Windows 10 comes with a decent range of customization options. Some of these customization options are not easy to access. As well as that, some parts of Windows 10 aren’t as easily customizable, such as the Windows 10 Start Menu tiles.
Although many users prioritize custom Windows 10 Start Menu tiles, Microsoft doesn’t make it easy to personalize. There are some Start Menu tile customization options, for sure. But third-party Windows 10 Start Menu tile customization tools offer way more options.
Here’s how you create custom Start Menu tiles in Windows 10.
1. Customize Start Menu System Settings
The Windows 10 system settings contain several Start Menu live tile settings you can tweak before you opt for custom live tiles. While these aren’t custom Start Menu live tiles, you might find the tweaks you make here are what you need.
Default Windows 10 Start Menu settings are found under Start > Settings > Personalization > Start.
Some of these settings, such as Use Start full screen, are great options if you are using a Windows 10 tablet.
There is also the option to Show more icons, which increases the number of programs you can add to a row from three medium tile spaces to four.
If you’re annoyed by how often you have to open File Explorer to access your Downloads folder, click on the Choose which folders appear on Start option to add certain folders directly onto your Start Menu.
If you’d like to add tiles to your Start Menu, right-click on any program and select Pin to Start. Once a program is added to the Start Menu, you can resize the icon by right-clicking the tile selecting Resize.
Programs like weather applications downloaded through the Windows Store even have built-in live tile features. You can add Chrome applications and Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps to the Start Menu as well, along with any program located on your PC.
However, other programs, like Steam, require some additional tweaking. Read on to find out how you can add Steam live tiles to your Windows 10 Start Menu.
By default, you can also activate the fence feature in Windows 10 by dragging a tile below or above another to create a section. You can label the tile grouping in the space provided as well.
2. Create Custom Live Tiles with Better StartMenu
Better StartMenu is a popular Windows 10 Start Menu customization tool. It offers easy to use live tile customization options.
The tool comes in two parts: Better StartMenu and StartMenu Helper.
The Helper program saves the tile data, including the name, icon, and path of the program, while Better StartMenu adds the tile onto your Start Menu. You must install both to add a custom live tile to your Windows 10 Start Menu using this method.
Better StartMenu lists for $2.99. However, the trial version has no limitations. For now, download the free trial. If you enjoy the software, consider donating to the developer.
Download: Better StartMenu for Windows (Free Trial/$2.99)
You must also download the StartMenu Helper. Better StartMenu doesn’t work properly without these files.
Download: StartMenu Helper for Windows (Free)
Once the StartMenu Helper finishes downloading, right-click, and extract the file contents. Once you extract the contents of the archive, run BetterStartMenuHelper.
Create a Live Tile Icon in Better StartMenu Helper
Better StartMenu Helper is the tool you use to create a live tile icon. It helps you resize and modify an image to fit the various live tile sizes. But to create custom live tiles, you need some custom live tile icons.
The easiest way to find a large selection of free high-quality icons is through Flaticons, who provide free downloadable icon packs.
For this tutorial, I’m using Pixel Perfect’s Logos and Brands pack. You’ll have to create a free Flaticons account to complete the download. Once your download completes, extract the archive contents, then head back to Better StartMenu Helper.
Select New Tile to create a new live tile. Then, select Auto Generate all from a single image. Please note that Better StartMenu requires PNG files to create custom Start Menu live tiles.
Configure Your Custom Live Tile Icon
Now, under Other options, give your new custom live tile a name, and decide whether you want to display the title on the tile. Next, choose the live tile a custom background, or stick to a transparent background.
The Action section is where you define which program your new custom live tile opens. First, select an option from the dropdown menu. In this case, Run desktop app is what you want, but you can see the options to open a folder, file location, and so on.
Now, Select the file path of the software you want to open. Click the three-dot icon and browse to the program, select it, and press OK.
Alternatively, browse to the software in your Start Menu, then right-click and select More > Open file location. Then, right-click the application and select Properties.
You’ll find the exact file location alongside Target. You can copy and paste this file path into Better StartMenu Helper.
Underneath, you can set any specific opening parameters for the software. Only do this if you know what you’re doing.
Finally, hit Generate tile data.
Pin Your Custom Live Tile to Your Windows 10 Start Menu
You now need to open the Better StartMenu software. However, do not close the Better StartMenu Helper. Better StartMenu requires the helper to remain open to process the custom live tile links.
In the bottom right corner of Better StartMenu Helper, make sure to check Run at startup. That way, you know your custom live tiles will always work.
After you open Better StartMenu, you should spot your custom live tile. Select the custom live tile, then in the third column, hit Pin select tile to Start Menu.
Confirm that you want to add the live tile, and you’re good to go.
3 Better StartMenu Alternatives
There are three alternatives to Better StartMenu, some with different qualities. The biggest pro that most alternatives have is allowing custom live tile links to work without a secondary background program.
Here are three Better StartMenu alternatives:
- Pin More: build large custom live tile grids, including multiple sources, and pin them all to your Start screen
- Win10Tile: create and pin custom live tiles to your Windows 10 Start Menu
- TileIconifier: open-source custom live tile app for Windows 10
3. Add Custom Steam Live Tiles to Windows 10 Start Menu
You can use Better StartMenu to add custom game icon tiles to your Windows 10 Start Menu. However, a better option is the free tool Steam Tile, which takes information from your Steam account direct to provide in-live tile data.
Download: Steam Tile for Windows (Free)
Steam Tile requires your SteamID to function. You must also set your profile to public. To find your SteamID, open Steam, then head to Account Name > Profile > Edit Profile > Custom URL. Add your preferred URL and click Save Changes.
After creating your SteamID, enter it into the Steam Tile welcome screen, and you can begin pinning custom live Steam tiles to your Windows 10 Start Menu.
The difference between simply adding gaming programs to your Start Menu and using Steam Tile is stark and impressive. Steam Tile also allows you gaming access without having to open the Steam library.
Use more than one gaming client? Check out Pin More, as mentioned in the previous section as an alternative to Better StartMenu.
Is Microsoft Killing Off Start Menu Live Tiles?
In mid-2019, Microsoft accidentally released an internal Windows 10 build, meant for in-house testers only. Windows 10 build 18947 included a completely new Start Menu design—without any live tiles. The new Start Menu design replaces live tile with static icons, favoring a simplified look over the current iteration.
Later in 2019, Microsoft announced Windows 10X, a version of Windows 10 designed for dual-screen and foldable devices. Windows 10X uses the leaked version of the Windows 10 Start Menu. However, it isn’t clear if the static Windows 10X Start Menu will make its way into the regular Windows 10 build (along with the new taskbar and other Windows 10X features).
Use Custom Start Menu Live Tiles for Easy Access
Even if Microsoft is considering removing live tiles from a future Windows 10 build, you can still make the most of them for now. With these programs, you can customize your Windows 10 Start Menu, making it the dynamic feature it has the power to become.
If the Windows 10 Start Menu isn’t your cup of tea, why not try a complete Windows Start Menu alternative? Alternatively, check out our guide to Windows 10 customization for the best Windows 10 personalization hacks.
Read the full article: How to Create Custom Start Menu Tiles in Windows 10
You wouldn’t buy a new smartphone if it didn’t have a camera on it. So what good is your iPhone when the camera isn’t working?
Here are the most common problems you might come across with your iPhone camera, along with everything you can do to fix them.
1. iPhone Camera Shows a Black Screen
If you launch the Camera app and see a black screen, try the following steps to fix it:
- Make sure nothing is blocking the camera lens. You may have put the case on incorrectly or there may be something stuck to the back of your iPhone.
- Try using the official iPhone Camera app, rather than any third-party alternatives. This app is more reliable than the alternatives and more likely to work properly.
- In the Camera app, switch between the front and back cameras to see if both of them are working or not. To do this, tap the camera flip icon on the right side of the screen. If only one camera works, that might indicate a hardware problem.
- Restart the Camera app. To do so, swipe up to the middle of the screen on an iPhone X or later, or double-click the Home button on an iPhone 8 or earlier. Then close the Camera app by sliding it off the top of the screen.
- Turn off your iPhone by holding the Side button (along with either Volume button on the iPhone X and later), then slide to power off. Wait 30 seconds before pressing the Side button again to restart your iPhone. If that doesn’t work, force restart your iPhone instead.
2. iPhone Photos Are Blurry or Out of Focus
If the photos you take with your iPhone camera are blurry or out of focus, try these fixes:
- Make sure both the front and back camera lenses are clean. Wipe away smudges or fingerprints using a dry microfiber cloth. If you see dirt or debris behind the glass, take your iPhone to an Apple Store or Authorized Service Provider for a repair.
- Remove any metallic or magnetic iPhone cases and camera accessories. They can interfere with the optical image stabilization on an iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone X, or later iPhones. This might explain why the camera isn’t working.
- If the Camera app says AE/AF Lock at the top of the screen, tap on a blank space to turn auto-focus back on. You may have accidentally locked the focus by tapping and holding in the Camera app.
- Keep your hand steady while tapping the shutter button. Sometimes it’s easier to press one of the Volume buttons to take steady pictures instead. Be careful in the dark when the shutter needs to stay open for longer.
3. iPhone Camera Flash Isn’t Working
Although most photos look better without a flash, sometimes you need that extra light for dark environments. When your iPhone flash isn’t working, try these tips:
- Test the LED on your iPhone by turning on the flashlight from the Control Center.
- Make sure you set the flash to On or Auto in the Camera app. To do this, tap the lightning bolt icon on the left side of the screen to see your flash options (you can’t use the flash for panoramic photographs or time-lapse videos).
- Be careful when using the flash for long videos or in hot environments. If your iPhone gets too hot, it might disable the flash entirely until it has cooled down again.
4. iPhone Photos Are Flipped the Wrong Way
This problem can often happen when you turn your iPhone horizontally to take a landscape-oriented photo. After snapping the picture, it flips back to portrait orientation in your photo library. Try these tips to fix it:
- Open Control Center on your iPhone and tap the lock icon with a circle around it to turn off Rotation Lock.
- To open Control Center, swipe down from the top-right corner on an iPhone X or later, or swipe up from the bottom of the screen on an iPhone 8 or earlier.
- Before snapping a photo, take a moment to make sure that the icons in the Camera app have rotated to their new horizontal orientation. If not, rotate your iPhone back and forth until they do so.
- You can always edit your pictures later from the Photos app, or other third-party iPhone image editing apps.
- If you’re wondering why your selfies always appear mirrored, that’s simply how Apple designed the front-facing camera. The camera works like a mirror, but the photo flips over as if someone took it for you.
5. The Camera App Is Missing or Keeps Freezing
If you can’t find the Camera app on your Home screen, or if the app freezes when you switch between cameras, it may be due to your iPhone restrictions. You can check this out from the Screen Time settings:
- Go to Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions.
- Tap on Allowed Apps and enter your Screen Time passcode if you have one.
- Make sure you turn the Camera app on; the toggle should be green.
6. General iPhone Camera Software Fixes
If you experience any other oddities with your iPhone camera not working, it’s a good idea to try some general software troubleshooting tips. Test your iPhone camera again after each of the tips below.
- Close all the apps on your iPhone.
- Restart your device.
- Update iOS by going to Settings > General > Software Update.
- Go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings. This doesn’t delete any of your content—such as photos or apps—but it does reset all your iPhone settings.
- Finally, factory reset your iPhone and set it up as a new device. This erases everything and is the last resort, but should resolve any software issues that stop your iPhone camera from working.
7. General iPhone Camera Hardware Fixes
If you’ve tried everything above and your front or back iPhone camera is still not working, you might have a hardware problem instead. Try the troubleshooting steps below to fix it:
- Double-check that the camera is not obstructed by a case or sticker.
- Make sure there are no smudges, dirt, or debris on the camera lens. Smudges and fingerprints should wipe away easily with a microfiber cloth.
- Contact Apple Support to arrange a hardware repair at the Apple Store or at an Apple Authorized Service Provider. If your iPhone is out of warranty, you may need to pay for this repair yourself.
Get Back to Taking Great Photos With Your iPhone
These tips cover the most common reasons your iPhone camera might not be working. If you didn’t see your exact issue, hopefully the general tips helped you fix the camera anyway. Otherwise, you may need to speak to Apple about a hardware repair.
Once your camera is back up and running, find out how to master your iPhone camera settings to start taking better photos. That way you can make sure each picture is perfectly exposed and beautifully composed.
Read the full article: iPhone Camera Not Working? 7 Common Issues and How to Fix Them
Tired of waking up to the same old alarm clock sound on your phone? If you have an Android device, you’ll be happy to know that you can use Spotify as an alarm.
The service makes it easy to wake up to a playlist of changing music for your alarm clock. Plus, those who don’t use Spotify can also use YouTube Music or Pandora for their alarm.
Let’s look at how to set a Spotify alarm on your Android device first.
How to Use Spotify as an Alarm on Android
To set Spotify music as your alarm, you’ll need to use the Google Clock app. If you have a stock Android phone like a Pixel, you likely have this installed already. Owners of other Android phones, like Samsung devices, should install Google’s Clock app free from the Play Store first.
As you’d expect, to use the Spotify alarm clock feature, you’ll also need to have the Spotify app installed. Install it and sign in if it’s not set up already. Thankfully, you don’t need a Premium account to use Spotify as an alarm.
How to Set Up the Spotify Alarm
Now that you’ve got everything prepared, here’s how to set a Spotify alarm on Android:
- Open the Clock app and scroll to the Alarm tab.
- Expand the alarm you want to edit by tapping the arrow below it.
- If you need to create a new alarm, tap the Plus button and make one first.
- Tap the bell icon on the alarm to open its sound settings.
- Select the Spotify tab.
- If you don’t see it, make sure Spotify is installed and you’re logged in. Tap the menu button at the top-right and choose Show Spotify to make sure it’s not hidden.
- If this is your first time using the Spotify alarm feature, you may need to provide your approval to link your Spotify account to the Clock app.
- Once your account is connected, you can select a playlist recommended by Spotify to use as your alarm. If you don’t like any of those options, tap Search and you can choose your own playlist, album, or song.
You can open up the playlist in Spotify to preview it before you decide. Just tap the three-dot button next to the playlist name and tap Open in Spotify to take a look.
When your alarm goes off, you’ll see the name of the song at the bottom of your screen. After you stop the alarm, you have the option to keep Spotify playing as you get ready for your day—just tap Continue playing.
How to Use YouTube Music or Pandora as Your Android Alarm
Don’t use Spotify? The Clock app also supports YouTube Music and Pandora as alarm options. They’re just as easy to set up as the above steps.
To use them, open the Clock app and tap the bell on an alarm to change its sound. Use the three-dot menu button at the top-right to hide or show each of the three services as needed.
If you don’t have the proper app installed, you’ll need to do so and sign in first. The Clock app provides a shortcut for installing them from Google Play.
After you have everything set up, Pandora and YouTube Music alarms work just like using Spotify as your alarm. Choose a playlist from the recommended options or search for one of your own, then you can continue listening after you shut the alarm off.
What Music Will You Wake Up To?
Now you know how to use Spotify or another music service as your alarm on Android. The advantage of using a playlist for your alarm clock is that you’re less likely to get sick of one track. We recommend that you avoid setting a favorite song as your alarm, as doing so will almost certainly make you hate it before long.
If waking up to soothing tunes doesn’t work for you, check out the best social alarm apps to help you get up. And once you’re up and working, try one of these background music playlists on Spotify to stay focused.
Read the full article: How to Set a Spotify Playlist as Your Alarm on Android