Stardock Decor8: personalize the Windows 8 start screen

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 8, 2012
Software, Windows, Windows 8

Microsoft for whatever reason has decided to limit the customization options of Windows 8's start screen to a handful of layouts and colors you can switch to. If you have been used to selecting your own wallpapers and color schemes, you may be disappointed by the selection that is being made available to you.

We recently reviewed a free program to customize the Windows 8 start screen, and while it worked well at what it was supposed to do, it was rather complicated to use, at least for users who do not know their way around image editors.

Stardock's latest application Decor8 offers a similar functionality as the free program. Its biggest advantage over the other program is that it is easier to use as it automatically picks up background images from Windows' standard background folder automatically. You can furthermore add custom folders to the application to pick a photo or image stored in another folder on the computer.

Good news is that there is no need to change the resolution or size of the background image before you make it the new start screen background. The operation is as easy as selecting a new wallpaper for the traditional desktop.

A click on an image displays it and its suggested color scheme as a thumbnail on the screen. Here you can also modify how larger or smaller images should be handled by the program. You get the usual fill, fit, tile and center options that you also get when you change a background on the classic desktop.

It is interesting to note that you can select multiple background images for your start screen, and if you do, select how often you want the wallpaper images to be shuffled on the system. To select multiple images hold down the Ctrl-key while you click on the images.

Images are shuffled every 30 minutes by default, but you can modify the interval to a time between every 10 seconds, once a week or on every login.

Decor8 improves upon the available color schemes as well. You still got the option to select a standard Windows 8 color scheme, but can as easily switch to a custom color scheme to select different colors that the standard color schemes do not make available at all.

custom windows 8 color schemes

The options menu makes available another batch of features:

  • Change the number of tiles on the start screen up to the maximum that is hard coded into Windows
  • Stop or reduce the parallax scrolling effect. This effect moves the background while you scroll, but at a slower speed than the foreground.
  • Whether the color scheme should be applied only to the start screen, or also to the Charms Bar.

Decor8 is currently available as a beta version. It will be available for the same price that Stardock's Start8 is available, which is $4.99.

The program adds another option to Windows 8 that Microsoft seems to have forgotten to implement. The price seems a bit high for the program on its own, considering that it does not add as much value to the operating system than a start menu does. It would be nice if Stardock would make available a 2 for 1 promotion of sorts so that interested Windows 8 users can get both applications for the price of one.


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Anonymous said on March 9, 2023 at 1:52 pm

    Does it come back after every “moment” update?

  2. Baloney said on March 9, 2023 at 2:23 pm

    Yeah right.. Like this is going to stop defender from running =) This is comedy gold right here.

  3. Anonymous said on March 9, 2023 at 3:25 pm

    no ‘about the author’ paragraph?

  4. Gregory said on March 9, 2023 at 4:19 pm

    For permanent disable defender is if removed complete from system no just change permission folder.

    Just this is joke.

  5. moi said on March 9, 2023 at 5:57 pm

    simpler, load Autoruns (SysInternals)
    – filter “Defender”
    – untag all entries
    – reboot
    nothing has changed since my 1st modification years ago

  6. John G. said on March 9, 2023 at 6:32 pm

    I wouldn’t disable Defender imho, it has too many hidden roots inside Windows itself. One time I tried to uninstall it using brute force scripts and then the Onedrive feature stopped working definitely. A reinstallation was needed and since those times I prefer to maintain Defender untouched. It’s a better method to install another antivirus and it will disable Defender in a safer and easier mode (e.g., Avast is the best in this way, and also Panda Cloud Free is good too).

    1. Tweakmaster said on September 29, 2023 at 9:57 am

      U are just * [Editor: removed] thats the problem ;p first of all u shall always debloat windows u shall have max 65 services with your drivers for pc and windows own servs. You didnt know what that script did

  7. boris said on March 10, 2023 at 12:19 am

    You can not stop defender from running in background or remove it without some penalty. All you can do is to limit telemetry.

    1. TelV said on March 10, 2023 at 4:52 pm


      It’s probably Smartscreen which is preventing WD from being disabled. Get rid of that and the problem should be solved:

  8. hoho said on March 10, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    Remove Windows and go for Linux.

    1. basingstoke said on March 10, 2023 at 2:51 pm

      Linux sucks dude. Besides it’s not comparable to Windows, these OSes are in different classes entirely.

      1. Derp said on March 10, 2023 at 4:36 pm

        I use Linux as my daily driver. It’s far more stable than Windows. When’s the last time you used Linux, 2010?

      2. Bromosexual said on March 11, 2023 at 2:04 am


        You’re right, dude. Bro, linux is just a bunch of code that starts before the OS, dude. Brobrodude, that shit ain’t even got emojis, dudebrodudeman! Dudebro, it’s no way near as cool as Windows with its hardcoded abilities to make money off the user, bro. Yo brodude man, you’re the coolest dude ever man, bro. Dude.

      3. basingstoke said on August 16, 2023 at 7:20 pm

        Lol what? Windows 7 doesn’t come with any Emojis

  9. TelV said on March 10, 2023 at 4:46 pm

    Download Autoruns and remove the checkmark from Windows Defender. It doesn’t remove it, but it will never run.

  10. Simon said on March 10, 2023 at 8:37 pm

    Just use “Defender Control”:

    Per this video,
    it also works on Windows 11 too…

  11. Someone said on March 10, 2023 at 9:26 pm

    Win Defender, is completly the most succesful free-built in antivirus of Microsoft. Really nice product. Saved my ass a lot of times. Has updated malware database, completly strong defence
    from whatever smart screen disables. Or if you want better and more upgrated (paid) program,
    you can go further. But defender is always on your side.

  12. CalixtoWVR1 said on March 10, 2023 at 10:03 pm

    Why would one disable Windows (or Microsoft) Defender in the first place?. I consider this to be playing with fire big time. Everybody knows that if one is using another A-V, Defender will be disabled on its own and won’t be in one’s way.

  13. Ed D said on March 10, 2023 at 11:09 pm

    Why would I want to disable Windows Defender in the first place? It’s a great anti virus in my opinion. Been using it since Windows 8 and and never had a problem or a virus. Why mess with a good thing, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

  14. owl said on August 17, 2023 at 1:57 am

    How a ridiculous article!
    I am thoroughly stunned.

    Why Should You Disable First-Party Windows Defender?
    I can only think that it is “malice or perversely intention (want you to buy a third-party AV where you can expect a back margin)” to guide invalidation without showing the premise.
    No sane company will use third-party closed source programs (such as AV).

    As I thought, “Ghacks Technology News” seems to be coming to downfall.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.