Windows 8 General Tips, Shotcuts and How to's

Its been two days since the release of Windows 8 Consumer preview, and if you look at the the Windows 8 reviews so far you will notice that initial reactions of consumers have not been so good for Microsoft. Start Menu is gone and many controls are moved to the new start screen. It might take users some time to get used to it, and doing basic tasks such as shutting down your pc has become a little confusing.

While it was  possible to disable Metro UI to only work on the desktop in Developer Preview, with recent changes, it is currently not possible. All the tools that worked in the Developer Preview are not working right now. 

So when others are still complaining about Metro, here are some How to's, Tips, and features of Windows 8 that you may not know about.

Old Start Menu

Well this program Vistart was designed for Xp to make Xp start menu look like Vista, but it works well with Windows 8 and maps the Windows key to the opening of the start menu. It is available for download at developer's website here for free.

Shutting Down or Rebooting Your Windows 8 PC.

Move the mouse over the charms button in the lower right corner of the Metro UI. Click the settings button there on the Charms menu, and there the Power button. This displays a context menu with the three options Sleep, Shut Down and Restart.
Another way is to use keyboard shortcut Windows + i which display the Settings menu with a power button.

Close metro Apps. 

Move you mouse to Top-Left corner of screen, you would see the apps which you have opened, if you want to close any app then just right click on it and click on close.

Alternatively you can select the app and then just drag the app to the bottom left of you screen, and your app would be closed.

Or just use Alt + F4 ;-)

Switching between Apps and Windows

You can switch between open apps and windows with Alt-Tab, which works exactly as it did under Windows 7 and previous versions of Windows. Windows 8′s Alt-Tab displays both desktop windows and Metro apps.

Double-click to zoom out

Move your mouse on the Charms icon in the lower right corner of the screen and double-click. This would zooms out of the start page. This makes it easier to navigate if you have lots of apps installed.

Storage Spaces

You need at least two hard drives for the Storage Spaces feature. You find it in the Control Panel, under System and Security > Storage Spaces.
You basically combine multiple drives to access them under one drive letter in Windows.

Storage Spaces add two core new features to the Windows 8 operating system. It first offers to pool drives together to form a single storage unit. This can be handy to make use of the storage space of multiple drives under one drive letter. Fault tolerance, the second feature ensures that data remains accessible even if one drive fails.

Refresh And Reset tools

The Refresh and Reset options are hidden in the Windows Control Panel. You can access it under Recovery in Control Panel by changing the display from category view to small icons view. Refresh basically restores Windows to its first run state while keeping user files, while reset will more or less re-install Windows on the system.ging the display from category view to small icons view.

SkyDrive integration

Skydrive enables automatic synchronization of preferences and customizations with a cloud server. This ensures that you can use the same settings on every PC that you log in with your Windows Live ID.
You can access the SkyDrive app in the Metro interface. Here you get access to files that you have already stored in SkyDrive. You can easily access your hosted files and add new files from your computer to be hosted on the SkyDrive servers.

File History

File History is a new file backup system integrated into Windows 8. It basically saves copies of files so that they can be recovered when they are damaged, corrupt or lost. Microsoft recommends to use an external drive for storage, and the system is turned off by default.

Some Useful Metro Shortcut Keys

Windows key – Takes you to the Metro start screen

Win + D – Brings up the old Windows desktop.

Win + Q – Opens the Metro App Search screen.

Win + C – Opens up the Charms menu,

Win + . (Period)-Snaps the current Metro application to one side of the screen.

Win + J – Switches focus between snapped Metro applications.

Win + Page Up / Down
– Moves the current app to the other monitor.

Win + Tab – Opens the Metro application switcher menu, switches between applications.

Win + , (comma) – Aero Peek at the desktop.
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