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11 Windows 8 tips and tricks

Discussion in 'Windows Tools & Tips' started by Jeanh, Aug 17, 2015.

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    If you’re set to move to Windows 8 or 8.1 you may be shocked, appalled, delighted at the changes over previous operating systems. It might seem a bit late in the day to offer advice given that Windows 8 and 8.1 have been around for a while now but these operating systems are preloaded on a lot of new computers and if you’re in the market for a new device a little advice won’t go amiss. However, like anything new it can take a bit of time to get up to speed with all of the changes. Some of these are big improvements while some seem to be born from an innate need to tinker. But once you are used to it, there will be no looking back so here’s a few tips to speed you on your way.

    And even if you’re not heading down the Windows 8 route, Windows 10 is just around the corner and there will be a lot of similarities for sure.

    Microsoft made Please or Register to view links for its new operating system Windows 8 and when you use it you can see why. It’s radically different from Windows 7. For instance, there’s no Start menu that we’ve all become so used it. Rather it has been replaced by a touch-oriented Start screen and new interface conventions.

    The changes in Windows 8 have been so radical that it has Please or Register to view links, especially businesses. But that’s a different story. However, if you’re set on Windows 8 or even Windows 8.1 (yes, it has been around that long) here’s a series of tips and tricks that will help you get to grips with the new operating system. And even if you’ve been using it a while, you’re sure to find something of use too.

    Windows 8 Charm Bar

    If you’ve got Windows 8 or 8.1 you’re probably already familiar with charms. If not, here’s a quick run-down. Please or Register to view links is the central toolbar in Windows 8. It can be accessed from the desktop view of Windows 8 or the start screen, as well as any app that you use in Windows 8. You get to the charm bar on a PC by either dragging your mouse to the top or bottom right corners of the screen; the charm bar will pop up on the right side of the screen. Moving the mouse away will hide the charm bar, and also the charm car will close after 3 seconds of inactivity. You can also bring up the charm bar by pressing the Windows key+C, however, and when you do this, in addition to seeing the charm bar, you’ll also see the date and time in the bottom left corner; this will keep the charm bar open.

    Open from the lock screen

    You can open Windows 8 opens from its lock screen. Despite that there are no clues as to how to do this, it’s actually straightforward. Simply tap the space bar, swipe upwards on a touch screen or spin the mouse wheel or and login screen with the user name that you created during installation will appear.

    Basic navigation in Windows 8

    The big thing that hits you between the eyes about Windows 8 is the big colourful tiles and touch-friendly apps. If you’re using a tablet this will be no problem for you, simply swipe the screen in either direction and you’re on your way. On a desktop PC you can either spin the mouse wheel to scroll backwards and forwards or use the keyboard.

    To use the keyboard you can press the Windows key and C. This will ‘swipe’ you in from the right hand side of the screen. You can use the cursor keys to select a specific tile and tap Enter to open it. Press the Windows key to return to the Start screen; right-click (or swipe down on) apps you don’t need. If you want a detailed insight into keyboard short cuts for Windows 8 just Please or Register to view links.

    Shortcuts to Finding your Windows 8 applications

    It’s a sign of how much Windows 8 signals a radical change that we have a section on finding applications, which is blindingly easy in previous operating systems. That said, it’s not so difficult in Windows 8 once you know what to do. Here’s an easy way: Press Ctrl+Tab, or click the arrow button at the bottom left of the Start Screen, or swipe up from the bottom of the screen and a list of your installed programs will appear. If you can’t see what you are looking for, type the name into the search function.

    Grouping and customizing your apps

    The Start screen apps are displayed in a fairly random order, but you can sort them into groups to organise things a bit more. For instance, you can drag apps to one side of the screen and form separate groups, a bit like creating a folder. If you click the ‘minus’ icon in the bottom right corner of the screen you can zoom out and drag and drop and move the new group around. If you right-click within the block while still zoomed out you can give the group a name.

    Windows 8.1 also provides a special Customise mode. Simply right-click on an empty part of the Start screen, or swipe up if using a touch screen and tap Customise, then drag and drop tiles or rename app groups to your preference.

    Quick access menu

    Right-click in the bottom-left corner for a text-based menu that provides easy access to lots features such as Device Manager, Control Panel, Explorer, the Search dialog and more.

    Access your most-used apps quickly

    If there’s an application or function you use all the time you can pin it to the Start screen and it’ll be available at a click. To do this, type the name of the application, right click in the tile on the apps search screen and click ‘Pin to Start’. If you’re using a touchscreen, press and hold the icon, then flick down and select ‘Pin to Start’. You can now press the Windows key, scroll to the right and you’ll see the tile at the far end of the screen. Simply drag and drop it over to the left if you want to access it easily.

    Customize your tiles

    We all like a bit of personalisation and with Windows 8 tiles you can adjust the sizes, where they are located, and what is listed. To move the tile you simply click and drag. If you want to create a shortcut you simply right click and choose Pin to Start.

    In the bottom right-hand corner of the start screen is a magnifying glass with tiles. Click this icon and you’ll get a zoomed out view of your Start screen.

    In this view, if you right-click on a group of tiles you’ll be given the option to name a group, which can be useful if you have a group of related tiles, for instance games or documents. In this view, you can also click and drag a group to organize your tile groups.

    • To resize any user tile or live tile you right-click the tile and simply choose resize.
    • If there is a tile you want on your Taskbar, right-click the tile and choose Pin to taskbar.
    • To show admin applications on the Start screen click Settings in Charms, then click Settings, and change the Show administrative tools from No to Yes.
    Search function

    The Search in Windows 8 has been significantly improved compared to other versions of Windows.

    To search for a file or run a program from the Start screen just start typing what you’re trying to find or want to run, the results will begin appearing on the left-hand side.

    The Search can also limit the search to apps such as maps, photos, mail, music, videos, finance and much more. You can also search within apps. For instance, if you were searching for ‘Runcorn’ in maps the location would appear.

    By default, the Search also organizes the apps according to how frequently they are used. You can keep your favourite app at the top of the Search list, by right-clicking the app and choosing Pin which will lock it in place.

    Shutting down

    To shut Windows 8 down, just move the mouse cursor to the bottom right corner of the screen and click the Settings icon. Or just hold down the Windows key and press I and you’ll see a power button. Click this and choose ‘Shut Down’ or ‘Restart’.

    The ‘hot’ corners in Windows 8

    The corners on your Windows 8 screen are known as hot corners. They give you access to different Windows features.

    Bottom Left-hand corner – allows you to access the Start screen.

    Top-left corner of the screen – displays all the apps running on the computer.

    Right-hand side of the screen – get access to Windows charms.

    But as a final word, just as we get used to one new operating system a new one will inevitably appear – so here’s looking at Please or Register to view links Windows 9 Please or Register to view links as the software giant looks to the internet and mobile computing.
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