Personalize your PC

Windows 8, Windows RT

All about the Start screen

Just like you had a Start menu in Windows 7, you have a Start screen in Windows 8 and Windows RT. It has all of your apps, files, and folders in one place — just start typing to find what you want. Or you can glance at the tiles to get the latest headlines, real-time updates, and info.

How to get to Start

Here are the quickest ways to get to the Start screen:

Swipe in from the right edge and tap Start With touch, swipe in from the right edge of your screen, and then tap Start.
Move your pointer to the upper-right, move it down, then click Start With a mouse, move your pointer to the upper-right or lower-right corner, and then move it up or down and click Start. (Or, point to the lower-left corner, and click Start when it appears.)
You can also press the Windows logo key Windows logo key on a keyboard.

Create tiles for your favorite people and places

A tile is an app or content (like a website, contact, or folder) that you can open from the Start screen. So if you have a website that you visit every day or people that you chat with all the time, you might want to create tiles for them on Start (this is also called pinning) so you can get to them quickly.

When you come across a website, contact, or folder that you want to pin to Start, here's how:

  • To pin a website, open a browser, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer, and go to the website you want to pin. Then swipe down from the top or right-click to open the Address bar. On the Address bar, tap or click Pin site Pin site, and then tap or click Pin to Start. Enter a name or short description, and then tap or click Pin to Start. The tile is added at the far side of Start.
  • To pin a contact or page you use often, open the app you want to use, such as the People app, and select the item you want to pin to Start. Then tap or click Pin to Start. Enter a name or short description, and then tap or click Pin to Start. The tile is added at the far side of Start.

  • To pin a folder, open it in File Explorer, press and hold or right-click it, and then tap or click Pin to Start.

Pin or unpin apps

Some apps that are installed on your PC might not be pinned to Start. But you can always pin them if you want them there. On the Start screen, open the Search charm, select the app you want to pin to open its commands, and then tap or click Pin to Start.

And if there are apps you don't use, you can unpin them from Start. On the Start screen, select an app to open its commands, and then tap or click Unpin from Start. If you unpin an app, it's still installed on your PC, so you can always find it again with the Search charm.

Rearrange and resize tiles

To move a tile, drag it up or down, and then drag it anywhere you want it. (You don't need to press and hold.) You can arrange the tiles any way you want. Put similar tiles together, group all your favorites, or create a "Work" group for the apps for your job.

Here's how to name a group of tiles:

  • Touch the Start screen with two or more fingers, and then pinch them toward each other to zoom out. (If you're using a mouse, click the Zoom button The Zoom button.)
  • Select the group of tiles you want to name, and then tap or click Name Group.

If a tile isn't fitting in the spot you want, you can make it larger or smaller. Just select the tile on the Start screen to open the app commands, and then tap or click Larger or Smaller. (Some tiles can't be resized.)

Change the picture and color

You can change the background picture and color of your Start screen to make it feel a little more personal. The background shows up only on Start, but the color you pick shows up in a few other places too, like the charms and the sign-in screen.

Here's how to change the background and color:

  • Open the Settings charm, and then tap or click Change PC settings.

  • Tap or click Personalize, then tap or click Start screen and pick the background and color you want.

See more

Check the Personalization & Ease of Access section of Support for solutions.

Get an app from the Windows Store, and install it on up to five PCs.

See new ways to use a mouse and keyboard in Windows.

Learn the key touch interactions to use in Windows.