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Change the Default Number of Rows of Tiles on the Windows 8 UI (Metro) Screen

00_lead_image_start_screen

By default, Windows 8 automatically sets the number of rows of tiles to fit your screen, depending on your monitor size and resolution. However, you can tell Windows 8 to display a certain number of rows of tiles at all times, despite the screen resolution.

To do this, we will make a change to the registry. If you are not already on the Desktop, click the Desktop tile on the Start screen.

NOTE: Before making changes to the registry, be sure you back it up. We also recommend creating a restore point you can use to restore your system if something goes wrong.

01_clicking_desktop_tile

Move your mouse pointer to the extreme, lower, left corner of your screen until the Start screen “button” displays and and right-click on it.

02_start_screen_button

The Win+X menu displays. Select Run from the menu.

03_opening_run_dialog

On the Run dialog box, enter “regedit” (without the quotes) in the Open edit box and click OK.

04_entering_regedit_on_run_dialog

If the User Account Control dialog box displays, click Yes to continue.

NOTE: You may not see this dialog box, depending on your User Account Control settings.

05_uac_dialog_for_regedit

Navigate to the following key in the left pane.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ImmersiveShell\Grid

Look for the Layout_MaximumRowCount value in the list on the right. It’s most likely not there. If not, select New | DWORD (32-bit) Value from the Edit menu to create a new value.

06_creating_new_dword_value

A new value is created and the text for it highlighted. Rename the value “Layout_MaximumRowCount” (without the quotes).

07_renaming_new_dword_value

Double-click on the new value to edit it.

08_double_clicking_new_value

On the Edit DWORD (32-bit) Value dialog box, select Decimal as the Base and enter the desired number of rows in the Value data edit box. We changed our value to three. The maximum number of rows is five. Click OK.

09_changing_maximum_row_count

Close the Registry Editor by selecting Exit from the File menu.

10_closing_registry_editor

You must log out and log back in for this change to take effect. To log out, go back to the Start screen using the Start screen button described earlier. Click on your username tile and select Sign out from the drop-down menu.

11_signing_out

You are brought back to the time and date screen. Click on this screen.

12_time_date_screen

Enter your password when prompted.

13_password_screen

The number of rows of tiles has changed to three on our Start screen, even though more rows will fit, as shown earlier in this article.

14_three_rows_of_tiles

To go back to the default of letting Windows decide how many rows of tiles to display, simply delete the Layout_MaximumRowCount key you added to the registry. The number of rows of tiles will be adjusted automatically, depending on your screen resolution and size.

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 08/31/12

Comments (9)

  1. Patrick

    Nice tutorial, guys.

  2. Jrau18

    Aw yeah, was waiting for something like this.

  3. Miwaku

    Doesn’t work if your screen size/res won’t allow it. I have a 10″ Acer Iconia W500 tablet that only accepts three rows no matter what. Oh well.

  4. kizo2703

    I already have HKCU Layout_AvailableHeightCells and HKCU Layout_MaximumAvailableHeightCells and both numbers are 6.

    I’ve changed it, but when I logoff and log back on, nothing is changed and numbers are 6 again.
    So, it won’t work, at least by me.

    Screen resolution is 1920 x 1080.

  5. George

    What is your lock screen background called?

  6. Fiddle

    @George
    It’s called Seattle and is one of the lock screens available in Windows 8 RTM.

  7. George

    @Fiddle
    Thanks :-)

  8. Abhishek

    Didn’t work on my laptop running Windows 8 RTM with resolution 1366×768. I tried increase the number of rows from 4 to 5. Nothing happened after logoff/login or restart.

  9. James

    Heumm.. you know you can simply show the setting pane in the Start Screen (Win+C, select Settings) and then go under Tiles. The option is there. If the option is not there, then your resolution isn’t large enough to have more tile rows.

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