Windows 8, the next version of Windows operating system after Windows 7, has some major changes in terms of look and feel and one of them was the New Metro Style “Start Screen” which looks similar to Windows Phone 7 home screen and shows live tiles of the installed programs in Windows 8. If you are tired of your browser’s default start page and love the style of Microsoft’s simple yet stunning Metro design language, here is an awesome thing for you!

Recently a Deviant Art user flatmo1, created a great-looking start page, named Eight, inspired by Windows 8′s tiled interface, for all major browsers (that’s Chrome, Opera, Firefox and Internet Explorer) except Safari. It is based on HTML/CSS/jQuery and basically shows pre-defined website tiles such as Google, Yahoo!,  Facebook, Twitter, BBC, CNN and etc, but all the shortcuts on the start page can be customized and tweaked easily by modifying .js file which contains all the settings.

Windows 8 Start Screen "Metro-Inspired Homepage" (or New Tab Page) for Chrome, Opera,  Firefox and Internet Explorer Web Browsers

Setting Up:

1. Download the ZIP file using this link,

2. Extract it and set the “index.htm” file as your browser’s homepage. There are two ways to set the index.htm file as homepage:

  • Double-click on the “index.htm” file, it’ll open it in your web browser, then select “Use current page as homepage” or similar option in browser’s Settings window.
  • By specifying the full path in browser’s Settings window. Note that on Google Chrome, a prefix of “file:///” has to be added to open a local file as homepage. For example, “file:///C:EIGHTindex.htm”.

3. Metro Style New Tab Page -  For IE, set the new tab page to open your first homage page in Internet Options. For firefox, use the New Tab Homepage plugin.

Customization:

Eight comes with bookmarks for popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, last.fm, Wikipedia and so on. Thankfully, You can edit the source.js file to replace pre-installed URLs with URLs of your choice, and to change the search engine (google, bing, yahoo) used to search from the EIGHT start page. For changing the logo of the website tile, you’ll have to create a .png file of the site’s logo and place it in the thumbs folder, with the maximum dimension size (in pixels) of the images specified in the “sketch.jpg” picture file. The image looks best when it’s in clear white with alpha transparency. Lastly, to change background of the tiles, you can mess around in the lib folder.