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!