Windows 8 inherits many of the customization options that were available in Windows 7 in its desktop mode. Downloaded the Windows 8 Release Preview, and install it on any computer capable of running Windows 7.
1. Lock Screen Picture
The first thing you see when you power up your Windows 8 PC or tablet is the lock screen. This is a familiar concept for smartphone users, but it’s a new one for PCs. To get to this option, simply choose the Settings charm from the Start screen, Change PC settings, Personalize, and then Lock screen.
2. Lock Screen Apps
The lock screen indicates battery level and the date and time, and also can display useful information such as the number of email messages awaiting you, the current weather, and calendar appointments and reminders. You can also specify an app that will display detailed status on the lock screen.
3. Start Screen Color and Tattoos
With Release Preview, Windows 8 offers 25 different color combinations for your Start screen. Your color choice also affects the charms, your tattoo choice, and the Windows logo also.
You have 20 tattoos to choose from, with some sporting flowers, planets, gears, guitars, or creatures. To get to this option, simply choose the Settings charm from the Start screen, Change PC settings, Personalize, and then Start screen.
4. Tile Sizes
The Windows 8 Start screen has some of the app tiles which are twice as wide as others. You can change the tile size. Just right-click on a tile, to display the tile options. If the tile is the larger size, you’ll see a “Smaller” button, and vice versa for a large tile. Other choices here include unpinning the tile from the start menu, uninstalling the app, and turning off its live updates.
5. Grouping and Rearranging Tiles
There are plenty of ways to arrange your Start screen tiles. Simply click and drag a tile to change its position on the screen. For more global changes, you can pinch to zoom out (or Ctrl-mouse wheel), making your whole screen shrink, with all tiles on multiple screens visible. From this view, you can move and even name groups of tiles.
6. Account Picture
In Windows 8, your user picture is always starting up at you from your login screen and from the top-right of the start screen. To have a good pic, from the PC Settings/Personalize page’s Account picture tab, you can either shoot a photo from the PC’s built-in webcam, or choose any image file in a folder on the PC.
7. Customize Your Default Apps
Microsoft’s operating system comes with several new-style apps, which you can modify to your own needs and interests. Four in particular lend themselves to customization—News, Finance, Sports, and Weather . You get to the customizations by right clicking on the program’s running screen. With any of these apps, you can pin a particular set of content to the Start screen, rather than just the general app.
Windows 8 features new “toast” notifications that appear temporarily at top-right when an app or the system has a message for you. From the Settings Charm, choose Change PC settings, then Notifications. From this settings page, you can turn on and off notifications from every app capable of sending them, or turn all off at once. You can also mute the notification sound if you prefer.
9. Desktop background
A fair portion of the desktop customizations that existed under Windows 7 remain in Windows 8′s desktop mode. You can change the background , color, sounds, and screensaver. There are still Themes, including some with live-updated RSS themes. What’s new are that your theme choices here can be synced with any other Windows 8 PC you log into.
10. Taskbar Options
To customize the Windows 8 desktop taskbar, right click on the taskbar, and choose Properties. Nearly all of the old reliable Windows 7 options are still available. You can change its position from the bottom to the top or either side, auto-hide it, change to small buttons, and uncombined a program’s windows. You can even add toolbars to the taskbar for addresses, links, the touch keyboard, or for Desktop, which gives access to not only any desktop icons, but also Libraries, My Computer, Control Panel, and more.