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Besides not offering a way to bypass the new Windows 8 Start screen (not without the help of third-party utilities), surprisingly Microsoft is also limiting your options when it comes to customizing its appearance. You can choose from a couple color schemes and 10 stock background images, but that's about it. We've seen some workarounds before but they are cumbersome and the results are less than optimal.
Enter Decor8. Stardock’s Windows 8 customization app removes this limitation by giving users the ability to pick any picture they want as the Start screen background.
Although every product deserves healthy criticism, many opinions of Windows 8 seem to be based on misconceptions, especially when it comes to the viability of Metro as a Start menu replacement. For the record, I don't care if you skip the update -- hell, I might pass on it too -- nor do I care if it's the most failtastic operating system in Windows' 26-year history.
However, I believe your opinion should be formed by facts, not irrational rhetoric parroted online by so-called power users and companies that want to sell you third-party programs. The truth is, functionally speaking, Metro is basically identical to the Start menu.
I've been running the Windows 8 Consumer Preview for a few months and although I'm okay with Metro replacing the Start Menu, I hate seeing the new interface by default every time I reboot. When Windows 7 starts, you hit a login screen (assuming it's enabled) and then you're brought straight to the desktop.
When Windows 8 starts, it displays a lock screen that you have to move out of the way before entering your credentials, and then you have to dismiss the Metro interface before accessing the desktop. Like I said, I'm cool with Metro, but I have no desire to see a full-screen Start Menu when I log into my PC.
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