Windows 8 ModernUI Start Screen Changer

key review info
application features
  • Add custom background image
  • (3 more, see all...)

The list of choices for customizing the Start screen in Windows 8 may be enough for some users, but those accustomed to be in control of every aspect of the operating system will seek the means to make some changes and have their way.

ModernUI Start Screen Changer is designed specifically for Windows 8, and its name is enough of a hint about what you can do with it: add your own image as background.

The choices offered by Microsoft for changing the background for the modern UI in Windows 8 are plenty, but giving the OS a personal touch sounds more appealing. And this is exactly what this tool promises.

It is far from being complicated if you have all the resources and, more importantly, it is absolutely free of charge. However, at the moment, it is still in beta stage of development, so glitches are likely to occur.

A patching utility in essence, Windows 8 ModernUI Start Screen Changer does not require installation and provides a simple interface that holds all the options and settings.

In order to start the application you have to assign it the EXE extension instead of the “EX_” given by the developer.

The upper part of the screen shows the default themes for the modern UI. These can be accessed straight from the Personalization menu of the PC Settings in Windows 8 as well. Also available is a preview area that is activated as soon as you click on a thumbnail; but this works only with Micorosft’s backgrounds.

You have to know from the start that the program is limited to holding only one custom image. Also, it does no come with backgrounds of its own, so you have to create them yourself. It is not a difficult task if you know how to handle an image editor and have a clue about colors and resolutions.

The settings area is available in the lower part of the interface. Since it modifies a Microsoft file, the patcher offers the possibility to create a backup first, and lets you restore it whenever you want.

The copy is stored in Windows system folder, over which the application takes complete ownership, and is called “imageres.bkp”. It is not deleted from this location even if you remove the screen changer. If the “Make a Backup” button is greyed out, this means that the backup file is already in place.

The specifics provided by the developer are simple: create four images sized 102x102 (icon), 2000x400 (small), 3000x600 (medium) and 3500x800 (large), make sure they are 72 DPI and have 256 colors, and load them up; these are necessary because the background is made of multiple pictures.

After this, it is all a matter of patching up “imageres.dll” file, which holds the default start screen images in Windows.

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A few seconds are necessary for the changes to be made and during this time a command line window appears showing the actions that have been taken as well as the result of the operation when complete.

Windows 8 ModernUI Start Screen Changer does not require a computer reboot to apply the changes, but it will restart Windows Explorer.

Although the large and medium sized images are listed in the application window as being optional, during our testing the customized background was not applied unless we provided them.

The fact that you do not get to preview the way the images combine could make things a bit tougher, because the elements you may want to be visible may not fit perfectly in the screen. As such, more time is lost making the necessary adjustments.

In the end, applying the image and customizing the start screen in the exact way you want could be a trial and error job for most users.

The Good

No installation is required to run Windows 8 ModernUI Start Screen Changer. It offers the possibility to back up the file that holds the original background images as well as to restore them.

Rebooting the system to apply the changes is not necessary because the application automatically restarts Windows Explorer to complete the job.

The Bad

The developer does not include any background image in the package. The application can store only one custom image and the user has to provide the custom resources in order to personalize the modern UI.

The Truth

Working with Windows 8 ModernUI Start Screen Changer is not a difficult task. It simply patches the file holding the original images and adds the custom one provided by the user.

However, having the resource pictures all trimmed up according to specifications is a must, and this does not make the program suitable for beginner users.

Note: Windows 8 ModernUI Start Screen Changer is currently in beta stage of development, hence a project in progress. As such, our rating will remain set to the default three stars until the stable version is evaluated.
user interface 3
features 3
ease of use 3
pricing / value 3

final rating 3
Editor's review
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