Windows 8 pre-beta Start Screen color customization screenshots leak

By Tom Warren, on 5th Nov 11 11:39 am with 77 Comments

The first screenshots of a pre-beta build of Windows 8 leaked this week.

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 (see below) is a simple and quick picker that appears to provide a number of darker colors for the Start Screen. Winunleaked, who published the screenshots, notes that the Start Screen personlization will let users change the color scheme but not the background picture.

Personal colors for the Start Screen in Windows 8

A similar picture shows off the summary view that allows users to search for applications. In the screenshot (see below) a purple color is enabled on the Start Screen of Windows 8. The summary view allows Windows 8 users to group applications and live tiles into groups. Microsoft demonstrated the feature at its BUILD developer conference in September but the Semantic View and Semantic Zoom features were not made available in the Windows 8 developer preview.

Windows 8 Semantic View Start Screen

Microsoft recently detailed its Windows 8 Live Notifications service. The service will power the Live Tiles in Windows 8′s Start Screen and works off the foundations of the company’s Windows Live Messenger service. Windows 8′s notifications and live tiles form the replacement of the typical gadgets built into Windows Vista and Windows 7. Microsoft has been working hard to ensure that it can allow hundreds of live tiles and not impact of system performance. The tiles reach beyond badges and text and provide real time information and images. Microsoft has built its Windows Push Notification Service (WNS) on top of the Windows Live Messenger service architecture.

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:

  • Roby Ascii

    A blurry (or with other effect) background picture is necessary.

    • phil

      I want the bing daily homepage image and sometimes video as my background!

    • http://twitter.com/starksimon Stark

      That would be pretty awesome. Also, I want that light grey background from the new X360 dashboard update.

    • Joe

      With the live tiles taking up 3/4 of the screen, it’s understandable why they don’t allow for background pictures, they wouldn’t look very good as you wouldn’t be able to see most of your wallpaper. Reguardless, it is a fairly big fail that a TON of people will notice, wether it makes sence or not.

    • phil

      You are right, id actually rather like it for my phone lockscreen..

    • http://adamhaider.com Adam Haider

      Not true, there have always been workarounds for issues like this which involves tinting the background and lowering the tile opacity to reduce the effects of visual clashing of elements. See here http://tumblr.com/ZHdjYy9JyF6R Microsoft should pay more attention to details like this because consumers will!

    • Guest

      there are already 3rd party hacks to change thr the start screen background. So even if MS doesn’t formally provide for that in the final product, which is unlikely, there’ll be penty of add-ons to do it within weeks of launch.

    • Monkey D Black

      YES yes yes. looking for this.

    • Anonymous

      Bing Daily Images would be better to suited to the Lock-Screen Wall Paper on both Windows 8 & Windows Phone. Something fresh n new every day.

    • Guest

      Yeah, like the EUC wouldn’t object to that.

  • http://twitter.com/laserfloyd Lewis McCrary

    Cool.  It should be expected that a wide array of customizable features will be added as far as appearance goes.  Looks like it has begun!

  • http://twitter.com/starksimon Stark

    That purple!!! Nooooo! My eyes are melting arrghh!!! …

    • Grannyville7989

      Stark, what’s wrong? Stark?! STARK!

    • http://twitter.com/starksimon Stark

      ……

    • Herp a derpp

      We’ve lost him, guys. 

    • http://twitter.com/vlastimilcerny Vlastimil Cerny

      Stark? Philip Stark? Then I understand, why your eyes are melting… :)))

    • http://twitter.com/starksimon Stark

      LOL, you mean Philippe Starck? :D Of course not. And you don’t need to be a designer (even though I am) to see that this is disgustingly horrible :)

  • Josh T.

    Hopefully they’ll let us change the pattern, too.

  • http://twitter.com/mcakins McAkins Online

    Don’t care about the background picture, that should be hackable as soon as beta goes live. I am yearning right now for the Grouping and the semantic View. And most of all, I want my Mediacenter back, MS please release MCE with beta. Pretty pls!

    • Seth_p

      I was told at //build that media centre will be in Beta. Knowing MS release cycle for Win8; 1 DP, 1 Beta, 1 RTM that should fit right in

    • http://twitter.com/vlastimilcerny Vlastimil Cerny

      Sounds good. Can’t wait… ;) I use MCE since Windows Vista and it’s great…

  • Joyette Scantlebury

    I would actually like for the Bing daily homepage images to be options for the lockscreen. I would like that when you like an image, it is automatically added as an option for the lockscreen. It doesn’t need to be saved on your hard drive but in skydrive and you can select it from there.

    • Anonymous

      Excellent idea!

    • Acftootsie12

      I agree. I have that set as my homepage when I open the browser because I love images as well as the little trivia facts that they give you. It’s just a fun way to start browsing in my opinion.

    • Joyette Scantlebury

      The first thing that occurred to me when I saw the like button on the bing homepage and i saw what Windows 8 was. I thought that they could either make the lockscreen pictures from your liked bing images or a super customized theme for the desktop. Since they are using your live account to sign into Windows 8 and you liked it while signed in, they already know which ones you like.

      Microsoft needs to start tying everything together. You know, it kinda makes sense now that they made messenger, hotmail and all the live services use the same name.

    • http://www.jeffkibuule.com Jeff Kibuule

      Or an RSS feed for your lock screen images.

    • randy williams

      That would be a great notification system if they do that. Like showing information about your OS only instead of being hidden you would see numbers appearing and disapearing or just floating..

    • Joyette Scantlebury

      I agree. Wouldn’t be great if you could just check your lockscreen to see how far your download has to go?

    • Anonymous

      That would actually be brilliant, something like windows 7′s taskbar progressbars and icon overlays?

  • http://skotgat.com Rahul Banker

    just one word : looks awesome :D though it still cant be compared to mac but it still looks good :)

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KTAHVKS2RNDWTQPHQEJALLRNEQ Adam Paris

      LOL, osx is nothing special. 

    • Anonymous

      OSX is beautiful, fluid and functional.

    • Tuxplorer

      OS X is crappy, shitty, stinky and fugly as hell. Metro UI is gorgeous, beautiful and elegant.

    • Anonymous

      Why do you lash like that? I bet you never even used OSX. I love the consistency of the interface, the little video helpers in Settings for things like gestures. How Spotlight is always in the right-hand corner and “just works”. Too bad search in Windows 8 was not made with KISS principle.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Broc-Gundersen/1534962840 Broc Gundersen

      OSX is a static desktop. It’s fine. But people seem to be really responding to the live tiles idea. When I tap my start button and launch into metro, people really like it, and I get unsolicited comments about it. I think Microsoft is on to something, and it looks really good too. I wouldn’t be surprised to see android and Apple start picking up some of these design elements.

    • Tuxplorer

      Windows 7′s search is MILES ahead of spotlight. I have indexed my ENTIRE hard drive, and within miliseconds of typing anything about the file, I can launch it from the Start Menu search box. The same goes for apps and settings. Windows 8′s search is even better.

      And OS X’s crappy depressing theme is totally unbearable.

    • Anonymous

      Broc Gundersen – the key is how those live tiles are updated. If it’s strictly via PUSH then it will not drain battery on tablet.

    • Anonymous

      yup. in 2001 when it came out it was.

    • Edwinenrike4

      the only customation there is, is the wallpaper for the desktop’s  background.  the end

    • Anonymous

      Guess what – who cares about desktop customization anyways? Once you go full-screen it’s all about the app.

    • Guest

      incorrect. you can also play around with animations, the dock size, placement and behavior, etc.

      OS X has come a long way and there’s plenty to like there. I still default to Windows, but I can certainly understand the appeal for others, particular those tired of dealing with malware and not smart enough to be able to avoid in on Windows. iLife is also a very appealing bundle and there’s really no MS equivalent. Live has a couple better products (e.g. Writer) but overall isn’t as complete or functional. And while you can assemble your own iLife equivalent with better components if you mix and match, they’re not integrated and lack a consistent UI.

    • Guest

      Trust a mac user to say “one” when he means “two”. I bet you think you only need “one” button on your mouse too :D

    • Emi Cyberschreiber

      it can be compared to mac because mac is useless next to windows?…

      because thats what happens even when you want to play videogames, or simple stuff i use for my work, like 3dsmax which is windows only. or sony vegas.. and too many software to be named.
      the UI is practically gray gray gray = boring one reason why my friend hated it, and she had a mac for years and years, yeh she had because she just got a windows laptop.

      but it depends on people what they want to use it and how they will use it.
      but saying “it cant be compared” only because you like osx more… its stupid, since windows have more advantages

    • Anonymous

      you’re right. macOX is useless with a touch UI.

  • Monkey D Black

    and whats this pre-beta build number?

    • Andy Warhol

      804X

    • Monkey D Black

      that’s strange because the dev preview build is 8102. and i’m using the dev preview

  • Frylockns86

    It would be better if we could change the pattern/picture as well. I really like some of the 3rd party patterns we’ve seen since the DP was released.

  • Anonymous

    its hard to see anything with the large text in the middle of third

  • Anonymous

    The colors seem a bit too dull…arent they ?

    But the new look, is ROCKING…need I say more..

  • http://www.jeffkibuule.com Jeff Kibuule

    Windows 8 + HTPC + Media Center = heaven.

    • http://twitter.com/ParkerReno Parker Ciambrone

      Add a giant touchscreen tv to that list.

  • Anonymous

    The whole background clashing with tiles points to the fail that is Metro Start screen. Everything is perfectly fine on Windows 7, why change things in some insane mad attempt to copy Apple?

    • Edwinenrike4

      Lolno, Windows 8 is NOT even trying to look like iOS

    • Guest

      Copying Apple? Do you even make sense to yourself?

    • Anonymous

      What on earth are you talking about? Nevermind…just…just give up.

    • Anonymous

      I think you are referring to tablets. Apple didn’t create the tablet. Consumers obviously want tablets for information consumption. Windows previous attempt at tablets didn’t work because the touch interface wasn’t ready. Windows needed to do this and so far it is looking really good.  Many of the complainers haven’t given w8 a chance. They think it’s different therefore it has to be bad. When the final build comes out and gets a proper review then we will know whether MS succeeded or failed.

    • randy williams

      How are they copying apple when THEIR IS STILL A DESKTOP. This is the STARTSCREEN, not the DESKTOP. Anyways Apple copied Microsoft when they introduced the iOS option in OS X Lion weeks after the Windows 8 preview just like they did with a lot of other things.. lol

    • Randomnoise

      See my alias? That’s what you are.

  • blackseed32

    this is the first time i like windows. Really , windows 7 sucks compared to the OS X Lion, and this is not because i like Apple but because this is the truth. and dont come and tell that os x is shit , 90-99% of people that say this havent even work/discovered Mac or they are gamers

    • randy williams

      Wrong I have worked on a Mac and it is just uuugh after 10 minutes. I prefer my Windows 7 PC so much better as it can have different looks and not look like the interface came off the Space Ship Enterprise (the boring version)..

    • Guest

      FO troll.

  • Soulja3

    I had a Windows 8 commercial in my dream tonight :$
    Person : I need the worlds best tablet
    iFan: The iPad!
    fanDroid: Get an android tablet!
    Person : Uhh.. but can they run Crysis? “pulls out win8 tablet” Because this one can!
    iFan and Fandroid: :O

    • Anonymous

      most likely won’t. Tablets won’t be on x86 processors, just the mobile ARM processors (unless you go business class). So it won’t play crysis, or do anything much different from other tablets. Although, it’ll be far closer to tablet computing since you will actually be able to do some content creation on a windows 8 tablet rather than just content consumption.

    • Anonymous

      SOME will run on arm.  others will run on x86.  It just becomes a choice of which features are more important, processing power or battery life.

  • http://twitter.com/harlemS Travis Pope

     I love Metro just as much as the next guy but Metro shouldn’t be impeding on a consumer’s need to make their device personal. I shouldn’t have to install a third party tool to customize the background on my pc/tablet/. Fix this MS.

    • Anonymous

      It’s pre-beta software, meaning not feature complete. Historically Microsoft has pretty much always implemented the final UI and customization in beta 1 or 2.

  • Anonymous

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  • Anonymous

    The more you learn about Windows 8, the more exciting it gets. I am happy with the Win 8 preview – it works great as the main OS, no crashes and only occasional issues. Even in the beta-form, Windows 8 will have no equals on the market.

    Hail the awaken Microsoft. It is cool to be PC again.

  • Anonymous

    What’s with the stock background pattern? I thought Metro was beyond swooshes and gradients, and yet here it is. Give us a solid color, or the ability to provide our own pictures. Providing us a crappy gradient pattern thing as the only option is just, well, crappy.

  • Anonymous

    I do like where they are going with this, although I would like a custom background, there may be tradeoffs like not being able to read the text which could be solved by giving text a drop shadow or glow (but that may detract from the overall style), or darkening/fading/blurring the background?

    I’d also like to see metro apps able to be windowed (like mac os x lion’s approach) which would open up the metro style more to content creation apps like office or Photoshop. I don’t like the way the new framework is only for fullscreen apps because even with the snap feature multitasking can’t work as well as it does on the desktop.

    • Anonymous

      If you want windowed apps, just switch to Desktop mode. Geez, what’s up with you people?

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, but we can’t develop windowed apps with WinRT, we’re still stuck with stuff like win32 (although I do like WPF but that doesn’t have the speed of WinRT)

    • Anonymous

      Well that’s too bad. You want to play in WinRT-land, it’s gonna be a full screen app. Welcome to the future.

  • Anonymous

    wallpaper?

  • http://www.omnitechsupport.com/technical-support.php Technical Support

    Not really sure why this is so great, I think it just looks way more confusing that the Windows 7 we are all used to.

  • Guybrush

    Sorry Microsoft, I won’t be upgrading. I don’t want or need my laptop to look and act like a mobile phone.