How to Customize the Windows 8 Start Screen

The Windows 8 Start screen grows longer and longer as you add more items. Give yourself a fighting chance by organizing your Start screen. The following steps begin with a small dose of organization: purging unwanted tiles and adding tiles for your favorites.

1

Remove tiles you don’t need.

Spot a tile you don’t need? Right-click it and choose Unpin from Start. Repeat until you’ve removed all the tiles you don’t use.

Choosing Unpin from Start doesn’t uninstall the app or program; removing the tile merely removes that item’s “start” button from the screen. In fact, if you accidentally remove the tile for a favorite app or program, you can easily put it back in Step 3.

2

Move related tiles next to each other.

As an example, you might want to keep your people-oriented apps — Mail, People, and Calendar — next to each other. To move an app to a new location, drag its tile to the desired spot. As you drag the tile, other tiles automatically move out of the way to make room for newcomer.

When you’ve dragged an app’s tile to the desired spot, drop the tile to set the tile into its new place.

3

Add tiles for apps, programs, folders, and files you need.

After you’ve purged any unwanted tiles, rearranged the remaining tiles, and added new tiles for items you need, your Start screen may meet your needs. If so, stop. You’re done!

When first installed, the Windows 8 Start screen includes two unlabelled groups of tiles, with a narrow space between the two groups. Windows 8 didn’t even bother to name the two groups. And, if you’re like most people, you probably didn’t notice the slightly wider space that separates those two groups. And that brings you to the next step.

4

Find the gap between the Start screen’s existing groups of tiles.

Keep scrolling to the Start screen’s right edge, and you’ll eventually notice a place where one group of tiles breaks away from the rest, leaving a slightly wider gap between the two groups.

5

To create a new group, drag and drop a tile into the gap between two existing groups.

Drag and hold any tile in the blank space between two groups. A vertical bar will appear, widening the space to make room for your incoming tile. Drop the tile, and the tile forms a new group of one lonely tile, located between the two other groups.

6

To add more tiles to your newly created group, drag and drop additional tiles into the group.

Drag and drop new tiles next to your new group’s first tile. After you drop a tile into a group, you can drag the tile around to a new position within the group.

Want to create yet another group? Then repeat Steps 4 and 5, dragging and dropping a tile between two more groups to create yet another group.

You might find groups of related tiles to be enough organization for you. If so, stop. But if you want to label the groups or move the groups to different positions on the Start screen, go to the next step.

7

Click in the screen’s bottommost-right corner to switch to a view of your groups. Then drag the groups into your preferred order.

The Start screen changes to show all your tiles as little clumps with each clump representing one group. Now that you’ve created groups of tiles to match your interests, you can shuffle them into any order you want. For example, you can move your favorite group to the screen’s far left, where it’s always visible.

Drag and drop the groups into the order you want them to appear on your Start screen.

8

Name the groups.

While still looking at your clumped groups, add the final layer of order by placing a name atop each group.

Right-click the group you want to name and click the Name Group icon that appears along the screen’s bottom. When the Name box appears, type a name and then click the Name button.

9

Return to the Start screen.

Click any place but on the groups in the shrunken Start screen, and the shrunken groups expand to their normal size, letting you bask in your organizational prowess.

Tip: For more information about Windows 8 and its features, explore Windows 8 For Dummies, available online.

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