Make the most of your Windows Start screen tiles by adjusting the sizes, where they are located, and what is listed.
Knowing at least some of the Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts will make your Windows 8 experience much more enjoyable.
Try to memorize these top Windows 8 shortcut keys.
See our Windows shortcuts page for a full listing of all Windows shortcuts.
The corners on your screen are hot corners and give you access to different Windows features. Below, is a brief explanation of each of these corners.
Bottom Left-hand corner
The bottom left-hand hot corner of the screen will allow you to access the Start screen, if you're in the Start screen and have the Desktop open, this corner will open the Desktop from the Start screen.
Tip: Right-clicking in the left hand corner will open the power user menu.
Top-left corner of the screen
Moving the mouse to the top-left corner and then down will display all the apps running on the computer. Clicking and dragging any of these apps to the left or right-hand side of the screen will snap that app to that side of the screen. Each of these open app icons can also be right-clicked to close or snap.
Right-hand side of the screen
On the full right-hand side of the screen will be given access to the Windows Charms.
The Search in Windows 8 has been significantly improved when compared to all previous versions of Windows. To search for a file or run a program in Windows 8 from the Start screen just start typing what you're trying to find or want to run.
As you begin typing, the results will start appearing on the left-hand side. In addition to being able to search for files and run programs, the Search also supports limiting the search to apps such as Finance, People, Maps, Photos, Mail, Music, Videos, Weather, and much more. If what you are searching for is not a file or program, click on the app you wish to use as the search. For example, if you were searching for "New York" and selected the Weather App you would be shown the weather in New York, NY.
By default, Search organizes the available Apps by how frequently they are used and then in alphabetical order. If you want to keep your favorite app at the top of the Search list, right-click the app and choose Pin. Pinning the app will lock it in place regardless of how often it is used. If there is an app you don't want (e.g. Finance) you can turn on and off any of the search apps through the PC settings, which is found under the Settings in the Charms.
Bonus tip: The Search is also found through Charms and can also be opened by pressing Windows key + F.
Any app can be pinned to the left or right-hand side of the screen. For example, open the People app and then press the Windows Key + . (period)to move that app to the right-hand side of the screen, pressing the same keys again will move it to the left-hand side, and pressing the same keys again will make it full screen. While an app is pinned, any other app or program can be opened and loaded into the available space on the screen. For example, in the below picture, we've opened a browser window and have the People app running to monitor our social networks.
Any open app can also be pinned using your mouse by clicking at the top of the tile and dragging it to the left or right-hand side of the screen.
Bonus tip: The Desktop can also be pinned to the left or right-hand side of the screen.
Note: In order for snap to work properly your resolution must be at least 1,366 x 768.
The Windows 8 Task Manager has been significantly improved over previous versions of Windows. Some of the new changes include showing a total percent usage at the top of your Processes, which makes it easier to determine total memory and CPU usage, improved Performance graphs, a Startup tab to see startup processes and their impact to system performance, and the App history tab (as shown below) that gives you the total resources an app has used over a period of time. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to start exploring the new Task Manager.
Windows 8 includes a new feature called Picture password, which allows you to authenticate with the computer using a series of gestures that include circles, straight lines, and taps. Enable this feature if you want a new way to access your computer or have a hard time with passwords.
Bonus tip: A four digit pin password can also be created and used to access your computer.
Windows 8 comes included with several apps to help you get the most from your computer. Below are just a few of the included apps.
Microsoft touts the People feature in Windows 8 because they understand how many people are using social networks today. In the People feature you'll be able to connect your Windows computer to all the major social networks including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Once connected, you can pin the people app and monitor your social network (as shown below), use People in Search to find people, and get an overview of what is happening in all your social networks.
The Reader app will give you PDF support right out of the box.
The SkyDrive app will give you access to the Microsoft cloud service SkyDrive, which allows you to store your photos, documents, and other files in the cloud and access or share those files with any computer with Internet access.
Take advantage of the Windows Store and install one or more of the thousands of available apps designed for Windows 8. The Store is found in the Start screen, or use Search to search the Store app for any apps that you are trying to find.