Windows 8 is here and currently being sold on new laptops with the opportunity for consumers to purchase the OS as an upgrade. Soon it will become difficult to find a Windows based PC without it installed as the operating system of choice by manufacturers. If you have recently made the switch like I have, you may be looking for some tips on how to use, interact with and to make Windows 8 work for you. In this article we will discuss eight of the best tips and tricks we have discovered and use regularly.
1. Use the Windows Key
When you log into a Windows 8 PC, you are presented with a new start screen known commonly as the Windows “Metro” interface. This interface uses tiles to represent programs and features that you have set up to have one click access to. You also have the ability to use the traditional desktop. The new “Metro” start screen replaces the traditional start button everyone has become accustomed to at the lower left hand corner of the desktop. The windows button is very helpful when switching back and forth between the Windows “Metro” start screen view and the traditional desktop view.
2. Windows Key + C
Using the Windows key with the C key brings up the Charms menu. The Charms menu has functions for search, share, start (another way to get to the start screen from the desktop), devices, and settings. This shortcut makes it particularly easy to access these features without having to move and hold the mouse pointer over the corners on the right side of the screen in order to bring this menu up. It is also a time saver when the power options are needed to shut down or reboot the PC.
3. Start Screen Search
In previous versions of Windows the search bar was accessed after the start button was clicked. You couldclick the start button and type in your search for programs, documents, photos and various other files. The same functionality is available in Windows 8, but is a little simpler. When at the start screen just start typing . This will automatically start the search function.
4. Pin Programs to Start
Pinning programs to the start screen is helpful for programs that are used frequently. Use one of the search methods described above to find the program that you would like quick access to and right click to bring up the pin options at the bottom of the screen. Unpinning a program from the start screen is done in a similar way. Just right click the program on the start screen and select unpin from start.
5. Pin Websites to Start
Web sites that you visit regularly can also be pinned to the start menu from Internet Explorer 10. Open Internet Explorer and navigate to the website that you would like to pin to the start screen. Once you are at the desired webpage, click the tools icon (or use the Alt + X keys) and select “Add site to start screen”.
6. Quick Access Menu
The Quick Access Menu can be accessed by right clicking in the lower left hand corner of the screen. This menu is helpful for quickly accessing items such as the control panel, task manager, event viewer, system (an overview of the system just like right clicking computer and selecting properties), and command prompts as well as many other programs.
7. Change Your Privacy Settings
By default, Windows 8 allows access to private information for certain types of applications. This may be more access than you would like. Apps that use your location, name and account picture are turned on unless you change this. Disabling these features can be done by using the Windows + C keys to access the charms menu, select settings, change PC settings, and select privacy.
8. Closing Start Screen Apps
When apps are opened in the start screen such as the calendar, mail, or anything else installed from the Windows 8 store, you may be wondering how to close these apps. For a while, I thought that simply using the Windows key to open up the start screen again was sufficient. Using this method, you may think the apps are closed but they are actually still running in the background. To properly close these applications, move the mouse pointer to the top of the application and watch for the pointer to turn from an arrow to a hand. Then hold the left mouse button and drag the app to the bottom of the screen and then release the mouse button. Apps that are opened in the desktop view are closed in the traditional manner of clicking the red “X” in the upper right hand corner.
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