There are any number of products promising to restore the start menu to Windows 8, but there are not so many to help you customize the tiles that have replaced it. You can give the animations on the Windows 8 grid menu a bit more zip with Start Screen Animations Tweaker. This nice little free portable piece of software allows you to dictate the speed of the animations and the background wallpaper to have it exactly the way you want it.
It may seem like a small insignificant thing to accomplish, but if you are looking the grid and using it all day long, making it go faster will matter. It makes the screen load faster, which enables you to open programs faster. It may only amount to a gain of a few seconds, but add those seconds up over the course of a day or a week, and you will start to see why using this app may prove beneficial. And it's also quite entertaining, pressing the WIN key and watching the tiles fly across the screen.
It's less entertaining when File Explorer crashes after repeated WIN key presses. The developer claims this is not a bug of the software, but a bug from Windows 8.
Since this is a portable app, no installation is required. Just unzip the contents of the downloaded zip file into its own folder. It is worth pointing out that the download link on the website is a bit camouflaged. The gray "download" button sits next to a green "download" button. The gray one is the one to click. The green one is a Google Adsense advert. Whether this is an honest error from the developer or an underhanded way to make some Adsense money is unclear. But nevertheless you should be careful and click the correct button: gray, not green.
Once you have the unzipped portable program in its new folder, open it up and you will see four sliders: two for username and picture animation, and two for tiles animation. The purpose of the four sliders is to determine how fast or slow you want those elements to go when you activate the grid start menu. The developer provides recommended settings, and those were good enough for me. If you want, though, you can easily play around with the sliders and see what you prefer. If you don't like it, hit the "reset to defaults" button and what you've just done will be reversed. So nothing is permanent and everything can be put back the way it was. So don't worry, you won't break anything.
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