How to sync your Windows 8.1 Start screen and desktop

The Start screen and desktop are still two totally different environments in Windows 8.1, but at least you can make them look the same.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Bouncing back and forth between the Start screen and desktop remains a jarring experience in Windows 8.1. But you can make the trip smoother by giving both environments the same look.

Windows 8.1 offers a new option that lets you splash the same background image onto the Start screen and desktop and even keep the two images in sync. Here's how to set it up:

Launch Windows 8.1, open the desktop, and then right-click on the Taskbar. Select Properties from the popup menu. In the Taskbar and Navigation properties window, click on the Navigation tab. Check on the option to Show My Desktop Background on Start. Click OK.

Return to your Start screen, and you'll now see the same background that appears on your desktop. Change your desktop background anytime down the road, and your Start screen background changes as well. As a bonus, your Apps screen also gets the same treatment.

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