How to add custom "backgrounds" and images to your Windows Phone 7 start screen
Posted on 12-03-10 07:00 pm

Although Windows Phone 7 offers very limited customization at this point, hope is not lost. Windows Phone 7 allows pinning websites to your start screen, and uses website screenshots to do so. What does this mean for us? We can put images of whatever we want onto our start screens, if we do it correctly.

Techie Stuff

The screenshots taken for the live tiles are 350x350, starting from the top left and ending almost at the bottom of the page. The images are then downscaled to 173x173 icons. 

The easiest and most elegant option here is to get 350x350 images with black backgrounds (eg the Pokemon shown above), and to pin them where we see fit. 

The second option is to break an image up into several 350x350 pieces, and pinning them in a window-like manner, as seen in the first picture. To do this, the maximum width will have to be 700 (2 * 350).

How to do it

If you're skilled in Photoshop/GIMP/Paint.NET/etc, then jump right to it. However, if you want to try it quickly, you can use a tool I created here. To use the tool, either upload a 350x350 image to use as a single tile, or a larger 700x350,700,or 1050 image to stack.

Once uploaded, visit the specified URL on your phone.

Next, you'll need to press the "..." button to bring up the menu, and press Pin to Start.

On the start screen, press the pinned icon (or go back to Internet Explorer). Then, click on the image on the screen, and it will take you to the next image. Repeat this process until you see the text "Done!"

It's not flawless, but it works, and can be a fun way to add some customization to your device. If you have any suggestions, be sure to post them in the comments below.

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