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20 must-know Windows 8 tips and tricks

With just a little hand-holding, the OS suddenly becomes much less mysterious.

By Jon Phillips, Alex Cocilova, Loyd Case, PC World
November 02, 2012 11:05 AM ET

PC World - Windows 8 is rife with features and behaviors that conspire to perplex even the most experienced PC users. Not all of them are bad, per se, but few of them are immediately intuitive. Making matters worse, the OS was primarily designed for touch control, and as a result, many mouse and keyboard commands feel like tacked-on afterthoughts.

The Windows 8 quiz

But help is on the way.

We've assembled a list of our favorite Windows 8 shortcuts, tricks, and workarounds. Many focus on making the most of the OS on a traditional desktop PC, so if you're interested in touch gestures, please check out our article that focuses directly on the Windows 8 touch experience. Now let's start our journey of discovery with a look atA easy-to-use (though often tough to remember!) Windows 8 hotkey commands.

The hottest hotkeys we know

Hold down the Windows key (normally located between Alt and Ctrl) when (Windows) is shown.

  • Press (Windows) to enter the tiled Start screen.
  • (Windows) + M minimizes everything that's showing on the desktop.
  • (Windows) + E opens Explorer for quick access to folders.
  • On the Start screen, press (Windows) + D to instantly get to the desktop.
  • (Windows) + Tab opens a list of currently running programs.
  • (Windows) + Print Screen takes a screenshot and saves it in a Screenshots folder nested in your Pictures folder.A
  • To take a screenshot on a Windows 8 tablet, simultaneously press the Windows button and the volume-down buttonA on the tablet chassis.
  • (Windows) + Q opens a global search menu. Type what you're looking for and where you would like to look.
  • (Windows) + W opens a search in your system settings to quickly locate and change system properties.
  • (Windows) + F opens a file and folder search.
  • (Windows) + Pause opens the system properties page to show you a quick rundown of your specs.
  • (Windows) + "," (that's the comma sign!) makes all current windows transparent, giving you a peek at the desktop as long as you hold down (Windows).
  • (Windows) + "." (the period) snaps a window to the right or left side (toggling each time you press ".").
  • (Windows) + R prompts the Run commanduseful for quickly launching apps and other routines with a command prompt.
  • (Windows) + X opens the Quick Access Menu, exposing system functionality such as the Command Prompt, Disk Management, File Explorer, Run, and more. It's perfect for people who Start Menu. Alternately, you can right-click on the bottom right corner of the screen to spawn the Quick Access Menu.
  • (Windows) + I opens the settings menu, giving you quick access to the Control Panel, Personalization, and your Power button, among other features.
  • (Windows) + O locksA orientation onA devices with an accelerometer.

Zoom in tight

The Start Screen is full of nice, big, chunky tiles that represent all your apps. The tiles are easy to see in small groups, but what if you have hundreds of apps installed? Most will be hidden from view, unless you want to do a lot of scrolling. Enter the new semantic zoom feature. If youre using a touch display, simply squeeze the Start screen with two fingers to receive a birds eye view of your entire screen contents. And the feature is also available to mouse and keyboard users: Simply hold down the Ctrl button, and use your mouse wheel to zoom in and out.

Originally published on www.pcworld.com. Click here to read the original story.

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