Windows 8 won't have Start Screen picture customization

Windows 8 may be rapidly approaching its beta version in late February, but when Microsoft finally decides to release it, users may not be happy with one of the company's customization choices. TechRadar.com reports that, according to Windows 8 director of communications Chris Flores, users won't be able to apply a picture as a background for the Windows 8 Metro start screen.

Flores says that the reason for this choice is that any photograph would not be able to stretch and scale as Metro interface users add more tiles and groups to the Start Screen and then zoom in and out of that screen's interface. In addition, any picture would be covered up by the Metro-style tiles.

So what can you do with the Start Screen background in Metro on Windows 8? As you can see in the picture above, You can choose from eight different styles of background in the beta version and then alter the color of that style via a color scroll bar. The colors are also very specific to avoid users choosing strong colors that would obscure text.

The article also says that the beta version will allow mouse users to have more control of the Metro user interface. You will be able to use your mouse's scroll wheel to move the Start Screen's interface from side to side, among other features.

You can also shut down Metro apps via a touch screen without going to Windows 8's Task Manager in the forthcoming beta version. When you want to stop a Metro app from running, simply drag your finger from the top of the screen to the bottom to close the Metro app. The Beta is due out late-February for public release.

Image via TechRadar.com

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Orange Battery said,
Seems logical. I will be mostly using the desktop so not too botherd.

Finally, someone who gets that if you hate Metro so much, either only use the Legacy UI or just use a program to remove the Metro UI...

Either Microsoft can take the honorable route and allow users to disable the Metro interface or supply their own background image if they choose to keep the Metro interface. Otherwise, some third party will create a workaround (read, Registry hack) that will let users disable the Metro interface and customize their tablets. Those people who are serious about productivity will continue to use their laptops and desktops with Windows-7.

TsarNikky said,
Either Microsoft can take the honorable route and allow users to disable the Metro interface or supply their own background image if they choose to keep the Metro interface. Otherwise, some third party will create a workaround (read, Registry hack) that will let users disable the Metro interface and customize their tablets. Those people who are serious about productivity will continue to use their laptops and desktops with Windows-7.

Exactly. They will have hard time competing against Windows 7, in fact i guarantee that Windows 8 will never take any significant Market Share from XP and Windows 7. And if they keep same philosophy with Windows 9 most likely not even with Windows 9.

TsarNikky said,
Either Microsoft can take the honorable route and allow users to disable the Metro interface or supply their own background image if they choose to keep the Metro interface. Otherwise, some third party will create a workaround (read, Registry hack) that will let users disable the Metro interface and customize their tablets. Those people who are serious about productivity will continue to use their laptops and desktops with Windows-7.

You know the Legacy UI's background can still be changed just as much as it did in Windows 7, right? & the Metro UI's background can have the color changed, the picture changed from a select list, or the picture changed with a custom one via a hack...

TsarNikky said,
Those people who are serious about productivity will continue to use their laptops and desktops with Windows-7.

I'm serious about productivity, and I'll be using Windows 8. Don't talk like you're speaking for a whole group. I'm sorry but I just haven't found my workflow irreparably damaged.

This is a failing. Forcing us to look at pictures... someone will hack it, but do we really need to go there. I'm hoping this is just a note that companies can turn off custimization and not that it is just a general concept to force users to look at images they cannot change. At this point it is like a basic right in an OS to allow the user to change any image that is displayed... of course no one cares in windows 7 because it is a very simple background... but when you have actual images of things it will make users uppity if you don't allow custimization.

Well not sure why they don't just let idiots do it, but too many OEMs and people would put goofy cluttered pictures under the tile screen, and make it so horrible to look at it, it would be unusable.

It is like the Video Wallpaper of Vista (that you can still mod back on in Windows 7) - Users were putting up crazy videos, that were beyond distracting and was even making people sick.

Dane said,
If I get windows 8 the first thing to get turned off is tiles.

You do understand it's a whole application platform you're turning off right?

It's like saying, I'm going to buy windows 98 but only use DOS applications.

dotf said,

You do understand it's a whole application platform you're turning off right?

He is not losing anything by turning off Metro cause you wont be any more efficient than him.

It's like saying, I'm going to buy windows 98 but only use DOS applications.

why not keep a static image as a background for the start screen behind the live tiles?

anyway, this will certainly result in a very consistent look across all PC's....but i'm not sure if everyone would like that.

Why would MS not put this in, sure not all images will work, but what if people made images that fit perfectly? It just seems Microsoft is being blankly nieve about the whole think. Just let people put the darn images they want on there!

Jeez, I'm a big fan of Windows but with all MS is talking about and implementing lately it's just seems to be putting me off Windows 8 . Not good Microsoft, not good at all!

djdanster said,
Why would MS not put this in, sure not all images will work, but what if people made images that fit perfectly? It just seems Microsoft is being blankly nieve about the whole think. Just let people put the darn images they want on there!

Jeez, I'm a big fan of Windows but with all MS is talking about and implementing lately it's just seems to be putting me off Windows 8 . Not good Microsoft, not good at all!

Images that fit what? The width of the start screen is entirely variable depending on how many apps you've got installed. At least half (and some would argue the most important middle part where most of the detail is) of any photograph would be covered up all of the time and would never be seen. It would be a pointless waste of money to develop such a feature. If a few users want it, let them develop a hack for it... then find out they can't see the photo they just applied and remove it again.

I completely understand why MS would take this position. That being said, I have a ton of really wide panoramic images I've made from pictures of my travels that would work really great for this. I'm glad this is going to be an easy hack.

Owen W said,

So because of one thing Metro needs to be killed? This is just a developer preview. Things like this have been remedied in the latest Beta, its hard to make a call on it being bad based on such an early version.

Exactly. Remember, Developer Preview is just another name for alpha in this case.

MASTER260 said,

Exactly. Remember, Developer Preview is just another name for alpha in this case.

From what i saw in latest previews it is not any better. As guy said why MS decided to do complete interface switch from Desktop to Metro on start click is beyond me. Those two do not fit together at all cause for most people Desktop is and will be main screen. Windows 8 will be total flop on Business side cause MS did not show a single feature why Business should switch to Windows 8 from Windows 7 they already upgraded to. Secondly, who uses Windows Phone? At my work place with 500 employees there is not a single person using Windows Based Phone nor they plan to. I am not sure what MS will offer as selling point for Windows 8 Based Phones or Tablets.

Don't feed the trolls who've written Win8 Metro off before even trying it guys. Haters gotta hate.

And before you say anything... no, you have NOT tried Win8 Metro yet. You've only tried a very small snippet preview of a shell with no real content or functionality enabled.

TCLN Ryster said,
Don't feed the trolls who've written Win8 Metro off before even trying it guys. Haters gotta hate.

And before you say anything... no, you have NOT tried Win8 Metro yet. You've only tried a very small snippet preview of a shell with no real content or functionality enabled.

I tried it and i did play with overall Windows 8 and for me there is nothing worth spending $$$, therefore i will be staying with Windows 7 until they come up with something else. Funny it will be a first time that i wont upgrade Windows to a newer version. It is not called troll, i am pointing real issue with Metro. It reminds of Zune which is used by almost no one, biggest pile of crap i have seen due its interface. I am sure same experience share million other people who tried it and said no to it. I am more excited about upcoming version of VLC 2.0 media player than Windows 8 as whole. I am afraid that MS in their attempt to chase Mobile, Tablet Market will loose more than gain. Android and iOS are dominant and it will be for quite some time now and i am not saying that they should not try to compete but they have to separate that market from Desktop/Server OS especially in form of user interface.

Edited by techguy77, Jan 26 2012, 11:15pm :

techguy77 said,

I tried it and i did play with overall Windows 8 and for me there is nothing worth spending $$$, therefore i will be staying with Windows 7 until they come up with something else. Funny it will be a first time that i wont upgrade Windows to a newer version.

I rest my case. You have tried nothing but an early preview designed for developers to start developing code on. To write it off months before the software even gets to the beta stage is just idiotic, and closed minded.

techguy77 earlier said,

Those two do not fit together at all cause for most people Desktop is and will be main screen.

This isn't true either. "Most" home users account for your mom and pop family types. Those who just do some web browsing, emailing, instant messaging, photos, maybe even a bit of video uploading, games, etc. Every single one of those scenarios will fit perfectly well inside the Metro interface and will provide a much richer experience to the silo'd experience they currently get on Windows 7. As more and more apps are written to support Metro, people will find less and less of a reason to drop back to the classic desktop, and if all the apps they use support metro, why would they want to?

Edited by Ryster, Jan 26 2012, 11:51pm :

TCLN Ryster said,

I rest my case. You have tried nothing but an early preview designed for developers to start developing code on. To write it off months before the software even gets to the beta stage is just idiotic, and closed minded.


This isn't true either. "Most" home users account for your mom and pop family types. Those who just do some web browsing, emailing, instant messaging, photos, maybe even a bit of video uploading, games, etc. Every single one of those scenarios will fit perfectly well inside the Metro interface and will provide a much richer experience to the silo'd experience they currently get on Windows 7. As more and more apps are written to support Metro, people will find less and less of a reason to drop back to the classic desktop, and if all the apps they use support metro, why would they want to?

Mom and Pops use iPhone 4S or Android for what you just said, or iPad meaning no place for Windows 8 Metro against something which already works for them.
Microsoft said same for Zune and it never took place, they are saying same for Windows Phone guess can't find a single person using it. Metro will never work in Business environment, you can write Metro off there right away. As far as Desktop users go, just having keyboard and mouse purpose of Metro is gone. As I said for people Desktop is and will be main interface and Metro comes as WTF is this.

techguy77 said,
Here is little video not directly related but Metro needs to be killed ASAP. Just one of the things

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...y6OfD5A&feature=related

This guy is a troll, who has no idea what he is doing, in a pre-beta version of the OS. You can pin control panel to the taskbar, or add the classic control panel tile to the start screen, or just start typing "uninstall" when you open the start screen

techguy77 said,

Mom and Pops use iPhone 4S or Android for what you just said, or iPad meaning no place for Windows 8 Metro against something which already works for them.
Microsoft said same for Zune and it never took place, they are saying same for Windows Phone guess can't find a single person using it. Metro will never work in Business environment, you can write Metro off there right away. As far as Desktop users go, just having keyboard and mouse purpose of Metro is gone. As I said for people Desktop is and will be main interface and Metro comes as WTF is this.

Each to his own. But I think you're dead wrong and only time will tell. And yes, the guy in that video is an idiot. As the previous poster said, that function is easily accomplished even in the early developer preview.

jakem1 said,

I found the inane blathering of the guy in the video much more annoying than the Start screen. Why do I care what a dinosaur running XP thinks?

Absolutely. This * ∞

techguy77 said,
Windows 8 will be total flop on Business side cause MS did not show a single feature why Business should switch to Windows 8 from Windows 7 they already upgraded to.

How about the share and search charms?
Once Line of business developers re-write their web applications to Metro apps, we will be able to search and share LoB constructs between applications without expensive server side integrations.

techguy77 said,
Metro will never work in Business environment, you can write Metro off there right away.

My (very) new business has already made over $2000 designing apps based on Metro. Our website is in Metro. It's all about removing superfluous complexity and flashiness, and just presenting what is important to the user: content.

Our business is about to launch our products nationwide, so we hope to prove your statement wrong.

AstareGod said,

My (very) new business has already made over $2000 designing apps based on Metro. Our website is in Metro. It's all about removing superfluous complexity and flashiness, and just presenting what is important to the user: content.

Our business is about to launch our products nationwide, so we hope to prove your statement wrong.

Maybe your Business but most do not, simply doesn't bring any value. IT Industry is more complex than what you think and it is not only web apps. Time will prove i am right but in mean time take in consideration that Windows 7 just barely took market share over Windows XP, think about it! Business who just hardly moved from XP to Windows 7 wont go to Windows 8 period. That applies to handful number of Home Users. Bringing Metro interface to Desktop wont really attract moms and pops cause they already check email, play games, do facebok on their Android and iPhones.

techguy77 said,

Maybe your Business but most do not, simply doesn't bring any value. IT Industry is more complex than what you think and it is not only web apps. Time will prove i am right but in mean time take in consideration that Windows 7 just barely took market share over Windows XP, think about it! Business who just hardly moved from XP to Windows 7 wont go to Windows 8 period. That applies to handful number of Home Users. Bringing Metro interface to Desktop wont really attract moms and pops cause they already check email, play games, do facebok on their Android and iPhones.


win7 didnt get so much market share from XP because china still thinks XP is the latest and greatest.
Here in holland however, its getting quite rare i see winXP, just the ocasional household still has it, but almost everyone is on Vista or older.

and dont get the BS against metro in a dev preview, iirc MS already confirmed that you can just use the 'legacy' Win7-like desktop without the metro start screen.

Ayepecks said,
Not an issue at all. You can hardly see the start screen background.

Indeed. Anyone planning on actually using the start screen (ie. not those who insist on staying with the classic desktop, in which case why are you even complaining about this??) will not care one bit about this. Because those people will have many tiles on there, meaning the wallpaper wouldn't be visible anyway. It would also look awful when zooming in and out, and when sliding to the left and right. I don't see the issue here.

Why are they so insistent on using the scroll wheel to control the Metro UI? I'd really rather prefer the mouse-as-a-finger method of controlling things. I've seen this done in Android x86 and it works really well, feels natural.

They need to add this in

The Teej said,
Why are they so insistent on using the scroll wheel to control the Metro UI? I'd really rather prefer the mouse-as-a-finger method of controlling things. I've seen this done in Android x86 and it works really well, feels natural.

They need to add this in


Um, take it from someone who's been using Windows 8 on a tablet, you can move the Metro UI with your finger...

MASTER260 said,

Um, take it from someone who's been using Windows 8 on a tablet, you can move the Metro UI with your finger...

You misunderstand. Teej was saying he wants the mouse to act like a finger so you can drag the start screen around with the mouse pointer, rather than having to use the wheel.

TCLN Ryster said,

You misunderstand. Teej was saying he wants the mouse to act like a finger so you can drag the start screen around with the mouse pointer, rather than having to use the wheel.

This is how it works in the Windows Phone emulator

TCLN Ryster said,

You misunderstand. Teej was saying he wants the mouse to act like a finger so you can drag the start screen around with the mouse pointer, rather than having to use the wheel.

I don't think that would work well - even now I hate using apps and websites (like maps) that involve a lot of click-and-drag panning with the mouse. For one thing, you wouldn't be able to scroll while the mouse pointer happened to be over a tile (because it couldn't distinguish between panning the whole screen or dragging the tile).

contextfree said,

I don't think that would work well - even now I hate using apps and websites (like maps) that involve a lot of click-and-drag panning with the mouse. For one thing, you wouldn't be able to scroll while the mouse pointer happened to be over a tile (because it couldn't distinguish between panning the whole screen or dragging the tile).

Surely then the same can be said for dragging with a finger? End of the day, it's the exact same scenario, one point dragging.

It's really nice on Android x86, so I see no reason why this wouldn't work.

The Teej said,
Why are they so insistent on using the scroll wheel to control the Metro UI? I'd really rather prefer the mouse-as-a-finger method of controlling things. I've seen this done in Android x86 and it works really well, feels natural.

They need to add this in

My Kensington Expert Mouse (huge trackball mouse) does not have a scroll wheel on it! oh noooooo

brent3000 said,
Its just for the Metro section? Surely the ability to change the colours will keep people happy

Just for the Metro section. Otherwise, how would the Legacy UI on my x86 tablet be able to show a picture of Steve Jobs taping 4 iPhones together, creating the iPad? xD

techguy77 said,
Is anything else new with Windows 8 or is it all about Metro?

It's not just Metro. Ribbon in Windows Explorer, new Task Manager, supporting drives greater than 2TB, THE ABILITY TO F***'IN PAUSE THE COPY OF FILES, etc...

techguy77 said,
Is anything else new with Windows 8 or is it all about Metro?

you seam to post this a lot... we get it you dont like metro. and also if you did a quick google or look on this very site you will find about lots of changes with other parts of Windows.

In the end Microsoft will just give us an interface with four checkboxes and we will be happy to have that.

The way the background patterns work with the Metro Start Screen, is that it splits the image vertically into a top and bottom arrangement, and then they scroll at a different speeds horizontally to give a panorama like parallax effect.

With all that distortion and complexity, adding an image would not be feasible. Not to mention support for these images to work in both Landscape and Portrait!

I think the tiles will allow to make some custom grid-like backgrounds as people did with the way Facebook handle profile pictures ... just W8 for it!

and this is different from now how?... we can't put a picture on the start menu, we cant put a picture on media center's background, we have a default loaing screen during boot and login that isn't easily changed by a control panel (yes you can alter it but im talking built into windows)

neufuse said,
and this is different from now how?... we can't put a picture on the start menu, we cant put a picture on media center's background, we have a default loaing screen during boot and login that isn't easily changed by a control panel (yes you can alter it but im talking built into windows)

I think they're trying to say that while in future builds we will be able to change the color/choose a background from a select list, we will NEVER be able to do this.

It's just the background behind the tile, just on WP. You'll be able to pick a color accent, but not a photo.
It's not a problem at all and TBH not a surprise.

I understand their thought process on this because the embedded images used are pretty large compared to say a photograph. That being said, steps are already being taken to insure that anyone who choses will be able to add any image they choose as a background, with or without Microsofts support.

It likely will be able to be done via third-party applications - as is the case with the WDP today. The only quibble is that the picture chosen be of the same resolution as the StartScreen - which defaults to the same as the user's desktop. Right now, my background, is - oddly enough - one of the default wallpapers from Windows 7.

MASTER260 said,

They already have: http://www.betaarchive.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=22214
However, (& this is probably another reason Microsoft opted to not allow you to change the background,) this leaves an awkward green bar in the middle of the Metro UI. You cannot remove this green bar, however you can use hex editing to change its color. Stuff regarding that can be found here: http://metrothemes.deviantart.com/

Then it won't be long until someone releases a tool that will change it for us.

meh, like it says, you can't see it anyway and even if you can see a tiny bit it's gonna have to be a massive pic to scale nicely with increased tiles. Not to mention it wont be that hard to mod a custom picture in if you really want.