Windows 8 pre-beta includes option to change Start Screen background image

By Tom Warren, on 12th Nov 11 10:16 am with 38 Comments

Further screenshots of a pre-beta build of Windows 8 leaked on Saturday.

The screenshots appear to show the customization features of what will become Windows 8 beta. Users will be able to activate a color slider, allowing them to pick a custom background color for the Start Screen. The Windows 8 Developer Preview does not allow this and it’s a highly requested feature for Windows 8. The colour slider is a simple and quick picker that appears to provide a number of darker colors for the Start Screen.

Windows 8 users will also be able to modify the background image of the Windows 8 Start Screen. Microsoft appears to be building in sample sets of images to use as a companion to the color options. It’s not yet clear whether these images will include the ability for a user to pick their own image. Winunleaked, who published the screenshots, notes that the Start Screen personlization is a feature under construction so aspects could change at beta. Images of the Windows 8 Start Screen color customization leaked earlier this month.

Microsoft is expected to deliver a beta copy of Windows 8 at CES 2012 with a Release Candidate at the unannounced MIX 2012 conference. The big OEMs, including HP, Dell and ASUS are all reportedly preparing Windows 8 tablets for Q3 2012. Microsoft is expected to unveil the final version of Windows 8 during the Summer months of 2012 in preparation for a holiday push of new tablets and form factors.

Latest Windows 8 news:

Windows 8 background image selection

Image Credit: winunleaked

  • Anonymous

    Nice. This is much appreciated (and expected.)

    • Joe

      What’s expected of a full version of Windows is to be able to use any picture you like as your wallpaper, not just a pre-determined Microsoft picutre with several color shades….

    • Candid Calum

      This isn’t a wallpaper. The wallpaper is the desktop background (Microsoft changed the name from ‘wallpaper’ to ‘desktop background’ in later versions of Windows). One does expect to be able to change the wallpaper/desktop background in a full version of Windows, and the developer preview indicates that we still can. Microsoft haven’t previously provided a Start Screen in Windows, so no one can reasonably state that the ability to add our own pictures to the background of the Start Screen is “expected.” You’re incorrectly calling the Start Screen background ‘wallpaper’.

    • Brandon

      who cares what he called. we know what his referent is, and that’s all that matters.

    • Robo Tone

      Microsoft have provided a start screen that can be customised, just set oembackground=1 in the registry

    • Guest

      Presently, there is no option to customise the existing start screen in Windows 7 apart from changing it’s colour of the aero glass.

  • adam

    i would rather have the background for the start menu to be the same as the one on my desktop, just blur it and it would look good

    • Anonymous

      This would be a good idea, it will also keep more consistency through the UI so it’s not such a jolt when it flips from the desktop to the start screen

    • adam


    • guest

      so email the building windows 8 blog with ideas…thats what its there for

    • Rocco Sifredi

      Nah, they wanna complain instead of do something.

    • Kyle Walker

      If they do not include this you could just make a blurred version of the background you are using and use that as the start menu background. Wouldn’t be as nice if it was included but an easy work around.

    • Penta2100

      Just like how OSX lion does when you open the apps or something different?

    • Edwin


    • Sebastian Gorgon

      As a graphic designer i have to say its a brilliant idea, would look stunning. 

    • the-hq

      I guess one can even say that without being a graphic designer :P

    • Sebastian Gorgon

      Yeah… i changed that but i didn’t bother doing it on my G+ lol because i don’t use it much.

    • Manu Narayan

      I’ve felt the same way from the minute I was using the developer preview.  People talk about the ‘jarring’ nature of the start screen.  I think if they kept the same background image between both, but the start put a translucent color overlay on it, it wouldn’t feel like stepping out of one world and into another. 

    • Anonymous


      find a bg picture you like
      copy it
      put some gaussian blur on the copy
      use the copy as your start screen bg

    • Manu Narayan

      The power user workaround is easy, but Microsoft should unify the experience out of the box.  Their execs continue to insist that the Start screen isn’t a layer over windows; but they are doing everything they can to make it feel like a unique sandboxed experience.  But out of the box incorporating some visual elements from the desktop and the Start screen I think you’ll feel a lot of those complaints go away.

    • Anonymous

      God I hope someone at Microsoft sees this. It steps away from metro a little bit but it just makes sense on so many levels.

    • elmsoftware

      I support that idea as well.  I have the developer preview on my Eee Slate and the start screen and desktop feel like two worlds…I am getting used to it but would like for it to appear in harmony with one another.  If the image/color scheme was shared between the two views that would be a step in that direction.  One thing that I think will happen if it continues to feel jarring, is that everyone will put shortcuts on their desktop so that they do not need to click on Start…which isn’t a good solution because you are making people avoid the Start screen which has had some much energy put into its redesign…the Windows guys will get it.

  • Gui’S

    I hope that the images of the libraries can be used :)

    • Gabriel

      If library images are used, instead of simple different colors, l think it will be too much of a shock due to the live tiles changing when new information comes in. This is just my opinion.

    • Anonymous

      they should put people first and let them do whatever they want.

  • Gui_84

    Edit : I hope that the images of the libraries can be used :)

    • Nguyen Ngoc Hung

      Of course buddy. There will be a “browse” button. Because in Win8, app can talk with each other ;)

  • Nguyen Ngoc Hung

    I hope they will bring some picture’s most used affect to customize the background image just like in powerpoint’s background. It would be perfect! 

  • Emi Cyberschreiber

    I love how my start menu looks like, first my resolution 1366×768 and now 1440×900 and it looks still good with my custom image.
    so i hope i dont have to hack some dll to do that since it would be easier. and i love my Guild Wars 2 background image and since i used a 1920×600 image, i can scroll and scroll and it feels amazing! obviously better than the default green pic.

  • AlienSix

    I would like a color slider in Windows Phone, maybe in windows phone 8

  • Guest

    Is anyone really getting wound up about this? Chill out, folks. If MS doesn’t provide full customize ability, 3rd parties will within days of launch. They ALWAYS do. Sweat the big details, not the minor ones.

    • Dogsolitude_uk

      Yeah, like Bethesda leaving it to the Mod community to debug and sort out the UI in Skyrim… Getting  a mite fed up with companies leaving it to the public, hackers and third parties to finish their products for them!

  • Robin Ashe

    Q3 2012, I can wait that long for a Windows 8 Transformer Prime. I was speculating about the possibility of installing Windows 8 on the TP that’s coming out, but since it has 1280×800 resolution instead of 1366×768, I’ll wait. I think Android will handle that 1366×768 better than Windows 8 would handle 1280×800

  • Blackseed32

    They NEED to let us choose our custom wallpaper/desktop background because, at least for me, i get bored with THE SAME wallpaper if i open Start every day. Even the color “slider” sucks, only 10 colors. And blurry image, I dont know if it can be a good ideea but i would still choose to put a custom wallpaper!! who is with me?

  • Owais_503

    is microsoft going to have a slide show kind of bachground (like i n windows 7)

  • warex3D

    What about an app with you can download automatically a photo from Bing, i always change mi windows phone background with one of this amazing photos. (sorry for my english)

    • Nguyen Ngoc Hung

      Yes. I just discovered yesterday that we cant save Bing photos to Windows Phone :(. But we have an app for that: Insider :D

  • Gautam Savaliya

    Check out Windows 8 support open source apps