Top Ten Windows 8 Tips

Windows 8 can take some getting used to when you’re only family with previous versions of the Personal Computer (PC) system. So here are my top ten tips:

  1. start_keyboard_windows_keyRemember to use the Windows key on the keyboard. This key, by itself, switches you between the Desktop and the Charms menus. If you use the windows key with other keys, you can do some neat things; WinLogo + C will open the side bar menu, where you will find settings and search. WinLogo + X opens the Windows 8 ‘start menu’ (such as it is). WinLogo + I opens Settings. WinLogo + W opens the Search function. WinLogo + R opens the RUN or Open window.
  2. To change the Charms menu (charms are those blocky icons), right-click the mouse on any charm app, and it will highlight. You can then see a popup menu to select ‘resize’ or ‘unpin’. You can also click and drag to another spot. If you select ‘unpin’, this doesn’t delete the program but removes it from the Charm screen.
  3. Resize the Charms screen to see all charms. If you have a touch screen, by ‘squeezing’ the Charms screen. Using two fingers, spread apart the fingers to enlarge and squeeze together to make small. Use the Ctrl button and the mouse scroll button for the same effect.
  4. How to close apps/programs. This is tricky in Windows 8 because the Title bar, although its there, you move the mouse cursor to the top of the screen in order to find it. Otherwise, you click near the top of the screen, ‘grab’ with the mouse and drag to the bottom of the screen. ALT + F4 also shuts down apps and windows.
  5. Start in Safe Mode.(for repair, maintenance, etc) Although most people don’t use this, I feel its important to mention due to Safe Mode’s function to help remove issues and to use the computer without drivers and certain programs. It used to be clicking the F8 key on start, but Windows 8 needs SHIFT + F8 to reach Safe Mode.
  6. Windows 8 has ‘hot corners’. The hot corners bring up menus, such as right-click the LEFT hand corner opens the power user menu. Top LEFT corner opens displays apps running.
  7. Disable the Lock Screen. Some people hate this lock screen, since its an extra screen to click through. To disable, type netplwhiz into the start screen. It will automatically search and list this function.  With the window that opens, uncheck ‘Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer’. You’ll be prompted to enter your password. If you want the lock screen, do this again, but check the box.
  8. To Add Apps to the Charms Screen– Go to the Charms screen (click Windows Logo key), and move the cursor near the bottom of the screen. You should notice a small down arrow. Click on this and it will open all the charm apps available. Use Search to find the app you want to add. RIGHT-CLICK the mouse while hovering over the charm app, and select ‘pin to start’. You could also choose ‘pin to taskbar’.
  9. Snap Apps side by side. To Snap Apps means to use two apps side by side. For instance, you can surf with the Internet Explorer, while MS Word is running right next to it. To use this function. click RIGHT-CLICK at the top of the app when the program is open and running, and drag to the left or right of the screen. Click the other program or app to the other side.
  10. Start, Shut Down, Restart Windows. The power button is located in the Charms menu, near the upper right hand of the screen. Its also in the Settings menu (Windows Logo button + I button), and click the power button near the bottom. You can select Sleep, Shut Down, and Restart there.

If you have any questions, post in comments or send me an email.

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