Using Decor8 to Change Your Windows 8 Start Screen

By on December 10, 2012 11:44:33 AM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

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Join Date 06/2003
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Windows 8 has the new Start screen (aka Metro) which some users love, and others hate.  After having use it for a while, I have come to like it and use it often especially since there have been some great apps released recently.  One thing about the Start screen though is you really can’t customize it much aside from colors and a few included background images.

That’s where Decor8 comes in and gives you ability to further personalize your Windows 8 experience.  Decor8 allows you to change the Windows 8 Start screen to one of many included images, or use your own images.  You can also create a slideshow of pictures or have background images changed at timed intervals for an even cooler experience.  Decor8 also does much more by letting you choose and create your own color themes, along with apply effects to your images and even control how many rows of tiles to show on your start screen.

You can get Decor8 here - http://www.stardock.com/products/decor8/

12-10-2012 11-18-23 AM

 

Using Decor8 is pretty simple.  In the Backgrounds setting is where you can choose and set your start screen background image.  As I mentioned before, there’s many included but you can certainly use any image on your PC.  You can load an individual image file, or select image folders that Decor8 can display.  All you have to do is select the image you want and you can click through to the start screen to see if you want to keep it or choose another.  You can also choose several (or all) images and set them to change at timed intervals.

Decor8 also gives you the ability to apply effects to your background images.  You can and adjust the fade on your images, add some blur, or adjust the color and contrast.  This allows you to really personalize the start screen experience!

12-10-2012 11-36-17 AM

In the Colors settings, you can either choose to use a standard color theme, or get really creative and choose your own custom color scheme.  Here you can change the colors of various areas including the background color, accent color, standard tile color, and the text color.

12-10-2012 11-37-42 AM


Additional features of Decor8 allow you to define the default row count for Tiles, and the ability to change your Lock screen images also.  If you are tired of the default personalization options in Windows 8, then come give Decor8 a try and make your Windows 8 start screen your very own.

Decor8 is available as a free 30-day trial and can be purchased for only $4.99.

Get it now: http://www.stardock.com/products/decor8/download.asp

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December 10, 2012 9:49:59 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Yes, I am enjoying Decor8 a lot, and like you, I am using the Metro/Modern UI more and more as time goes on, but not just for the new app releases, etc.  I find it a handy place to store all my shortcuts and frequenly used programs.  Furthermore, it is convenient and quite efficient when seeking an app for a particular job.  While I have Start8 installed, I find that I am conveniently and quickly switching from the desktop to the Metro UI to access things more often than not nowadays.  I occasionally use the conventional start menu, but nowhere near as frequently, and I believe Decor8 has, in part, influenced that change.

Having said that, however, there are a couple of other things I'd like to see included in Decor8. 

Firstly, the ability to edit App Store tiles to make them more visually appealing, and to be able to create custom tiles with our own icons and backgound colours for installed programs.

Secondly, while tile goups can be named and you can group them into categories, I'd like to see some sort of a jump list to access items more quickly and conveniently in a large library of shortcuts.

Also, while Decor8 allows for more than the default 4 rows of tiles, my screen resolution does not allow me to add more, so perhaps the ability to resize tiles to enable a 5th and possibly 6th row could resolve this when a resolution adjustment is not possible.

Thanks for listening, Stardock, I am sure you will endeavour to make Decor8 all that it can be.

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December 11, 2012 8:45:51 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting starkers,
Firstly, the ability to edit App Store tiles to make them more visually appealing, and to be able to create custom tiles with our own icons and backgound colours for installed programs.
This would be awesome.

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December 12, 2012 4:11:53 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Zubaz,

Quoting starkers, reply 1Firstly, the ability to edit App Store tiles to make them more visually appealing, and to be able to create custom tiles with our own icons and backgound colours for installed programs.This would be awesome.

Yes, there is an app that already allows users to make custom tiles, OblyTile, but it does not allow for current tiles to be edited.  I have used OblyTile to see how it works, and while it is simple enough to use, it isn't Stardock's and lacks those features I am sure the devs at Stardock can provide.

In fact, I'll fire up OblyTile shortly and create a section of custom tiles so I can post a screenshot here for all to see.  I mean, let's show off just how awesome the Metro UI can be made to appear.  Admittedly, I didn't like the look or idea of it when I first saw Metro, but having installed Win 8 as my primary OS, and using Metro on a daily basis, it has grown on me considerably.

Yes, Metro is worth persisting with, and if Decor8 can be adapted to edit existing tiles, resize tiles and create custom tiles, it will be fantabulous.

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December 13, 2012 11:56:58 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Here we go, a SS of Metro after I dabbled with Decor8 and OblyTile....

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December 15, 2012 1:23:43 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Okay, Stardock is either going to think I'm a thorn in their side or a pain in their ass... but I have another Decor8 feature request...

Having set up the tiles in the above screenshot with icons and program paths, etc,, and realising just how long it took me, I feel there's a need to have a theme manager incorporated in Decor8 so we can save and reapply themes as required.  I mean, it was made possible to create a theme file in ObjectDock to apply and reapply as needed, so I'm hoping the same can be done here in Decor8... cos yeah, setting up an entire start panel with custom tiles is a mammoth task, and a theme reapplication function would certainly save some time.

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December 19, 2012 6:37:59 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

 

Yes, I am enjoying Decor8 a lot, and like you, I am using the Metro/Modern UI more and more as time goes on, but not just for the new app releases, etc.  I find it a handy place to store all my shortcuts and frequenly used programs.  Furthermore, it is convenient and quite efficient when seeking an app for a particular job.  While I have Start8 installed, I find that I am conveniently and quickly switching from the desktop to the Metro UI to access things more often than not nowadays.  I occasionally use the conventional start menu, but nowhere near as frequently, and I believe Decor8 has, in part, influenced that change. Having said that, however, there are a couple of other things I'd like to see included in Decor8.  Firstly, the ability to edit App Store tiles to make them more visually appealing, and to be able to create custom tiles with our own icons and backgound colours for installed programs. Secondly, while tile goups can be named and you can group them into categories, I'd like to see some sort of a jump list to access items more quickly and conveniently in a large library of shortcuts. Also, while Decor8 allows for more than the default 4 rows of tiles, my screen resolution does not allow me to add more, so perhaps the ability to resize tiles to enable a 5th and possibly 6th row could resolve this when a resolution adjustment is not possible. Thanks for listening, Stardock, I am sure you will endeavour to make Decor8 all that it can be.

 

 

I'd say to manage a bunch of shortcuts, there isn't anything more handy that what I'm using since windows 98, a really wonderful piece of software at this time (and still today, despite some minor missing features (like customizing icons, adding more shortcuts panels (even if that part can be bypassed)) and outdated dialogs/windows frames), let's name it : PopMouse by pointix. It Just works fine in windows 7 x64 and I only have 3 applications that didn't like to be launched by it.

Being an abandon software, US copyright department has issued the rights for people to share and access no longer available software as downloading obsolete games and unavailable software is now completely legal because they are considered public material.

See by yourself on that page offering info and links on that matter :

http://carltonbale.com/how-to-scroll-if-your-mouse-has-no-scroll-wheel/

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December 19, 2012 7:31:35 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting starkers,
Here we go, a SS of Metro after I dabbled with Decor8 and OblyTile...

Starkers.. Is IE still your default browser then? If it is DONT CHANGE IT or you can kiss all that work with OblyTile goodbye.

If it is not, then how the hell did you make it work?

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December 20, 2012 1:07:32 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Hey Phoon!  No IE is not my default browser... I use FF and Ice Dragon by Comodo.

As for making it work, well I dunno, didn't do anything special but everything works as it should.

As for kissing all that work goodbye, I'm hoping that Stardock implement a 'save theme' feature in Decor8, though not just for backup in case of a crash, etc.  I'm thinking that I'd like to be able to change the Metro theme when I change my desktop theme, you know, to keep things in the same vein.

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December 20, 2012 8:08:54 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting starkers,
I'm hoping that Stardock implement a 'save theme' feature in Decor8

since Oblytile isn't made by Stardock I would be skeptical on that one. If SD were to make an app similar to Oblytile though...

 

As for the browser, I set my default to Chrome once and it borked the hell out of all my custom tiles I'd made. Even after changing it back to IE it remained hosed. I keep as far away from FF as possible ( but that is a topic for another time and place ).

Here is the thread I had made on this at one time. http://forums.wincustomize.com/436239 The thread started out with pointing out Oblytile then I had found Modern Tile Maker. Now I can't be certain I tried this with Obly or not. Hell, now I'm all confused and can't even remember if I wiped my own ass this morning or not... EEEK.

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December 20, 2012 8:21:05 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Phoon,
Quoting starkers,
reply 8
I'm hoping that Stardock implement a 'save theme' feature in Decor8

since Oblytile isn't made by Stardock I would be skeptical on that one. If SD were to make an app similar to Oblytile though...

Yeah, I know, but I'm hoping Stardock will develop further on Decor8 and implement this feature plus the ability to customise tile backgrounds and icons.  That would pretty much make it the complete program and raise its profile outside of WC/Stardock.  I've read it on a few forums now, that Win 8 users want more ability to personalise/customise Metro, and I think Stardock would be on to a great thing if they expand upon Decor8 to allow greater user control.

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December 20, 2012 9:06:01 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I can't comment on specifics, but Decor8 is just getting started.

 

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December 20, 2012 9:28:47 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I know that Decor8 is still in its infancy, ID, and still growing, just as I'm sure there'll be some pretty amazing developments coming along as time passes.

Anyhow, thanks for the input, ID, it's reassuring and we know that more is being done to make Decor8 even more amazing.

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December 20, 2012 9:33:04 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Phoon,
I keep as far away from FF as possible
Ditto. As for your last sentence in reply #9,  that's way too much information.

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December 20, 2012 10:13:17 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

crunch crunch crunch crunch....

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June 20, 2014 4:02:08 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Will uninstalling it after changing my start screen make my windows crash????

 

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June 20, 2014 6:15:47 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Qwertypraddy,

Will uninstalling it after changing my start screen make my windows crash????

 

No, but your start screen will return to the OS options only.

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June 20, 2014 7:06:53 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

How about adding depth to the tiles instead of leaving them flat. Maybe a drop shadow plus a bevel and emboss to make them stand out. Just a thought. This could be part of using your own images.

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