When you first start using Windows 8.1, you are given the option to choose colors during the initial setup. As soon as a user’s account boots up for the first time, their start screen will be themed in these colors. Of course, you can change them, in fact, you may not want the Start screen to look like this.


  1. What is it and why is it important?
  2. Create a home screen to suit your needs
  3. Personalizing your home screen
  4. Using Windows Store and Windows Store apps
  5. Working with PC settings
  6. Working with accounts and exploring sync settings
  7. Search, applications and search for some others
  8. Other settings
  9. Using the WIN + X menu for basic administration
  10. Rest of Windows 8.1

You can’t get rid of the home screen (although you can bypass it, as we mentioned in the previous tutorial), but you can customize it in almost unlimited ways, especially if you make your background transparent so you can see the desktop wallpaper underneath. There are reports that the Start screen will give way to a reimagined Start Menu, but you’ll have to learn to live with it in its current form for now, and that’s exactly what this tutorial intends to do.

Today, we’ll be sharing how Microsoft allows you to personalize and customize your Start screen to match your changes. We’ll also look at backgrounds, which come in two flavors: traditional static designs and animated backgrounds that move as you scroll. The home screen has some interesting ways to make it come alive, and remember, there’s the aforementioned transparent background option.

Then we’ll move on to tiles. While we covered tiles to some extent in the last section, we want to go into more detail and explain how you can better control their appearance and behavior so you don’t have to worry about it. There’s actually a lot going on with the starter tiles, but we’ll go through each aspect of them step by step to get you up to speed quickly.

Finally, we’ll cover how to personalize the Start screen in PC Settings, which actually packs a lot of customization options in a small space.

Don’t think of it as a new subject going into new territory, rather just a continuation of the last tutorial with more emphasis on turning the start screen into something you’ll eventually be able to use and hopefully live with.

Animated backgrounds and color splash

We’ll start by talking about all the backgrounds and colors you can apply. Backgrounds can be applied in two styles, there are static backgrounds and animated backgrounds that move as you scroll. The ability to change the look and feel of the start screen, including its colors, means you have practically unlimited combinations!

To get started, open the Settings panel (WIN + I) from the charms on the Start screen. If you are new to enchanting, we suggest you check out yesterday’s tutorial.

With settings open (make sure you’re on the home screen), you’ll see the following options.


First, we will turn our attention to «Personalization». The Personalization panel has three sections which should be pretty easy to understand. In the screenshot below we can see these backgrounds, some of which are static and some of which are animated. Below the background are colors and accents.


The following background gives you an idea. This background is animated (although we can’t show you how), so it moves horizontally, giving the impression of something that looks like a dragon’s tail. Try it yourself, there are several other animated backgrounds to choose from. Please note that you need to make sure you have enough sheets stretched horizontally on the home screen to perform these scroll effects.


There are quite a few other options and you can easily change them and see what you like best. Also note that the second choice of background is a solid color.


So if you just want to assign one color to your background, there is an option for that!


For many new Windows 8.1 users, switching between the desktop and Start screen can be a bit disorienting.

I will see your background and raise your wallpaper

Luckily, when Microsoft released Windows 8.1, they also made it possible to minimize this disorientation by allowing you to set your current desktop wallpaper. This gives your start screen a transparent look.


So, as you can see in the following side-by-side comparison, what the effect looks like. This allows users to better anchor the desktop to the Start screen, making the transition between them less abrupt.


We have to admit that this was a good move by Microsoft and we actually use this option most of the time on our systems.

Color your world

Don’t forget now that you can also fiddle around and change the colors and accents of your start screen, giving you almost unlimited ways to spruce things up and really express yourself. Here in the following screenshot, we are setting the home screen background to full contrast to give you a clear idea of ​​the difference between colors and accents.


Note that the background is rather greyish and the animated scales are bright orange/red. This hopefully gives you an accurate idea of ​​what to expect from these settings. We encourage you to play around and see what you can come up with. We think that you are unlikely to have enough combinations!

Suitable for tiles

Let’s get back to tiles, which we briefly mentioned in Lesson 2. There’s a lot you can do with tiles, and it’s important to know what they do, how to tweak them, or just soften things up a bit. Let’s first touch on how to manipulate them using the right-click menu.

If you want to select a tile on the home screen, you can keep your finger on the tile until a check mark appears and the options bar appears at the bottom. To select more than one, simply click on each tile you want and they will all be ticked.


Using the mouse and keyboard, right-click each tile. To select more than one tile, hold down the CTRL key and click on the one you want.


The context menu options apply to all selected tiles, although whether all tiles can be affected in the same way depends on the individual capabilities of each tile. For example, you can disable the «live tile», but in the screenshot above, «Desktop» is not a live tile, so it won’t be affected.

It should be noted that the tiles can be resized to one of four possible sizes: small, medium, wide and large. In the following screenshot, we see all four sizes. Again, if you select multiple tiles when resizing, each tile will default to the largest size. So if a tile can only resize to medium, but you choose a large size for the group, this slice will obviously only expand to medium, while others that can resize to large will.


Finally, to move your tiles, you can simply click or tap, hold, and drag them. You can also expand your screen to a wide bird’s eye view from which you can drag entire groups of apps from one place to another.

To activate this view, pinch two fingers, touch and hold them, and then spread them apart or tap the small minus sign (-) in the lower right corner of the home screen.


Move groups of apps around as you please, and then when you’re done, simply click on any empty section of the Start screen, or hold and pinch your fingers together, and it will return to normal.

As you can see, you can also name specific app groups like «Productivity» or «Entertainment» or anything else you can think of. To do this, right-click anywhere on the Start screen outside of the sheet group.


Or, using your touchscreen prowess, swipe up from the bottom edge and select Customize.


You can then rename your groups to something more appropriate if you have, say, all your productivity apps bundled together or a bunch of games on your start screen.


These customization options give you almost unlimited possibilities in terms of how your tiles look, where they are placed, and, as we’ll see in the next section, whether they will flash and display information.

Disabling Live Tiles

Live Tiles can be great for certain things, like quickly showing weather, headlines, or sports scores, but they can also be distracting, even annoying, if too many Live Tiles appear at once.


Luckily, live tiles are easy to turn off, and the best thing you can do is to do this on a case by case basis, which means that if you really like how one tile communicates information, you can leave it on and turn the others off. To disable a live tile, select one and then select «disable live tile».


As you can see in the screenshot above, the tiles then revert to the static image, making them much less bright and distracting.

Tile Options

There are other options that you can use to change the changes on your Start screen tiles. Open the settings panel again and this time select «tiles». You will then see three options.


Let’s focus on the bottom option «clear personal information from my tiles» first. When you click «clear», any information displayed in real time, such as email, friend notifications, or other potential personal information, will be deleted. from live tiles and you will only have static tiles for a while.


This does not prevent Live Tiles from being repopulated with information after they have been updated. If you want to completely prevent them from showing personal information, we recommend turning them off as described in the previous section.

See more (and fewer) apps

The other two tile options are specific to the Applications view. The former allows you to see more apps in a smaller area. You see the default view below.


Here in the following screenshot you can see what enabling the option does.


Compared to the previous apps view, there are clearly more apps and you can also see that «administrative tools» are also shown, with this note having to be activated from the tile options shown above.

Pinning and unpinning apps on the home screen

What you install on your system won’t show up on the home screen, because if it did, you’d quickly find yourself overwhelmed with tiles. Instead, Windows 8.1 lets you be specific and decide for yourself what happens on the Start screen. Plus, in Windows 8.1 Update 1, you can now also pin apps to the taskbar!

To pin an app or apps, open the Apps view and select the items you want to pin.


Remember that if you want to select multiple items, you first need to press and hold your finger (on the touch screen) and then tap on each tile you want to select, or right-click and then hold the CTRL key to then click and select other tiles. ,


Similarly, if you had chosen to pin items to the taskbar, they would now appear there.


You can also pin items to the taskbar from the Start screen without returning to the Applications view.


From there, if you want to unpin something afterwards, you just follow the process.


You can also «unpin from taskbar» from the taskbar.

Customize your lock screen and profile picture

There are just a few other things we need to note before moving on to tomorrow’s lesson. We want to talk very briefly about the lock screen and your profile, and this is a good time to get to grips with «PC settings» (which we’ll talk about in Lesson 5).

Again, activate the «Settings» keychain (WIN + I) and look at the bottom of the «Change PC Settings» panel.


After that, you go to PC settings where you can manage your device in various ways. For our purposes, we want to select «PC and Devices» and then «Lock Screen». Changing the lock screen image is very easy.

Microsoft gives you a number of built-in options (what you see in the screenshot won’t match your device) or you can choose a specific image and use it as your lock screen. You can also have a slide show on your lock screen.


With slideshow enabled, we can see that you can use images from the Pictures folder on your device, OneDrive, or specify a location. Below are a number of other options to further customize your lock screen slideshow.


The lock screen also allows apps to display information such as the weather, unread emails, alarms, and other useful things.


Finally, Windows 8.1 allows you to use your device’s camera without unlocking it first. You just swipe down on the lock screen (swipe up to unlock) and the camera will activate so you can take pictures so you don’t miss a single shot in a lifetime because you are busy unlocking your device!

Please note that you can have and change your account. The easiest way to do this is to simply click on your account picture on the home screen and select «change account picture».


This will open the PC settings for «Accounts -> Your account» where you can choose from an image in a specific location, or create a new one with your device’s camera.


If your user account is a Microsoft account, then your new profile picture and lock screen settings will appear on your other devices, unless you turn off sync, which we’ll cover in the next lesson.


This concludes today’s lesson. We hope you now feel more confident using the Start screen and personalizing it to better suit your mood and personal tastes. Your homework is to do this, turn your start screens into your own. We look forward to what you come up with!

In tomorrow’s lesson, we’ll be covering the Windows Store and Windows Store apps in detail. While the Windows Store may not be part of your daily computer experience, you need to be aware of it in order to better manage the contents of the Start screen, so we’ll deal with it before diving headlong into PC settings.

Похожие записи