Windows 8 was released in 2012. But if you’re still having trouble with the new operating system, don’t despair: Microsoft’s latest update represents the biggest redesign in the classic operating system’s look and feel since Windows 3.1 jumped to Windows 95. The evolution makes technological sense, though. The old Start menu is replaced with a touch-oriented Start screen that will appeal to anyone with smartphone experience. Meanwhile, the new color scheme and tiled interface sure are easy on the eyes.
But that doesn’t mean that the wholly redesigned Windows 8 is easy to use. So here are ten tips to make your experience with Windows 8 a breeze:
1) Don’t let the lock screen scare you. Windows 8 opens on a lock screen—but doesn’t tell you what to do next. If you’re on a computer, tap the space bar or spin the mouse wheel; if you’re using a tablet, swipe upwards to reveal the login screen. Enter your password and you’re in business.
2) Organize interface clutter. That new interface looks snazzy, right? But if apps you don’t use are cluttering things up, right-click or swipe down and select Unpin to remove them. Then, drag and drop the remaining tiles into easily identified groups to suit your needs. If an app has a larger tile that takes up two slots, you can also right-click it and choose “Smaller” to free up valuable Start screen space.
3) Personalize your background images. You use the computer all day—give yourself something nice to ogle during downtime! You can change your lock, user tile, or Start screen images by pressing the Windows key + I, clicking Change PC Settings, and choosing the Personalize option.
4) Want to see all your applications in list form? Several options will get you to this easy-to-read view: press the Windows key + Q; right-click an empty part of the Start screen; or swipe your finger up from the bottom of the screen and select All Apps.
5) Figure out what’s running and when. The lack of Windows’ old-fashioned taskbar might mislead you into thinking you have no apps running. You can still press Alt+Tab to toggle through any active programs, though. And if you press the Windows key + Tab, a pane on the left-hand side will show you all running apps.
6) Embrace Internet Explorer’s full-screen view. Open Windows 8’s dedicated browser and you’ll see no toolbars, menus, or sidebars. But simply right-click an empty part of the page, or swipe your finger down from the top, to reveal several search and find options. And if you prefer the old-fashioned desktop version, click the spanner icon and you’ll be good to go.
7) Keep your personal information private. Default Windows 8 apps can use your name, location, and profile photo. But pressing the Windows key + I, clicking on More PC Settings, and selecting Privacy can help you hold some of that info back.
8) If you’re using a computer, learn as many keyboard shortcuts as possible. Don’t dig the new touch screen? Keyboard shortcuts—typically the Windows key and one other button pressed in tandem—can get things done equally as fast. Visit Microsoft’s Windows 8 keyboard shortcut site here for a comprehensive list and start practicing.
9) Learn how to take a screenshot first. See something you like on an Internet site or inside an application? Hold down the Windows key + Print Screen to save it for future use (the image will automatically go into your My Pictures folder with the filename “Screenshot”).
10) Ready to call it a day? Shutting down Windows 8 isn’t easy without the familiar Start button. But move your cursor to the bottom right corner of the screen, click the Settings icon, and you’ll see a power button. Click that and the “Shut Down” or “Restart” options will appear.
Bonus tip: Do you prefer the classic Start menu instead of the new Start interface? If so, you may be interested in purchasing Start8, a plug-in for Windows 8 that implements a Windows 7-style Start menu with new enhancements. The plug-in can be purchased here for $4.99.
If you’re still feeling lost, CMIT Solutions can help. Contact your local CMIT Solutions service provider for more information.