When Windows first 8 hit the shelves in 2012, very few people knew what to make of it. After a whole host of design changes, the much loved interface looked considerably different compared to previous ones, leaving many wondering whether they should jump ship and leave their trusted Windows laptops behind.
But Microsoft stuck with their new design.
As time passed, and after one or two minor tweaks by the software giant, those who were slightly unsure about Windows’ direction begun to come around. Much of the change of heart was down to the discovery of many additional features added into the software to make life easier, and more efficient.
If you yourself are still getting used to the new Microsoft Windows, or you’re just looking to get the most out of your computer, take a read of these 10 Essential Windows 8 Tips and Tricks listed below. They may just save you shelling out for a new system.
Zoom for a better view
When turning on a new Windows 8 computer for the very first time, one of the most common questions asked is, where is everything? In the previous design, everything was visible under the Start bar. Now, things are a little different. It’s an app based system.
Unfortunately, many of these apps have pretty chunky display pictures, leaving room for only a dozen or so on the screen at any one time. Not to worry though, there is a way to bring everything in to view.
By holding down the Ctrl button, and using the mouse scroll to zoom in and out, it’s possible to edit an app screen to the size of your choosing.
Forget passwords often? Create a picture one
This feature is dedicated to anybody with a short-term memory.
You can keep your computer protected without having to memorise any detailed passwords. All you have to do is set a picture password. Want to do it? Hold the Windows button + I to bring up the setting tab, then select ‘Change PC settings.’ From there you can click on ‘Add Picture Password,’ which will require you to select a picture from your hard drive, and define a gesture which will become your password.
Choose from circles, lines or anything else. Just remember, direction does matter, and after a few goes, your new picture password will be set.
Save time logging in by removing the log in screen
If you happen to find the log in screen a waste of time, you’re not alone. In fact so many people feel the same, Windows have enabled users to disable it.
To do so, open the Run window (by pressing Windows key + R) and type in ‘netplwiz’ to open up the User Accounts dialog box. Uncheck the box labelled ‘Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer’ and confirm your choice. Now, you’ll be able to get your computer loaded up in no time. Yes, youshall now pass in peace.
Open Safe Mode
When something isn’t working quite right, Safe Mode is a valuable tool to help a user get inside their computer and fix the problem.
These days, the trusted F8 button will take you to the Automatic Repair Mode when pressed upon start up. From here you can get into Safe Mode though. To get there, when in this Recovery Mode, select ‘advanced options’, ‘troubleshoot,’ then ‘advanced options’ one last time. Once done, select Windows Startup Settings and hit restart.
The following reboot will give you the chance to access the Safe Mode and hopefully resolve any niggling issue you may be dealing with.
Family Safety settings
No upgraded system would be complete without better family safety features. To access them on your computer or laptop and make use of separate child accounts or other safety tools, Click Control Panel, select User Accounts, then Family Safety. From here, all of Windows’ safety features can be accessed, including restrictions, monitoring features and more.
Shut down in a second
Hidden away in the top right hand corner of the screen under the user name icon, is the power button. While not exactly hard to find, there is an even easier way to turn off a Windows 8 machine that doesn’t involve multiple clicks.
Create a Shutdown button shortcut icon on your desktop which will close everything down with a click, by right-clicking and selecting New, then Shortcut. Enter shutdown /s /t 0 as the location of your item, then rename is to something like Shutdown after clicking next.
By right-clicking your shortcut, you’ll find ways to pin it to the start/desktop, and to change its icon to something, well, powery…
Change Privacy Settings
Want to change your privacy settings? Look no further. Windows 8 features a whole host of features which allow users to increase their privacy, or cut down on it.
By holding the Windows key + I and selecting the PC Settings, you’ll have the option to select the Privacy tab and take care of your privacy needs from there.
Open the Quick Access Menu
The Quick Access Menu is like a direct line to management. When open, it allows a user to access all kinds of system management settings, including Task Manager, and more.
To open the Quick Access Menu, simply right click on the Windows icon in the lower left part of the screen (in Windows 8.1).
Open up Task Manager
The Task Manager has always been a handy feature to use whenever the screen has frozen, an item of software malfunctions, or disk space is becoming scarce.
Make full use of Task Manager by holding Ctrl + Alt + Delete. Something do never change.
Shortcuts, the secret to success
And finally, one of the most effective ways to use Windows 8 is to take shortcuts. Shortcut keys have been around since the dawn of Windows, yet they’re just as relevant now as they were all those years ago.
While many know a few, there are actually a long list of them which make everything from copying text to getting connected a breeze. A list of handy usability shortcuts has been printed below. With thanks to Microsoft.com.
- Hold the Windows key + M to minimize everything showing on the desktop.
- Holding the Windows key + E opens Explorer for easy access to folders.
- When on the Start screen, press and hold the Windows key + D to get straight to the desktop.
- The Windows key + Tab button opens up a list of currently running programs.
- The Windows key + Print Screen will take a screenshot and save it to the Screenshots folder.
- The Windows key + Q opens the global search menu. Simply type in what you’re looking for and you’ll get their instantly.
- The Windows key + W opens a search in your system settings to quickly locate and change system properties.
- The Windows key + F key will allow you to search all folders and files.
- The Windows key + R prompts the Run command.
- The Windows key + X opens the Quick Access Menu.
- The Windows key + I opens the settings menu, which will give you quick access to the Control Panel, Personalization, and Power button.
There you have it, some of the top Windows 8 Tips n’ Tricks – hope they help. Still need assistance? Call CMIT Soltuions of Hartford today!
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