You’ll have to wait a year for the real thing, but in the meantime, if you want a dash of Windows 8, here’s a little sustenance for you. A way to give your browser the tiled Windows 8 Metro UI look. Of course, this tip won’t give you the full Windows 8 tile functionality—it won’t update the current weather or stock prices in tiles, but if you crave the Metro look, it’s a start. Krupa offers the customization under the MIT license, which means it’s free to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell, as long as the copyright info stays intact.

To start your move toward a Windows 8 look, you first need to download the zipped folder contents used by the start page. You can get it from this DeviantArt download page. Next, just unzip all the contents of the download archive to a folder under your My Computer folder, say to Downloads/Win8Start.

Next, copy the full pathname by clicking in the Windows Explorer address bar: on my PC, this was


Paste this into your browser’s address bar (or, as Mozilla likes to call it, Firefox’s Awesome bar), adding index.htm to the end of the pasted path, like


For Firefox, unless you want to customize the tiles, all that’s left to do is to set this address as your home page.

With Internet Explorer, you need to perform one more step, unless you want to see just a bunch of blank colored tiles. You need to open Internet Options from the browser’s gear icon at top right, then choose “Internet options.” On the resulting dialog’s Advanced tab, scroll down to the Security section, find the “Allow active content to run in files on My Computer” option, and check its box.Windows 8 Browser Trick But we must warn you that making this change is at your own risk: It does remove one layer of browser protection, and you’ll still get a yellow “Allow blocked content?” prompt at the bottom of the window when you load this page. I can’t find a way to enable the capability in Google’s Chrome browser.


Customize Your Tiles
You probably want to put your own links in here, rather than Krupa’s default ones. To do this you must create image file of the same dimensions as the provided ones and enter their filenames in the Thumbs directory that was created when you unzipped the download. For a more realistic Windows 8 experience, I changed the large Google tile to a Bing tile. To do this, I grabbed the Bing logo from Microsoft’s Press site.

I resized it according to the tile pattern used in the start page, in this case, to 440×215 pixels, and saved it to the Thumbs directory in my Win8Start folder. Next, I need to associate the image with the tile and change its link. You do this in the source.xml file found in the Win8Start folder. You can right-click on this and choose Edit to open it in Notepad. I changed this:


to this:


If you want to keep the original color patterns, you need to create transparent images, but you don’t have to do this for the tiles to show up. If you switch your browser to full-screen view by hitting F11 after maximizing its windows, you’ll get an even more Widows 8-like look.