If youve bought a new PC in the last few months, then youve noticed the very obvious changes made to the Windows operating system. Welcome to Windows 8, the hybrid OS from Microsoft you can operate with touch control or the traditional keyboard and mouse. They have designed a system that would operate both on phones and on laptops virtually interchangeable.
The system is beautiful, and it works like a charm (pun intended the Win 8 charms bar is your key features touch menu). However, many users have run into problems adapting to the new OS with their keyboards, as the new Windows 8 is geared towards a touch screen like a phone or a tablet.
But never fear, your trusty SGU team is here to help with computer training. There is definitely a learning curve for Windows 8 especially if youre sticking to the traditional keyboard and mouse. Thats why weve devised a list of the top 10 tips and tricks for handling your new OS – plus a keyboard shortcuts bonus!
Top 10 Tips and Tricks for Windows 8:
- Quick Access Menu The quick access menu in the new Windows 8 system will be your key to understanding and using the entire system. This menu, hidden in the lower left hand corner of the screen, gives the user direct access to the most important functions in the system, including Disk Management, Task Manager, Device Manager, and the Control Panel.
Jump to the end of our blog to see the shortcut [Windows + X ] in action!
- Quick-close Your Apps For traditional Windows users, you will discover that conventional close buttons do not exist in Windows 8. In keeping with transitioning user and computer to an interchangeable system, Windows now encourages you to keep your applications running in the background (sound similar to your cell phone?) They dont take up much of the computers access or run time this way, and can still be accessed at any time. However if youre a stickler for closing things (guilty!), you can still close your applications by dragging your applications to the bottom of the screen, where they will turn into thumbnail size and then disappear.
- Privacy Any system that features apps has access to your information, whether its your cell phone or even Facebook. More often than not, these apps get access and use your personal information without you even knowing it. However, on the Windows 8 system, you can control which apps are allowed to use your information (if any,) and which apps can use specific information. All of this can be found under privacy in the Settings panel.
- Zoom The new start screen will probably remind you of the new Windows phone big chunky tiles on the screen that allow you to keep track of different apps that you check regularly. However, if you have a ton of apps that you use, Windows singles out the most often used ones and displays those the largest. As a result, some of your apps may get lost from view.
On your desktop or laptop computer, you have the option to zoom in on your apps to make them both more accessible and view them more easily. You can zoom by in on any point of the start screen by holding down the <Ctrl> key and using your mouse wheel (or track pad for laptop users) to zoom in and out of your start screen.
- Task Manager In the new Windows 8, Microsoft has changed how they manage your start up items. What used to be found under the configuration program can now be found under the new task manager. Under the task manager, you can select which apps will automatically start at power up (and change them around whenever youd like).
Get to the Task Manager by pressing the trusty <Ctrl><Alt><Del> combo. You can click the Startup tab to choose which programs you want to run every time you boot up.
- Picture Password This is a cool new feature created for the Windows 8 system (and our personal favorite). In your settings, you can create a picture password under the sign-in options. In the window, you select the picture you like, and then you create three gestures anywhere on the image that will represent your login password. For example, you could draw circle-circle-swipe, or circle-swipe-circle. Whatever pattern you decide becomes your new password for your log in. Cool, huh?
- Start Up to Desktop The Windows 8 system starts up and takes the user straight to the tiled start screen, filled with your apps. But, if you prefer a more traditional style, you can change your settings to start your computer up straight to the desktop. SGU can help you set up this setting in our computer training course.
Another way to get right to your desktop is with the Windows + D shortcut. See the bonus section below!
- Refresh Your PC Have you ever felt like your laptop or computer system is clogged with extra data that you dont use? Well, with the new Windows 8 system, you can completely refresh your software. With just one click of the refresh your PC without affecting your files section under Settings, your system will wipe your computer (while still maintaining all of your important documents, pictures, etc) and upload a fresh version of Windows 8. This allows you to get rid of unneeded apps and other unused tools without taking the time to delete them all individually.
Need a more detailed run-down? Click Settings -> Change PC Settings -> General -> Refresh your PC without affecting your files -> Get Started -> Refresh.
- Quick troubleshoot If youre frustrated because your processor is running slowly, or your apps wont load as quickly as youd like, it could be that your system needs troubleshooting. In other Windows systems, reaching the troubleshooting menu was complicated and didnt always work. However, with the new Windows 8 system, you can simply hold down the <Shift> key and select the restart option on your power menu. The computer will reboot, and should take you straight to the new troubleshooting menu.
- Quick Shutdown The Windows 8 system doesnt want you to shut it down its designed so that finding the power button is difficult. However, you can create a shortcut button on your Start screen that will make it easy to find whenever you need to power down. Instead of going through the multi-step shut down process, this shortcut lets you shut down your computer with one click. Here’s the recipe:
- Right-click -> New -> Shortcut -> type [shutdown /s /t 0] -> Next -> name the shortcut -> Finish
- Right-click new shortcut -> Properties -> Change Icon -> OK -> Choose icon of your choice from list
- Right-click shortcut again -> Pin to Start -> Place icon wherever you want on your Start screen!
As you can see, there are a few steps to creating this one-step shortcut. Contact SGU for help if you should need a more detailed tutorial.
Bonus section: Keyboard Shortcuts!
Check out our favorite keyboard combos that can make your Windows 8 life easier! Be sure to watch in full screen mode to get the best view.
If Windows 8 is still an enigma (and dont worry, you are not alone), SGU has a team of technical and Windows experts who would be more than happy to come to your location for a computer training session. Our team has been well-versed in this new OS and can walk you step-by-step through its features. Contact us today to schedule a training session!