Start Screen

Today, Microsoft unveiled their Windows Technical Preview for the new Windows 10 operating system. There are obviously plenty of questions from users about upgrading to the Preview, and one of those has to deal with the Modern Start Screen.

If like me, you installed the Technical Preview but you would like to get back the Modern Start Screen, here is a quick and easy way to make that happen.

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8.1 HD Tiles is a Windows Phone 8.1 app that will let you add transparent Live Tiles to your Start Screen. The app not only offers transparent tiles for two hundred apps but 8.1 HD Tiles also offers tile options for settings, websites and blank tiles that can be used as spacers or to categorize groups of Windows Phone Live Tiles.

The app is compatible with Windows Phone 8 devices but some of the system settings will not be available and the tiles are not transparent. 8.1 HD Tiles is an easy way to add transparent Live Tiles and a nice addition to the Windows Phone 8.1 app library.

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With the release of Windows Phone 8.1, under the Preview for Developers program, we have seen a number of apps surface in the Windows Phone Store focused on creating custom Start Screen backgrounds. Each app seems to follow the same pattern of having a simple interface and plenty of creative styles.

Theme+ is one of the more recent additions to this genre of apps and falls in line with those that have come before. Theme+ has a simple interface that allows you to create custom designs that can add a dash of color to your Windows Phone 8.1 Start Screen.

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Our Windows Phone Start Screen is an easy way to make our phones our own. Even before Windows Phone 8.1 introduced transparent Live Tiles and Start Screen background images, through third party apps and in-house settings you could customize things quite a bit.

There is a Windows Phone Central Forums discussion, started by Forum Member Sir William Wiener that asks how often do you change your Start Screen background images and accent colors? Sir William finds himself tweaking the Start Screen a lot while the habits range from daily changes to weekly to "every once in a while".

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A lot of people have asked us about how the Start screens on our Windows Phone devices look like. Daniel started a Start screen layouts series here, and other Windows Phone Central authors followed him. There’s also this popular thread on the Windows Phone Central forums where everybody is sharing their Windows Phone Start screens, and some of them are also sharing the images they are using so you could replicate their creativity.

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Top Windows Phone 8.1 Start Screen Apps

Windows Phone Central App Roundup: Windows Phone 8.1 Start Screen Apps

While the Windows Phone Start Screen has never really sucked wind, the features the Windows Phone 8.1 update brings to the table takes the Start Screen to a new level. We still have Live Tiles that can deliver bullets of information to keep us up to date on everything from the weather, our schedule, stock prices, sports scores and more.

But with Windows Phone 8.1, our ability to customize our Start Screen has increased with transparent tiles, custom background images and the option of adding a third column of tiles to devices who previously lacked this feature. This week's roundup will focus on Windows Phone apps that will help you make the most of your Windows Phone Start Screen. From adding transparent tiles to creating a custom tile color, these apps can help you make your Windows Phone a little bit more your own.

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The developers of Transparency Tiles have released a premium app that throws just about every tool you will need to customize your Windows Phone 8.1 Start Screen. Start Perfect has Transparency Tiles built in but also adds additional customization features such as transparent tiles for websites, custom tile names, custom background colors and more.

Start Perfect eliminates the need for multiple apps to get your Windows Phone Start Screen just right. It makes a very nice first impression and worth looking into if you want to do more with your Start Screen customizations.

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Since Windows Phone 8.1’s preview release this week, you folks can’t enough of the new Start screen backgrounds. And here you thought you’d hate them ;)

We covered a cool little app dubbed Transparency Tiles earlier this week, as it’s used to re-create Tiles for your 8.1 Start screen for native and popular apps. On first release it covered just Xbox Games, Music and Video, but we told you more apps would be coming. Since that time, the app has had a few updates, with the latest just going live a few moments ago.

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One of the key attractions for the Windows Phone platform is the Live Tiles. It allows you get a glance at key information such as new emails, the current temperature, your next appointment or sports scores. The recent Windows Phone 8.1 update only adds to this attraction with new features such as transparent tiles, a third-column option, and a few new apps that liven up your Start Screen.

Continuing the series on what is on our Windows Phone Start Screen, it is my turn to share.

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One of the fun features of Windows Phone 8.1 is the ability to add a background image to your Start Screen and let it shine through transparent Live Tiles.

There is a new Windows Phone 8.1 app in the Windows Phone Store that lets you take this customization one step further. Start Screen Customizer provides you with the ability to choose a solid colored background or adjust the tones of a background image to give your Start Screen a little more pop.

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The Start Screen is a unique way to personalize your Windows Phone. Not only do consumers have access to (and can customize) app launches, but there's the possibility to pin Live Tiles that update with relevant information for apps. Part of the Start Screen layout series from Windows Phone Central staff, it's now my turn to share what I have pinned to my Start Screen and how I've configured the layout to suit my needs.

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We are now less than a week from officially seeing Windows Phone 8.1 for the first time. The unveiling is happening next week at Microsoft’s Build conference in San Francisco. Not only do we get to see the new mobile operating system from Microsoft, but Nokia is expected to announce two new Windows Phone 8.1 devices – the Lumia 630 (Moneypenny) and the Lumia 930 (Martini).

We’ve seen quite a bit of Windows Phone 8.1 over the past few weeks. Generally we’ve seen the Windows Phone community pleased and excited about all the upcoming changes. But there’s one feature that has a lot of you divided. That’s the new Start screen on Windows Phone 8.1. We’ve all wanted a little more customization options for the part of Windows Phone we spend a lot of time looking at. Microsoft is adding background image support, but in a way not a lot of people expected. Do you like it?

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As we reported earlier, the leaks for Windows Phone 8.1 are coming in at a steady pace now. Following up on this morning’s video that showed off the new OS is one focusing on the new Start screen options.

Not much has happened with the Start screen since Windows Phone 8 was announced, but with 8.1 users will have at least two new features to help customize and personalize their phones: Start background and Show more Tiles.

As revealed in this admittedly poorly shot video, users can choose from a pre-selection of background images for their Start screens. Alternatively, users can select photos from their Facebook, OneDrive, or camera roll as well. Perhaps the neat thing is the parallax movement when the user scrolls, giving the Tiles a true “windows” feel to them, much like looking outside a window pane.

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Windows Phone 8.1 is only a few weeks away. So with that, let’s jump onto the latest rumor floating around today, namely the one dealing with background images on the Start screen.

There was some confusion about this feature – codenamed ‘shadowbox’ by Microsoft –with people believing that it was the background of the Start screen that would be skinned. As we cautioned in original report, that was close but not exactly how it will be (our lede image was the clue).

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More information from the Windows Phone 8.1 beta SDK leak hint at some forthcoming features for the OS update, due to be announced in April. The info comes from LiveSino, who found references to numerous unannounced references to features in the SDK, hinting that such customizations may be in the final build for customers.

The idea of giving customers more options to customize their Windows Phone has been a hot topic for customers for years. Currently on the Start screen, users are only allowed to select from a pre-selected range of hues, with no backgrounds, leading some to call the OS ‘boring’.

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One of the key features of the Windows Phone platform are Live Tiles, which provide a snapshot of information on your Start Screen. We have Live Tiles that will deliver weather information, appointments, TV shows, and even gaming progress.

But how often do you rely on the Live Tile information, or do you overlook it and just use the Tile to jump into the app or game?  Personally, I like how I can glance at the weather and appointment Tiles to see what the current temperature is or how long I have until the next meeting.  Other than that, I generally use the Live Tiles as a shortcut to the many apps I have pinned to my Start Screen.

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Rumors have been floating around for a while the Start button would be making its return in the Windows 8.1 (Blue) update; those rumors are now confirmed by journalists, Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley.

The start button will be returning to Windows 8.1, but the start menu will not. The newly designed button will instead take you to your machine’s Start screen. This sudden change seems to be an attempt to help those who have been getting lost on the desktop and weren’t yet familiar how to get back to their list of applications.

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