Since some of you may be new to Windows 8.1 and may not have a touchscreen monitor for your desktop, then here are some handy tips, tricks and shortcut keys that will hopefully make your experience with the new OS somewhat less painful or frustrating. We'll start with the Start button where you can choose to customize your Windows 8.1 experience.
Windows 8.1 Start button customizations
Right click on the Start button to shut down, access Device Manage, Command Prompt, Control Panel, Run and other secondary feature options.
If you click on the Start button once, then it will take you to the Start screen.
If your Start screen is tiles, and you hate the Live Tiles, then that too can be tweaked under Taskbar and Navigation. The "long" way around is Windows key + i to open the Settings charm and access Taskbar and Navigation. You can also move the mouse cursor to either of the right-hand hot corners to get to settings. The fastest way is to right-click the taskbar and then select Properties.
Next, to boot-to-desktop instead of Live Tiles, click on the Navigation tab and go down to "Start screen." Select "When I sign in or close all apps on a screen, go the desktop instead of Start." You can also choose to "Show my desktop background on Start" and/or "Show the Apps view automatically when I go to Start." Since the apps menu can be annoying, you might also select "List desktop apps first in the Apps view when it's sorted by category."
Search keyboard shortcuts
There's nothing quite like being rather competent on a computer and then installing an OS that makes you feel like a clueless noob. At some point you will surely want to search for something, so here are the search keyboard shortcuts.
Windows key + S will open the Search charm to search "Everywhere."
Windows key + W will open the Search charm on the upper right side to search "Settings."
Windows key + F will open the Search charm to search "Files." You can right-click on a file to "Open file location" and go to its folder if you didn't want to directly open the file for which you searched.
The "easiest way to search your PC" is by using the Windows key + start typing.
Windows key + Q will search within an open app.
Other Windows 8.1 keyboard shortcuts
Windows key + D will open the desktop.
Windows key + H opens the Share charm.
Windows key + C will open the charms. In an app, it opens the commands for the app.
Windows key + period (.) will cycle through open apps.
Windows key + Shift + period (.) snaps an app to the left.
Windows key + Tab will bring up Search and apps. This is where you can clear out your search history.
Windows key + Ctrl + Tab will cycle through recently used apps (except desktop apps).
Windows key + Shift + Tab will cycle through recently used apps (except desktop apps) in reverse order.
Windows key + Spacebar will switch input language and keyboard layout.
Windows key + Ctrl + Spacebar will change to a previously selected input.
Windows key + O will lock the screen orientation into landscape or portrait.
Windows key + Z will show the commands available in the app.
Windows key + K will open the Devices charm.
Setup a local account
If you haven't installed 8.1 yet, then don't be suckered into thinking you must use a Microsoft account to do so. If you did set it up that way and want to change it, then here's how to change Windows 8.1 to local account with no Microsoft email account required.
Like this? Here's more posts:
- Lulzy Christmas: Hackers buy presents for the poor with gov't officials' credit cards
- How Microsoft invented, or invisibly runs, almost everything
- Bruce Schneier leaving 'security futurologist' position at telco employer BT
- Drivers beware: Roadblocks where cops collect 'voluntary' blood and saliva samples
- Microsoft fails to mention Skype in promises to protect users from NSA surveillance
- 300-pound crime-predicting mobile robot: Crime-preventing precog or 'R2D2's evil twin'?
- Porn-surfing corporate bosses infect networks, then keep data breaches a secret
- How to change Windows 8.1 to local account with no Microsoft email account required
- Stressed out? Virtual nature via Microsoft's new 3D Photosynth will soothe you
- President's Review Group recommends reforming the NSA so we have security AND privacy
- Privacy plays an important part in cloud predictions for 2014
Follow me on Twitter @PrivacyFanatic
Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. Smith has a diverse background in information technology, programming, web development, IT consulting, and information security. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.
Smith is an independent contractor and is not affiliated with any vendor that makes or sells information technology.
Policy on comments: Respectful discussion is welcomed! However comments that use inappropriate language, consist of name calling or personal attacks, or include accusations of wrongdoing are not appropriate. Those comments will be deleted or edited