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How to Organize the Start Screen of Your Surface

Windows 8 does not organize the Start screen of your Surface tablet. As you add apps from the Windows Store, the Start screen tosses them onto its far right edge, where they’re completely out of sight. You can follow these steps to organize your Start screen with this six-step plan.

  1. Remove tiles for apps you don’t want.

    Get rid of apps you’ll never use: Slide your finger down the tile slightly to select it. Then, from the menu that appears along the Start screen’s bottom, tap Unpin from Start. Repeat until you’ve removed all your unwanted app tiles.


    Choosing Unpin from Start doesn’t uninstall the app or program; it only removes the tile from the Start screen. If you accidentally remove a tile for a favorite app or program, you can easily put it back in the next step.

  2. Add tiles that you do want.

    Swipe your finger upward from the Start screen’s bottom edge, and then tap the All Apps button along the screen’s bottom. The Start screen disappears, showing icons for all your installed apps, listed in alphabetical order.

    When you spot an app that you want to appear on the Start screen, select it with a quick downward slide of your finger. (A checkmark appears in the app’s upper-right corner to show that it’s selected.)

    Finally, tap the Pin to Start icon from the Start screen’s bottom menu. Windows 8 tosses a tile for that app onto the Start menu’s far right end.


    You can select several apps simultaneously, and then tap the Pin to Start icon to place them all onto the Start screen.

  3. Move related tiles closer to each other.

    When related tiles appear next to each other (for example, Mail, People, and Calendar), they’re easier to find on the Start screen.

    To drag a tile from one place to another, select it first with a little downward drag, and then drag it to its new location. As your finger moves the tile, other tiles automatically move out of the way to make room.

    When you’ve dragged an app’s tile to the desired spot, lift your finger and the tile remains in its new home.

  4. Move related tiles into groups.

    Placing related tiles into separate groups makes them easier to relocate. For example, you may want to create one group for tiles you use at home, another for work-related tiles, and a third for tiles that play media.

    To begin creating new groups, look closely at your Start screen: It comes set up in two groups. (Look for an empty space separating the two groups.)

    To create a new group, select a tile with a slight downward drag, and then drag that tile into the empty space that separates two groups. As your dragged tile reaches that empty space, the groups move farther apart and a bar appears between them. Lift your finger, and the tile drops into place, forming a new group.


    Repeat this step, rearranging tiles and creating new groups until your related tiles live together in their own separate groups.

  5. Name the groups of related tiles.

    After you’ve created groups of related tiles, give each group a name so you can easily identify its purpose.

    Start by pinching the Start screen tiles between two fingers; as you slide your two fingers closer together, the tiles shrink until you’re looking at all of your groups onscreen.


    Select a group with a slight downward slide of your finger. Then, from the bottom menu that appears, tap the Name Group icon. When the Name box appears, type in the group’s name and tap the adjacent Name button to finish the job.


    Repeat until you’ve named all your groups.

  6. Move groups so that your most important ones appear first.

    While you’re still looking at your groups as miniatures, rearrange the groups by dragging them into new positions.

    Select a group with a slight downward slide of your finger; drag and drop the group into a different place.

    Repeat until your most frequently accessed groups of tiles appear on the far left.

When you finish dragging, dropping, and naming tiles and groups, your Start screen is customized to the way you use your Surface. Your tiles live in their own neatly named groups, and your most frequently accessed tiles appear first on the screen.

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