HOBOKEN, N.J., June 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — You fire up your new computer, fresh with Windows 8, looking forward to trying out all of the new features and commands. Normally, you would enjoy poking around the latest version of Windows discovering what's new and improved. But when Windows 8 pops up, its Start screen and colorful tiles staring you in the face, you feel a little bit like you did when you got your very first PC with Windows way back when.
"Like anything new and unfamiliar, Windows 8 can be frustrating to people accustomed to Windows 7 or XP," says Lance Whitney, author of Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time (Wiley, 2012, ISBN: 978-1-118-41864-2, $29.99). "But the more time you spend with it and the more shortcuts you pick up, the easier it gets."
Read on for Whitney's top twelve tips on how to master Windows 8 so that you can control it rather than the other way around.
"Start" it up your way. The new Start screen is based on tiles.
"You can move the Start screen tiles around to sort them alphabetically or by category. You can separate tiles into individual groups so that any one tile is easier to find. You can also name a group of tiles and even sort the groups so the apps you access more frequently are within easy reach," says Whitney.
Stay up to date with live tiles. Without even leaving the Start screen, live tiles alert you to your latest emails, appointments, news items, weather forecasts, stock prices, and more.
"Live tiles can be a good way to start your day because with a quick glance you can see what awaits you," explains Whitney.
Quickly launch the apps you need. You can launch any Windows app through its tile on the Start screen or All Apps screen. But you can also launch an app just by typing its name at either the Start screen or All Apps screen.
Back up your documents with File History. "File History is one of my favorite features in Windows 8," says Whitney. "You just set it up initially to back up whatever files you want, and your part is done."
Create picture-perfect passwords. With Windows 8, instead of struggling to devise and remember a complicated alphanumeric password, you can simplify the process and add some visual flair by using a picture password.
Find the right apps in the Windows Store. Looking for a specific app? Simply trigger the search charm within the Windows store and type the name of the app.
Print content from a Windows 8 app. "To be honest, I wasn't especially crazy about the new Print function in Windows 8 at first," says Whitney. "But I quickly got used to it and grew to like the consistency of it from one app to another."
Easily copy or move files. "Copying and moving batches of files is much easier now," says Whitney. "And there's less danger of losing an important file since Windows clearly shows you which files are due to be overwritten beforehand."
Sync your settings across different devices. People who juggle more than one Windows 8 device don't have to struggle to maintain the same settings on each one. Instead, simply sync those settings so that they remain consistent from one device to another.
Hit the road with the Travel app. Windows 8 comes with several cool and useful apps courtesy of Microsoft's Bing team, including the Travel app. It is especially handy for planning trips from start to finish.
Easily use and manage wireless networks. If you are using your laptop remotely and need to connect to and manage wireless networks, just go to the Networks pane to see a list of all available Wi-Fi networks. Pick the one you want, enter the security password, and you're connected.
Troubleshoot quickly. Of course, sometimes Windows gets corrupted or starts misbehaving to the point where it no longer runs reliably. Simply refresh or reset your PC to bring it back to a cleaner state.
"As with any big software change, Windows 8 takes getting used to," says Whitney. "Many of the new features aren't out in the open and require time to discover. But once you learn your way around, you'll be able to navigate Windows 8 more efficiently so you take full advantage of the new environment."
About the Author:
Lance Whitney is the author of Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time (Wiley, 2012, ISBN: 978-1-118-41864-2, $29.99).
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