How to Add a Background to the Start Screen in Windows 8.1

When Windows 8 first debuted, the operating system received a ton of criticism for the things it did. Complaints included the replacement of the Start Menu with the Start Screen and a new design that was meant to focus Windows app development inside the new Start Screen as opposed to desktop applications. It also received a ton of criticism for what it didn’t allow users to do, a huge one being Start Screen personalization. Thankfully with Windows 8.1, users can now mold the Start Screen to match their tastes, even with a picture. Here’s how to add a background to the Start Screen in Windows 8.1

Go to the Start Screen.

How to Add a Background to the Start Screen in Windows 8 (1)

Press the Windows Key to open the Desktop. You can also open the Desktop with the Desktop Live Tile.

How to Add a Background to the Start Screen in Windows 8 (7)

Right click on any empty area of the Windows Taskbar. It’s the small translucent bar that runs along the bottom of the screen.

From the pop-up menu select Properties.

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How to Add a Background to the Start Screen in Windows 8 (2)

Inside the Taskbar and Navigation properties click Navigation. It’s the tab second from the left inside the properties Window.

How to Add a Background to the Start Screen in Windows 8 (4)

In the area labeled Star Screen inside of the Navigation properties, click the check box next to Show my desktop background on Start. Then click Ok.

How to Add a Background to the Start Screen in Windows 8 (5)

Going forward, any desktop background you choose will automatically become the background of the Start Screen. As the Start Screen automatically puts a shaded gradient over top any backgrounds, even bright sunsets will still look amazing behind Windows 8.1’s sea of Live Tiles.

How to Add a Background to the Start Screen in Windows 8 (6)

Since your Start Screen background is now directly tied to your Desktop backgrounds, it’ll change whenever the Desktop background changes. Using multiple Desktop backgrounds also enables backgrounds that change automatically on the Start Screen as well.

Each background will also sync to other Windows devices you own, as long as you’ve also signed into both devices with your Microsoft Account.

That includes anything running Windows 8.1 or Windows RT, like Microsoft’s Surface 2. Windows 8.1 is a free update available to all users who have Windows 8. You can download it from the Windows Store.

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