A Brief insight to Windows 8
There’s a new lock screen in town
When you start Windows 8 (whether booting up initially or waking from sleep), you’ll see the first big difference from previous versions of Windows — a whole new look for the lock screen. Like the lock screens on Windows Phone devices, it sports a big graphic image and displays a variety of information, such as the date and time, the local weather, the number of new emails you have, the strength of your network connection and how much power you’ve got left on your device.
This information isn’t interactive; how even you can change the appearance of your lock screen.
To log into Windows, tap a key or click the mouse — or, on a touch system, swipe from the bottom up — and you’ll come to a sign-in screen. Select an account if you’ve got multiple accounts, then type in your password and press Enter to sign into Windows 8.
Once you’ve logged into Windows from the lock screen, you head directly to the new Start screen rather than the familiar Desktop interface. Like it or not, this is the new face of Windows. The start menu can also be customized as you see below in my start menu here I have chosen some programs I use on a regular basis.
As you can see in the above start menu I have used unpin and pin option to pin the tiles I use on a regular basis. Adding tiles to the Start screen takes a little more work than unpinning them, but not a lot. If you’re on the Start screen and you know the name of the app you want to add, type its name. You’ll be sent to the Search charm, and the app will show up on the left. Right-click it, and from the bar that appears at the bottom of the screen, select “Pin to Start.” If you search for a Desktop app and right-click it, you’ll also be able to pin it to the Desktop taskbar. If it’s already pinned to the taskbar, you can unpin it.
Initially Microsoft called this design the “Metro” interface, but now it’s just calling the new UI “Windows 8 design.” Laptop and desktop PC users might dislike the Start screen’s big tiles and horizontal orientation, but I’ve got some advice for you: Get used to it — it’s your new home. Here’s what you need to know about it.
Tiles. The Start screen is made up of a grid of colourful tiles. Each tile represents an app; click (or tap) the tile to run the app or right click the tile to unpin, uninstall or run as admin. There are a few more options there as well.
To begin with, you’ll find tiles for several simple new apps — People, Mail, Calendar, Messaging and others — that are built into Windows 8 and have the same look and feel as the Start screen. Formerly called Metro apps, they’re now variously referred to as Windows 8 apps, Windows Store apps, Modern apps or Start apps by industry watchers Notifications. Some Windows 8 apps grab information from the Internet and show live updates known as notifications on their tiles. For example, the Calendar app displays upcoming events and friends’ birthdays on its tile, the People app tile displays social media updates from friends, and the Mail app tile displays the sender and subject line of your most recently received emails. (Some notifications can also appear on the lock screen, depending on how you’ve configured Windows 8.)
Three tips for getting more out of Windows 8
It may take you a little while to become comfortable with Windows 8, so I’ve put together three tips to help you get up to speed. The first two will help you make the most of the new interface, and the third will bring back an old friend: the Start button.
1. Customize the Start screen
The Start screen that appears by default is not necessarily the Start screen that’s best for you. There are many ways to customize it, though. Here I’ll show you how to add, remove, rearrange and otherwise tweak the tiles on your screen.
To remove a tile from the Start screen, right-click it and select “Unpin from Start” from the bar that appears at the bottom of the screen. You can select multiple apps by holding down the Ctrl key as you right-click them, and then unpin them in one fell swoop.
If you don’t want a live tile such as the Weather app to display changing information, right-click it and select “Turn live tile off.” To make a large tile smaller or a small tile larger, right-click it and select “Smaller” or “Larger.”
Adding tiles to the Start screen takes a little more work than unpinning them, but not a lot. If you’re on the Start screen and you know the name of the app you want to add, type its name. You’ll be sent to the Search charm, and the app will show up on the left. Right-click it, and from the bar that appears at the bottom of the screen, select “Pin to Start.” If you search for a Desktop app and right-click it, you’ll also be able to pin it to the Desktop taskbar. If it’s already pinned to the taskbar, you can unpin it.
2. Run apps side by side
Windows 8 apps normally run full screen — unlike Desktop apps, they don’t appear in resizable windows, and at first glance, it appears that you can’t run them side by side. However, using a feature that Microsoft calls Snap, you can run two Windows 8 apps, two Desktop apps, or one of each side by side. (Note that Snap works only if you have a minimum screen resolution of 1366 x 768.)
First, make sure you’re running both apps. When you’re in one of the apps, move your mouse to the upper-left hot corner. When a thumbnail of your last location appears, move your mouse down, and thumbnails of your currently running apps will appear. Click and hold the thumbnail of the app you want to run side by side with the current one, and then drag the thumbnail to the right and drop it. The two apps will now be running side by side, with the one you just dragged appearing in a sidebar on the left.
3. Bring back the Start button
One of the biggest complaints about Windows 8 is that Microsoft killed the very useful Start button on the Desktop. However, I’ve found two downloads that bring back some of the Start button features. One of them even lets you bypass the Start screen entirely and go directly to the Desktop when you log into Windows 8.
StartFinity Starter Edition from WinAbility Software adds a Start button to the Desktop. Click it, and up pops a list that looks quite similar to the old Windows 7 Start menu, with links to Documents, Pictures, Music, Control Panel and so on. You can also click Programs to see and run all your Desktop apps. The Starter Edition is free, but if you want to customize the program, you’ll have to pay $14.95 for the full version.
Another option is Start8 from Stardock. It offers a menu that’s much like the old Windows 7 Start menu, with links to programs, Control Panel, Documents and so on; it also includes a search bar for finding programs and files.
4. Here are some short cuts using keystrokes
Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts
|Key combination||What it does|
|Windows key shortcuts|
|Windows key||Go to the Start screen or toggle between the Start screen and your previous location|
|Windows-C||Open the Charms bar|
|Windows-D||Show the Desktop|
|Windows-E||Open File Explorer|
|Windows-F||Go to Files in the Search charm|
|Windows-H||Go to the Share charm|
|Windows-I||Go to the Settings charm|
|Windows-K||Go to the Devices charm|
|Windows-L||Lock the device|
|Windows-M||Minimize all windows (only on the Desktop)|
|Windows-O||Lock the screen orientation|
|Windows-Q||Go to Apps in the Search charm|
|Windows-R||Launch the Run box|
|Windows-T||Put the focus on the taskbar and cycle through your running Desktop apps|
|Windows-V||Cycle through your notifications|
|Windows-W||Go to Settings in the Search charm|
|Windows-X||Open a menu of tools for power users|
|Windows-Z||Launch the App bar (or make it disappear if it’s already showing)|
|Windows-1 through 9||Go to the app in the corresponding position on the taskbar (Desktop only)|
|Windows-, (comma)||Peek at the Desktop (on Desktop only)|
|Windows-spacebar||Switch the input language and keyboard layout|
|Windows-Home||Minimize non-active Desktop apps|
|Windows-Page Up||Move Start screen to left monitor|
|Windows-Page Down||Move Start screen to right monitor|
|Windows-up arrow||Maximize a Desktop app|
|Windows-down arrow||Restore/minimize a Desktop app|
|Windows-F1||Run Windows Help and Support|
|Other keyboard shortcuts|
|Alt-Tab||Cycle through thumbnails of open apps|
|Alt-F4||Close a Windows 8 app|
|Ctrl-E||Select the Search box in the Windows 8 Internet Explorer app; select the Address bar in Desktop version of IE|
|Ctrl-N||Open a new window in Internet Explorer (Desktop version only)|
|Ctrl-F4||Close the active document in Desktop apps|
|Ctrl-mouse click||Select multiple items in File Explorer|
|Ctrl-Shift||Select a group of contiguous items in File Explorer|
|Ctrl-W||Close the current window in Internet Explorer (Desktop version)|
|Ctrl-Shift-Esc||Run the Task Manager|
|Ctrl-Shift-N||Create a new folder in File Explorer|
|PrtScrn||Take a screenshot and place it on the Clipboard|
Windows 8 touch gestures
|Gesture||What it does|
|Tap||Open an item. It’s the equivalent of clicking with a mouse.|
|Press and hold||Pop up a menu to display more information about the item.|
|Press and hold, slide and release||Move an item to a new location. It’s the equivalent of dragging an item with a mouse.|
|Pinch with two fingers||Zoom out. Used in apps such as Maps where you commonly zoom in and out.|
|Spread two fingers apart||Zoom in. Used in apps such as Maps where you commonly zoom in and out.|
|Rotate with two fingers||Rotate the display in the direction you move your fingers. Very few apps use this gesture.|
|Swipe horizontally||Scroll sideways through a screen, such as the Start screen to see apps off to the right side.|
|Swipe vertically||Scroll up or down.|
|Short downward swipe on an item||Select the item and show additional options, often in an App bar.|
|On the lock screen, swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen||Display the login screen.|
|In a Windows 8 app, swipe in from the upper or lower edge of the screen||Activate the App bar.|
|Swipe in from the right edge of the screen to the center||Display the Charms bar.|
|Swipe quickly in from left edge of the screen||Display a thumbnail of the previously run app.|
|Swipe slowly in from the left edge of the screen||Display a second app side-by-side with the current app on your screen.|
|Swipe quickly in from the left edge of the screen, then swipe quickly back||Display thumbnails of all your running apps.|
|Pull down from the top of the screen to the bottom||Close a Windows 8 app.|
|In Internet Explorer (Windows 8 version only), swipe right or left||Go forward or back.|