Create custom start tiles for desktop apps in Windows 8(.1)

The Windows 8 Start Screen looks brilliant right out of the box with all of the live colourful app tiles which constantly update with up to date information. (e.g: weather updating the temperature condition)
But what about when you install a desktop application? There is just the icon in a scare coloured box which is lifeless compared to the other apps. Wouldn’t it be great if could change that?

Well you can thanks to an app called OblyTile.

OblyTile is a tiny little application that runs out of the box (no install process, just needs administrative privileges) that lets you create custom app tiles for all of your applications from image files.

When you launch OblyTile (which can be downloaded from here), you are greeted with a Modern UI styled box shaped app which has 4 key features:
1) App Name
2) File path of the applications main executable file
3) File path of the square shaped image you want to use as the tile
4) Create the app tile

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In the tile name, you want to type the name of the application, but if is too long simplify the name such as just “Word” instead of “Microsoft Office Word 2003” (yea I love old school office). You can hide the text if you want so it doesn’t show on the tile.

Then for the program path you will want to trace down the location of the app. so for an example if it is Microsoft Word, then you will want to go to “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\OFFICE11” if you have the 64bit version of Windows or “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE11” if you have the 32bit version of Windows and then find the word exe.

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Now find or create a picture suitable for the app. Make sure it is square because if it isn’t it will be squeezed to fit in the square and it may look horrible.
Below are links to the icons for Word PowerPoint and Excel that I used. These tile icons were created by Wall Of Tiles. There is a huge database of tiles to choose from on so that is a good place to start.
If you like, you can also change the colour of the border to match the image so it looks better.
Then click the magnifying glass (search) icon in the middle of the two buttons to preview the tile and if it looks ok then click “create tile” and it will automatically be on the start screen for you which you can position where ever you like on the start screen.Keep doing this for each app you have directly on the start screen and hey-presto there is no tile that looks out of place so it looks a lot better and is more eye catching.

Once again you can download the app from here.