Windows 8 Start screen change in RTM to allow pictures

In anticipation for the imminent sign off of Windows 8 to RTM, stuff continues to leak out about the changes we can expect to see but aren't yet available in the Release Preview. Today, it's a Start screen tweak that appears to allow pictures instead of just colors.

Thanks to a posting over at Win8China, who has already leaked a ton of Windows 8 news in recent months, we can see a poorly taken screenshot of the Start screen settings which appears to allow more complex patterns as well as flat colors for the background of the Start screen. It doesn't look like an actual image can be selected from another source, but that will all become clearer once we're able to review the final build for ourselves.

For comparison, below is the current Start screen settings in the Release Preview.

As you can see, this really only allowed for a few patterns and colors.

So, it looks like we'll be in for more than a few surprises when Windows 8 becomes available, all we can say is that the "Release Preview" is looking more and more like a true Beta, rather than a Release Preview, what with all the changes and all.

Thanks Faikee for the tip in our forums; click through for another few screenshots.

Source: Win8China

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The background picture feature had fewer images available, but has been present since the Release Preview.

Today, it's a Start screen tweak that appears to allow pictures instead of just colors.

It has not been just 'colors' for a while, and never was going to be just 'colors'.


What is disappointing is that Microsoft talked about this and offered a lot of other Windows 8 information last year. Yet here we are a year later, and people are just NOW starting to talk about bits and pieces of the features of Windows 8, and only with freaking screen leaks of the newer builds.

Really?

There is enough important and impressive technical changes to Windows 8 that is of interest to consumers it would take months to just describe them, let alone have an in depth conversation/review of them.

Apple puts out a 200 new features list, that truly consists of silly things like, adding 'Save As' to an application in the OS as a new OS feature.

Using even a more conservative measure of features/changes, XP to Vista there were close to 20,000 OS level changes, and 10,000 changes from Vista to Win7, and there are over 10,000 features/changes from Win7 to Win8.

So 10,000 changes and we hear about maybe 25 to 50 at most?

Instead we see post and article upon article around the Internet about the size the Start Menu in Windows 8.

1/4 screen versus Full screen is the bare factual difference between Windows 7 and Windows 8, with Windows 8 having more features on its 'Start Menu'

That is all there is to the debate, the size. Wow...

So for months we have had no technical or real information about Windows 8 and instead have listened to people complain and complain about a full screen Start Menu.

And the ignorance, hate, and insanity that has come from the 'difference in size' of the Start Menu is just scary.

(The world has gone mad.)

warwagon said,
Why are they adding all these new features that the public wont' be able to pound on and test.

Because they aren't really features at all...just last minute cosmetic tweaks. The main damage was done to Windows 8 last summer and it hasn't been fixed.

Even if there's no option to use custom backgrounds, it's just a matter of time someone comes up with a registry hack or third party app allows you to do that. Same as the logon screen in Windows 7.

superconductive said,
They need to make it easier to get back to metro tile interface from your desktop.
As far as I know the average user will have a hell of a time figuring out there's a hidden button in the bottom left corner for that.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4boTbv9_nU

Even average Windows users know there's a Windows key on your keyboard.

gzAsher said,
Even average Windows users know there's a Windows key on your keyboard.

Well even I have some difficulties with Windows 8. Really like it and can't wait to replace Win7 on my desktop. I even have transparency disabled and using the Aero+ theme for metro-like looks.

But the biggest problem with Windows 8 to is that there is way too little visual tells for things, often it's not intuitive for me to bring up the start-screen with a touchpad along with some other things. Loved the "Windows button" in the dev preview though.

Colin McGregor said,

Depends how dumb they are. I only had to tell my mom once

Exactly, not long ago, with the start button, people were afraid of what the button could do if they pressed it, they had to LEARN first. just give to a life-time windows non-techy person a MAC and see how they freak out, EVERYONE has to learn when something new comes to the table..

gzAsher said,
Even average Windows users know there's a Windows key on your keyboard.

Except those that have really old keyboards.

And by *really old* I mean prior to Windows for Workgroups - when the first *WinKey* keyboards that weren't clones of the original (Microsoft's then-pricey Natural Keyboard) came out, Windows for Workgroups 3.11 was just about to ship, and Windows NT 3.5 ("Daytona") was starting to appear on workstations all over corporate planet. I'd know, as I bought one (a clone - no ergo, but included those keys) that year. My first ergo keyboard would be, in fact, the vastly-sliced-pricewise Natural Keyboard Elite - in 1997. (The only reason it got forcibly retired - two years ago - was due to rodents nibbling on the keys.) The replacement is not only another ergo keyboard, but another *Microsoft* keyboard - the Wireless Keyboard 6000 V.3. (The backup is, in fact, another of the same model that used to belong to Mom - she prefers *wired* keyboards and mice for her desktop.)

Hands up who didn't expect Microsoft to add lots of new wallpapers, sounds, start screen backgrounds, etc, etc into the final build of Windows. I wish to point at you and laugh :-)

TCLN Ryster said,
Hands up who didn't expect Microsoft to add lots of new wallpapers, sounds, start screen backgrounds, etc, etc into the final build of Windows. I wish to point at you and laugh :-)

That would be all the people who swore the RP build was 'feature complete'. i.e. the people who ignored what MS actually said..

dangel said,

That would be all the people who swore the RP build was 'feature complete'. i.e. the people who ignored what MS actually said..

I wouldn`t say these are features per se, as stated it wasn`t hard to predict...

TCLN Ryster said,
Hands up who didn't expect Microsoft to add lots of new wallpapers, sounds, start screen backgrounds, etc, etc into the final build of Windows.

No one said that. They said the OS has been FEATURE complete. In many ways, since last summer.

Adding icons, wallpapers, etc. at the last minute is NOT a feature -- unless you are making one of those list Apple does. 8)

I'm surprised they made them more complex than the current backgrounds. Still, I hope they add more in the coming releases.

neonspark said,
OMG Microsoft, just let me select a picture. WTF!

There are reasons they don't allow you to do that. I imagine those reasons are to do with how the tiles, Start title, and other elements look on such backgrounds.

I would like a "This is nice and all, but I want to pick my own background image, and I will not blame Microsoft if people laugh at me" option.

So, we can now use some pre-defined pictures as a background? That's the ONLY thing that was holding me back, now I'm really gonna get Windows 8 :-)

gift4ya said,
it will not help...

The change will definitely help because with a wallpaper of choice it reminds people more of the regular desktop and iOS home screen for example.

MS should have had this from the start and inherit the desktop wall by default. that way the start screen transition would have been less jarring.
having said that, better late than never

guru said,
inherit the desktop wall by default. that way the start screen transition would have been less jarring.

Agreed, but considering the majority of Windows users choose badly taken, low resolution pictures of their ugly families blown up and distorted to fit their screen's resolution and aspest ratio as their wallpapers, I can understand why limiting some choices might be best for the sake of aesthetics. If I was concerned about making Windows beautilful, I'd be tempting to make the same restrictions.

IronChef75 said,

Agreed, but considering the majority of Windows users choose badly taken, low resolution pictures of their ugly families blown up and distorted to fit their screen's resolution and aspest ratio as their wallpapers, I can understand why limiting some choices might be best for the sake of aesthetics. If I was concerned about making Windows beautilful, I'd be tempting to make the same restrictions.

Hahahaha And you're right btw.

MikeHellstone said,

hahahaha i snorted my drink everywhere. Thanks for making my day

Hey, for what I know, this is the official stance on why Microsoft didn't want to do it in the first place.

IronChef75 said,

Agreed, but considering the majority of Windows users choose badly taken, low resolution pictures of their ugly families blown up and distorted to fit their screen's resolution and aspest ratio as their wallpapers, I can understand why limiting some choices might be best for the sake of aesthetics. If I was concerned about making Windows beautilful, I'd be tempting to make the same restrictions.

You couldn't have said it better.

IronChef75 said,

... badly taken, low resolution pictures of their ugly families or their babies blown up and distorted to fit their screen ...

Now it also applies to iPhone backgrounds

The truth is that most people have very little sense for aesthetics.

IronChef75 said,

Agreed, but considering the majority of Windows users choose badly taken, low resolution pictures of their ugly families blown up and distorted to fit their screen's resolution and aspest ratio as their wallpapers, I can understand why limiting some choices might be best for the sake of aesthetics. If I was concerned about making Windows beautilful, I'd be tempting to make the same restrictions.

Not only their ugly kids, but their stupid-assed dogs!

IronChef75 said,

Agreed, but considering the majority of Windows users choose...

Majority. Choose.

For those reasons alone, MS should have accommodated their entire user base better in this regard.

IronChef75 said,

Agreed, but considering the majority of Windows users choose badly taken, low resolution pictures of their ugly families blown up and distorted to fit their screen's resolution and aspest ratio as their wallpapers, I can understand why limiting some choices might be best for the sake of aesthetics. If I was concerned about making Windows beautilful, I'd be tempting to make the same restrictions.


You, sir, are brilliant.

IronChef75 said,

Agreed, but considering the majority of Windows users choose badly taken, low resolution pictures of their ugly families blown up and distorted to fit their screen's resolution and aspest ratio as their wallpapers, I can understand why limiting some choices might be best for the sake of aesthetics. If I was concerned about making Windows beautilful, I'd be tempting to make the same restrictions.

ROFLMFAO!!!!! Oh God, thanks for the laughs!

Jimmy422 said,
Definitely makes it look a lot less bland. I wish they'd do something like that with Explorer, like in Office 2013.

Metro icons are on there way apparently!

ingramator said,

Metro icons are on there way apparently!


Not exactly Metro. Same icons, just chromeless, flat and gradientless.

gzAsher said,

Not exactly Metro. Same icons, just chromeless, flat and gradientless.

Good enough for me! Would make me even more happy if they'd remove most of the rounded corners in the icons too.