Windows 8 Tips & Tricks You Should Know!

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Windows 8 Tips & Tricks – Check out these best Windows 8 tricks and helpful tips for your PC: Windows 8, the latest offering from Microsoft packs a lot of power under the hood and panache on the surface. Though a bit baffling for a new user, it has an array of settings that users could take advantage of to whittle their experience as per their whims. Here are a few tips & tricks to help you in getting the best out of your Windows 8 operating system.

 

Best Windows 8 Tips & Tricks

 

Start Menu in Windows 8:

 

Windows 8 comes with a lot of bells & whistles. It’s fresh Modern UI (previously Metro UI) is thoroughly streamlined with easy access to most things. However, for new users it could prove a little inconvenient to use at first as it lacks the ‘Start’ menu that users have grown accustomed to over the years. Here’s where Stardock’s  Start8 comes in. Start 8 solves this gripe of users by adding an enhanced Win7 style start menu and a start button to Windows 8.It also lets you pin apps to the menu and boot directly into the desktop bypassing the Modern UI app screen altogether which’s desirable by many users. You can also check out our this list of apps that will help you to bring back the start menu in Windows 8 – Best Windows 8 Start Menu Apps!

 

Start8

 

Picture Password:

 

Win8 comes with the cool feature called ‘Picture Password’. It allows you to make use of an image to log in. The feature requires you to choose an image and make gestures on it with actions like tapping, clicking, dragging the cursor etc. These actions are stored as authentication credentials so that next time you want to log in you can reproduce those gestures in the image to sign in. To set a Picture Password Press the ‘Windows+W’ key combination and search for Picture Password -> Settings -> Change to create picture password . Once the wizard opens up, click ‘Create picture password’ and enter your plain text password. Follow the animation, Choose desired image, make gestures and you’re set.

 

Picture Password

 

Set Startup Items from Task Manager:

 

Task Manager is our old friend. One that we rely on every time the scree freezes or when a stubborn program refuses to shut down. In Win8, the Task Manager (TM) can do more than that. It is nicely polished and was added nice features such as separate tabs for apps | background processes | & desktop processes, Startup tab, CPU usage indicators etc. The Startup tab lists the programs that load on windows startup. You can disable programs here to improve boot times by right clicking on it. Earlier we used the msconfig to use this kind of stuff which involved unticking boxes. TM does it much better. Press Ctrl-Shift-Esc to bring up the TM window and explore the tab Startup tab options.

 

Charms Bar:

 

The ‘Charms Bar’ is a menu designed to enhance your Win8 browsing experience. Use it to make working on Win8 a breeze. It presents you with 5 options which are as follows:

Search – Search through what’s currently onscreen. Or choose one of the other search locations: Apps, Settings, or Files.

Share – Share what’s currently on your screen. For e.g On a website, Click the Share button to e-mail the page’s  link to a friend.

Start - Takes you back to the Start screen.

Devices – This lets control devices currently connected to your computer. E.g: Smart Phone, Printer, HDMI TV, Projector etc.

Settings – Lets you tweak settings by providing options for Wireless, Volume, Screen, Notifications, Power, and Keyboard/Language instantly.

 

Turn Off Smart Screen:

 

SmartScreen is the screen that pops up with a warning when you try to run an unrecognized app or file from the internet. These warnings can get quite tiring and annoying after some time. They can be set to off as follows: In search, Enter “Security” and select “Check security status” in the Settings tab. Now you can disable the SmartScreen.

 

Zoom Out:

 

It’s nice to have colorful tiles that represent your apps all in one screen but if you have a lot of apps many tiles will be hidden and not readily accessible unless you scroll down a lot. Semantic Zoom comes in handy here. If you’re using a touch display, squeeze the Start screen with two fingers to zoom out your entire screen contents. On a desktop computer Simply hold down the Ctrl button, and use your mouse wheel to zoom in and out.

 

Semantic Zoom

 

Organize Apps:

 

What if you could organize your apps/tiles into neat little groups by dividing them into categories? Would be nice right? Here’s how you’d go about it:

  • Start by dragging all the tiles you want to assign to a single group to the right side of the start screen into some empty space.
  • Win8 will isolate these from the rest
  • Zoom out to see all apps and then right-click on the isolated group and select the “Name group” option.
  • Give the group a name and you’re done.

 

Tweak Lock Screen:

 

When you boot or wake up your PC you’re greeted by the lock screen. Win8 lock screen has Messaging, Mail, Calendar and Weather apps. In order to tweak this screen according to your choice, Do as follows :

Press the Windows + C keys to display the Charms bar -> select the Settings icon -> Click “Change PC settings” -> Personalize -> Lock Screen.

You’ll see your lock screen image at the top of the screen. Just beneath the image are other images you can use. Click one to make it the new lock screen image. To find other images you can use for the lock screen, click the Browse button and browse through your pictures. Select the one you want to use and click the “Choose picture” button to make it your new lock screen image. Here you can change image or add/remove apps from lock screen by selecting “Lock screen apps” . Lock screen is useful as it gives you a bunch of info at a quick glance without having to actually sign in.

 

Lock Screen

 

Remove Lock Screen Completely:

 

While lock screen serves a useful purpose you might not be a big fan of it. Or might not really need it as you’re the only person who uses your PC in your room/ personal space. So to eliminate the lock screen from appearing you need to edit the registry values. Registry tweaking can be harmful to your system if done wrong, so please exercise caution.

If you’re comfortable follows this to kill the lock screen:

  • Type ‘regedit‘ on the start screen -> Apps -> regedit.exe -> Click Yes(Registry editor opens)
  • Go to : HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\ -> Check for a key called Personalisation.
  • If it exists then proceed from below steps indicated by arrows but if it doesn’t exist Click Edit –> New –> Key. That creates a new key. Rename it by Right-clicking it and selecting Rename, and rename it ‘Personalization‘.
  • Now under Personalization  Right-click -> New -> DWORD (32 bit value) -> Rename DWORD as ‘NoScreenLock’ -> Double-click -> Change value from 0 to 1.

Now Exit the registry and Done. No more lock screen upon rebooting.

 

Turn Live Tiles On/Off:

 

Live Tiles are awesome as they are a continuously updating dynamic little screens of information that feed off live streams of data. The Weather tile can show you the current atmospheric conditions, Message tile gives you a peek at the latest message etc. Customize these by right-clicking on the tiles. A settings bar on the bottom will pop up with an option to turn the Live Tile on or off. Simply select the preferred option, and you’re all set. It is worthy of note that not all apps have the Live Tiles option to fetch real-time data.

Live Tiles

 

One Click Shutdown:

 

It would be useful to have a single click option to shut down your computer in many an occasion. To do this, create a shortcut on your desktop (right-click -> New ->Shortcut). Enter “shutdown /s /t 0” (without quotes) as the target/location of the item and press Next.Name the shortcut ‘OC Shutdown’ or any desired name and press Finish. (Now you can also change the icon to one that resembles a windows shutdown icon by right-clicking and selecting properties on the shortcut).

Right-click the created shortcut and select Pin to Start. You can place the icon on your Start screen wherever you want and Done. One Click Shutdown ready. If you didn’t properly understand the procedure, then you can check out previously published detailed tutorial about shutting down Windows 8 in a single click – How to Shut Down Your Windows 8 PC with Just One Click!

 

All-App Folder:

 

Do you know you can create a folder with access to all your apps? It would be incredibly useful to have all apps under one roof on the desktop or start screen for quick access. Here’s how you do it :

Firstly, run File Explorer (Windows Explorer in prev. versions). Navigate to the Desktop and create a new folder.Rename the new folder with the following name :

AllApp.{4234d49b-0245-4df3-b780-3893943456e1} 

Use exactly as above. Copy-Paste to be sure.

Double-click it to see a list of all your applications, including Windows 8 Store apps, traditional Desktop applications and many system apps such as Control Panel. Double click an app to run.

 

Refresh Your PC:

 

How many times have you formatted your pc to remove stubborn virii or to just have a clean, fresh install? In ealier versions of windows, this process was a little cumbersome and involved many steps. Not in Windows 8. One of the best features of Win8 it the ability to ‘Refresh PC’. It lets you have a fresh install of the OS without losing important user-settings. Refreshing the PC does the following :

  1. Saves your personal files, personalization settings, and Modern apps installed from the Windows Store.
  2. Resets your PC settings.
  3. Removes all installed desktop programs. (A list of the removed programs will be saved to your desktop).

How to:

  • Launch the Control Panel application from Modern UI.
  • Scroll through the list on the left hand side, until you can select the “General” category. .
  • Navigate to the bottom of the settings on the right.
  • From here we can refresh our PC.
  • Click the Get Started button to initiate a Refresh.
  • Once you click the “Get Started” button, a banner will inform you on what will be changed.
  • After clicking the “Next” button, you will be informed that Windows will reboot your system.
  • When you ready you can click the “Refresh” button which will restart your PC.
  • When your PC boots back up it will start Refreshing your system.

Enjoy your new Install.

 

Set Family Safety:

 

In any household with children who have ready access to a PC, it might be wise to restrict some settings to avoid things like unauthorized spending on your card etc. Family safety filter lets you create separate accounts on the device for kids. Do so by going to the Control Panel -> User Accounts -> Family Safety -> Select the account you would like to activate it on. You can set a level of Web filtering, time limits and restrict access to Windows Store, games and apps. You can also get reports on the account’s activity.

 

God Mode:

 

GodMode – Sound like something out of a video game, doesn’t it? Well now you can have what’s dubbed as a ‘God Mode’ on your Win8 system. It’s somewhat akin to its gaming counterpart as in it gives you the reins to all the utilities by placing them at your fingertips. It give you an All-Access pass to all of Windows settings (scattered through out the OS) in one location. Here’s how you enable it:

Firstly, make sure that you can view hidden files in File Explorer (Windows Explorer in prev. versions).

Run File Explorer -> Click the View tab -> Check the boxes next to “Hidden items” and “File name extensions” in the Ribbon at the top.

Now Right-click the Desktop and select New –> Folder.

Rename the created folder with the following name :

GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

Use exactly as above.Copy-Paste to make sure.

The folder icon changes and it has the name GodMode under it. Open it and be amazed to see what you’ve created. Have Fun.

 

Conclusion : Windows 8 comes packed with a lot of power. Many features might not be readily accessible out of the box but with a few tweaks here and there you should be firing on all cylinders in no time. Comment Below if you have a hot Windows 8 tip or two to share. Subscribe if you liked the post to get future updates and posts.

 


Sam is an advanced digital entity that bounces from site to site posting information and studying human behavior in its digitized form. Future plans include migrating to the physical realm when nanotechnology gets advanced enough to facilitate it in building an imperishable cyborgenic body for itself. End of Line.

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2 Responses to “Windows 8 Tips & Tricks You Should Know!”

  1. nikhil

    Aug 07. 2013

    Cool. Just instaled windows 8 and these are what I want. Godmode is GREAT.
    :-) Thanks

    Reply to this comment

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