How to use a custom image for Windows 8’s start page background

If you had the chance to play around with the final version of Windows 8, you may have noticed that Microsoft has limited backgrounds of the start page of the system to images that it is making available. The feature lacks customization options, especially an option to use your own custom background image for the space instead of the – rather colorful – backgrounds that Microsoft is making available. Unfortunately though, there is no built-in option to do that in Windows 8.

Enter ModernBack Changer, a third party program that is fully compatible with the latest version of the Windows 8 operating system. Just download the program from the developer website to your local system, extract the contents of the zip file and run it afterwards with administrative privileges. It is likely that you see a SmartScreen Filter protection prompt. Here you need to click on more info to run the program on the system.

change start screen background windows 8

The program displays all available backgrounds in its interface. To switch to one of Microsoft’s backgrounds, simply click on one to do so. Changes take effect immediately without restart or the need to log off first.

The selection of standard wallpapers for the start page is not that spectacular, as it is merely a copy of built-in functionality. You can however click on the customize button to select a custom image for the background. A file browser opens that lets you select an image from your drive. Keep in mind that images are automatically converted into 8-bit images, which means that high resolution imagery may not be the best option to select for the background.

The program walks you through the process. Once you have selected the image you are asked to pick the part of it that you want to use as your background image. You move the red rectangle around by holding down the right mouse button. Just follow the process from here to apply the new background image.

Please note that the program is modifying core Windows files in the process which can cause all kinds of errors and issues. I suggest you create a system restore point and backup first before you use the program to modify the start page screen.

You can download the program from the author’s Italian homepage.

The latest version of the program seems to have a bug in which the custom image is not displayed in the program interface after creation. You can follow the instructions on this blog post to resolve the issue.

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