Beginners tips and hints for using Windows 8

We know this new operating system is very different from Microsoft's previous operating systems and is designed in the main for touch screen computers. It is challenging to begin with and it will probably take some time to master. So here are a few quick tips to help get you started.

Three concepts to keep in mind

1. Start - The start button is no longer available, you can launch apps from the Start screen.
2. Tiles - Live tiles are similar to thumbnails of the apps installed on your computer.
3. Charms - Charms allow you to perform useful functions, such as sharing content, turning off your pc or changing settings.

Getting Started

To access the CHARMS move the cursor to the upper or lower right hand corner of the screen or press the Windows key + C.
To get to START press the Windows key + C and click Start or move the cursor to the lower left hand corner of the screen and click start.
To JUMP BETWEEN APPS move the cursor the left hand edge of the screen to view thumbnails of apps that are currently running. You can also press the Windows key + tab to open and scroll through apps.
To TURN OFF the computer press the Windows key + C, click settings - power - and select action you wish to take.

Why is there a new interface? Windows 8 is designed for computers with touch screens. 'Windows Store' apps will automatically use the whole screen and don't require closing in the traditional way. 'Windows Store' apps are displayed on 'Start' using live tiles.

LIVE TILES are similar to thumbnails of the apps that will be updated with new content whenever you're connected to the Internet.So for example you can view weather updates without needing to open the app.
To UNLOCK you computer press any key and click on your user account icon. Enter the password if required.
You can PERSONALISE START with a different background image or arrange the tiles to suit your needs. Press the Windows key + C and click Settings - Change PC settings - personalise. Click Start screen at the top of the page and select a colour and image.
To MOVE TILES click and hold a tile to select it, then drag it to the place on Start that you want it to appear.
To CLOSE AN APP move the cursor to the top of the screen and click and drag the window downwards to close the app. You can also close apps from the thumbnails on the left hand edge of the screen by right clciking on a thumbnail ans selecting close.
To CHANGE THE SCREEN RESOLUTION, from start type 'ControL Panel' to open search and display the results - Control panel - adjust screen resolution.
If you would like to use the TRADITIONAL DESKTOP, from Start click the Desktop tile. You can pin apps you frequently use to the taskbar to easily open them. If you click an app that is not a 'Windows Store' app, windows will automatically open the app using Desktop.
Looking for a FAVOURITE PROGRAM like Notepad or Paint? From Start type the name of the program you are looking for to open Search and it will list the results. Alternatively you can open All apps and scroll to Windows Accessories to see the list of programs.

Modifications & Customisations

There are a number of modifications and customisations you can make to improve and enhance your Windows 8 and 8.1 experience. My personal favourite is Classic Shell 4.0. This returns the start button and the start menu. The computer will boot to the desktop instead of the Metro screen. You can customise the start menu to look like Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7, whichever you prefer. It enhances Windows Explorer with the addition of conventional toolbars and returns the menu bar and the navigation toolbar to Internet Explorer. A very worthwhile addition if like me, you haven't taken kindly to such a radical change in the way Windows 8 presents. Check it out here: Classic Shell 4.0

Windows 8 Keyboard Shortcuts

The basics:
F1 - Displays Help.
Ctrl + C - Copy.
Ctrl + V - Paste.
Windows key - Your "get out of jail free" card. Striking the Windows key by itself will return you to the home screen.
Windows + D - This command will exit whatever app you are in and take you to the Desktop view.
Type anything - From the home screen, typing anything on the keyboard will launch a universal search. By default, this will search first for apps, but you can quickly switch to search a number of fields, including the web.
Windows + C - The Charms menu is one of the iconic features of Windows 8. To access the Charms without a touchscreen, use Windows + C, then the cursor keys and Enter to choose the Charm you are looking for.
Windows + Q - If poking around in the Charms is too much bother, Windows + Q will skip the first step and take you straight to Search. This is context sensitive, so it will launch a search based on the app you are in.
Windows + I - Microsoft wants you to forget about Control Panel (even though it is still available). To jump into your system's settings, start with this command.
Windows + W - If you need to search for a specific setting to adjust, this combo will bring up a search box dedicated to the task.
Windows + H - Similar to iOS and Android, Windows 8 now shares content from app to app. Looking at a photo and want to email it? Press Windows + H in the photo gallery, and you're away.
Windows + "." - Windows 8 can display two apps at the same time. Windows + full-stop snaps them into position, changintg the position if you repeat the command.
Windows + Z - The full-screen app experience is one of the key design tenants in Windows 8, but this means that all of your options are hidden. To reveal them, press Windows + Z.
Windows + L - When the day is done and it's time to put Windows to bed, Windows + L will lock your screen.
Windows + X - Probably the most useful command for advanced users, Windows + X opens a menu over the Metro homescreen giving access to classic system tools like Control Panel and Task Manager.
Windows + R - Launch the Run dialogue (Desktop mode).
Windows + E - Launch Windows Explorer (Desktop mode).
Windows + K - Brings up a list of all connected devices, like wireless peripherals.
Windows + F - Launch a file search.
Windows + , - Windows + comma minimises all applications and shows the Desktop, but for only as long as you hold down the keys.
Windows + M - Minimises all active Desktop applications.
Windows + Shift+ M - Maximises all active Desktop applications.