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Organize Tiles into Groups on the Metro Start Screen in Windows 8

00_lead_image_metro_groups

If you download a lot of apps from the Windows 8 Store, install your own programs, and pin those programs to the Metro Start screen, the screen can become a mess. However, you can group tiles on the Metro Start screen and label those groups.

After installing software, here’s what our Metro screen looks like. It’s a jumble of programs, and as we install more programs, it’ll only get worse. The tiles seem to be in two groups, but not necessarily how we would organize them.

01_programs_on_metro_screen

To move a tile into a new group, drag the tile to an empty space between the current groups until you see a gray bar. Release the mouse button to drop the tile into its own group. Move additional tiles into the group by dragging them onto the current tiles in the group.

02_moving_a_tile

Once you have rearranged your tiles into groups, you can name the groups. To do this, click the minus sign button in the lower, right corner of the Metro screen.

03_click_minus_sign

The view of the Metro screen zooms out, allowing you to select a whole group at a time and move it or rename it. To rename a group, right-click on a group. Do not left-click on it first. That will only zoom in again. If that happens, click the minus sign button again.

04_right_click_a_group

The whole group is checked and the Name group option becomes available at the bottom of the screen. Click Name group.

05_clicking_name_group

A dialog box displays. Enter a name for the group in the edit box and click Name.

06_entering_name_of_group

The name of the group displays above the group, even in the zoomed out view.

While zoomed out on the tiles, you can move groups to different locations, if desired. We decided to move our groups to the left side of the Metro screen, so we don’t have to scroll to get to the tiles we use most. To move a group, left-click and hold on a group and drag it to the desired location.

07_named_groups

Click anywhere on the Metro screen to zoom in again and display the tiles full size.

08_named_groups_full_size

So, even without the Start menu, you can still organize your programs and avoid a jumbled mess.

Lori Kaufman is a freelance technical writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 08/23/12

Comments (12)

  1. r

    well, It really doesn’t matter much how things are arranged in Metro, it all just looks so boring
    It looks like it was designed for stupid people in mind

  2. Cambo

    This “fixes” what Microsoft refuses to:

    http://classicshell.sourceforge.net/

  3. Fantasm

    Hey, I have a much better idea…
    Why not have each program install into it’s own folder(s) automatically, then have a button, maybe, in the ower left corner of the screen that you can click on to bring up all the installed programs, already sorted and displayed small enough that you’re not likely going to have to scroll through a few screens…
    They could call it the “Start” Menu or “Orb” or something like that….

  4. Citrus Rain

    @Fantasm

    BRILLIANT!

    We should have it be always visible, so users can find it too!

  5. Keith

    Finally I’m seeing shots of the Start screen that I don’t dislike. For a while, it was mostly grabs of oversized tiles. And it was big rectangles and big squares. The two of them somehow clashed on-screen, especially at that steroid size.

    Also, since finding out recently that the Start screen’s background can be changed, I’m less hostile towards the whole notion of it replacing the start menu.

    First impressions of Win8/metro were UGLY, MAKE IT NOT UGLY, WHERE’S THE DESKTOP, MAKE IT NOT UGLY.

    If I go for Win8, that default Metro background color is going to be changed. Man is it going to be changed.

    This is Windows after all. I think we’ve earned the right to expect features *and* good looks.

  6. Sid

    Here is a tip for Metro haters. Go into metro and type the name of the app you want. If you can find a faster way of launching an app, without using shortcut keys, please do share.

  7. max

    That looks like a ridiculous amount of work to make the “Modern UI Style” (the UI formerly known as “Metro”) differently organized. Windows 8 is a pile of junk!

  8. Cambo

    @Sid

    It’s not about “finding a faster way”. Who cares how fast you can find an app.

    It’s all about functionality. Metro (Modern or whatever they’re calling it now) may work really well on their phones, tablets etc. However on a Desktop where people usually have multiple applications running at the same time, it’s a task switching nightmare. I will be staying far, far away.

    This is not, by any means a polished OS. It’s a Windows Phone 7 hack on a Desktop.

  9. Jon

    The worst part of all is that the “desktop mode” is a metro app that emulates the old desktop. They are clearly assuming that this will be used for legacy software only and that all new programs will be full screen. Fine on a phone or table but when you are running a 2560×1440 screen you are clearly going to want multiple (more than just two) things running at once and to be able to look at them all without alt-tab. Windows 8 is a joke.

  10. me1010

    @Jon and others
    Obviously you haven’t used Windows 8 all that much. There is no metro app that ‘emulates’ the old desktop. The old desktop is simply the old desktop. The desktop works just as it did in previous versions of Windows. The only real big difference is that the start menu is gone. In fact I find that the metro interface is far faster than the old start menu, and a whole lot less cluttered too. Do any of you remember the menus you would have to go through that would take up the whole screen just to open one program? Metro is far faster. I wish it would install programs into groups a little more intuitively rather having to manually do it every time, but that is not a serious issue. Also to all those who are mad about the full screen apps, Windows has thought about that too. Apps do not have to take up the full screen. You can drag them to the side and make them take up part of the screen rather than the whole screen. I have used Windows 8 for months now and while it may take some getting used to, it is more user friendly and better than previous versions of windows. You all may think that you are knowledgeable about windows 8, but most of what I’ve heard are the prejudices of people who hate change.

  11. wiLL

    “…prejudices of people who hate change.”

    LOL, take a pill.

  12. rangerevo8

    how to move multiple tiles to a new group at once.
    moving 20+ tiles one by one to a new group is stupid considering its a desktop.

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