What`s New In windows 8

What`s New In windows 8
WHAT’S NEW IN
WINDOWS 8
Okanagan College
Instructor Judy Smith
What’s new in Windows 8
With the introduction of Windows 8, Microsoft removed the Start button, the Start menu, and
pushed the desktop into the background. Were these changes too much for users who'd spent
decades getting used to how Windows worked or just a learning curve? I remember switching
from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95. What a difference. Where were all my icons and what’s with
the start menu thing? Surprisingly enough not only did I get used to the new interface I grew to
love it. So here we are with another change. We’re going to look at the best features of
Windows 8 and at the end we’ll also see what’s what In 8.1. Just keep an open mind. I think
you’ll find the new features outweigh the minor annoyances of having to learn another new
program.
One of the best features is less running processes at start up.
What this means for you is better, faster performance. Windows 8 has better performance than
Windows 7, even with the metro interface (Start screen with all the icons) running on top of a
desktop. With less running processes than Win 7 and using about ½ the resources, 8.1 is faster.
The Lock Screen
Windows 8's lock screen is pretty much what you'd expect: it's got a beautiful picture along
with a few little widgets full of information, like the time, how many emails you have, and so
on. You can swipe up to unlock, or press the spacebar if you're on a desktop keyboard. You can
then proceed to type your normal password, or use one of Windows 8's "picture passwords,"
which let you swipe or draw an invisible gesture that only you know, using your lock screen
photo as reference, to let yourself in (though this is really better on tablets than it is on a PC).
For example, in Microsoft's original demo, they used a photo of a person, and the password
was to tap on their nose and swipe left across their arm).
The Start Screen
The tiles-based interface, or the Metro UI, will be the first thing you see upon logging in to
Windows 8. At first glance, the UI seems to go intuitively with touchscreen devices like tablets
and smartphones. Indeed, in such devices, you tap on those apps to open them. The grid layout
seems to facilitate such interactions. Needless to say, you can customize your grid by adding
and arranging applications.
Metro User Interface
For the on-the-go information grabbers, the Windows 8 Start screen fills the entire screen with
large, colorful tiles that constantly update to show the latest stock prices, weather, e-mail,
Facebook updates, and other tidbits. In one glance over your tiles, you can have access to all
that you need to be notified and take action on those which are urgent... That information
appears before you touch a button and touch is a keyword: The Start screen works best with a
touchscreen monitor or tablet.
At any time, you can press Win+D or click on the Desktop tile to go to the familiar Windows
desktop instead. Use the Windows button on your keyboard to toggle back and forth between
Start screen and desktop
The Desktop
When you click on the Start screen’s desktop tile the traditional Windows desktop appears.
You've got your taskbar, your desktop icons, and your normal windowed applications as you're
used to (though they have a new, flatter, Aero-less look).
The Start menu, however, is gone—instead, you can move your mouse to the bottom left hot
corner and click to return to the Start screen, or press the Windows key as normal. Like the old
Start menu, you can start typing any time you're on the Start screen to start searching for an
app or setting, giving you quick access to everything on your computer.
It isn't nearly as convenient as the old Start menu was, but you can get used to most stuff
pretty quickly. Pressing the Windows button and typing in an app or setting is faster than
browsing the Start menu anyway, so it's a good habit to get into, and you can always access a
more traditional menu by pressing Win+X—this will bring up a small menu in the corner that
has shortcuts to the Control Panel, Run, the Command Prompt, and other stuff advanced users
may want to access.
The Charms Bar
The Windows 8 charm bar is the (central) toolbar in Windows 8, which can be accessed from
the desktop view of Windows 8 or the Windows 8 start screen, as well as any app that you use
in Windows 8. You can get to the charm bar on a PC by either dragging your mouse to the top
or bottom right corners of the screen, and the charm bar will pop up on the right side of the
screen. Moving the mouse away will hide the charm bar, and also the Charm Bar will close
after 3 seconds of inactivity. You can also bring up the charm bar by pressing the Windows
key+C, however, and when you do this, in addition to seeing the charm bar, you’ll also see the
date and time in the bottom left corner, and this will keep the Charm Bar open.
How do I use the Windows 8 Charm Bar?
Using the Windows 8 Charm Bar you can perform
the basic actions needed for using Windows 8. The
Windows 8 Charm Bar Contains five icons that each
represents a different feature: Search, share, the
start icon, Devices, and settings.
The Start icon will bring you back to the start screen,
and the devices icon will show you a list of running
devices connected to your machine, including
printers or connected cameras. The last icon,
settings, will allow you to set up and operate your
Windows 8 start screen by customizing your settings,
like selecting your language of choice for the
keyboard. The settings icon is also one of the places
where you can shut down your PC in Windows 8,
restart it, or put it to sleep.
Search
The Search charm uses Bing Smart Search so you
can search your PC, the web, and OneDrive, plus
some apps and the Windows Store. You can
search once to get results from everywhere, and
you can go back to your search results without
having to search again.
To search your PC, the web, and OneDrive using Bing Smart Search
1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse
pointer up, and then click Search.) You can also press the Windows logo key +S, or
press the Windows logo key and start typing to open Search. And if you're on the Start
screen, you can tap or click the Search button , or just start typing.
2. Enter your search term. As you type, you'll see a list of search results and suggestions.
3. If you see the app, file, or setting you're looking for in the list, tap or click it to open it. To
see all of the results for your search term, including all the web results from Bing, tap or
click the Search button to go to the search results page. You can also tap or click one of
the search suggestions.
4. On the search results page, tap or click a search result to open it.
The search results page
Your results are grouped by category and by where they’re from. For example, the photos on
your PC will be grouped together, and so will the photos from the web. The results from your
personal files on your PC and OneDrive will be listed first, and then results from apps and the
web. Thumbnails give you an idea of what you’re getting before you tap or click. To see all the
search results for a specific category, tap or click the See all link for that category.
To go back to the search results page
If you open a search result and find it’s not what you're looking for, you can go back to the
search results page without having to search all over again. With touch, swipe in from the left
edge of your screen. (With a mouse, move your pointer into the upper-left corner of your
screen and click.)
To narrow your search results
The Search charm automatically searches the apps, files, and settings on your PC and OneDrive,
plus the web. But you can search for only one type of result, like settings or images on the web.
And in some apps, you can choose to search only that app.
1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse
pointer up, and then click Search.)
2. Tap or click the arrow
want.
above the search box, and then tap or click the category you
To change settings for Search
You can clear your search history, choose how your search info is shared with Bing, and change
SafeSearch options that filter adult content from your search results. And if you want, you can
turn off web search so that you see results only from your PC and OneDrive (you might want to
do this if you’re using a metered Internet connection).
1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse
pointer up, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)
2. Tap or click Search and apps, and then tap or click Search.
3. Change the settings you want.
Share
The Share charm is a quick way to share files, photos, and info with people you know, or save
things for later, without leaving the app you're in. You can share a photo with just a few people
at a time, share a link with your entire social network, or send an interesting article to the
Reading List app so you can read it later.
You can share things from most apps with the Share charm. If you want to share things from
the desktop, you can share through email or use OneDrive to share files and photos.
To share files
1. In an app, swipe the item you want to share to select it. (If you're using a mouse, rightclick the item you want to share to select it.)
2. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Share.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse
pointer down, and then click Share.)
3. Tap or click the person, app, or device you want to share with, and follow the on-screen
instructions.
To share a link
1. Open an app and browse to the website, article, or map you want to share.
2. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Share.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse
pointer down, and then click Share.)
3. Tap or click the person, app, or device you want to share with, and follow the on-screen
instructions.
To change settings for Share
You can change which apps are listed in the Share charm, and how they appear.
1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse
pointer up, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)
2. Tap or click Search and apps, and then tap or click Share.
3. Change the settings you want.
Start
You can use the Start charm to get to the Start screen no matter where you are in Windows. Or
if you’re already on Start, use it to go back to the last app you were using.
Open Start by swiping in from the right edge of the screen and then tapping Start. (Or, if you're
using a mouse, point to the lower-left corner of the screen, move your mouse all the way into
the corner, and then click Start.)
Tip
If you're using a mouse, you can move your mouse pointer to the lower-left corner and click the
Start button to go back to Start.
Devices
The Devices charm is a quick way to send files and info to other devices that are connected to
your PC, like your printer, Xbox, phone, speakers, TV, or a projector. The list of devices available
in the Devices charm depends on the devices you have and whether they’re connected to your
PC.
Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Devices.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer
up, and then click Devices.)
1. Pick one of the following options:
Stream videos, music, or a photo slide show to another device (like a TV or stereo). Tap
or click Play and follow the on-screen instructions. For more info about how to set up
Play, see Stream pictures, video, and music using Play.
Print a document, photo, or email. Tap or click Print and follow the on-screen
instructions. For more info, see How to print.
Project what’s on your PC (like a presentation, a slide show, or anything on your PC) on
another screen. Tap or click Project and follow the on-screen instructions.
Settings
The Settings charm is the place to make quick adjustments to a few common settings (like
brightness and volume), find settings for your PC (like personalization, user accounts, and
devices), and change settings for the app you’re using.
To quickly adjust common settings
There are a few common PC settings—like volume, power, and network connection—that are
always available in the Settings charm.
1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse
pointer up, and then click Settings.)
2. Tap or click the setting you want to change.
You can change most settings in PC settings (instead of in Control Panel), like personalization
and settings for things like devices, user accounts, OneDrive, network connections, and
languages.
1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse
pointer up, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)
2. Tap or click the category of settings you want to change.
To change settings for an app
If you’re in an app when you open the Settings charm, you’ll see the settings for that app listed
first. Every app is a little different, so the settings might be a little different too. And if you're on
Start or the desktop, you can use the Settings charm to personalize and change other options.
1. Open an app like Mahjong from the start menu.
2. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse
pointer up, and then click Settings.)
3. Tap or click the setting you want to change. If you're using an app and you don't see what
you want, check PC settings—some apps have settings there.
Full Screen Apps
While you can pin your favorite apps to the taskbar, as usual, most of your apps will reside on
the Start screen, just like they used to reside in the Start menu. Just fire up the Start screen and
tap or click on the tile for the app you want to launch (or, as we mentioned above, type it in the
search box). Tablet-optimized apps will go full screen, while others will shoot you back to the
desktop.
The full-screen apps that come with Windows 8 are really nice: most have touch-based
controls, like pinch to zoom and copy and paste, but you can also use them with a mouse and
keyboard if you so desire. Each has options like search, share, and settings through the Charms
bar, which you can get by swiping from the right edge of the screen or pressing Win+C. Apps
can share information one another easily, such as selected text or photos. After picking your
media from one app, you'll then be able to choose which app you want to share with, and work
with it from there. For example, you can share photos to Facebook, send text from a web page
in an email, and so on.
None of this is brand new to touch-based platforms, but what is new is the ability to not only
multitask, but run these apps side by side. Say you want to watch a video and keep an eye on
your news feed at the same time. Just like in Windows 7 for the desktop, you can dock an app
to one side of the screen while docking another app at the opposite side, which is a seriously
cool feature. Imagine being able to IM and play a game at the same time, or browse the web
while writing an email. It's a fantastic way to fix one of the big shortcomings of mobile OSes,
thus allowing you to ignore the full desktop interface more often and stay in the touch-friendly,
tablet view.
The Windows Store
The Windows Store looks much like the home screen, with tiles that correspond to different
categories and featured apps. From there, you can look at a more detailed list of the available
apps in a given section. And, the store contains not only touch-based apps for the tablet
interface, but some of the more traditional desktop Windows apps you're used to, so you have
one portal to discover all your Windows apps no matter what interface you're using. The Store
has free and paid apps, and you can try paid apps before you commit to buying, which is really,
really nice.
Sync All Your Data to the Cloud
Users of Windows 8 will have the choice to log in with a Microsoft account. Doing this will
enable cloud storage and sync with SkyDrive, the company’s cloud storage and sync service.
Signing up is free, as is a limited amount of cloud storage. Users will also be able to save files
from third-party applications directly to SkyDrive.
The cloud is taking center stage in Windows 8, with your Microsoft account driving all the
syncing. Your address book, photos, SkyDrive data, and even data within third-party apps can
sync up to the cloud, and you can access them on any Windows 8 device—even a brand new
one. Just sign in, and you'll have access to everything. The address book also syncs with other
services like Facebook and Twitter as well. You can even sync all of your settings from one
Windows 8 PC to another. Just sign onto your Windows 8 with a Microsoft account and you'll
get all your themes, languages, app settings, taskbar, and other preferences will show right up.
It's a pretty neat feature if you have multiple Windows 8 PCs and don't want to set them all up
separately—just a few taps and you've got all your preferences ready to go (you will have to redownload your apps, though).
Windows Explorer
Windows Explorer has gone through a few changes this time around, most notably the
"Ribbon" interface we've come to know from Microsoft Office. Instead of traditional menus like
View, you now have Ribbon panes: File, Home, Share, and View, that give you access to the
features that used to be in the menus. If you're in a folder designed for certain file types—like
the "Pictures" library—you'll get a few extra Ribbon panes centered around photos, which is
pretty cool. Windows Explorer also has native mounting of ISO files, a one folder up button like
the old days of XP (thank God), and a really cool "quick access" toolbar in the left-hand corner
that lets you add your favorite shortcuts to the title bar. It also has a new file copy dialog that
makes it easier to manage move-and-replace actions with lots of files.
A New Task Manager
Microsoft's finally redesigned the task manager, and it looks pretty great. You have a very
simple task manager for basic task killing, but if you're a more advanced user, you can bring up
the detailed task manager filled with information on CPU and RAM usage, Metro app history,
and even startup tweaking—so you can get rid of apps that launch on startup without going all
the way into msconfig. Click on the app in the start menu or type task in search. (Ctrl & Alt &
Delete still works too)
Built-In Antivirus with Windows Defender
Remember Microsoft Security Essentials, our favorite antivirus app for Windows? Well, now it's
built in to Windows 8 as Windows Defender. It has nearly the exact same interface and feature
set; the main difference is that you no longer have to install it.
Why do you need an antivirus?
Good browsing practices can take you pretty far. If you aren't browsing shady sites,
downloading files from suspicious sources, and clicking links from people you don't know, you'll
put yourself at less risk for viruses.
Many people think that you can only get malware by downloading suspicious files, running
unpatched software or visiting the wrong websites. It’s true – this is how most people pick up
malware. But this isn’t the only way malware can spread.
There are “zero-day” exploits – vulnerabilities that the bad guys find first. Ones we don’t know
about, which we can’t protect ourselves from. These flaws are corrected as soon as they’re
found, but new ones inevitably pop up. In other words, your computer could be infected just
from you visiting a website. Even if you only visit websites you trust, the website itself could be
compromised – something that happens with alarming frequency these days
Other Features
Along with these cool features, Windows 8 also comes with other features we've come to know
and love to see in desktop and mobile alike. It's got system-wide spellchecking, so you don't
have to rely on a specific app to keep your writing top-notch, as well as a system-wide search
feature, that lets you search anything from your music library to your contacts to the web itself.
It also has a really cool feature for desktop users that lets your run the Metro Interface on one
monitor while running the traditional desktop on the other (not to mention better support for
multiple monitors in general—like having the taskbar on both screens).
It also has a really cool feature called "refresh your PC", where you can do a clean install with
the tap of a button. Whether you're selling your machine or just want a cleaner, faster
installation of Windows, you can do it all in one click. You can even set refresh points, similar to
restore points, so you can refresh your PC to the way it was at a certain point in time
Internet Explorer
Windows 8 ships with the latest version of Internet Explorer. Adobe Flash will also be integrated
to improve security and ensure that users keep the software up-to-date.
New multi-monitor features
Windows has included multi-monitor support for some time, but it’s also relied on a single
primary display. Users could only access the task bar on that display and the wallpaper on all
displays was a mirror image of that used on the primary.
Windows 8 changes this by allowing taskbars and wallpapers that span multiple monitors. Both
improvements are minor, but they will be useful to enthusiasts who enjoy hooking up two or
three monitors instead of one.
Split-screen multi-tasking
Windows 7 included some clever new multi-tasking features such as Aero Snap, which made it
easy to “snap” two open windows into a side-by-side configuration. Microsoft is including a
similar function for new Metro apps in Windows 8.
Instead of snapping into a 50/50 split, however, it will be possible to slide a background app
into view and take up only a portion of the screen. That will be great if you need to take just a
bit of information from another app, but it might not be great for true productivity.
It’s also a feature obviously built with touch in mind. Sliding a background app into view with
touch is great, but with a mouse it feels clunky.
Windows To Go
The Enterprise version of Windows 8 includes an interesting new feature that lets users install
Windows 8 directly to a portable hard drive such as a flash drive or external hard drive.
Doing this will allow users to access their Windows 8 installation from any computer that has
Windows 8 installed and a free USB port. Home users are unlikely to ever use this feature, but
businesses travelers will love it.
Plugged it into another computer with Windows 8 already installed, and you can boot up the PC
and make it look exactly alike the OS you normally use, with all settings intact. It will give them
the opportunity to use desktop computers at different work sites instead of being chained to
whatever laptop they carry
It sounds rather amazing, doesn’t it? The potential for such a feature is high and possibilities,
many. For one, a virus-infected and crashed system could be revived by simply plugging in the
USB thumbdrive with your last saved settings, inclusive of all your files, apps, etc. Users don’t
have to worry about losing the ability to work on their projects just because their PC is down;
they can always rely on plugging in that thumbdrive into another Windows 8-installed PC.
Another is that users may simply bring back work from the office with that thumbdrive rather
than a much bulkier laptop.
File history
This is an update and replacement to the Backup & Restore functionality found in Windows 7.
Microsoft has taken an approach similar to OS X Time Machine and some third-party backup
solutions. Instead of only making large backups at pre-determined times, Windows 8 can create
incremental backups of files stored in designated folders.
Doing this makes it possible to recover data after both major and minor disasters. You’ll be able
to restore important data if your computer crashes and you’ll also be able to restore specific
files and folders without impacting the rest of your system. This is a major improvement with
no notable downside.
How to Access File History
File History can be found in the Control Panel. Open it and go to System and Security. There you
will find File History. Click or tap on it to open the tool.
Alternatively, you can search for the words "file history" directly on the Start screen. Filter for
Settings and click or tap File History.
How to Turn On File History
Turning on File History is very easy. Plug in an external hard drive or a large USB memory stick
with plenty of space on it. Then, simply click or tap the Turn on button.
You are asked whether you would like to recommend the drive to other members of the
homegroup. Make a choice and File History starts its job immediately.
What Does File History Backup?
File History has a predefined set of items that it backs up automatically: all your libraries (both
default libraries and custom libraries you created), the Desktop, your Contacts, Internet
Explorer favorites and the SkyDrive.
You cannot set it to backup specific folders or libraries. You can only set it to exclude items from
your backup, using the procedure detailed in the next section of this tutorial.
If you want it to backup a special folder, you should create a new library for it or include it in an
existing library.
How to Exclude Libraries and Folders from the Backup
To exclude specific libraries and folders, click or tap Exclude folders in left-side column, found in
the File History window.
Then, press Add and select the item(s) you want to exclude.
When you are done setting exclusions, click or tap Save changes.
How to Configure How File History Works
You might not be happy with the defaults used by File History, so you should consider
improving them. On the left-side column, click or tap Advanced Settings.
In the Advanced Settings window, you can set how often copies are made. The default is Every
hour. You might want to change this to Every 15 minutes or Every 30 minutes.
If you want to, you can also change how much of your disk space is used by the offline cache
created by the tool. One of the most important settings is how long you want to keep saved
versions for each file. The default is Forever. Personally, I prefer a shorter time frame so I
selected 3 months. You might want to do the same.
Just in case you are not familiar with "saved versions", they are the different versions of a file.
For example, you can work on a document and end up having 10 different versions of it. By
default File History keeps all of them, forever. :) Now you see why you might want to limit for
how long they are stored.
You can also change the backup drive used by File History, in case you need this. Click or tap
Select drive in the left-side column, in the File History window. Then, select the appropriate
drive from the list.
You can also add a network location, such as a drive recommended for use through the
Homegroup.
What Happens When You Disconnect the Backup Drive?
One of the coolest things about File History is that it works silently in the background, without
eating too much CPU time and without stressing your hard disks.
Yes, it takes awhile for it to backup the data, especially the first time you do it, but it works
without user input. And that's great.
Also, when you unplug the backup drive, File History stops working and it shows a discreet
warning: "We can't finish copying your files. Connect your File History drive and refresh this
page to continue."
When you plug the drive back, File History resumes backing up your data, silently.
The Update to Windows 8.1
Why Update to 8.1
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Although Windows 8.1 introduces many new features, it's actually uses less resources than
Windows 8. Microsoft says the footprint is significantly smaller and will win you back 8-15% of
the storage on your device.
One of the most convenient features of Windows 8 is its ease of search: Just start typing from
the Start screen and you can search for settings, content, apps or even stuff on the web.
Windows 8.1 takes this to a new level with Smart Search, powered by Bing.
Since Microsoft's design philosophy doesn't allow for organizing app icons into folders, it's a big
improvement that Windows 8.1 brings with it two new sizes for live tiles: A small square that
takes up one-fourth the size of a regular tile, and a biggie size that's the same as four regular
squares. The former is great for power users who want to cram as many shortcuts into their
screen real estate as they can, and the latter is great for apps with lots of "glanceable" info, like
a Weather App.
Sick of all your devices screaming at you to update two, three or a dozen apps? With Windows
8.1, all those updates will just happen in the background, and the Windows Store will stop
pestering you with that ever-increasing count of what's still pending.
The lock screen on a Windows 8.1 device doesn't have to be a static image anymore. There's
now the option to play a slideshow, which can pull photos from various folders including
whatever you've got in SkyDrive. Plus you can choose to get calendar alerts, email notifications
and even take Skype calls without unlocking your device.
External monitors are a big deal for Windows tablets, since many of them have serious
computing power but screens that aren't exactly what you'd call large. Now in Windows 8.1,
users will have more control over how content renders on a second display, giving tablets more
flexibility.
These are just a few of the new features in 8.1. The following pages explore how to use some of these
new features
How to Update to 8.1
The update from 8 to 8.1 is free but before jumping in to the upgrade there's a few things you'll
need to do before installing. First, make sure you have all of the latest updates for your system
via Windows Update. Even if you have your system set up to receive automatic updates, it's
best to run it manually to ensure you have all of the latest ones.
The second thing I strongly recommend is to create a backup of all important documents,
pictures, videos, etc. You don't necessarily need to create a system image, though it wouldn't
hurt, but make sure everything important is backed up on an external drive, network location,
or DVDs
Now it's time to update and get your new version of Windows. Hit the Windows Key to get to
the Start screen and select the Store tile. Click on the Update to Windows 8.1 for free (you can't
miss it, it's the first thing you'll see in the store).
Wait while the update is downloaded and installed. This is a major update at around 3.5 GB, so
the amount of time it takes to download will vary depending on your connection speed and
how busy Microsoft servers are.
If you have the option of a wired Ethernet connection rather than Wi-Fi, I'd recommend using it
to provide a much more reliable connection for faster download speeds and to reduce the risk
of getting disconnected during the install. Also ensure you're connected to mains power to
avoid potential power problems.
When it's done, you'll receive a message that your computer
needs to be restarted. It will restart several times while the
8.1 update is being installed.
You'll see a series of different screens showing you what is
going on during the installation.
There will be a few more screens displayed letting you know what Windows is doing, like the
one below, which is getting modern apps ready that were already installed.
Success! You're all done. You have the latest version of Windows on your system and you start
digging into the cool new features it has to offer.
Easier access to your favorite apps and key controls
The Start Button
The biggest (and most called for) change is the inclusion of the start button. The button appears
in the bottom left of the task bar and is a white windows logo. It does not open a menu
however, it just takes you to the start screen.
Power and Search buttons on the Start screen.
These buttons appear in the upper-right corner of the Start screen next to your account picture.
You'll be able to quickly and easily shut down your PC or search for things right from Start.
(Some types of PCs don't have the Power button on Start. You can shut down your PC using the
Power button in the Settings charm instead.)
Turn off your PC completely
If you don't plan to use your PC for a while, you might want to turn it off completely. Before
turning off your PC, close all open desktop apps—this will prompt you to save your work.
Some PCs have a power button ( ) on the Start screen. If your PC has a power button, tap or
click it, and then tap or click Shut down.
If you don't see the power button on the Start screen, here's how to shut down:
1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse
pointer up, and then click Settings.)
2. Tap or click Power, and then tap or click Shut down.
Sleep
This uses very little power, your PC starts up faster, and you’re instantly back to where you left
off. You don’t have to worry that you'll lose your work because of your battery draining because
Windows automatically saves all your work and turns off the PC if the battery is too low. Use
sleep when you’re going to be away from your PC for just a little while – like when you’re taking
a coffee break.
For a lot of PCs (especially laptops and tablets), your PC goes to sleep when you close your lid or
press the power button. Here's how to check if this is what happens and to change it if it
doesn't.
Make your PC sleep
1. Open Power Options by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if
you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse
pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering Power options in the search box, and
tapping or clicking Power options.
2. Do one of the following:

If you’re using a desktop or tablet, tap or click Choose what the power button does
and under Power button settings, select Sleep and tap or click Save changes.

If you’re using a laptop, tap or click Choose what closing the lid does. Then, next to
When I close the lid, choose what you want your laptop to do, when it's running on
battery and when it's plugged in, and then tap or click Save changes.
3. When you’re ready to make your PC sleep, just close your laptop's lid or press the power
button on your desktop or tablet.
Hibernate
This option was designed for laptops and might not be available for all. Hibernate uses less
power than sleep and when you start up the PC again, you’re back to where you left off (though
not as fast as sleep). Use hibernation when you know that you won't use your laptop or tablet
for an extended period and won't have an opportunity to charge the battery during that time.
Hibernate your PC
1. Open Power Options by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if
you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse
pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering Power options in the search box, and
tapping or clicking Power options.
2. Tap or click Choose what the power button does and under Shutdown settings, select
Hibernate (if it's available).
Now you'll see hibernate in these two places:

In the Power menu in the Settings charm.

In the Shut down menu.
To get here, move the mouse to the lower left-hand corner of the screen and right-click or
press Start button, or on your keyboard, press the Windows logo key +X.
Search and Power buttons on the Start screen
All open and pinned apps appear in the taskbar.
If you like using the desktop, you'll see both desktop apps and apps from the Windows Store in
your taskbar when they're running. You can also pin any app to the taskbar so you can quickly
open or switch between apps from the desktop.
Apps in the taskbar
How to use the taskbar
Use the taskbar in Windows Store apps
If you're using a Windows Store app, you can still use the taskbar to switch apps, go to Start,
and check the notification area, just like you would in a desktop app.
To see Windows Store apps on the taskbar
If you want your Windows Store apps to appear automatically on the taskbar whenever you
open them (or if you want to turn this setting off), here's how.
1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse
pointer up, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)
2. Tap or click PC and devices, then tap or click Corners and edges.
3. Tap or click the Show Windows Store apps on the taskbar slider to turn it on or off.
Note
Pinned Windows Store apps will still appear on the taskbar even if the Show Windows Store
apps on the taskbar setting is turned off.
To show or hide the taskbar while using a Windows Store app
1. Move your mouse pointer below the bottom edge of the screen to show the taskbar.
Then tap or click a taskbar button, icon, or notification.
2. When you're done, move your mouse pointer away from the bottom edge of the screen
to hide the taskbar.
Note
You can only show or hide the taskbar if you're using a mouse.
Pin an App to the taskbar
You can pin an app directly to the taskbar for quick access when you're on the desktop.

On the Start screen, press and hold or right-click the app, and then tap or click Pin to
taskbar. You can also do this in the Apps view.
– or –
If the app is already open on the desktop, press and hold the app's taskbar button and
slide your finger up until the Jump List (a list of shortcuts to recently opened files, folders,
and websites) appears. (If you're using a mouse, right-click the app button on the taskbar.)
Then tap or click Pin this program to taskbar.
To move the taskbar
You can typically find the taskbar at the bottom of the desktop, but you can also move it to the
sides or top of the desktop. Before you can move the taskbar, you need to unlock it.
To unlock the taskbar
1. Press and hold or right-click an empty space on the taskbar.
2. If Lock the taskbar has a check mark next to it, tap or click Lock the taskbar.
To move the taskbar

Tap or click an empty space on the taskbar, and then drag it to one of the four edges of the
desktop. When the taskbar is where you want it, let go.
Pin an app to the taskbar for quick access.
To rearrange taskbar buttons

To change the order of app buttons on the taskbar, drag a button from its current position
to a different one. You can rearrange them as often as you like.
To change how taskbar buttons appear
1. Open Taskbar and Navigation properties by swiping in from the right edge of the screen,
tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the
screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering Taskbar in
the search box, and then tapping or clicking Taskbar and Navigation in the results.
2. On the Taskbar tab, select one of the options from the Taskbar buttons list:

Always combine, hide labels
This is the default setting. Each app appears as a single, unlabeled button, even
when multiple windows for that app are open.

Combine when taskbar is full
This setting shows each window as an individual, labeled button. When the taskbar
becomes crowded, apps with multiple open windows collapse into a single app
button. Tap or click the button to see a list of the windows that are open.

Never combine
This setting shows each window as an individual, labeled button, and never
combines them, no matter how many windows are open. As more apps and
windows open, buttons get smaller, and eventually the buttons will scroll.
3. To use small taskbar buttons, select the Use small taskbar buttons check box. To use
large buttons, clear the check box.
4. Tap or click OK.
Access the taskbar from anywhere.
When you're using a mouse, you can see the taskbar from any screen, including Start or a
Windows Store app. Move your mouse pointer below the bottom edge of the screen to show
the taskbar and then click an app to open or switch to it.
Customize the notification area
The notification area is located at the right end of the taskbar, and it contains app icons that
provide status and notifications about things like incoming email, updates, and network
connectivity. You can change which icons and notifications appear there.
To view hidden icons

Tap or click the Show hidden icons arrow
next to the notification area.
To change how icons and notifications appear in the notification area
1. Press and hold or right-click an empty area on the taskbar, and then tap or click
Properties.
2. Next to Notification area, tap or click Customize.
3. For each icon, select one of these options, and then tap or click OK:

Show icon and notifications. The icon is always in the notification area of the
taskbar, and notifications appear.

Hide icon and notifications. The icon is hidden, and you won't see notifications for
that app.

Only show notifications. The icon is hidden, but notifications will appear.
Take a look at the desktop (The peek button)
You can use the Show desktop button at the far right end of the taskbar to minimize your open windows and get to
the desktop quickly. And if you're using a mouse, you can also use it to preview the desktop without closing or
minimizing your open windows.
To minimize all of the open windows on the desktop
1. Tap or click the Show desktop button at the far right end of the taskbar. All of the open
windows minimize, revealing the desktop.
2. To get the windows back, tap or click the Show desktop button again.
To turn on desktop preview
You can only change this setting if you're using a mouse.

Right-click the Show desktop button at the right end of the taskbar and click Peek at
desktop.
Use the Show desktop button to show the desktop or peek at it.
Change taskbar settings for multiple displays
If you're using more than one display (for example, if you have more than one monitor), you
can decide whether you want to have a taskbar on all of your displays, and how you want
buttons to be arranged on the taskbars.
To show a taskbar on all of your displays
1. Open Taskbar and Navigation properties by swiping in from the right edge of the screen,
tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the
screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering Taskbar in
the search box, and then tapping or clicking Taskbar and Navigation in the results.
2. Under Multiple displays, make sure the Show taskbar on all displays check box is
selected, and then tap or click OK.
To choose how taskbar buttons are shown on multiple displays
1. Open Taskbar and Navigation properties by swiping in from the right edge of the screen,
tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the
screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering Taskbar in
the search box, and then tapping or clicking Taskbar and Navigation in the results.
2. Under Multiple displays, select one of the options from the Show taskbar buttons on list,
and then tap or click OK.

All taskbars
The taskbar buttons for all of your open windows will be duplicated on the taskbars
on each display.

Main taskbar and taskbar where window is open
A taskbar button will appear on your main monitor and also in the taskbar on the
display where the window is open.

Taskbar where window is open
A taskbar button will appear only on the display where the window is open. None of
the buttons are duplicated on other taskbars.
Go to the desktop when you sign in, instead of Start.
If you spend more time in the desktop, you can sign in (boot) directly to the desktop
instead of the Start screen. And if you want to sign in to Start instead, you can change this
setting at any time.
More familiar mouse and keyboard options
The Minimize button, Close button, and taskbar are more available with your mouse. Your
mouse works more consistently anywhere in Windows. Move your mouse to the top of the
screen to see Close and Minimize buttons in any app. Move your mouse down to the
bottom of the screen to see the taskbar from anywhere in Windows.
Close and Minimize buttons

Right-click an app tile to see more options. If you’re using a mouse and you right-click a
tile on Start, you’ll see a context menu next to the tile that shows what you can do with
the tile.
A context menu when you right-click a tile
Simpler to find new apps

Discover apps in new ways. The Windows Store is pinned to Start and to your taskbar by
default, so you can easily discover new apps. When you use the Search charm, Bing Smart
Search includes apps in the suggestions and the search results.

Remember what apps you recently installed. After you install new apps, Start includes a
message in the lower-left corner of the screen, pointing you to the Apps view so you can
see what you recently installed.
The message about new apps on the Start screen
How do I close an app?
Apps in the Windows Store are built so they don't slow down your PC when you're not using
them. When you stop using an app, Windows leaves it running in the background and then,
after a while, closes it for you.
But if you want to close an app, drag it from the top of the screen to the very bottom. (If you're
using a mouse, move your mouse pointer to the top of the screen and then click the Close
button in the title bar.)
To completely stop all processes associated with an app, drag the app to the bottom of the
screen, and hold it there until the app flips over.
It’s still a good idea to close desktop apps when you're done using them, particularly before
shutting down your PC.
Improvements to the Windows Store and Built-In Apps
Windows 8.1 also comes with some handy improvements to the Windows Store and its built-in
apps. The whole store has been given a facelift, and it will now automatically update your apps
unless you're on a metered connection. Internet Explorer 11 now has unlimited tabs, the
camera has a panorama feature, and the new Mail app will have a "sweep" feature that deletes
multiple emails of the same type (e.g. newsletters). All apps are supposed to be faster, and
push notifications are easier for developers to implement, so hopefully more apps will support
them.
Microsoft has also made a big update to search in 8.1 If you open the search charm, you'll see
that all your search results are grouped into one place: no more switching between files,
settings, apps, and the web. If you press enter, you'll be taken to a full-screen view of your
search results. If Bing understands the person, place, or thing you've searched for, it'll load a
full-screen app-like view called "Search Heroes," with intelligent results similar to Google's
Knowledge Graph, which offers photos, videos, and relevant facts all in one unified interface.
Quiet Hours
If you use a fair amount of Modern apps, you probably get notifications from them time to
time. If you'd like your device to stay silent at a certain time—like, say, nighttime—you can use
Windows 8.1s new Quiet Hours feature.
To use the Quiet Hours feature
1. Open the Windows 8 Charms menu and tap the gear icon to open the Settings menu.
2. Select “Change PC Settings” in the bottom right corner of the screen.
3. Choose the Search and Apps tab on the left side of the screen.
4. Select Notifications on the left side of the screen.
5. Scroll down to the Quiet Hours section and choose the times you want the function to
turn on and off. When you back out of the menu, your settings will automatically be
saved.
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