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Nov 7, 2011

Leaked Windows 8 Pre-Beta Screenshots Reveal New Customization Capabilities

Windows 8 Beta will deliver a more complete core user experience than the Developer Preview releases, which was focused on developers, and new leaked screenshots of a post-Build 8102 development milestone seem to confirm this. 

When it made available the first public preview of Windows 8, Microsoft stressed that there was still a lot of work to be done on the operating system.

In particular, the company pointed out that Windows 8 Beta would bring to the table new features, capabilities, options, etc. on top of what was introduced with the Developer Preview.

The two screenshots, included bellow, courtesy of Winunleaked, depict new customization functionality in a post-Milestone 3 release of Windows 8, as the software giant makes its way to the first Beta of the OS.

Essentially, options have now been added to the Metro style Control Panel to let early adopters personalize the colors of the Windows 8 Start Screen.

Testers running Windows 8 Developer Preview Build 8102 M3 know by now that they’re pretty much stuck with the green color scheme on the Start Screen, which cannot be changed using this particular version release.

It appears that colors can be changed by editing the following registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Accent.

Users need to alter the value of ColorSet »=dword:00000000, to a number such as 1 or 2, and so on, and the color set of the Start Screen will be modified accordingly.

Additional enhancements over the Windows 8 Developer Preview are related to options to further customize the Start Screen, by grouping Tiles in specific clusters, using semantic zoom to get an overall view of all items available, as well as new search functionality.

In all fairness, Microsoft noted on a few occasions that it would introduce these improvements in Windows 8 Beta, wrapping up the now still incomplete core user experience.

Additional enhancements also include the re-introduction of Windows Media Center for example, which is also missing from the Developer Preview, but that will be in Windows 8 Beta.

There’s no specific release date for Windows 8 Beta as of yet, but speculation points out that Microsoft might launch the new development milestone in early January 2012, although it would sign it off sometime by the end of 2011.

Windows 8 Developer Preview Build 8102 Milestone 3 (M3) is available for download here.


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