Since I installed a copy of the Windows 8 Release Preview on my second desktop PC, I started to play around with some of the new features the operating system provides. Among those features is the highly controversial Metro startpage and everything that comes along with it.
The startpage basically displays a list of installed apps and file links, that either link to Metro apps which open in fullscreen, or to the computer's desktop interface.
What you may also notice here is that some tiles display updates automatically on the screen. The photos app for instance switches between photo previews, a news app may highlight some of the latest news topics, and the mail app the latest messages that you have received.
The screenshot above shows part of the Metro startpage with four live tiles enabled. The issue that you may experience, especially if you not only have four live tiles but a dozen or more, is that most tiles update in a high frequency. The news app for instance displays a new tile every few seconds, as does the photo app (despite there being only two photos to flip through).
For me, this is highly irritating, especially since there does not seem to be a way to change the update frequency of startpage live tiles in Windows 8 (there is probably a Registry switch somewhere but I have not found it yet). In the interface, you do not have an option to change a live tile's update frequency. Imagine a dozen or more live tiles switching their display every few seconds or so: stimulus satiation.
Since there is no option to change the update frequency of individual tiles, you are only left with two options at this point in time: live with it, or turn off the updating completely.
To turn off individual tiles, right-click the tile on the Metro startpage, and select the turn live tile off option on the bottom toolbar.
Once you do, it stops updating its tile contents completely.
Microsoft's own weather app shows that updates can be handled differently. It only updates once per hour on the start page with new weather information. While this won't make sense for news and other time-sensitive information, I'd suggest that Microsoft implement an option to let users change the update interval of the live tiles individually.Advertisement
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.