Windows 8: How to change Metro background on x86

Image Credit: domina2zn

The Windows 8 Developer preview offers the first official look at Windows 8 for the general public. This early build was designed to give a high level look at the new Metro UI and because of that, it omitted some simple features like the ability to change the background. While we fully expect that these features will be available in the RTM, some eager users have already figured out how to change the background in the developer preview.

Neowin has already covered how to revert back to the standard start menu and how to change the background on x64 installs. The tutorial that we originally posted has now been updated to support x86 (32-bit) Windows 8 installs.

Seeing Metro UI with several different backgrounds provides a new perspective of the UI. There have been several backgrounds released including blue, black and purple.

The process for the tutorial got kicked off in our forums where Panda X began digging around to determine how to properly change the background. You can download the entire tutorial from DeviantArt.com

Tutorial: How to get started with customizing the Metro Start Screen | Panda X

  1. Download a hex editor. I chose HxD (http://mh-nexus.de/en/hxd/)
  2. Navigate to C:\Windows\System32\
  3. In the Ribbon click File > Open Command Prompt > Open Command Promt as Administrator
  4. Type the following in CMD;
    takeown /f uxtheme.dll
    icacls uxtheme.dll /grant Administrators:F
  5. Copy uxtheme.dll to the deskop.
  6. Open your hex editor and open uxtheme.dll
  7. Go to the hex location as shown in 'Metro Customization - Hex Table.txt' by hitting Ctrl+G (Might be different in your program)
  8. Make sure your hex editor is set to OVERWRITE and NOT insert.
  9. Replace the colors as shown in 'Metro Customization - Hex Table.txt' with your own. The format is Red, Green, Blue, Alpha (RGBA). For a solid/opaque image leave the last byte as FF (example: FF0000FF would be solid red)
  10. Save.
  11. In system32 rename uxtheme.dll to uxtheme.dll.old
  12. Place copy the uxtheme.dll from your desktop to system32.
  13. Reboot.

The tutorial contains the text above, images and the all important HEX for both x64 and x86 table. It should be noted that changing the background is not a straight forward process and users should proceed with caution.

Download x86 and x64 tutorial

Image Credit: Panda X

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18 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Having just 5 rows seems a waste of vertical space. Is this configurable - how does it scale to higher-resolution screens?

one thing, you dont need to restart the system. just a simple log off and it works. thats how i have tested White hex codes. then you can delete your uxtheme2.dll or shsxs2.dll with no problem.


just a tip to make it faster.

Dusco25 said,
What a EPIC fail this OS will be...

Fact: You don't know whether it will be a success or not. If you don't like it, how about not posting on articles related to it?

Dusco25 said,
What a EPIC fail this OS will be...

yeah becasue it will be released next week. thats why is named PREVIEW... nd of course DEVELOPERS.

people just writing stupid comments to troll... its more stupid.

the best part is how idiots like you use the word "epic". at least you should learn about that word a little

Shaun said,
WTB black uxtheme.dll - I can't be asked to change all of the hex fields over

Just download the modified uxtheme.dll and shsxs.dll and copy them into the Windows\System32 folder of your Windows 8 install. Easy.

Shaun said,
WTB black uxtheme.dll - I can't be asked to change all of the hex fields over

i have tested Hex codes like 100 times. yeah, a boring thing to do something but its a nice way, also i was helping guy to get White text to be changed... so that was more test.

and i even changed the Start and User name color
even the clock date overlay text. of course still i didn't find alot of codes but i found enough to change it right.


http://fc05.deviantart.net/fs7...hanged_by_kophs-d4afo8y.png

They should just limit the choice between dark and light like on WP7.

I don't get all the complaints about the background, it is a Developer Preview for christ's sake, not the full fledged RTM version. It is for developers to start working on apps, not to stare at the background and say, my it is ugly.
There's so much more missing in this preview that I find more important to get a look at then the background (ie. Mail app, People hub/app, Messaging app etc etc).

The fact it CAN be changed albeit with a complex workaround as described above simply tells us this is still Windows, which has always been fairly good in letting us customize, and I am glad someone has dug into it to show how to do this, but that is all.

/rant over (to no one in particular)

I have no problem with the developer build colour but when this thing launches I hope they give you the option to change the background to whatever.

DawnUnder2002 said,
They should just limit the choice between dark and light like on WP7.

I don't get all the complaints about the background, it is a Developer Preview for christ's sake, not the full fledged RTM version. It is for developers to start working on apps, not to stare at the background and say, my it is ugly.
There's so much more missing in this preview that I find more important to get a look at then the background (ie. Mail app, People hub/app, Messaging app etc etc).

The fact it CAN be changed albeit with a complex workaround as described above simply tells us this is still Windows, which has always been fairly good in letting us customize, and I am glad someone has dug into it to show how to do this, but that is all.

/rant over (to no one in particular)

Bertch said,
The black looks awesome. Doing this tonight after work

and in the end maybe black will be one of the metro themes any user can choose from a color picker in the control panel, for the same reasons google does it with android: battery saving.