Windows 8, Windows 8.1. Just because it’s a whole new beast doesn’t mean it has to be a beast to work with. 🙂 With a few tips and tricks you can create your own custom start menu to help you navigate the beast and even make your computer experience more efficient!
Windows 8 is a major change from previous versions of Microsoft Windows. Instead of sitting on your couch surfing your tablet and then going to your computer to perform more complex tasks Microsoft envisions you using that same tablet to do both. With Windows 8, Microsoft is attempting to merge the functions of your tablet and computer into one device. Pretty neat. Unfortunately for us, that means an entirely new operating system that we have to get used to. But, with the outlook of having all the functionality in one device, the learning curve is worth it.
So how did Microsoft merge the two worlds in Windows 8? The simply gave you two worlds and the ability to switch between them. So, while you’re sitting on your couch surfing the web on your “tablet” you can jump quickly over to the project you’ve been finishing on your computer and then switch back. (No having to get off the couch. 🙂 ) You can use the “Start Screen” (tablet view) or “Desktop View” (computer view) in Windows 8. In my previous post you can read about how to update your desktop view to make it more efficient. In this post we’ll take a closer look at the start screen and customizing it to your needs.
Windows 8 is designed to work with both a mouse / touchpad (like a computer) OR your finger / touch (like a tablet). Some simple tips to keep in mind:
- A left click on a mouse is the same as touching something once with your finger
- A right click on a mouse is the same as pressing AND HOLDING with your finger (a long press)
WINDOWS 8 START SCREEN – GO TO START
How do you get to the Windows 8 start screen? There are a few different ways, the easiest being:
- On your keyboard press the windows key (the button with the windows logo on it)
- Using your finger, swipe in from the right side of the screen to access what Microsoft calls the charms, press the windows logo
WINDOWS 8 START SCREEN – WHAT’S ON MY START SCREEN?
Well, that’s up to you. Microsoft has designed the Windows 8 Start Screen so that it can store the things you need to access the most (I love the efficiency!!). Some examples of things that you can put on your start screen for easy access are Apps, Applications, Bookmarks and Contacts.
WINDOWS 8 START SCREEN – APPS (TILES)
The Microsoft App Store has over 585,000 apps (some are windows phone apps, not compatible with tablets). To find and purchase (or get free) new apps go to the Microsoft App Store by clicking the tile on your Windows 8 Start Screen.
NOTE: You can select which apps you want pinned to your start screen (the tiles you can see) and which ones you DON’T want to appear on your start screen.
WINDOWS 8 START SCREEN – APPLICATIONS
Applications are the programs you use on the desktop of your computer. Some programs come installed with your computer and you may install others later. You can buy applications at a physical store and install them on your computer with a CD or you can buy/find them free online and install them by downloading an installation file. As with apps, you can pin those that you want to show up on your start screen and leave the rest off.
NOTE: Some programs may be found via an app on your tile screen OR and application on your desktop. For example, if you’re on your start screen and click the Internet Explorer tile you will open the Internet Explorer APP. If you’re working on your desktop and open up Internet Explorer it will be the full APPLICATION. You will notice some subtle differences between the two, especially with their menus and navigation. But…more on that later…
WINDOWS 8 START SCREEN – BOOKMARKS
Want quick access to your favorite website? Add a bookmark to your Windows 8 Start Screen so when you click on that tile you get brought right to that site.
WINDOWS 8 START SCREEN – CONTACTS
Add a contact to your Windows 8 Start Screen for quick access to their information.
WINDOWS 8 START SCREEN – REARRANGING THE APPS ON YOUR START SCREEN
You can highly customize your start screen so everything you need is within reach. This video gives a quick tutorial on how to resize, move and group tiles on your Windows 8 start screen.
How do you like to keep your start screen efficient? If you have any questions, as always, please leave a comment below.