What’s so great about Windows 8?

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in Centerpiece,Office software,Office Technology

Whether you’ve recently purchased a traditional desktop computer or laptop, or a new touchscreen Ultrabook or Surface, you probably have Windows 8/8.1 operating system. You may remember the gnashing of teeth when going from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95 or maybe the ruckus caused by moving from DOS to Windows!

People love change, but they don’t like to be changed. Here are tips to help you get around and find what you need on Windows 8.

Lions and tigers and tile, oh my

Tiles are convenient for touchscreen devices, but they’re not bad for mouse-driven computer use, either. Rather than squinting at your screen or clicking a Start button to find what you need, just click or tap the large, rather graphically descriptive box to open your app. If the tiles are not arranged the way you’d like, no problem. Left-click or press and hold a tile you don’t need, and drag it off to the right. Or, right-click on it and remove it from the start menu. Create groups of tiles that make sense for you, and then rearrange them when your needs change.

If you don’t see the application you need in front of you, type the first few letters of it anywhere on the start screen. This is one less keystroke than Windows 7, where you have to click the start button first. The search pane pops up on the right with your search criteria entered and a list of possible results. In the diagram, just by typing “pai,” it found the Paint application. You can press enter to launch it or right-click to pin it on your start screen. If you’re on your desktop, tap the Windows key to return to the start screen.

Active tiles allow you to keep certain information (news, weather, finance) on the screen without clicking. Don’t like active tiles? Just right-click the tile and choose “Turn live tile off” at the bottom of the screen. You can also resize, uninstall or unpin from that menu, too.

Start up or shut down in seconds

On a Lenovo Yoga Ultrabook, it takes 10 seconds from pushing the power button to the login screen, and about 6.5 seconds from login to start screen. Shut down is even faster, under 10 seconds from starting the shutdown command sequence (Ctrl+X, U, U) until the power button light goes off. The start up/shut down speed is particularly useful when traveling. No more sheepish looks at flight attendants when trying to convince them that you actually did shut it down, even though the screen is still glowing defiantly.

The Windows key is your friend

The Windows key is on the bottom of the keyboard, usually to the left of Alt. Tap it to go to the desktop. Tap it again, and it takes you to the start screen. Use it with C (Windows key+C), to access the “charms” on the right for network settings, devices, power button, etc. Use it with D (Windows key+D) to minimize/maximize all your desktop windows. With L (Windows key+L), it locks your screen.

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