large.”

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Our weather app is not only bigger, it’s also showing us way more information so we don’t really need to click on the app to find out tomorrow’s forecast anymore.

Now, there is a Customize option available whenever you right-click on a single tile.

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However, as of June 26, 2013 – the first day of the Windows 8.1 Pro Preview – clicking on it simply hangs the Start screen for three to five seconds and nothing happens. At this time, there’s no telling if this is intentional or not.

There’s also no breakdown on what exactly affects the color scheme of the tiles, other than the observation that they’re based on the primary color of the program or app itself. No word on whether we’ll be able to change this scheme either.

How To Rename Windows 8.1 Start Screen Groups

In Windows 8 you have the ability to create a group of apps on the Start screen. To create a new group, all you need to do is to drag the tile to an area between other groups. Another option is to drag the app tile to the end of the screen and then release it once you see the divider appear.  You can read more about how to customize the Windows 8 Start screen in our guide.

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Naming Start screen groups are made so much easier in Windows 8.1. It’s absolutely ridiculous this wasn’t the way to do it, to begin with.

When you right-click on any tile, you’ll see the option appear above the group to name it.

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You can then type in a name, click “Enter” and you’ve named your group.

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Previously, you had to zoom all the way out on your Start screen, then right-click a group and name it. This was tedious for users looking for a quick fix to organize groups and is a welcomed addition to the Windows 8.1 Pro Preview.

How Do the Changes Stack Up to Windows 8?

There are many ways to customize your Windows 8 Start screen available for users that Microsoft doesn’t provide. This is a real shame. While Microsoft has focused on making Windows 8 barebones and easy enough for anyone to use, they’ve taken away a lot of key ways users have made the earlier versions their own.

When compared to the Windows 8 features of the same nature, Windows 8.1 does a decent improvement in Windows 8.1 However, Microsoft still has ways to go to truly let users customize the look and feel of the Modern Start screen in Windows.  Until Microsoft truly lets users take control of what the Start screen can do, they will always look for ways to do it themselves.  If Microsoft wants to keep its user base happy – and keep them from fleeing to third party programs and tweaks – they need to let users customize Windows 8.

Please Note: If something doesn’t line up with our walkthroughs, let us know.  We might be experiencing a bug we’re not aware of, and you may be using a feature as it’s intended.  Windows 8.1 is a preview, so not everything will work until the final release.
experiencing a bug we’re not aware of, and you may be using a feature as it’s intended.  Windows 8.1 is a preview, so not everything will work until the final release.
 Windows 8.1 is a preview, so not everything will work until the final release.