Disco's quickish guide to getting started with Windows8

Righto, here is my little guide!

A quick quide to Windows8.

There are 2 areas to work in, the normal desktop interface and the new smartglass apps screen. You can use either or just one it doesn't really matter but there are some system defaults that can be a pain. The benefit of this 2 level approach is the snap feature but more on that later.

Getting started, you will boot into the apps page but it is much more than that, this is the windows start button except now its a full screen rather than a dropdown menu. But we don’t have to go hunting for our programs or apps simply start typing its name and the OS will find the app you want, some programs will require more letters but it should be there very quick and highlighted for you to either press return or use the mouse to run it.

Getting straight to the desktop is quick and easy either click on the desktop tile or hit the windows key and D at the same time. Now desktop is running like an app. Of course it isn't an app but how you interface with it will be.
What happened to the desktop icons, well they have been hidden since Win7 but easily put back. Right click on the desktop go to personalise and top left is change desktop icons, re add them there. A tip here is to add the control panel icon too.

Running programs with no desktop icon. Before you would of used the start button now youre going to start using the corner zones the best bit of Win8. Either hit the windows key and start typing the name of the program or swiftly move the mouse bottom left and a small apps tile will appear, click on it and now type the name or scroll using the middle mouse button until you see it.

Using zones is the same whether in desktop or the apps screen but this is how we use them with the mouse.

First zone is bottom left already mentioned, it will bring up your apps etc and when in the apps screen with will bring up the desktop, see how easy this is!

Second is top left, this is your alt tab function and will let you quickly change from program to program that you are running, excellent when you dont want to minimise lots of running programs.

3rd is either top right or bottom right, this gives you quick access to search, devices (printers etc) and a settings menu. The setting menu gives you access to a lot of personalisation features but most importantly this is where the shutdown option is (if you do not want to use ctrl-alt-delete). Your network options are here but you can quickly bring that up by left clicking on your network icon in the system tray.

Ok so you got that but how do you swap between multiple programs and apps in both the desktop and the apps area? Easy move the mouse to zone 1 (bottom left) and then push up. A new sidebar opens with all open apps (this will include the desktop).

Now another handy shortcut is to right click in zone 1 (bottom left), here is the command prompt file explorer, security and system and program control, windows updates, this makes so much difference (well to me anyway!)

Antivirus and firewall, Win8 comes with its own package called windows defender. This used to be anti-spyware but now they have rolled that and Microsoft security essentials into the 1 package. Use this or a 3rd party package, up to you.

If only Win8 came with a video or handy pdf for new users they wouldn't find it so painful.

Anyway have a go and see if it makes it better for you.

Next how to get control of the apps interface so it works for you!

Oh and no touch screens were required!
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Snap control.

Now most will never use this but it does have its uses. Basically it is like running 2 computers so I could be browsing or typing in word in one main screen and watching a video or streaming in a side screen or it could be the other way around. How you use it and what with is up to you.

Getting started move your mouse to the very top and the icon should change to a hand, left click and hold and you will now be dragging your desktop around.

Drop it on either the left or right and it will be next to a large coloured area with a slide bar. Now click on zone 1 and it will bring up the apps, click on your app for example the excellent app TV Catchup.

Now I could run a game or browse, use office and watch TV in its own area with access to multiple stations (this is great on the works laptop!).

Now lets say Hollie Willoughby comes on and I would like a larger screen. Simply grab the divider and drag across to the 3 size points or full screen. When you have finished, grab it from the top and drag to centre bottom and let go. There a few other ways of doing this by right clicking too. If you lose the screen hit windows and D or go to zone 1 and select desktop.

When in the apps sidebar (bottom left the push up) you can right click on the tile and snap it left or right.

Righto thats the snap function its a bit like marmite you will either kneel before it or never use it!

Next, the tiles!
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Righto what about this weird tile screen stuff just wtf is that all about?

Well you see at the heart of Win8 is the ability to work over multiple devices with the same profile (more on that later) making this a very important area however not so much on your desktop as you have better access to the web and its goodies.

First off when in the apps screen you have different size tiles some are moving and many dont make sense, you just want to see your programs right?

Ok right click at the bottom of the screen where there are no apps, up pops a bar which at the far right is an icon for all apps. Click it; you know have access to everything you have installed. Scroll with the middle mouse button and find what you are looking for.

Adding tiles, these will be added when you install a program some are just standard icons some or animated etc.

Size and position, this is up to you.
You can drag the apps or program icons where ever you want, just left click and HOLD now simply drag into the correct order of your choosing.

To change size right click on the tile and the bottom bar will appear with an icon saying smaller or larger. Select what you want.

Live tiles, now these are ok but they can get on your tits and could be a bandwidth hog, especially news or weather apps. To turn it off simply right click and select turn live tile off or back on if so required.

Ok thats fine but what about those crap add on sub programs they have tiles all over the place.

Well we can get rid of them easily.

Right click on the tile and the bar will appear now select unpin from start and its gone.

Accidentally removed an apps tile or program icon? No worries right click on the blank part of the screen and select all apps, your program will be here right click on it and select add to start.

When you have a tile or icon selected you can pin it to the desktop taskbar from here too, I know all this is awesome thank me with a like!
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Profiles & Logins and funky screens


For most people they will only use 1 PC or laptop but this has security implications for those that share a PC and or the log on.

When you first run Windows8 out of the box you will create a profile linked to an email address, now this could be msn or Hotmail or any other ISP it doesnt matter. What is important is you are linking your PC login to an online profile.

Now this is very good if you work across multiple devices and like auto sync of docs and apps etc and it would also mean you can log yourself into any other windows8 machine and have access to your apps and programs as it is linked to the MS cloud.

Now imo this isnt stressed enough when you create it and the option to turn it off isnt linked. Not that it isnt safe just you may not be aware of its implications as you are basically setting up that PC as a trusted machine which has the usual pros and cons for security. However dont start getting paranoid by what I just said; Im just saying there are some issues.

Anyway let me sort this out for you, you want a normal login which is just restricted to the information (domain) on this computer. Just as in Win7 etc so we have an NTFS area on the hard drive (secure folder is what I am saying).

So in desktop go to zone 3, either top right or bottom right and the sidebar will appear.

Go to settings

At the bottom select change PC settings, from here we can change allsorts but right now I want you to go to users.

At the top will be your log in and it is classed as a Microsoft account. Below will be an option to turn it into local account. Selecting this will limit the login to just this computer. Of course you can turn this back on later if you need it.

You can also change your password and if you have admin rights (you probably will) you can add new users from here and manage their accounts too.

You will have seen access to the personalise menu, here you can change lock screens etc, go on knock yourself out!

There thats as much as I am going to do, if anyone has any other useful shortcuts tips or productivity apps then post away!

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Alternatively, go onto Google, put in " classicshell" download it free, run the nice easy install to make choices of whether you prefer Windows to look like, XP, Vista or W7,and the all the Windows 8 nastiness goes away (you have the Start menu, etc, and no Tiles) but the better speed, etc., all remains.
Alternatively, go onto Google, put in " classicshell" download it free, run the nice easy install to make choices of whether you prefer Windows to look like, XP, Vista or W7,and the all the Windows 8 nastiness goes away (you have the Start menu, etc, and no Tiles) but the better speed, etc., all remains.
I agree with that. I use classicshell and am quite happy with it. Some chap also showed me how to move the tile screen thing about using sweeping motions on the mousepad thing, but can't remember how to do it because I normally just use classicshell

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