Make Windows 8 Sexier With These Background & Theme Tweaks

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windows 8 backgroundDoes your Windows 8 system look too bland with the default settings? You can customize it in a variety of ways, changing a variety of backgrounds and colors — whether on the Start screen, lock screen, or desktop. Your Windows 8 system can be a subdued interface with dark colors and muted backgrounds, a tableau of bright colors and colorful flowers, or anything in between.

Microsoft has omitted some customization settings – most notably for the Start screen – but there are third-party tools that can give us access to these settings. Just as with the missing Start menu, third-party utilities give us the options Microsoft didn’t.

Change The Start Screen Background & Colors

Windows 8’s start screen is customizable. If you don’t like the default Windows 8 background and colors, you can change them to something more to your liking. Just open the Settings charm (use the Ctrl+I shortcut to quickly open the Settings charm) and select Change PC settings. In the PC settings screen that appears, select the Personalize category, select Start screen, and choose a background image and color.

Windows 8 includes a number of different Start screen backgrounds and color schemes that can be mixed and matched – you can have everything from a solid-colored dark background to a bight pink background with flowers.

windows 8 background

Set a Custom Start Screen Background & Colors

While customizing your Start screen, you’ll notice that you can’t select a custom background or color scheme. You can only select the ones Microsoft included. Luckily, some third party tools have come to the rescue. However, bear in mind that they only work on Windows 8, not Windows RT (which can’t run non-Microsoft desktop applications).

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The slickest, easiest utility to use is probably Stardock’s Decor8, from the same Stardock that created the popular Start8 start menu replacement for Windows 8. It’s free for 30 days, after which it will cost you $5 – just like Start8.

Decor8 allows you to set custom background images and color schemes for your Start screen, breaking free from Microsoft’s limitations and tweaking it to your liking. You can even have the background automatically change and customize other parts of the Start screen, such as the number of rows of tiles and styles of animations.

windows 8 background wallpaper

If you’re looking for a free alternative, you might want to try something like Windows 8 Start Screen Customizer, although it’s still in beta and isn’t as well tested – it may not be as polished and stable.

Change The Lock Screen Background

Windows 8’s lock screen appears when you start your computer, log out, or lock it. Unlike the start screen, the lock screen’s background image is completely customizable out-of-the-box.

From the same Personalize pane in the PC settings application above, select Lock screen and select a custom background image. You can use one of the preinstalled ones or click the Browse button and select your own background image. You can also customize the applications that show quick status alerts on the lock screen – particularly useful for Windows 8 tablets.

windows 8 background wallpaper

Customize Desktop Window Border Colors

By default, Windows 8 automatically chooses a solid window border and taskbar color based on the color of your desktop wallpaper. However, you can also choose a custom color that will be used instead..

To choose a window border color, right-click your desktop and select Personalize. Click the Color option at the bottom of the Personalization window and select your preferred color. You can tweak a selected color’s intensity to get it just how you like it.

windows 8 background wallpaper

As with Windows 7,  you can also choose a custom desktop background – even set up a slideshow of desktop backgrounds – from the Personalization window.

Set Custom Desktop Window Border Colors

If you want to set a window border color that isn’t mentioned in this list, try Aero8Tuner. It allows you to select any color for your window borders, even ones that Microsoft didn’t provide in the list of colors you can choose.

windows 8 background

For more information about Windows 8, be sure to download our Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts cheat sheet and full guide to Windows 8!

How have you customized Windows 8’s interface to your liking? Leave a comment and share your favorite tips and tricks.

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Comments (17)
  • Aamir Saifi

    wow these theme will reboost my interest in windows 8 thanks to you man!keep it up

  • dragonmouth

    A pig with make up will always remain a pig. Eye candy, glitz and glitter will not improve the performance one iota. But I guess that is all that Windows users can look forward to, a better looking pig.

    • Chris Hoffman

      Windows 8 has a lot of problems. Personally, I’m still using Windows 7 on my non-touch laptop computer.

      That said, I have to give Windows 8 credit where credit is due. Windows 8’s performance is great — on par with Windows 7 in lots of areas, except where it’s improved dramatically (like boot times.)

      Windows 8’s problem is its bizarre interface, not its performance.

    • Wranglerspace

      It must be your dragonmouth because you really butchered, no pun intended the saying, ‘you can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig’. Your attempt doesn’t even make sense for 1. it should be makeup or make-up & 2. it should be noted that the pig is wearing makeup or having makeup applied to it. The poor swine….after all that I’m sure the pig would be a ornery and confused. Then you jump to eye candy not improving performance. I must disagree with you on this one. Eye candy usually improves my performance a lot more than one iota. Then you’re back to your pig obsession and bandying about accusations that Windows users will look forward to this pig you are going to make up with. By all means attack Windows users, attack operating systems, but for the sake of your own reputation leave pigs out of it!

    • dragonmouth

      So, all of a sudden, you’re William Safire?!

  • Jason Williams

    i have despised that out of the box windows 8 look since i got it. thanks for the tips.

  • Ashok Kumar

    nice information…….many of my friends just updated to windows 8 and this article will be valuable for them

  • Petey Pabler

    Think I will just stick with Windows 7 until I get a touch screen…

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.