Well it’s about time. In a leaked screenshot of a new release of Windows 8, it seems like there will be the option to customize your Windows 8 device’s Start Screen background.
This has been a feature that many of us have been wanting since the first day that we installed the Windows 8 developer preview onto our machines (or acquired one of those Samsung tablets that they gave out at the BUILD conference) and got tired of the cool new features and desired some customization.
Yes we could add different images to the Lock Screen, and yes we could move around and re-size the app tiles, but there was too much green.
Now normally, I’m not against green at all, I like it just like any other color, but I just got tired of it after a while, like anyone would if they’ve had the same wallpaper for a while or the same profile picture on any social networking site for more than a year. Where could I get some of the other colors like the purple that they showed with some of the Windows 8 preview videos that came out earlier this year.
Just by looking at the screenshot, it seems that we will also be able to add our own personal images as well as solid colors. This, actually, is kind of an amazing step (though not that amazing) in the field of a new operating system’s (or in this case a new user interface’s) customization.
Think back to Windows 95 when the easiest way to customize your desktop was by buying Microsoft Plus! which was pretty expensive. Easy customization only became available to the public with Windows 98. Microsoft took another step back when they didn’t ship Windows 7 Starter with the ability to customize.
This made most netbooks “un-customizable” and it also led to numerous programs being made that said that they could fix your customization problems, and only a handful of them worked. Most just messed up your computer. (Believe me, I know.)
Microsoft wasn’t the only company that has discriminated against customization. Apple took three years to allow its iPhone to have custom wallpapers with the release of iOS 4. Before that, all you could do was customize the lock screen (much like the current release of Windows 8 is right now) and the iPad had customizable backgrounds.
Along with these basic forms of customization, I also hope that Microsoft will give users a bit more freedom with resizing their app tiles. Right now you can make them long, or half sized, and often they move around without you wanting them to while resizing.
I also think that Microsoft should allow for the toggling of the Live Tile stream. Sometimes when I’m working (like now) I like to turn off my Facebook ticker and pop-ups so I can concentrate. I can imagine that the Live Tiles could be very distracting, especially at peak moments of the day, like when there is an IPO or some big news event.