Life hack

How to make windows 8 metro web tiles open in the desktop browser

Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She’s been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business. Read more.

It’s easy to pin apps and folders to the Metro Start screen in Windows 8. What about your favorite websites? Windows 7 allows you to pin websites to the Taskbar. It’s also easy to pin your favorite websites to the Windows 8 Metro Start screen.

Open Internet Explorer 10 from the Metro Start screen and navigate to a website you want to pin.

Once the site has loaded, click the Pin to Start button on right side of the bar at the bottom.

By default, the title of the current page is entered as the title for the site. Change the title, if desired, and click Pin to Start.

A tile for the website is added to the right side of the Metro Start screen. You can drag it to another location on the Start screen, if you want. If you pin several websites to the Start screen, you can group them and label the group to keep your screen organized.

To remove a pinned website from the Metro Start screen, right-click on the tile and click the Unpin from Start button on the left side of the bar that displays at the bottom of the screen.

Clicking a pinned website tile opens that website in the Metro version of IE10. If you prefer the Desktop version of IE10, you can make your pinned website tiles open in the Desktop IE.

The best thing about Windows 8 operating system is that it works perfectly with the Metro version of Internet Explorer as well as the normal desktop version. This unique display is basically the default web browser but no one would want to have that on his/her desktop or laptop. Although there is a difference between the Metro Internet Explorer and the Desktop version but the settings of both is controlled by the Internet Options.

Technique to make Windows 8 Metro web tiles open in the desktop browser is not at difficult as the simple procedure discussed in this guide will help you.

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Make sure that your computer or laptop is on and that the operating system has fully loaded. First you will have to open the desktop version of Internet Explorer. This is a relatively easy step as even a beginner user can handle this.

Drag your cursor towards the Tool button that is available on the upper extreme left corner side of the window. Take your time and look for it, remember you do not have to rush these steps.

Now select internet options from the drop down menu.

A new window will appear on your screen with the heading Internet Options. From the several tabs viewed click on Programs.

Drag your cursor under the heading Opening Internet Explorer and click on the Choose How You Open Links and select “Always in Internet Explorer on the desktop”.

In the end click the Apply button, to confirm the changes made.

In order to exit from the Internet Options Dialog box hit the Ok button.

That’s it, after completing this simple procedure you will be able to make Windows 8 metro web tiles open in the desktop browser.

If you face any type of difficulties then remember to go over these instructions from the beginning and try again. Do not rush through these steps as you will want to make sure that you do not skip anything important. If you feel that you are still having some issues then go online and check one of the many different websites or forums that are available. You will find a ton of websites that deal with particular version of Windows operating system. Take your time and go over other forum posts as you will definitely find the answer to any problem that you might be facing. If you feel that you need more help then you can also post your own questions on a particular forum and have an expert or professional user assist you. Many different tips and tricks are also available online as there are usually many different techniques that you can use to do the same things on Windows 8.

Certain Metro tiles in Windows can show you live and updated information. Here’s how to turn that feature on and off.

Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He’s written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He’s the author of two tech books–one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.

One of the benefits of the Metro Start screen are live tiles, which can display the latest info from your e-mail, calendar, contacts, and other apps. How do you enable that feature?

You first need to open and potentially set up the app for which you want to see a live tile. Among the apps in the new Windows 8 Release Preview that can tap into this feature are Mail, People, Calendar, Photos, Weather, News, and Sports.

Just opening certain apps will turn on the live tile feature. For example, open the News and Weather apps and then return to the Metro Start screen. Live tiles will automatically be enabled, so you’ll start to see the latest updates and photos displayed in those two tiles.

Other apps require some setup. To display a live tile for your e-mail, you’ll need to set up at least one e-mail account. Displaying the live tile for People requires you to add your accounts for Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, or other social networks. And viewing the live tile for the Weather app means you’ll need to specify your location or allow Windows to pick it up.

To set up accounts for Mail or People, open the app. Launch the Charms bar by holding down the Windows key on your keyboard and pressing C. Click the Settings charm and look for an option that says accounts. From there, you’ll be able to add your various accounts.

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  • Windows 8 Release Preview review
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  • What to do if Windows 8 Release Preview won’t install

OK, that’s fine. But sometimes working in the Metro Start screen can lead to information overload.

I don’t always need to know the temperature or see the latest posts or pictures from my Facebook friends. How can you turn Live tiles off? That’s easy enough. Simply right-click the tile and select the option to “turn live tile off” from the Apps bar below.

Live tiles can be a handy and helpful feature, but it’s good to know that you can easily turn them on or off.

I’ve been running the Windows 8 Consumer Preview for a few months and although I’m okay with Metro replacing the Start Menu, I hate seeing the new interface by default every time I reboot. When Windows 7 starts, you hit a login screen (assuming it’s enabled) and then you’re brought straight to the desktop.

When Windows 8 starts, it displays a lock screen that you have to move out of the way before entering your credentials, and then you have to dismiss the Metro interface before accessing the desktop. Like I said, I’m cool with Metro, but I have no desire to see a full-screen Start Menu when I log into my PC.

Hopefully the retail version of Windows 8 will make it a little easier to force Metro into the background, but it’s entirely possible to do this on the prerelease builds if you have five minutes to spare. Likewise, it’s easy to disable the lock screen and have Windows automatically log you in for hassle-free reboots.

Boot to the Windows 8 desktop instead of Metro

As noted, there doesn’t appear to be any baked-in solution to disabling Metro when booting Windows 8 — or at least, we haven’t found it. However, you can configure a simple script to run every time you log in. You can save yourself a few steps by downloading the batch we’ve created for you, or simply copy the text below into Notepad and save it as a .bat file (any name will do — only the extension matters):

Once you have the script, store it somewhere you don’t mind it being forever. With the script stored, you need to create a new task to run it at log in. You can do this directly through the Windows Task Scheduler or by attaching it to the Windows Logon event in the Event Viewer. We’ll walk you through the second one, for no particular reason:

  • Search for Windows’ Event Viewer in Metro’s settings (it appears as “View event logs”).
  • Click Windows Logs > Application in the left column to get a list of events in the center.
  • Scroll through the list until you see an information event with the source “Winlogon.”
  • Right click the Winlogon entry and choose “attach task to this event” to schedule a task.
  • Name your task anything you want and click next three times to choose your script.

After the script is configured to run, you won’t have to manually dismiss the Metro interface anymore. It’s worth noting that you will still see Metro briefly as the script takes a second or two to kick in, but at least it’ll show itself to the door. If anyone finds a quicker-acting solution, feel free to share it.

Disabling the Windows 8 lock screen to log in faster

This one’s less involved. Fire up the Group Policy Editor (search for gpedit.msc via Metro) and head to Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Control Panel\Personalization. Once you’re there, double click “Do not display the lock screen” and enable the policy. The lock screen should be disabled.

Automatically log in to your Windows 8 account

Naturally, you don’t want to do this on a notebook or any other machine outside of a secure area — including your home if you have mischievous siblings or roommates — but it’ll make the log in process that much quicker. Search for netplwiz via Metro and uncheck “Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer.” Provide your credentials and your account will load automatically.

There you have it. If you are looking for more information on Windows 8, or looking to tweak, dual-boot or run the preview OS from a USB drive, we have guides for that, too.

Since the Windows 8.1 Update 1, the OS can detect if you’re running it on a traditional desktop with keyboard and mouse, or one with a touch interface.

Since the Windows 8.1 Update 1, the OS can detect if you’re running it on a traditional desktop with keyboard and mouse, or one with a touch interface. If you’re running it on a traditional computer, it will automatically boot to the desktop, and not the Start screen. No more hunting down options or installing third-party software.

This was a good move by Microsoft as the company has made Windows 8.1 easier to use for traditional desktop users.

However, some of you might like to use the Modern UI and would rather have Windows boot to the Start screen like it did before the update. If you’re one of those folks, here’s a look at how to make it boot the way it used to.

Boot to Modern UI in Windows 8.1

Making Windows 8.1 with Update 1 boot to the Start screen instead of the desktop is a simple process. Right-click on the taskbar and select Properties. Then select the Navigation tab, and under Start Screen, uncheck “When I sign in or close all apps on the screen, go to the desktop instead of Start” and click OK.

Now the next time you reboot your computer, it will go directly to the Start screen with all of your Modern apps. Personally, I wouldn’t set this feature on my desktop computer or laptop. But it’s a nice feature if you’d rather live to see your live tiles first.

Looking Back at Windows 8 Booting to Desktop

During Windows 8, we covered different ways you can boot directly to the desktop. From installing third-party utilities like free Classic Shell or Start8 from Stardock (which also gives you a Start menu). We’ve shown you how to do it with other system tweaks such as using Task Scheduler.

With Windows 8.1 you could do it by simply checking a box in Navigation Properties.

Now with the 8.1 Update, Windows can automatically detect if you’re computer is traditional or includes a touch screen. Instead of getting the Modern UI shoved down your throat, It’s Microsoft has finally (after three updates) got the OS where the majority of consumers would like to be – at least with the boot to desktop part.

In this tutorial we will guide you step-by-step on how to fix Windows 8 tiles which are not working fine or not responding properly.

Start Screen of Windows 8 makes it interesting and fun to obtain application updates and other important information into Metro Tiles. But now-a-days some Windows 8 users are finding that their Metro style Tiles do not respond, or even sometimes stop working. The most common trouble the users encounter is that when they try to click or touch on a Metro Tile, then nothing occurs nor do they start any application.

In this tutorial we will be telling you few tips regarding fixing Windows 8 Tiles which are not responding properly. Just follow the simple steps given below:

1. Enable UAC

User Account Control (UAC) is an in-built feature of Windows 8. Sometimes it is found that Metro Tiles don’t respond when UAC is disabled. To enable UAC do the following:

  1. Click on Start button
  2. Type ‘Control Panel’ in the Search box and then click on Apps icon.

3.Now click on the Control Panel option in the search results.

4.In the control panel Window, click on More Settings.

5.Click on User Accounts and Family Safety option.

6.Click on Change User Account Control Settings (at the bottom of screen).

7.Now move the cursor to select the option Default – Notify me only when programs try to make changes to my computer.

8.Click on OK to close.

9.Restart your computer now.

2. Set Screen Resolution to High

Sometimes Metro Tiles do not respond when the screen resolution is not appropriate. So make sure that resolution must be 1024 x 768 or higher than this.

  1. Right click on an empty space anywhere on your desktop.
  2. Click on Screen Resolution option. This will open Screen Resolution Window.
  1. Drop down the Resolution box to set a 1024 x 768 or higher value.
  2. Now click on OK option to close.

3. Upgrade Drivers for Display Card

  1. It may also be possible that due to out-of-date display card drivers, the applications are not working or responding correctly. So must upgrade them from time-to-time.
  2. Open the website of your product manufacturer.
  3. Select an appropriate version of driver for your Display Card settings and click to download it.
  4. In the search box of your Start Screen Type Device Manager and then click on Settings icon.
  5. Now, after expanding the Display Adapters, give right click to currently installed Display Card Adapter and then select the Update Driver Software option.
  6. Click on Browse option to select the location of latest downloaded display card driver file and then click OK.
  7. Finally, click on Next to confirm.

4. Defragmentation of Fragmented Portion of Registry

User settings for OS and other application data are stored as registry entries. So due to huge fragmentation, sometimes Windows fail to process and load the application on time causing you to face Metro Tiles are not correctly working. To remove this, make sure that you regularly defragment the fragmented portion of your OS Registry.

5. Adjust UI Appearance Settings

Sometimes Metro Tiles do not respond when the system settings are performance favoured instead of User Interface appearance favoured. To make Windows 8 apply the best settings for appearance, do the following steps.

  1. Press Windows + X key to get a context menu as shown below:
  1. Click on System to open the System dialog.
  2. Now click on Advanced System Settings icon to open System Properties dialog.
  3. Select ‘Advanced’ tab and then click on Settings icon under Performance option.

5.Under Visual Effects icon, click on third option (Adjust for Best Appearance) from the four options

6.Finally click on OK to close.

Prashant Sharma is a Delhi based Entrepreneur who spent most of his college days polishing his marketing skills and went for his first business venture at 19. Having tasted failure in his entrepreneurial debut, he turned a Tech-enthusiast, specializing in web technologies later. Join him on Google Plus

Last Updated on February 12, 2017 by admin 3 Comments

In Windows 8, the Start screen is a hallowed place. It’s what you see when you login to your user account, and it’s a place where you see information you really care about. A number of free tools have been released over the past couple of months to customize the Start screen and fine tune its behavior.

Of all the tools available to fine tune the Start screen, Start Menu Modifier is the only tool available to reduce the Start screen size and open Start screen within the desktop area. The developer of Start Menu Modifier has updated the program to v1.2 and it now lets you show the Taskbar in the Start screen.

As you know, by default, the Start screen covers the full area of the screen and doesn’t show the taskbar. One needs to switch to the desktop mode to access the taskbar. With the help of Start Menu Modifier one can now configure the Start screen to show the taskbar and also access the taskbar right from the Start screen.

Download Start Menu Modifier latest version (link available at the end of this article), extract the zip file, run the tool, select the position as Fill screen, show taskbar and click Apply button. That’s it! Press the Windows logo key to switch to the Start screen and also see the taskbar.

Please note that you might need to run the tool again after each reboot. To automatically launch Start Menu Modifier with Windows, enable the option named Run at Windows startup option that appears at the lower-left bottom of the Start Menu Modifier.

Start Menu Modifier is compatible with 32 and 64-bit Windows 8 systems. To revert to the original Start screen settings, run the Start Menu Modifier again and set the position as Default (full height).

Windows 8 has a new ‘Start’ screen (also referred to as Metro UI). If you ever want to access the traditional Windows desktop, you need to click on/tap a tile at this Start screen which takes you to the desktop. Whenever turning on or booting Windows 8, Windows 8 opens the Start screen automatically, forcing you to manually click on the desktop tile if you want to access that. If you are sick of this behavior and would like to force Windows 8 to automatically go to the desktop upon boot, you can do that. This guide shows you how.

Update: If anyone doesn’t want to go through the registry tweaks shown below, you can download Classic Shell which not only adds a Start Menu to Windows 8 but also makes Windows 8 skip the Start/Metro screen and go automatically to Windows 8 desktop on boot.

How To Skip Start Screen And Go To Windows 8 Desktop

To boot past Windows 8’s Start screen and go directly to Windows 8 desktop, you need to make a simple registry tweak. Do the following:

  • While in Windows 8 (desktop or Start screen, it doesn’t matter), open regedit. If you don’t know how to run regedit, read dotTech’s How to run Register Editor in Windows 8 guide.
  • When you have regedit open, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\Current Version\Winlogin:
  • At the Winlogon registry folder, look for the registry entry named Shell, right-click it, and hit modify:
  • Once you right-click Shell and hit modify, a dialog box will pop open. In that box, there will be a Value data field which will say explorer.exe. Change explorer.exe to “explorer.exe /select,explorer.exe” (without the quotes) and hit OK:
  • Close Registry Editor.
  • Done! Restart your computer (click here to learn how to restart Windows 8, if you don’t know how) and upon boot you should see Start screen appear for a split second after which you are taken to Windows 8 desktop automatically:

Take note if on boot the libraries window is open on your desktop (as shown in the above screenshot), that is not a bug. This is how it is supposed to work.


While this tip doesn’t solve all of Windows 8 woes, it does help. Not having to manually click to Windows 8 desktop may be a huge time saver but it does remove an annoyance.

[October 17, 2013: Instructions and screenshots updated for official release of Windows 8.1]

In unveiling Windows 8.1 earlier this year, Microsoft executives said, “We’re listening to feedback.” That’s a polite way of saying they were trying to avoid being splattered by a barrage of rotten tomatoes.

Read this

  • The Metro hater’s guide to Windows 8.1
  • What’s new in Windows 8.1
  • Windows 8.1 is here: Can it win over skeptical PC buyers?
  • Microsoft starts rolling out Windows 8.1

Some of the most vocal complaints—sorry, feedback—came from longtime Windows users who wanted the good parts of Windows 8 without sacrificing the familiar Windows 7 desktop. Responding to that complaint was the impetus behind Microsoft’s decision to restore the Start button in Windows 8.1 to its traditional place at the left side of the taskbar.

The good news: Windows 8.1 has all the user-interface pieces you need to bring the desktop to the foreground and make the Start screen recede far, far into the background.

The bad news: Windows 8.1 doesn’t have a magic “make Metro go away” button. Desktop diehards will need to spend a couple minutes (really, that’s all the time it takes) to tweak Windows 8.1 into submission.

Here’s what you need to do to make Windows 8.1 as desktop-friendly as possible. Note that all of the features I describe here are new or significantly changed in Windows 8.1 compared to Windows 8.

Step 1: Uninstall unwanted apps.

Your focus is on desktop apps. You have no desire to use any of the 20-plus built-in Metro apps and no plans to download any from the Windows Store. To reduce the chance that you will inadvertently launch one of the built-in apps, uninstall as many as you can. Windows 8.1 allows you to uninstall all of those apps in one operation; that’s a big improvement over Windows 8, which made you uninstall each app separately. (Note that you have the option to uninstall from a single machine or from all your synced devices.)

Step 2: Adjust the look of the Start screen.

Windows 8.1 includes an option that allows the Start screen to share the same background as the desktop. Personally, I find that setting somewhat distracting, so I leave it off. Instead, I recommend removing the pattern and adjusting the background color to something neutral. This dialog box isn’t in PC Settings, where you might expect it. Instead, you have to go to the Start screen, click the Settings charm, and then click Personalize. Note the background with no pattern is in the bottom row, second from the right.

Step 3: Tweak the Start screen settings to suit your preferences.

Right-click any empty space on the taskbar and click Properties. That opens up the familiar-looking Taskbar And Navigation Properties dialog box, with a Navigation tab that’s new to Windows 8.1. Options here allow you to bypass the Start screen at sign-in, show the All Apps screen when you click or tap Start, and disable the two hot corners at the top of the screen.

Step 4: Arrange the Apps screen.

You’ll probably want to avoid the Start screen completely, but you can’t avoid an occasional visit to the Apps view. It replaces the All Programs menu with a full-screen list, organized into groups. You have several sorting and grouping options in Windows 8.1 that aren’t available in Windows 8. To get to Apps view, go to Start by clicking the Start button or tapping the Windows key; then either swipe up from the bottom of the screen or move the mouse until a small down arrow appears in the lower left corner, which you can click to see your full list of apps.

Step 5: Pin your favorite desktop programs to the taskbar.

This is actually one thing Windows 8.1 does better than Windows 7. From the Apps view you can select as many desktop programs as you want and then click Pin to Taskbar from the command bar at the bottom of the screen.

Step 6: Set your default apps.

This is a step a lot of people overlook. By default, Windows 8 sets several common file types to open with Metro-style apps. Windows 8.1 follows in that tradition. You can use the awkward and confusing Default Programs option in the desktop Control Panel. But it’s much, much easier to use the new Defaults option, which you’ll find in PC Settings under Search & Apps.

Don’t forget to change your default browser here. If you use Chrome or Firefox, the desktop version of your preferred browser becomes the default. If you use Internet Explorer, be sure to visit the Internet Options dialog box using the desktop interface. On the Programs tab, under Opening Internet Explorer, choose Always In Internet Explorer On The Desktop, and also check the box beneath that setting (Open Internet Explorer tiles on the desktop).

There, you’re done.

That was probably more complicated than it needs to be, but the end result should be a system that is far more tolerant of your desktop habits, with far less Metro style.

By Dave Johnson

April 24, 2014 / 8:14 AM / MoneyWatch

Under its new leadership, Microsoft (MSFT) has been busy re-engineering Windows 8.1 to appeal to its vast base of customers who weren’t quite ready for a revolutionary operating system. The Windows team has been re-inserting the Star button, one-click shutdown, boot-to-desktop and a host of other features designed to make Windows 8 more like Windows 7, as well as friendlier to mouse and keyboard.

Microsoft is also planning to return the Start Menu to the Windows desktop. And to better integrate modern and classic experiences, Metro apps will eventually appear on the desktop in their own windows. What we don’t know is when that will happen. It might be in a Windows 8 update that’s right around the corner, or a year or two away in Windows 9. That’s OK — you don’t need to wait for Microsoft. You can get both of those features today for just a few dollars.

In fact, the Start menu is available for free. Classic Shell is a favorite among Windows 8 users who have reverted back to the Windows 7-style Start menu, and is an open-source option that doesn’t cost anything. It can mimic both the Windows 7 Start menu and the older Windows XP menu.

Or try Stardock’s Start8. Not only does Start8 give you a convincing simulation of the familiar Start menu, but also provides access to both desktop and modern apps. It’s more polished and easier to configure than the open source Classic Shell.

To complete the transformation and make Windows 8.1 work more like the upcoming update from Microsoft, you need a way to get your Metro apps out of isolation in the modern interface and running in windows on the desktop. For that, look no further than another Stardock app, ModernMix. It’s another $5 app that puts Windows 8 apps on the desktop, where you’re more likley to actually use them.

And that highlights the problem with the modern interface. If you’re using Windows on a desktop or a laptop, you probably spend virtually all of your time on the traditional desktop running traditional apps. Why would you leave that environment to run Metro apps far away from the desktop? Using ModernMix, you can launch a modern app, press a keyboard shortcut and have it appear in a window on the desktop (sort of like the widgets that Microsoft tried to introduce in Windows Vista). Best of all, the modern apps inherit a title bar with app controls (minimize, restore, close and so on), just like a “real” program.

Of course, you can wait and get these features in a future version of Windows. Or, for $5 or $10, you can get them today.

Updated @ 7:45am. A build of Windows 8.1 Update 1 has leaked onto various file sharing websites. The build is a couple of weeks older than the one we covered in the story below, but most of the major changes are there (booting straight to the desktop, the menu bar on Metro apps to make them more mouse-and-keyboard friendly).

The latest build of Windows 8.1 Update 1 has leaked, revealing many of the changes that Microsoft hopes will make Metro less painful for desktop users. The biggest change appears to be that Windows 8.1 Update 1 will boot straight to the Desktop interface by default, reducing Metro to its rightful role as a full-screen Start menu. This, of course, would be a complete 180 from the original release of Windows 8, which defaulted to the Metro interface and lacked an easy way to see the Desktop after logging in.

Other notable changes in the leaked build of Windows 8.1 Update 1 are the addition of a power button to the Metro interface (no longer must you swipe in from the right-hand side!), and the option to “minimize” Metro apps, strongly hinting that Metro apps will be usable on the Desktop. (One of the screenshots shows the Windows Store icon on the taskbar, too.) Apparently, if you have a Windows tablet that’s smaller than 8.5 inches, the power button won’t be present, preventing you from accidentally turning your tablet off.

Windows 8.1 Update 1, showing a Metro app with a new title bar at the top, probably for use on the Desktop.

New UI scaling options in Windows 8.1 Update 1

It appears Microsoft might finally be tackling Windows 8’s issues with high-resolution displays, too. Windows 8 and 8.1 are rather limited in their support for high-resolution (150+ PPI) displays, offering a slider with just three UI scaling options. Update 1 will now include three new scaling options: 200%, 250%, and Custom (up to 500%). This should mean that your Lenovo, Dell, and Samsung laptops with 3200×1800 displays will now actually be usable. This change should also help if you have a 24- or 28-inch 4K display (32-inch displays are generally okay due to their lower PPI).

But let’s get back to the main point at hand: If Windows 8.1 Update 1 really does boot to the Desktop by default, we’re talking about a huge change of direction for Microsoft. Despite massive pushback from consumers over the Metro interface, Microsoft has remained steadfast. If we’re brutally honest, we actually agree that popularizing the Metro interface is vital for Microsoft’s future, and that he Desktop’s days are numbered — but forcing mouse and keyboard users to use the Metro interface was just plain stupid. It would have required almost no effort on Microsoft’s behalf to make the Desktop UI the default for non-touchscreen devices.

Windows 8.1 Update 1 Desktop, showing the build string, and a Metro app on the toolbar

For what it’s worth, it seems the boot-to-Desktop-by-default feature is only present for some people who have installed the leaked version of Update 1. We wouldn’t be surprised if this change doesn’t make it into the final build — it really would be Microsoft’s ultimate admission of defeat. We should also note that, despite early rumors, there’s still no evidence that the old Start menu will make a reappearance. (Read: How to bring back the Start menu and button to Windows 8.)

This leak, like many other Windows leaks, come from the Russian website WZor. The full build string, in case you’re wondering, is 9600.16606.WINBLUES14_GDR_LEAN.140126-2042, and it was compiled on January 26. Windows 8.1 Update 1 is a service and feature pack combo that’s scheduled to arrive in March, ahead of Microsoft’s Build conference in April (where we might hear about the next update, Windows 9).

The duel between Metro and desktop editions of IE10 can be tamed, says Microsoft

Senior Reporter, Computerworld |

Windows 8 users will be able to set which version of Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) automatically opens Web pages when links are clicked, Microsoft said Monday.

The new operating system features dual and dueling editions of IE10, one for the traditional desktop and another designed specifically for the touch-first, tile-based Metro user interface (UI).

By default, links clicked in the Metro environment open in that UI’s IE10, while links clicked from within a program running on the desktop render in the conventional browser.

The two browsers rely on the same engine, but they’re not twins by any stretch.

Metro IE10 does not support plug-ins like Adobe’s Flash Player or those built for the long-established ActiveX standard. IE10 on the desktop is next in Microsoft’s line of traditional browsers, and does support plug-ins and ActiveX controls.

IE10 on Metro presents pages only in a full-screen view, sacrifices visible tabs and eschews on-screen tools, while its kin features standard browser elements such as multiple windows and on-screen tabs.

Users can override the default to force all pages to open in one of the two IE10s, said Kevin Luu, an IE program manger, in a post to the team’s blog on Monday.

From the desktop browser, users can set their link-opening preference by selecting Internet Options under the Tools menu, then choosing “Always in Internet Explorer” to make the Metro app the default or “Always in Internet Explorer on the desktop” for the traditional browser.

Another option lets users decide whether to open IE tiles — the one for the Metro browser as well as those representing sites that have been “pinned” to the Metro interface — using the desktop version.

Microsoft noted one caveat: The link-opening option only appears if IE10 is the default browser. That will come into play when other browser makers release Windows 8 editions that work in Metro and on the desktop. So far, Mozilla and Google have announced they will revamp Firefox and Chrome for the new OS. Neither company has revealed a release schedule, however.

Luu’s explanation of IE10’s options didn’t collect many kudos. As has become the norm whenever Microsoft blogs about Windows 8, the criticism focused on its sparring interfaces.

“Why not just have 1 browser with two user interfaces instead of two browsers with two user interfaces?” asked a user identified only as “ok” in a comment to Luu’s blog.

Another commenter was more pessimistic about Metro’s chances, but because of that, happy that Microsoft offered a choice.

“When the Metro misadventure finally crashes, burns, and gets scrapped by order of the suddenly-conscious upper management, I’ll be glad this option was available,” said “game kid” late Monday. “Thank you for adding it.”

This setting lets Windows 8 users force all links to open in the desktop edition of IE10.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, or subscribe to Gregg’s RSS feed . His e-mail address is [email protected]

Senior Reporter Gregg Keizer covers Windows, Office, Apple/enterprise, web browsers and web apps for Computerworld.

Windows 8 introduced some new and innovative ways to use the Start screen in lieu of the traditional Start Menu. However, they failed to gives users the tools to create, modify and tweak the lives tiles the Start screen uses. There are many tools out there to create custom live tiles, and OblyTile is one of the best of the bunch.

Why create custom live tiles?

You can create a shortcut to a document you use frequently which makes it easier to open rather than digging through folders to find it. You can create a shortcut to your download folder instead of navigating to it through the desktop. You can also create your own program shortcuts that Windows 8 does not recognize as a live tile. Creating your own live tiles adds functionality to the Start screen and gives you access to documents, folders and programs Windows 8 does not give you on its own.

How to use OblyTile in Windows 8

1. Download OblyTile. You will not need to install OblyTile to use it.

2. Open OblyTile.

3. Click the “Wrench” in the top right corner.

This will open the settings. The settings for OblyTile are fairly straightforward. You can choose whether or not OblyTile opens automatically when you start Windows 8. This is not necessary to use the live tiles you have created with it. You can choose to show a live tile preview whether or not new tiles use random colors and can choose whether the tiles you create will be used for all users or specific ones.

4. From the main screen of OblyTile, you can begin creating a live tile by naming it.

5. You can choose what type of live tile it will be by clicking the “…” icon.

It can be a live tile that opens a file, folder or even a URL. For this example, we will create a live tile that opens a website.

Under Program Path, we will type in the URL of the web site we want the live tile to open.

If you are choosing to open a document or a program, you will navigate to that document or program path to create its live tile.

6. Pick the Tile Image. Click the “…” icon next to that.

7. Select an image to represent your live tile.

OblyTile can only make small live tiles, so the best image size to use will be 120 x 120. You can use a larger image, but it will not make for the best live tile on the Start screen. At the moment you can only create small live tiles with OblyTile.

8. Pick the tile background color and title text color. You can do this by selecting a color or choosing “More colors” and entering in a HEX color code.

9. Choose the settings for your live tile.

You can opt to run the live tile as an administrator. If you are opening a program, this can be helpful because it will give you full access to everything it has to offer. Other choices include only opening a single instance of the program and hiding the program and going back to the start after opening a live tile. Depending on the type of live tile you want to create, these features can come in handy.

10. Click “Create tile” when you are ready to create your custom live tile.

11. Heading back to your Start Screen, you will see your newly created live tile ready for you to use.

12. Back in OblyTile, click the “Folder” icon.

This will open the Manager for OblyTile which is where the information on all your created live tiles will be. You can click on any of the live tiles to edit or remove them.

OblyTile lets you quickly and easily create custom live tiles in Windows 8. What type of live tiles will you create with OblyTile in Windows 8?

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In advance of next month’s Build conference, Microsoft today provided a “first look” at Windows 8.1, which includes the return of the start button.

In advance of next month’s Build conference, Microsoft today provided a “first look” at Windows 8.1, which includes the return of the start button.

With Windows 8.1, the first major update to Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system, the start button will appear whenever you move your mouse to the bottom right of the screen in tiled (or “Metro”) mode and will persist on the taskbar when in desktop mode.

To make it more easily recognizable, Microsoft will replace the Start “tip” that appears on Windows 8 with the familiar Windows logo.

“There are also options to change what the corners do, and options to boot into alternate screens,” Microsoft said in a blog post (Opens in a new window) . “For example, if you prefer to see the Apps view versus all the tiles, you can choose to have the Start screen go directly to Apps view.”

Redmond said the move is intended to make Windows 8 a less frustrating experience for those who don’t have touch-based PCs. Windows 8 was designed for touch, “but we also recognize there are many non-touch devices in use today – especially in the commercial setting,” Microsoft said.

What else is on tap for Windows 8.1 (previously known as Windows Blue)? Microsoft promised more personalization, including the option to turn your lock screen into a slideshow of stored photos, as well as choose from more colors and backgrounds. You can also take photos from the Start screen without having to log in.

Windows 8.1 will allow users to change the size of the tiles on the Start screen and make it easier to rename them. New apps also won’t automatically be pinned to the Start screen; users can pick and choose which ones they want to live on that screen via “apps view.” Microsoft also said that people were accidentally moving tiles around, so going forward, users will have to press and hold (or right click) to move them.

Search, meanwhile, will pull from a variety of sources, including the Web, apps, files, SkyDrive, and actions you can take.

In Windows 8.1, files can be saved directly to SkyDrive, allowing for access to files on the computer and in the cloud, online and offline.

On the apps front, “we will be improving all our built-in apps that come with Windows 8 for Windows 8.1,” Microsoft said. The Photos app includes new editing features, and the Music app got a complete makeover, for example.

Just as you can adjust tile size, meanwhile, Microsoft will also provide more customization when it comes to app size in Windows 8.1.

“You can resize apps to any size you want, share the screen between two apps, or have up to three apps on each screen if you have . multiple displays connected, you can have different Windows Store apps running on all the displays at the same time and the Start Screen can stay open on one monitor,” Microsoft said. “This makes multi-tasking even easier. Also in Windows 8.1, you can have multiple windows of the same app snapped together – such as two Internet Explorer windows.”

Redmond also promised more detailed app information in the Windows Store.

Speaking of IE, Microsoft said Windows 8.1 will include the release of Internet Explorer 11. “IE11 will offer even better touch performance, faster page load times and several other new features we think you will enjoy,” Microsoft said. “For example, you can now adjust the appearance of modern IE11 to always show the address bar and you can have as many open tabs as you like. And you can access your open tabs in sync across your other Windows 8.1 devices.”

If you can’t wait until Windows 8.1, check out PCMag’s How to Get the Start Menu Back in Windows 8. Also check out our full review of Windows 8 and a primer on Windows 8.1.

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The Photos app tile in Windows 8 cycles through your pictures by default. However, many users will have images that they do not want displayed on the Metro screen. Likewise, the rapidly changing tile can be distracting. By following these steps, you can set an image for the Photo applications’s tile.

In Windows 8 the Live tile feature helps users track the changes inside the Metro apps. While most of the Live tiles can not be changed, the Live tile of the Photos app can be modified by users to display their favorite image.

1. Open the Photos Metro app. You can launch it from the Start screen, or you can search and launch it from the Search result page.

2. From the Photos app screen, choose the album that contains the picture that you want to set as the Live tile.

3. When the photo album is open, click on the photo you want. You will then be taken to the photo view mode.

4. While in the Photo view mode, right-click on the picture. A menu will pop up at the bottom of the screen. Choose Set as app tile.

5. Switch back to the Start screen. The Photos app’s live tile will be changed immediately.

6. If you can not see the change, make sure the Live tile mode of the Photo tile is turned on. You can check this by right-clicking on the tile and see if the Live tile option is on or not.

When not creating exciting new Android games, Lê Hoàng is here crafting tutorials, tweaks, and fixes for your enjoyment.

Here’s how to make Windows 8 easier by pinning Start screen items to the traditional desktop. A handy tip for using the two Windows 8 environments.

Update: Microsoft is no longer providing mainstream support for Windows 8 or 8.1. Here is what the company says:

Windows 8.1 reached the end of Mainstream Support on January 9, 2018, and will reach end of Extended Support on January 10, 2023. With the general availability of Windows 8.1, customers on Windows 8 had until January 12, 2016, to move to Windows 8.1 to remain supported.

One of the biggest challenges Windows 8 users will have is learning to navigate between the Windows 8 (metro) Start screen and the traditional desktop. Microsoft makes it easier by letting you pin items from the desktop to the Start screen and vice versa.

Pin a Program from Windows 8 Start Screen to Desktop Taskbar

If you install Microsoft Office 2013, the program shortcuts will appear on the Start screen. To get the icons on the desktop, right-click the program’s Start menu icon. A checkmark will appear in the upper right corner of the icon.

At the same time, a menu bar comes up at the bottom of the screen—click Pin to Taskbar.

Now click the Desktop icon or hit the Windows key on your keyboard. You’ll see the program you just selected pinned on the Taskbar. The Taskbar works the same as it did in Windows 7, so you can move the icons around how you like.

One annoyance about this is you can’t select multiple icons at once and pin them. Instead, you have to do them individually. I hope to see an update to the OS to add that functionality, but it is now one at a time.

To go the other way, check out my article on how to pin desktop items to the Windows 8 Start screen.

Microsoft today confirmed with TechCrunch that it has made the desktop Start Screen tile non-default in Windows RT 8.1. You can return the tile to the Start Screen in any size if you wish. It also exists in the “all app view” that is new to Windows 8.1, if you don’t want it on your Start Screen at all.

Yesterday I noted that the change greatly de-emphasizes the desktop in Windows RT. This matters, as it indicates that Microsoft may be moving to an all Modern Metro future for Windows RT. Currently, the only applications you can run in desktop mode in Windows RT (any version) are Office and Internet Explorer.

Internet Explorer already has a Metro version, and Office apps are in the process of being Metro-fied. So, quickly, Microsoft will have built Metro versions of all apps that were previously desktop-dependent. This leaves the desktop with all but no raison d’être in Windows RT. In fact, aside from deep-settings work and Task Manager, it really would have essentially no use-case.

So Windows RT, starting with Windows RT 8.1, is moving away from having a bicameral Windows experience it seems, and is instead rapidly changing its form to that of a Metro-only operating system. We’re still a ways off from that, but I think the direction is plain.

Will Microsoft fully kill desktop in Windows RT? That I doubt. But it can be buried so deeply as to be, for all real purposes, over.

Here’s a Microsoft spokesperson explaining the company’s reason for the change the standard Start Screen:

“The only desktop apps without modern versions which run on RT are the Office apps: Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. In order to streamline access to them, we pinned those apps directly to the first page of Start. Clicking any of these takes you directly to that Desktop app. You can also bring up the switch list from the left edge if you have a Desktop app open and click Desktop to get back to the Desktop. If you want a Desktop tile (ala Windows RT 8.0), you can go to All Apps, and the Desktop tile is in the list of apps there. Simply right-click, or press-and-hold (with touch), and you can pin it to the main Start screen and make it as large as you want.”

For the sake of doing my job, I did go through the steps, and what Microsoft describes does work.

Will consumers give a damn that the desktop is exiting stage Windows RT? This is what I call the Microsoft Defense. It goes something like this: “Yeah, Alex, but you aren’t a normal consumer. They really won’t mind or notice at all! We have telemetry data to back this up!”

Maybe, but I think that consumers have very, very deep connections to the vanilla desktop experience of Windows. For many, it’s the only computing environment that they know. It will take quite a bit of time in Metro to get them mentally crossed over, I’d wager. Perhaps that is why Microsoft is de-emphasizing the desktop by degrees.

For now, all you need to know is that if you buy a Surface 2, expect to add back your damn desktop tile.

Unlike Windows 8, which forces you to see the Start screen every time your computer is booted up, Windows 8.1 has the option to jump directly to the traditional desktop.

In my opinion, the Start screen in Windows 8 is mostly suitable for touch screen users. Much to Microsoft’s disappointment, traditional desktop users have rejected this new interface. Previously, whenever the computer starts, I would have to manually navigate to the desktop. Third-party software in Windows 8.0 could solve the problem; however, with Windows 8.1, users can finally boot directly to the desktop.

1. First, go to your Desktop. If you are in the Start screen, click on the Desktop tile to access it. If you do not have this tile pinned, press the Win key will help.

2. Once you are in the Desktop screen, right-click on the task bar then choose Properties. If the task bar is hidden, move your mouse to the bottom of the screen to make it appear.

3. When the Taskbar and Navigation properties window pops up, switch to the Navigation tab.

4. In the Navigation tab, under Start screen section, activate the Go to the desktop instead of Start when I sign in option. Enabling this option will let you skip the start screen when the computer boots up.

5. The change requires you to reboot the computer to see the effect. You do not need to reboot the pc after the change though.

6. To re-enable showing the start screen at start, go back to the same section and uncheck the Go to the desktop instead of Start when I sign in option.

When not creating exciting new Android games, Lê Hoàng is here crafting tutorials, tweaks, and fixes for your enjoyment.

Brad Sams Senior News Editor Neowin @bdsams · Oct 14, 2013 10:16 EDT · Hot! with 34 comments

Windows 8.1 brings with it many new features that will help consumers make the transition from an older version of Windows, to Microsoft’s latest offering. While the out-of-the-box settings are a great start for most users, there are several customization options you can utilize to help make the OS more in-tune with your preferences.


One of the best features and something that is a bit baffling it wasn’t included with Windows 8, is the ability to use the same wallpaper in the Start screen as your desktop. This simple addition makes the transition from the desktop to the Start screen a bit less jarring on the eyeballs.

To sync the desktop background to the Start screen, open the Charms bar, click settings, personalize, then click the wallpaper in the bottom right corner and that will sync the wallpapers.

In the same personalization windows, you can change the background color of headings. This will change the color of the header bars in the personalization panel as well as other context areas where this color is utilized. The accent color is straightforward, adjusting this color will alter the accent color across the UI.

Arranging your Start Screen:

Windows 8.1 introduces new tile sizes that allow for further customization. By pulling up the context menu in the Start screen (right mouse click or long press on a tablet on an icon or swipe up from the bottom) the context bar will appear that allows you to adjust several settings for each live tile including unpinning from the Start screen, uninstalling the application, resizing the tile and turning off the live tile stream.

If your favorite app does not appear on the Start screen, click or tap the down arrow on the Start screen to pull up ‘All Apps’ and then right mouse click (or tap and hold) to bring up the context menu on the app you want to add to the Start screen and then select ‘Pin to Start’.

Naming a tile group:

One way to keep your Start screen organized is to name a group of icons. To do this, right mouse click on the wallpaper of the Start screen and click ‘Customize’ in the bottom right hand corner in the context bar that slides up. After doing so, there will be a gray bar area where you can type above the live tiles the name of the group (it could be a different color if you have changed your personalization settings). Once you name the group, hit Enter, and then click back on to the Start screen and your section has been named.

Manipulating multiple tiles at once:

At some point, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to remove multiple tiles at once and doing them one-by-one can be a tedious job if you have many tiles to remove.

To remove multiple tiles in one sweep, right-mouse click on the tile (or long press to pull up the customization option) that you want to remove and you will see a gray checkmark in the top right corner. Begin tapping on all the tiles you want to adjust or remove and once selected, choose the appropriate option from the context bar at the bottom of the screen.

All Apps Sorting:

The ‘All Apps’ section of the Start screen is also configurable too. While the options are not as robust as the Start screen, you can sort all of your apps across a couple of metrics. To sort, head to the ‘All Apps’ section by clicking the down arrow on the Start screen and then to sort, click next on ‘by name’ and then select the field to sort your apps. It’s a simple trick but does easily highlight which applications you do use most frequently.

Have any other customization tips for the Start screen? If so, share them below. You can also check out our Microsoft forum for other helpful tips on Setup and other tips & tricks.