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Windows 8 : Customizing the Start Screen (part 5) - Adding Shutdown and Restart Tiles to the Start Screen, Customizing the Start Screen Background

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4/18/2014 2:18:53 AM

Adding Shutdown and Restart Tiles to the Start Screen

While the Start screen does offer a few productivity improvements—at-a-glance info with live tiles, one-click app launching, as-you-type searching—there are a few tasks that are maddeningly (and, in our view, unnecessarily) inefficient. We’re thinking in particular of shutting down and restarting your PC. To perform these tasks using a mouse, you must display the Charms menu, click Settings to open the Start settings pane, click Power, and then click Shut Down or Restart. Yes, you can always go directly to the Settings pane by pressing Windows Logo+I, but then you have to switch back to the mouse to continue. It’s just inefficient either way.

If you want to apply the one-click ease of a Start screen tile to shutting down and restarting your PC, we’ll show you how you can do just that. The basic idea is to create shortcut files that perform the shut down and restart tasks, and then pin those shortcuts to the Start screen.

So let’s begin with the steps required to create the shortcuts:

1. Click the Desktop tile (or press Windows Logo+D) to display the desktop.

2. Right-click the desktop and then select New, Shortcut. The Create Shortcut dialog box appears.

3. Type shutdown /s /t 0. This command shuts down your PC. Note that the last character in the command is the number zero.

4. Click Next. Windows 8 prompts you to name the shortcut.

5. Type the name you want to use. The name you type is the name that will appear on the Start screen.

6. Click Finish.

7. For the restart shortcut, repeat steps 2–6, except in step 3 type shutdown /r /t 0 (again, the last character is a zero).

To help differentiate between these two shortcut files, follow these steps to apply a different icon to each file:

1. Right-click a shortcut and then click Properties. The shortcut’s Properties dialog box appears.

2. Click Change Icon. Windows 8 warns you that the shutdown command contains no icons.

3. Click OK. The Change Icon dialog box appears.

4. Click the icon you want to use and then click OK to close the Change Icon dialog box.


Tip

Although the Shell32.dll file contains plenty of shortcut icons, you can also try two other files:

%SystemRoot%\system32\pifmgr.dll

%SystemRoot\explorer.exe

Press Enter after you type each location to see the icons.


5. Click OK to close the Properties dialog box.

6. Repeat steps 1–5 to apply a new icon to the other shortcut file.

Finally, pin the shortcuts to the Start screen by right-clicking each shortcut and then clicking Click Pin to Start.

Customizing the Start Screen Background

If you’re coming to Windows 8 from an earlier version of Windows, you’re probably familiar with the desktop background (or wallpaper, as we old-timers still sometimes call it), particularly the fact that you can create a custom desktop background using an image from your Pictures library. This remains a quick way to give your PC a personal look and feel (because you can still customize the background used by the Desktop app).

Alas, that bit of eye candy isn’t available for the Windows 8 Start screen, which offers no mechanism for applying a custom photo or other image as its background. All you can do is tweak the color scheme, as follows:

1. Display the Charms menu and then click Settings to display the Settings pane. (You can also press Windows Logo+I.)

2. Click Change PC Settings. The PC Settings app appears.

3. Click Personalize.

4. Click Start Screen. The PC Settings app displays the Start Screen tab, as shown in Figure 7.

Image

Figure 7. Use the Start Screen tab to customize the background pattern and color scheme.

5. Click the background pattern you want to use (see Figure 7). Windows 8 applies the new pattern.

6. Click the color scheme you want to use. Windows 8 applies the new colors.


 Tip

A faster (if slightly unintuitive) method for getting to the Start Screen tab is to click your user account tile, click Change Account Picture, and then click Start Screen.

 
Others
 
- Windows 8 : Customizing the Start Screen (part 4) - Pinning a Website to the Start Screen,Displaying the Administrative Tools on the Start Screen
- Windows 8 : Customizing the Start Screen (part 3) - Turning Off a Live Tile, Pinning a Program to the Start Screen
- Windows 8 : Customizing the Start Screen (part 2) - Creating an App Group
- Windows 8 : Customizing the Start Screen (part 1) - Resizing a Tile, Moving a Tile
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- Windows 8 : Creating and using Hyper-V virtual machines (part 2) - Creating a new virtual machine
- Windows 8 : Creating and using Hyper-V virtual machines (part 1) - Planning your virtual machines
- Learning about Hyper-V for Windows 8 (part 3) - What you need to know to succeed
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