10 Tips for New Users

Article by: Sandra Linton |  Bio

Original post: April 4, 2014

For those just upgrading to Windows 8 or higher, there are a few tips and techniques that should help you adapt. There's a new touch Start screen with Windows 8-style apps (applications) and new interface conventions. If you've been using previous versions of Windows, it may take a while to get comfortable. By the way, if you have Windows 8.1, the Start menu has returned.

1. Log in

The Microsoft Windows 8 login screen is a locked screen with a graphic background and no prompt. To get started, press the space bar, spin the mouse wheel or swipe up on the touch screen to activate the login screen. Enter the user name you created during installation and your password and press Enter.

2. Navigate in the Windows 8 Start screen

In the standard Windows 8 interface, you'll see colourful tiles and touch-friendly apps just like a tablet. Swipe left or right to scroll the screen and tap any tile of interest. You can also use the keyboard. Press the Home or End keys to jump from one end of your Start screen to the other and use the arrow keys to select a particular tile. Press enter to select it.

3. Move between the Start screen and the Desktop

To move quickly between the Start screen and the Desktop (if no other programs or apps are running), press the Windows button. This button will toggle between the Start screen and other open programs. You can press Windows + D to view the Desktop from the Start screen as well. Press the Windows button to return to the Start screen.

4. Organize and Remove Apps

To organize apps in the Start screen, drag and drop tiles wherever you'd like on the screen. To remove an app from this screen, right-click on an app (or swipe down on) and select Unpin to remove it.

5. Group apps

You can sort your apps into custom groups by dragging.  You can also click the minus icon in the bottom right corner of the screen to zoom out and now you can drag and drop a group as a block. If you right-click within the block while still zoomed out, you can name the group. This can be very helpful if you later add a lot more apps to the Start screen. To get out of this zoom mode, click in any empty area of the Start screen. For those using Wndows 8.1, you can right-click an empty part of the Start screen or swipe up, tap Customise and then drag and drop tiles or rename app groups.

6. Use the quick access menu

If you right-click in the bottom-left corner of the Start screen or press the Windows key + X, a pop-up text style menu will appear which provides quick access to lots of useful applets and features such as the Device Manager, Control Panel, Explorer, the Search dialog and more.

7. Find applications

For all those looking for the old Start menu, you can access all your applications or programs 3 ways:

  1. Press Control + Tab.
  2. Click the arrow button at the bottom left of the Start Screen.
  3. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen.

A list of your installed programs will appear. If you can't see what you need initally, start typing an application name to search for it. In Windows 8.1, click the arrow to the right of Apps to sort your programs by date installed, most used, category or name.

8. Pin applications to the Start screen

You can pin any application you use frequently to the Start screen. Start by typing part of the name of your application in the Start screen. A search screen will appear. When the application appears in the Apps Search screen, right-click on the tile and choose Pin to Start. If you're using the touchscreen, press and hold the icon, then flick down and select Pin to Start. Press the Windows key to go to the Start screen and the application should appear at the far end. Drag and drop this over to the left if you'd like it to be easy to access.

9. Shut down

To shut Windows 8 down, just move the mouse to the bottom right or top right corner of the screen and click the Settings icon (you can also hold down the Windows key + I) and you'll see a power button on the bottom right. Click the Power button and choose Shut Down or Restart. In Windows 8.1, press Win + X, click Shut down or sign out and select the desired option.

10. Try using old shortcuts

Some of the tricks available in previous versions of Windows still work:

  • Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete to display the Task Manager.
  • Press Alt + Tab to move between open programs and documents.
  • On the Desktop, press Alt + F4 to Shut down, Restart or Switch User.

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