How to Add Programs/Apps to the Windows 8 Metro Start Screen

The Metro Start Screen in Windows 8 contains several tiles that represent the programs one can access. Well, you might wonder if you can add other tiles to the default ones. Actually, you can do that. You don’t have to limit yourself only to the tiles displayed by default.

So, how can you do that? Start by finding the program or the Metro application you’re interested in. Therefore, make use of the Metro Search to look for that specific program or app. Just type the name of the app/program and there you go.

When you find it, just hold your finger until it is checked and right-click on it using your mouse. At the bottom of the Windows 8 Start Screen you will then see a panel open where you have the “Pin” option. Just click on the Pin button and the program will be added to the Metro Start Screen.

Now, the thing is that you may not find every program on your computer when you search it and there are great chances for you to want to add most programs to the Metro Start Screen. So, you can do that by creating a Windows shortcut to the executable that you will move in the user’s Windows Start Menu folder. You can find this folder at the %AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs location. Before doing this, you will have to enable the viewing of Hidden files.

After you configure Windows to view hidden files, you will have to open the Start Menu folder. So, press Win+R to open the Run dialog box. You will see that there’s an open field. Here you’ll have to enter %AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs and hit OK. Doing so will open the Start Menu folder.

You will now have to find the file you want to be added to the Metro Start Screen. Use Windows Explorer to do that. Just press Win+E and Windows Explorer will open. Now go to the location of the file you’re interested in and right-click on it. Select “Create Shortcut” from the menu.

The shortcut will appear on your desktop. Just move it into the %AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs folder window. Once you do this, the shortcut will appear on the Metro Start Screen.

If you want to unpin a program or app that you have pinned to the Metro Start Screen, just hold your finger on it until it’s checked or right-clicks on it using the mouse. A panel will open at the bottom of the Windows 8 Start screen. Use the “Unpin” option to remove that specific app or program from the Windows 8 Metro Start Screen.

Tips & Tricks to Make Windows 8 Run Smoothly

I’m sure many of you have tried the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and if you come from Windows 7, then you’ve noticed the significant changes. Some of them are obvious while others not. Change doesn’t always mean good, so you’ll probably find some of the new features a little confusing. The good part is that there are some tricks to help you get you back up to speed.

Many things don’t behave the way they used to. As you can see for yourselves, the new version of the operating system doesn’t come up with the Start Menu. That’s kind of frustrating and confusing till you get used to it.

I’m sure many of you would like to get the Start Menu back. Well, recently a piece of software known as Start 8 has been released. This one adds a Start button to Windows 8. Just click on it and you’ll get to a Metro-style menu that you can use to search and access settings. So, it deserves a try if you long for the Start Menu.

If the lack of the Start Menu is no problem, then you might be interested in knowing how to use the Windows 8 corners. Thus, the lower-left corner + left click will take you to the Start screen (Metro) whereas the lower-left corner + right-click can be used for the power user menu shortcut. The upper-left corner shows open window thumbnails, just click to switch between them. The upper-right corner serves for the Windows 8 Charm menu and the lower-right corner is used for Windows Aero Peak as well as for Windows 8 Charm menu.

Among the shortcuts you might be interested, there are the following:

  • Hit the Windows key and you’ll get to Metro (the new Start screen).
  • Go for the Win + Q key combination to see all the installed apps. You can also right click an empty part of the screen and then select All Applications. You will thus get to a scrolling list of all the installed apps. To find the app you’re interested in, just browse the various tiles and click the app to launch it.
  • Win + W can be used to search for settings.
  • Win + X Power user shortcut menu.
  • Get the apps bar in Metro apps by hitting Win+Z.
  • Lock Windows with Win+L.
  • Switch between open applications by using Win+Tab.
  • Use Win + F for instant search for files.

If your first Windows 8 session is about to finish, then you should know how to close the system down. When the Start Menu was one of the most important features of the operating system, there was no problem with that. Now with the new version, it’s a little different. Or a whole lot different. Just move the cursor of the mouse to the lower right corner of the screen, hit the Win key +I keys or click on the Settings icon and you’ll get to the power button. After clicking this, you’ll be able to opt either for “Shut down” or “Restart”. When on desktop, you just have to hold down Alt+F4 and thus get to the Shut Down, Restart, Sign Out or Switch User options.

Top Windows 8 Tips & Tricks

Regardless of how rich your Windows experience is, you will need some time before you understand how Microsoft’s Windows 8 works. Basic features have been changed and the operating system is no longer desktop orientated. It is a Metro and hybrid system that will make you feel lost quite often. But that happens only till you get to understand the functionality of the operating system.
Windows 8 comes with two interfaces: the Metro UI or the start screen and the traditional desktop. The problem is that the recent changes to Windows 8 no longer allow users to disable the Metro UI and to work only on the desktop. So, here are some tips to help you get along with the current version of Windows 8.

The Start Menu in Windows 8 Developer Preview was kind of basic and could be accessed by moving the mouse cursor to the bottom left corner of the screen. With the Consumer Preview, you’ll now have to hold down the Windows key and press X or right-click in the bottom left corner to get to a text-based menu. From here, you can easily access applets and features like the Explorer, Device Manager, Control Panel and more.

You’ve probably noticed that the Metro games and applications start in fullscreen and there’s no way for you to close them down after they started. You can exit them by pressing the Windows key or by using the Charms menu as there’s no close button. There’s a way to switch between open windows and apps. You just have to press Alt-Tab for both Metro apps and desktop windows to be displayed.

But switching between them doesn’t mean closing them. Even if you use the Alt-Tab combination, they still run on the system using little resources and being put in the sleep mode, though. So, in this case you will have to bring up the basic Task Manager of the Metro UI. Press Ctrl-Shift-Esc and there you go. You can now close the apps you don’t need anymore.

The Consumer Preview version of Windows 8 gives you the possibility to synchronize customized settings with the cloud. You’ll thus be able to enjoy them on every Windows 8 computer you sign in with the same account. Configure this feature for every computer individually by bringing up the Charms menu and then go to Settings>More PC Settings and finally to Sync your Settings.

When it comes to Internet Explorer, Windows 8 makes nothing else but to get us a little confused. If you click the Internet Explorer, you will see that that there are no toolbars, menus or sidebars. If you right-click an empty space of the page, you’ll get several options, a “Find” tool, a Refresh button and you’ll be able to switch between tabs.

Still, if you can’t get along with that, you can launch Internet Explorer just like you did with other versions of Windows. See which position the Internet Explorer icon has on the taskbar, then press the Windows key and the number of the icon and there you go.

These are only some of the tricks that will help you with the current version of Windows 8. More to come soon, though!