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Why Can't the Windows 8 Start Screen Look Like This?

In the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, we see a hint of the customization capabilities that Microsoft will be adding to the final release of the product. This includes, among other things, the ability to choose between a limited handful of Start screen themes. And while we know more choices are coming, the more I use Windows 8, the more I want to customize this screen. And I'm worried Microsoft won't go far enough.

In the Consumer Preview, the choices for Start screen customization are truly limited, with just 9 background colors, each of which includes a hard-coded accent color. (And some of these are terrible. If you choose medium gray, for example, the accent color is ... Orange?) You can also pick from five background patterns, all terrible, or to use no pattern.

I know from speaking to Microsoft several weeks ago that more is coming.

"There are more personalized options in the final version of Windows 8," I was told. "We're explicitly staging it out. At RTM, it will feel really personal."

The first hint of the expanded personalization choices can be seen in the first post-Consumer Preview leaked build, in which far more background color choices can be seen. However, it still looks like the accent colors are locked to particular background colors. I'd rather be able to mix and match as I see fit. More to the point, I'd really like to be able to arbitrarily assign a background picture to the Start screen, just as I can to the Windows desktop and Lock screen.

So if I want the Start screen to look like this, I should be able to do so.

I have a dream ... That my Windows 8 Start screen will look like this.

Because moving between the desktop and Start screen is so jarring, even in the Consumer Preview, some are actually recommending that we customize the Windows desktop to look just like the Start screen. That's terrible, and those choices look even worse on the desktop than they do on the Start screen. I'd rather the reverse was possible. And ideally, we could customize all of these things exactly as we'd like.

Cross your fingers, as this one could still happen. I'm just worried it won't.


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