Microsoft has restored the Start button with Windows 8.1 update. While the Start button in Windows 8.1 takes you to the Start screen instead of Start menu and the new Start button isn’t what users were looking for, nevertheless it greatly enhances the look of the taskbar and desktop.
A click on the Start button reveals the enhanced Start screen, which now lets you set your current desktop background as Start screen background among other features. Right-clicking on the Start button brings up a small menu (power user menu) to quickly access various tools and options, including shut down, restart, hibernate, sleep, and sign out.
In our previous posts, we have discussed how to remove the Start button from Windows 8.1 taskbar with the help of third-party tools to reclaim some space. However, users who find the new Start button helpful might want to change the default Start button with a custom one.
Windows 8.1 RTM users who would like the change the default white Windows logo will be happy to know that a new tool has been released to replace the default Start button picture with your desired picture.
Windows 8.1 Start Button Changer is a free tool (from the developer behind the popular Window 7 Start Button Changer) designed to easily change the Start button without having to manually edit system files.
Changing Start button with this tool is extremely simple. Download and then extract the zip file to get Windows 8.1 Start Button Changer executable. Double-click on the executable file and click Yes for the UAC prompt to run this tool as administrator.
Note that Windows 8.1 SmartScreen might show “Windows SmartScreen prevented an unrecognized app from starting. Running this app might put your PC at risk” warning upon launching this tool. Simply click More info button and then click Run Anyway button to launch Windows 8.1 Start Screen Changer.
Once the tool is launched, click Change button to browse to the picture file that you wish to use as Start button and then click Open button to automatically resize the picture before setting it as Start button. Start Button Changer will automatically restart Windows Explorer (File Explorer) to apply the new picture as Start button.
By default, when you click the Change button and open a picture file, Start Button Changer only changes the default Start button picture (the white Windows logo) and not the one that appears when you hover the mouse button on it. In order to change the Start button picture that appears when you hover and click, right-click on the Change button, select Change Mask Image, and then open a picture file.
Note that the picture file that you wish to use as Start button must be in PNG, JPEG or GIF format. Use the Restore button to quickly restore the original Windows 8.1 Start button.
Windows 8.1 Start Button Changer is compatible with both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 8.1. That also means that you can’t run this tool on Windows RT 8.1. Overall, a fantastic tool to begin customizing Windows 8.1 taskbar.