Arranging the blasted Start screen in Windows 8

So far I am pretty comfortable with Windows 8.  I truly do like the look, feel and performance, but this goes down in the “Good luck with this one” file.  I understand that we only have the “Consumer Preview” flavor of Windows 8; hopefully there will be some added functionality to organizing the Start screen tiles.  Maybe I am just not seeing it but being a left handed Virgo; organization in a logical fashion needs to happen for me.

The start screen, as far as I can see, is organized in groups of tiles.  The tiles can be moved by pressing and holding (with mouse or touch) any of the outer edges of the tile, then dragging to a new location.  This is all well and good, until you run into the “snap” feature.  When you drag a tile and let go, it will snap into some invisible grid that is on the start screen.  Most of the time this is fine.

About Tiles:

Tiles are single (square) and double tile size.  It appears that we are at the mercy of the application as to what size tile is place at the start screen when we install the application.  What I have seen so far is that all the legacy apps that I install are single tile size. I have found how to rename them, but have not found a way to choose between single or double tile size.

About Groups:

It seems that there are set group sizes (in columns wide) on the Windows 8 Start screen.  You can mix and match but a tile group can be (in columns):

  • (2) Single or (1) double tiles
  • (3) Single or (1) single tiles and (1) double tile.
  • (4) Single, (2) double tiles, or (2) single and (1) double.

Create a New Tile Group

So far I am ok with this.  To create a new group is simple.  Drag a tile to the right until you see a divider bar (outlined in red in the screen cap below) then let go to the right of the divider.  Boom, a new tile group is created.


Arrange the Tiles

Now the fun begins… If you have all single tiles then there is no problem.  The tiles just snap in place where you let go.  If you have a mix of double and single tiles in a group, well good luck on your journey.  As we drag and let go snap takes over.  In the screen cap below; If I drag a tile (three column group) from the upper right column and place it in the middle of the group…it snaps where I let go, but the bottom tile in the second column is force to the top of the third column.  What if I didn’t want that one there?  Well I have no choice…It just happens.

The way to work with these tile groups is to remember is there can be no gaps in the rows of a column.  Columns are filled top left and down then to the next column.  When you drop a tile in a column, everything under it will be moved down and the last tile will be moved to the top of the next column.  It is almost puzzle like getting your application tiles in the order and layout that you want.


With a little patience it does become easier.  Good luck, and with a little practice you will organizing your start screen in no time Smile.  Well…something like that as your results will vary.


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