Monthly Archives: November 2012

How to get four rows of tiles on your Surface RT

During my time using my Surface for Windows RT, I have had several instances where it would seemingly randomly have four rows of live tiles on the start screen.

Like this:

After thinking about what I did before each instance, I was able to work it down and figure out what was triggering the change. However, what I figured out does not make sense.

So what seems to be triggering the change to four rows is the touch cover. I have found that if I have the Surface in a shutdown state (not sleeping), and have the touch cover on and closed (covering the screen), then press the power button to turn on the device. Usually I walk away while it boots, but that’s not necessary for this to work. When I come back and flip open the touch cover, swipe away my lock screen, and go through my picture password, I will be greeted with my start screen with four rows of tiles.

Then later (I have not figure out this part yet) it just switches back to three rows of tiles.

I do not know if this will work on everybody’s Surface. It may by unique to my Surface, but my guess is that it isn’t. I would be interested to hear if anyone else can get their Surface to do the same thing, or even if you can’t. Either way, leave a comment to let me know.


I should have posted this sooner, but if you haven’t found out already, there is a way to get your Surface RT to permanently have four rows on the start screen. However, the process is not for the faint of heart, so if you are not comfortable modifying the registry, you might want to skip it.

First, fire up the registry. The easiest way to do this is to search for “regedit” while on the Start Screen, then tap the “regedit.exe” to open the registry.

Second, navigate through the registry to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer

Third, right-click on the key “Explorer” in the navigation pane on the left of the registry editor, and click New -> Key, and name the new key “Scaling”.

Fourth, right-click on the new key, and click New -> String Value, and name it “MonitorSize”.

Screenshot (11)

Fifth, on the right panel of the registry editor, right-click your new string value and click “Modify”.

Sixth, in the value box, enter “12.1”

Screenshot (12)

Click OK, close the registry, and restart your Surface. And now your screen should have four rows like mine!

Screenshot (13)