A big nag in Windows 8 was that you couldn’t customize the start screen in an easier manner. The way it came, the way it stayed. There has been an improvement in Windows 8.1 in this regard. In order to make its operating system more mobile device-friendly Microsoft is constantly endeavoring to introduce features that have been long available in smart phones and tablets. You may want to read From where can you download the preview version of Windows 8.1.
Once you have installed the operating system, right-click anywhere on the start screen and you encounter an app bar (somewhere at the bottom) and from there you can click the “Customize” button. Once you are in the “Customize” mode you can easily drag and drop the various tiles without running the risk of launching them. You can also click multiple tiles and then drag and drop them together.
Here is a nice video on the new features introduced in Windows 8.1:
Aside from moving them you can also unpin the tiles if you don’t need those apps. From the same section you can also uninstall the apps and even resize the tiles in some cases. The sizes of the tiles are predefined but if you want to enlarge the tiles of your favorite apps and reduce the size of those apps that you don’t use often, you can do that.
Another good feature is that you can group the tiles and the various sections to be able to organize them and access them in a better manner. You can rename existing groups or create a new group.
A welcome change is that the Start button is back. You can right-click on it to toggle between the old conventional view and the new view of the desktop.
You can read more on the customizing features of the Windows 8.1 start screen at this CNET.com link.