Windows 8 Metro Mode Won’t Allow You To Choose Your Own Background Image

Windows 8 Metro mode won’t allow you to choose your own background image. This is not surprising at all since we are used to it from Windows Phone design style. According to an interview with Tech Radar, Windows 8 director of communications Chris Flores pointed out that

“Not only would a photo not stretch and scale as you add more tiles and groups and zoom in and out of the Start screen, it would also be covered up so much by the tiles that you’d never see it.”

But Windows 8 will provide a theme picker page as seen in the image above where you can choose between 8 different styles and colors. Improving from the developer preview, Windows 8 now includes more options to navigate and use Metro mode using mouse and key board. One such example is the new semantic zoom option which will allow you to move or rename groups of tiles. You can now activate semantic zoom mode by clicking an icon at the bottom right corner.

You can read more about the changes and improvements here at TechRadar.

  • Anonymous

    As long as they allow me to create my own pattern file for a “theme” im more than ok with that

  • Emi Cyberschreiber

    hmmm this is not news! come on xD everyone should know it wasnt allowed for now, maybe later… but canouna showed it and said it was only about colors, not about the background picture.

    i have a guild wars one. which looks nice, but i dont know how many pictures would actually look good. it doesn’t seem a bad decision, and people will hack if someone wants a custom image. colors its more important and im happy about that since hacking dlls to get the black i had, it was boring.

    and i almost dont see my awesome background in my start screen. not like i will look at it so much anyways. because its covered by tiles.

    i cant wait to try consumer preview or beta or whatever! it sounds amazing

  • neek

    that’s a lousy excuse. At least give the option to: if people find that they hate it, they’ll go back to the themes. All you’d have to do is tell people what resolution and there will be wallpapers made!

    • Anonymous

      Agree. People like to personalize their workspace. The first thing many people do on their new computer is change their wallpaper. If photo doesn’t fit, system can tile the image. Microsoft is overthinking this.  

      • Anonymous

        They’ve got a picture for the lock screen.  Plus there’s picture password, as well as Livetiles.

        This doesn’t mean there won’t ever be a background to Windows Again, necessarily.  Just think of it.  Millions of people switching to Metro and if they could pick a background they wouldn’t know that backgrounds aren’t the same as they are used to, resulting in a bunch of really dysfunctional backgrounds that look awful.  

        • Anonymous

          On Windows Phone, random images are used as backgrounds in the Picture and Music hubs. Backgrounds look fine even when covered with tiles and text. In any case, taking *basic* features away from a customer for purely subjective, aesthetic reasons is not good. 

          • Jon Gurney

            Apple disagrees :)

          • Anonymous

            The millions of iPhone users who want a “back” button agree with me. 😉

          • WixosTrix

            It’s too bad that the background will no longer have that customization, but they explained why the decided to do it and they offer new ways to show off photo backgrounds in places that aren’t traditional for Windows devices.  On the lock screen and tiles, for example.

            Also things like how the background changes as you navigate through the Marketplace and Zune player offer a pleasant experience too.

          • Anonymous

            To me, the background images with tiles and text made the screens look like a nice magazine layout.

        • Meekermoloko

          How long do people look at lock screens?  Not that long.

          They could easily repeat an image on the background.  Let the user decide what to do with it.  They say that we’d never see the background with the tiles.  What if we spread the tiles apart?  It’s not like I’d want a picture of my car or dog … but perhaps I want some musical notes or a tiled logo that I design or just a specific color that I choose.

          When it comes down to it, it is a minor issue … but it’s something that takes away from us being able to personalize.  When Microsoft has to keep defending themselves about the decision, perhaps they should rethink it.

          I’m already getting bored with metro since it’s now more difficult to see what you’re looking for in the Xbox 360 update.  Bunch of squares with ads is what I see … but at least it has more background choices.

          • WixosTrix

            The world isn’t ending. Improvements will be made. Let them try to deliver a well designed product. If something critical was broken upon release no one would care that the background is customizable. 

          • Shaper

            Lock Screen is for me when i walk away from my pc and not seeing it therefor … for my part, not beeing able to customize my backgrounds (Start screen) is a kill criterion not to use Win8 at all… i am not willing to use one of the 19 given Backgrounds!
            Would be nice if they change it soon else it will say with Win7 at least for the not touchable devices….
            and also it would be nice to change the way how the tiles are sorted 😮

  • Anonymous

    I dont like that at all and Im one of the biggest supporters of Metro. This isnt a small 4″ phone screen we’re talking about here…this is WINDOWS! It makes sense to keep WP’s home screen black so that the content (Tiles) pop out more/better, but on a 10-60″ screen I dont see why they wouldnt allow this. I simply dont want a solid color as my Metro backdrop and their are plenty of wallpapers that would work. Not all wallpapers are about focusing your attention to the center of the screen…if MS can pull this off with Xbox, why not Windows? Its this kind of limitness that causes some to go with another OS…let me decide if I want a custom wallpaper or not…dont do that for me. Windows is all about customizing it…keep that aspect of it. I dont understand why they couldnt just put the wallpaper up on the screen as usual and just pan the tiles…the backdrop doesnt need to pan at all. I challange anyone to take a look at these pics and give me a good reason why it wouldnt work well with Metro?

  • Christoffer Lundberg

    Simple.. do not scroll the background. This was a bad excuse.

  • Regan Anderson

    Something to keep in mind is that they’re talking about the background of your start screen, not your desktop. At most, this really only affects ARM, and only if they get rid of the normal desktop on those systems. Think of it like changing the aero window colors. Not something you really mess with most of the time. It’s an accent color, not the main feature.

  • Anonymous

    No way I want my PC my way..MS keeps pushing people away little at a time.

  • Anonymous

    That sucks! And it’s a silly crappy excuse!

  • Anonymous

    obvious, as the zoom would reveal the pixels if zoomed at a high level…as for the colour picker, its good !!

  • Modean2525

    I disagree with this choice. I have a number of panoramas that are more than wide enough to have scroll correctly. Put up theme packs with wide images for us to download. That’s not a hard concept.

  • Jason Kohlhoff

    I agree with Microsoft.  The content (Live Tiles) take the front seat, and the design (Background Image) takes the back seat in the Metro design langauge.

    Also – It’s a fracking beta, people, so unknot your panties.  This Personalize screen didn’t even exist in the Developer Preview, and will likely change some more before RTM. 

  • Anonymous

    Hopefully, this decision of theirs will change in the future. 

  • Anonymous

    Why would it have to stretch? Ever hear of tile?

    • Emi Cyberschreiber

      ehmm it DOES that… but it looks bad when it happens….

      i like my guild wars 2 start screen picture and even though its not really visible, its better than green default background (for me). and honestly… i use tiles and group them enough not to see the background tiling, because its annoying and it doesn’t look right.
      and obviously stretching would “fix” that since there would be no tiling… but the larger your start screen the more pixelated the picture would be…

  • Mcovington777

    I bet that by the time the consumer preview/ Beta is releaced enough people will change Microsofts oppinion… Or they may even give options to create your own panorama or download themes and whatnot. this is just one pinch of news and I will remain optimistic until proven otherwise.

  • Anonymous

    what does this allow you to do
    soon no more screensavers ether
    i think it is a cool looking os but some of us allso need our own custom look
    a simple background image of my family i wood love to have
    it give me the look at my where i have the best time

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