Windows 8 has been a revolution in Windows history, thanks to its improved performance and a totally refreshed look. The old Start menu disappears and a fancy Start Screen takes its place with colorful app tiles. Many new options and features are included and many familiar ones removed, making the version a bit complicated for users. Still, it’s not a rocket-science! Check out this complete guide in which we’ve compiled some quick Windows 8 tips and tricks to help you make the most of your Windows 8 experience.
Windows 8 Tips You Shouldn’t Miss
Add a Proper Power Button
Why the Power button is the first among Windows 8 tips and tricks is because it’s what most users get affected by. Unlike its standard position on the taskbar in earlier Windows, the Power Button is ditched in the Charms bar in Windows 8. It takes three clicks to reach this button: Settings (in the charm dragged from the right of the screen) > Power > Shut Down. But you can save your time on this with the help of a simple tweak.
In Windows 8.1, this process is comparatively quicker. Head to the start screen and shut down your computer from the logout menu at the top-right. But it still isn’t as interactive as in the earlier versions.
You can bring the Power Button to the desktop by an easy workaround. Simply right-click on an empty space of the desktop and select New > Shortcut. In the “Type the location of the item” field, enter shutdown /s /t 0 and select Next. Give it a name (for example “Shut down” and click Finish. Once you see the shortcut on your desktop, right-click on it and click Properties from the menu. Navigate to the Shortcut tab and select the Change Icon option. When the warning dialog box shows up, click Ok. If you want, you can pin it to the taskbar by right-clicking on it.
Manage the Start Screen
Windows 8 Start Screen is the most dynamic transition from the earlier versions of Windows. It’s full of colorful and live tiles that offer you a glimpse of what each contains. Also, there are many apps that you’re not familiar seeing on the Start Screen. Simply swipe right and left to navigate on a touchscreen computer. If you have a regular computer, however, use the mouse scroll button. To get a larger or smaller view of the screen, drag the tile towards the top or bottom respectively.
To customize the tiles, right-click on the tile you want to unpin from here and select the option for the same. If you want to take the app shortcut to the taskbar, right-click on it and select “Pin to Taskbar”. Additionally, you can pin apps to the Start Screen as well by selecting the option “Pin to Start“. You can also give a name to the same types of apps. Simply, right-click on the group of these tiles and click “Name Group”.
Open Quick Access Menu
You can open the Quick Access menu right from the Start Screen by two ways: either use keyboard shortcuts Win + x or right-click on the bottom-left corner of the screen. A menu will show up, containing options for advanced users like Control Panel, Device Manager, Explorer and more. Make use of these options as per your wish to customize the Start Screen further.
Use the Revamped Task Manager
The Next in Windows 8 tips has to do with the Task Manager—a familiar name but a new look. One of the biggest improvements in Windows 8 has been done with the Task Manager. The revamped app now shows a Startup tab, a History tab, process usage in percentage, and better Performance graphs. Moreover, it’s right there on the taskbar. Or, you can access it by using either of the two key combinations CTRL + ALT + DEL or CTRL + Shift + ESC.
Use Picture Password to Log in
While the previous versions offer only the conventional method of logging in to your computer, Windows 8 comes up with something new. You have now the option to use a picture password to open your Windows machine.
First of all, you need to choose a picture and then draw a shape or pattern on it. From the next time you turn on your computer, you will have to draw the similar shape to authenticate your ID.
To set a picture password, do as follows:
- Bring up the Charms Bar by swiping from the far right of the screen
- Select Settings > More PC
- Head to Users and click Create a Picture Password
Split the Screen
This is perhaps one of the most appreciated Windows 8 features. Splitting the screen allows you to easily multitask. Say you want to book air tickets while chatting with your friend, you can divide the screen between halves and run two apps at a time. All you need to do is to swipe from the left. This will turn the last app you were using to a thumbnail. You can now open another app. Your current app will take the most of the screen while the other app will find a place in the sidebar pane.
On Windows 8.1, however, this feature gets even better. You can use four apps at the same time. Take the cursor to the top of the screen and when you see the hand icon, start dragging an app of your wish to any place. Drop the app when you the line of division. Keep doing the same for more apps to create four tiles. Also, you can change the size any tile by using the line.
Uninstall Programs within Seconds
This next trick in Windows 8 tips list is sure to charm you a lot. Unlike the long process of uninstalling apps and software from Control Panel on earlier versions, Windows 8 and 8.1 provide a simple way to do so. You only need to right-click on the app on the Start screen and then select Uninstall. The app will be removed from your computer within seconds.
Besides, you can reach the Apps menu to remove any of your installed apps. On Windows 8, you can do this by right-clicking on an empty space on the Start Screen and selecting “All Apps.” A list of all your installed programs will show up. On Windows 8.1, you only need to click/tap the arrow icon at the bottom-left corner of the Start Screen to access the Apps menu.
In case you only want to unpin an app from the Start Screen, right-click the app and select Unpin from Start.
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Get the Classic Start Menu Back
Still longing for the classic Start menu? Good news; you can easily bring the old, familiar Start menu back using Classic Shell. This free software will enable the Windows 7-like desktop screen with the familiar Run box and shut down option. Don’t worry! You will still get the option to switch between the old desktop and the new Start screen. Looking at the popularity of old-style Start Menu, this trick seems one of the most desired in Windows 8 tips.
Make Use of the Advanced Search
The Advanced search in Windows 8 and 8.1 doesn’t only let you look up your own system. It takes your experience to the next level, by delivering to you the search results directly from the Internet, thanks to its integration with Bing.
Let’s see how it works. Bring up the Charms Bar and enter “John Cena” in the search field. Now, press Enter. Along with getting the search results from your own system, you’ll find links to Cena’s matches, his pictures, videos, biography, and more. By clicking any of these, you will be able to open your browser window containing the complete info. Obviously, you need to get your Internet connection enabled to receive these web results.
The last in the line of Windows 8 tips and tricks is sharing. Windows 8 has made sharing huge. You will find the Share option on everything that’s shareable. Not only can you share your favorite content with your friends but with other apps on your computer as well.
Give it a try! Open an app (like News, Recipes, or anything that supports sharing). Bring up the Charms bar and click/tap the Share button. You’ll see a list of all options you can share this content with. Choose as per your wish.
Bonus Windows 8 Tip: Smart Keyboard Shortcuts
- Win key: Get to the Start Screen or switch to the Desktop (if it’s open)
- Win + c: Bring up Charms
- Win + e: Open Windows Explorer
- Win + h: Open the Charm that contains sharing options
- Win + i: Open Settings (as found in the Charms bar)
- Win + x: Open Power User Menu to access advanced options like Device Manager, Command Prompt etc.
- Win + z: Bring up commands for an app
- Win + Tab: Open the list of running apps
- Win + Prt Scr: Take a Screenshot
- Win + . (period): pin or unpin apps to the screen
- Win + , (comma): Make all open windows transparent to have a look at the desktop
- Win + start typing: Open the Search bar
That’s all for useful, quick Windows 8 tips and tricks to help utilize your Windows version to the fullest. Although the release of Windows 10 received much appreciation from users, many still rely on Microsoft Windows 8 or 8.1. Its faster booting speed and stylish look are unmatchable. With a little knowledge, you can take your Windows experience to the next level.
If you feel these tips for Windows 8 do you good, don’t forget to share with others to get their OS handy to them as well.
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