TechSpot: How to Change the Start Screen Background in Windows 8

Windows 8’s new Start screen has been hotly debated since the operating system launched in preview mode earlier this year. Acknowledged by some as a bold step into the tablet market, and criticized by many others who prefer the familiar desktop experience, the new 'Modern UI Style' home is here to stay. But beyond not offering a way to bypass this screen (not without the help of third-party utilities), surprisingly Microsoft is also limiting your options when it comes to customizing the Start screen's appearance. You can choose from a couple color schemes and 10 stock background images, but that's about it.

We've seen some workarounds before but they require firing up the HEX editor to modify system files, and you are still limited to 256-color background images in a handful of specific sizes. That’s more work than most people are probably willing to bother with and as you can imagine the results are not quite optimal.

Enter Decor8. Stardock’s latest Windows 8 customization app removes this limitation by giving users the ability to pick any picture they want, regardless of size or color range, as the Start screen background.

Read: How to Change the Start Screen Background in Windows 8

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5$ for something what we can do on own hand, all what we need is Restorator (trial) or ResHacker (free), open imageres.dll, replace Win 8 default backgrounds and that it is
(need to take ownership on file first )

Semtex said,
5$ for something what we can do on own hand, all what we need is Restorator (trial) or ResHacker (free), open imageres.dll, replace Win 8 default backgrounds and that it is
(need to take ownership on file first )

That is how the world works. Pay for an app that simplifies something that some users won't try. Nothing new and nothing wrong!

Semtex said,
5$ for something what we can do on own hand, all what we need is Restorator (trial) or ResHacker (free), open imageres.dll, replace Win 8 default backgrounds and that it is
(need to take ownership on file first )

Yes, the average windows user will know how to do that! Honestly, tech blogs don't represent the majority of microsof't consumers.

Stop being cheap. No everyone can do what you can. Why don't you make a tutorial on YouTube and shut up and help people instead of bitching.

Semtex said,
5$ for something what we can do on own hand, all what we need is Restorator (trial) or ResHacker (free), open imageres.dll, replace Win 8 default backgrounds and that it is
(need to take ownership on file first )

Flippinwindows said,
Stop being cheap. No everyone can do what you can. Why don't you make a tutorial on YouTube and shut up and help people instead of bitching.

Use Your head and Google it, You can find hundreds ready tutorials how to replace images in system dll's, no mater if it is in Win 7 or Win 8, same rule. My post was only to show alternative way, but of course rude on someone is easy...

FalseAgent said,
does it still do the parallax scrolling when you have your own background applied?

I guess so, since it replaces the other backgrounds.

FalseAgent said,
does it still do the parallax scrolling when you have your own background applied?

Parallax scrolling is optional. You can enable it or disable it depending on your personal preference.

No You can disable that effect or slow it down in the paid version.

FalseAgent said,
does it still do the parallax scrolling when you have your own background applied?

Just because the article links to TechSpot doesn't mean that Neowin shouldn't declare its relationship to Stardock, as there was still an editorial decision to publish the article here.

There's probably a reason behind why they restrict custom wallpapers so, and part of it has probably got to do with the fact that the ones they provide are designed to colour themselves to reflect the colour scheme you've selected.

A custom picture obviously isn't going to do that. Whether you care or not is not the point. That's the way they've designed it, that's possibly why they restrict it.

Ideas Man said,
There's probably a reason behind why they restrict custom wallpapers so, and part of it has probably got to do with the fact that the ones they provide are designed to colour themselves to reflect the colour scheme you've selected.

A custom picture obviously isn't going to do that. Whether you care or not is not the point. That's the way they've designed it, that's possibly why they restrict it.


Evidently you haven't read up on what Decor8 can do. It automatically adjust the colors itself to fit the wallpaper or you can make your own choices there. It really is quite an effective tool and Microsoft could have easily have provided this functionality.

Ideas Man said,
There's probably a reason behind why they restrict custom wallpapers so, and part of it has probably got to do with the fact that the ones they provide are designed to colour themselves to reflect the colour scheme you've selected.

A custom picture obviously isn't going to do that. Whether you care or not is not the point. That's the way they've designed it, that's possibly why they restrict it.

If you look at any start screen with a regular image as a background, I have yet to see one that isn't worse than any standard start screen background. Most made it look downright dreadful. I hate how everyone acts like this is something that MS is being a d!ck about. I'm pretty sure this was how it originally started during development and all of the testers spent a whole bunch of figuring out how to not make it clash.

The editorials get a little ribbon that says 'Editorial' (funnily enough), shouldn't these posts get one that says 'Shameless Stardock Plug'. Just saying

MsftGaurav said,
Why doesn't Stardock explain how Decor8 works and doesn't involve any hackery?

As with many of our apps there may be contracts in place that prohibit the release of confidential information such as how a product works.

wow this is great, and a big slap in the face to stupid MSFT. this proves you can have awesome looking start screens that parallax and tile properly while making them your own image. It also looks at the image itself and picks color themes that match the image. wow, very well done.

the mediocre windows 8 start wallpapers are terrible and color choices are limited. why on earth MSFT keeps thinking that people can't handle a simple wallpaper change when every other platform, including many of their own (xbox included) have no problem letting users change this.

neonspark said,
wow this is great, and a big slap in the face to stupid MSFT. this proves you can have awesome looking start screens that parallax and tile properly while making them your own image. It also looks at the image itself and picks color themes that match the image. wow, very well done.

the mediocre windows 8 start wallpapers are terrible and color choices are limited. why on earth MSFT keeps thinking that people can't handle a simple wallpaper change when every other platform, including many of their own (xbox included) have no problem letting users change this.

The simplicity of the backgrounds were a design decision to keep from distracting from the live tiles. It has nothing to do with whether a user can handle a simple wallpaper change. Metro has taken a page out of Apple's playbook for OSX and iOS.

I have been using the trial version for a week now and it works flawlessly. I may spend the $5 and purchase the app once the trial is over. As I get older I get lazier about customizations so manually changing the background picture is too much work IMHO.

This should have been there. I have no idea why Microsoft never thought of that. Additionally, charm bar should be customizable, so people can add Control Panel, Power, PC settings and whatever they need to access quickly from anywhere without having to do more clicking + going out of their way to find it.,,,much like the taskbar but you can access from anywhere. Windows 8 was made for tablet, so why not have that kind option like iOS, Android, webOS, BB, etc. And like I've said always, Windows 8 will be done right in Windows 9. It's just like VISTA, half baked.

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