| | 11-24-2012, 11:10 AM #1
Windows 8 tips, and tricks.
Changing from "Microsoft Account" to a local account and vice-versa.
By default Windows 8 uses your "Microsoft Account" as your login for the Operating System (This can be set on installation too). This means during boot up you'll be shown the "Lock Screen" which you then slide up using your mouse or finger and type in your password. You're greeted by the Windows "Start Screen" after "Login".
Some people do not like this, and wish to go straight to the "Start Screen" on boot up. Doing so requires using a local account (You can use another method, but not going to get into that here). There is a downside to using a local account, you cannot sync settings to your Microsoft Account. You're also asked to sign in to each application (that requires a "Microsoft Account") upon first load after the change.
To quickly change to a local account, move your mouse to the top/bottom right of your screen. The "charms" will appear. Click upon "Settings" and a new menu will slide in from the right. At the bottom of the new menu will be "Change PC settings", select it. You'll now be faced with the "Change PC settings" screen. Click upon users on the left pane, and on the right pane the users settings page shall appear.
This is where you can change to, and from a local account. Click "Switch to a local account" and follow the on-screen instructions.
Grouping sections of your Start screen.
Windows 8 by default just puts application tiles in order of installation. Some people may like to organize and group these "sections" into named groups. The easiest way to get the tiles grouped how you like is by dragging them around to a corresponding position.
Once you've finished placing the tiles where you wish, and used "spacers" press the - button in the bottom right of the Start screen. The Start screen should now become zoomed out, and now you'll notice that the spaced out groups will highlight.
When you have a desired group highlighted, you can right click, and a new menu shall appear at the bottom of the screen. The new menu will have "Name group". Now name each group how you wish i.e. "Games".
Using a "hidden" menu for some desired tasks.
The bottom left of your display will overlay a "mini" Start screen. If you right click here, there will be a new menu which overlays, the new menu allows you to get to some tasks.
Tip: "Win+X" brings this menu up too.
Programs and features: This opens up control panels "Programs and features" allowing you to uninstall applications, and manage your Windows installation.
Power options: This allows you to manage your computers power management options.
Event viewer: Brings up the event viewer "Administrative tool", useful in troubleshooting.
System: System allows you to view the window showing your Windows Experience Index, along withyour activation status. Other things available are on the left pane i.e. "Device Manager".
Device Manager: This opens up device manager directly. Can uninstall, and install drivers from this location.
Disk Management: The "Administrative Tool" Disk Management will open. This is where you can format, and manage your drives. Be careful here.
Computer Management: Brings up the "Administrative Tool" with "snap-ins" of some of the previous options i.e. Device Manager, Disk Management, and System.
Command Prompt: There is two options on the menu, with and without "Administrative rights". Extremely useful in some cases.
Task manager: Brings up your Task Manager to allow you to maintain your running processes.
Control Panel: Opens the Control Panel window.
File Explorer: Opens Windows Explorer to your "Computer" section. (Different from the Explorer on the task bar)
Search: Brings up the "all apps" section of the Start screen, and a search box on the right.
Run: The "old" run box will appear. "Win+R" will also bring this up.
Shutting down/restarting your machine.
Using the charms:
Wherever you are you can move your mouse to the right corners of your screen to bring up the "charms". Do this and click on"Settings". A new menu will appear in the charms place. You should see 6 buttons near the bottom. One of which will be "Power". Clicking upon this will give you options to restart/shutdown.
Using the lock screen:
On the lock screen you'll see your login, or just your account picture - Dependant on type of account used. In the lower right you'll see the "power" button. Here you also get the options to restart/shutdown.
Getting "Mail" notifications.
By default Windows 8 Mail will not give you visual/audio notification for an email. You can quite easily enable this on a per-account basis. To do so open Windows Mail via your "Start screen". Once opened move your mouse to the top/bottom right corner of your screen. The "charms" will again appear.
Click "Settings" and you'll get a new menu to customize the Mail application. Click "Accounts" (The top option) and select the desired account under the accounts settings menu. (useful with multiple email accounts).
Tip: You can rename your accounts names in this section to something more user identifiable. The default is something like: firstname.lastname@example.org
Near the bottom you will see an option to "Show email notifications for this account". Click the "switch" to enable and do so for each desired account. Now you'll get a notification near the top right (like Messaging does) when an email is received.
Print an email from "Windows Mail".
To print from Windows Mail, and some other "Modern" applications you'll need to remember the hotkey for print.
"CTRL+P" This brings up a new menu to select the installed printers (Make sure your printer is online, or it'll be hidden under "more").
You can also use the "charms". Go to the top/bottom right and when the bar slides in, select devices and your printer should be located there (if online).
Searching for an application.
There is a few ways to find an application using Windows 8.
Start screen method:
Open your "Start screen" and just type part, or all of the applications name. This will show the application you desire so you can select.
Search "Charm" method:
Move your mouse to the top/bottom right corner of your screen and on the"charms" select "Search". Search by default is for "Apps" type your desired application, and you'll see the applications list change to your every letter. Once you see the application you wish to use, click on it.
Snapping for multi-tasking "Modern" applications.
Using your mouse (or finger) head to the top of the screen and you'll notice ahand come up (you won't if using touch). Click and the cursor will change. Now move mouse/finger down and you'll be faced with a "drag-able" modern application. You can now place the application into 2 separate "snap"locations. The left and right.
Tip: You can also "close" an application by simply dragging all the way down. This can also be done with snapped applications. Simply tap/click and hold upon the top and drag down.
Application switcher method:
When you go to the top left, you're faced with the option to instantly switch between the last application used. Once you get this little option to appear, move your mouse down and you'll see the application switcher. All your previously opened applications will be here.
There is 2 ways to snap an application using this new menu. First way is to simply right click on the application you wish to snap, and select snap left/right. Dependant on what you wish. The other way is to simply drag the application to your desired location. The snap in grids will appear when you're over the right place.
Note: Some applications have nice features when snapped, however they're not good when switching between different sections of the application (Skype). You may need to double click, or drag the divider to enable you to navigate the snapped application. This will snap the desktop, or other application to the left/right while you do what you need. Double click/drag once you're ready to return to your original state.
Note 2: You cannot snap an application into a "section" on any other screen but your primary monitor.
Changing your lock screen to the current Bing image.
From the "Start screen" open the Bing application. You'll now see the current image on the application from which you can search Bing, and see some other information. Right click (or "Win+Z") and along the bottom a new menu will slideup. Here you'll see "Set As Lock Screen", simply click/tap this and the current image will now be on your lock screen.
Using multi-monitor options through the "charms".
Move your mouse to the top/bottom right of your screen. On the charms tap/click devices. You should see "Second screen" listed. Click and you'll now be faced with some useful options for your multi-monitor setup. You can select to only use 1 display (either your primary or secondary), and you can select to either duplicate, or expand onto another screen.
Note: Multi-monitor setups can display separate wallpapers, this is done by using the"slide show" desktop background (selecting multiple images). If you have panoramic images and both displays are the same resolution you may also have the image span across your monitors (span may work without having 2 of the same resolution).
Changing sync and privacy settings.
By default when using your Microsoft Account, Windows 8 syncs many settings to your account. This can be especially useful when having to do a reinstall. However some people may want to change the options to their own "comfort" level. Using the"Charms" select "Settings". In the new menu select the bottom option "Change PC settings". A new screen will appear select "Sync your settings" and flick the switches for ones you'd like.
Using the ribbon and quick access toolbar.
Windows 8 brings with it similar features to Office, the ribbon and quick access toolbars can really improve productivity if used correctly. Anything on the ribbon can be added to your quick access toolbar.
If you notice yourself doing a repetitive task, something that requires commands on the ribbon, you can right click any of them tasks and select "Add to Quick Access Toolbar". You'll now have these tasks/options upon the toolbar at the top left of the window. When you see a coloured tab appear (Contextual ribbon tab) while working with anything in Explorer, there may be options that are useful to your current task. Always check there first if you're wanting to find an option.
Note: Anything on the ribbon, including contextual ribbon commands can be added to the toolbar.
Note 2: Contextual ribbon commands only show when dealing with certain files/tasks.
Finding System Restore.
You may have tried to look through your Start screen to find System Restore, and have been wondering where it is now. There are a few ways to get to where it is.
System Restore is located under advanced system settings > system protection. You can get to this by bringing the Start screen up and typing "System Restore" or "System Protection" either will work. You'll now notice that on the right of your screen there is 3 or 1 (dependant on search term) near "Settings". Click upon "Settings" and you'll now see "Create a restore point". This is where you go for using System Restore - Even to use a restore point.
You can also get to here by using the menu discussed earlier (right click in lower left or"Win+X") and selecting system and on the left pane click advanced system settings > system protection.
Another way is while in Explorer on Computer, right click in the right pane (in a blank space) and select properties. Now on the left pane click advanced system settings > system protection.
Alternatively you can use "Shift+F8" at boot up to access a menu, you'll be faced with System Restore as one of the options.
NOTE: Shift+F8 can be problematic.
Refreshing vs. Reinstallation.
There is also a new option in Windows 8, it can allow you to "refresh" Windows. You have two types, one that will do such while keeping your personal files, and the other will refresh and remove all files (like a clean install of Windows). These can be useful to get your system back running stable without going through the process of a complete reinstallation. As always backup your data first if possible.
To get to these options is simple. Using the "Charms" menu, click "Settings", then click "Change PC settings". On the left pane you'll see a host of options. Click "General" and on the right pane scroll down till you see the "Refresh your pc without affecting your files" or "Remove everything and reinstall Windows", click the appropriate "Get Started" button.
Just a few I've typed up so far. I'll be adding more soon! Hope this helps others, and if others wish to add more to the thread please do!