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5 Tips to Super-Charge How You Use Windows 8
Why is Windows 10 afraid of Windows 7? Because 7 ate 9.
That was a pretty terrible joke, but as most of us know, Windows 10 arrived without any mention of a Windows 9. While plenty of people have switched over to 10, lots of us are still using 8 while we wait until 10 is bug-free—so you’ll be happy to hear that there’s still plenty you can do with 8 in the mean-time.
1. Get your beloved Start menu back.
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a man in possession of Windows 8 must be in want of a Start menu. Literary quotes aside, it really is universal: the one big complaint about Windows 8 was the missing Start menu. While 8.1 took steps to rectify that, some users still weren’t happy with the change.
Get your start menu back with Menu Reviver 2. A touch-screen friendly option, Menu Reviver brings your beloved menu back with plenty of customisable options and a nice-looking interface.
Menu Reviver isn’t too dissimilar to 10’s Start menu, but if you want something more akin to 7 you can also try Start8 or Start Menu 8. Say goodbye to desperately clicking at the side of the screen in the hopes of summoning the start screen!
2. If you give your files weird names, the preview panel will blow your mind
If you give your files suspect names or your naming system could be described as lax, the preview panel will be invaluable. Don’t end up like the girl who accidentally sent a creepy picture of Nicholas Cage to a job application!
The preview pane is a nifty little button. Open any folder that has files in it and click the ‘Preview pane’ button in the toolbar. And just like that you’ve turned on Preview Mode and you can get a look at your files so you’ll know what they are behind the gibberish name.
3. If you’re sticking with tiles, customise them so you know where everything is
The Windows 8 Start screen is confusing when you get started because nothing is quite where you expect it to be. Here’s a couple of tips to hack it for usability:
· Move any tile by clicking and dragging it.
· Pin your shortcuts and programs to the Start screen with Pin to Start.
· Click the magnifying glass to zoom out of your Start screen. In this mode, you can click on tile groups and name them. You can also move the groups to further organise your tiles.
· Right-click and hit ‘Pin to taskbar’ to send tiles to your taskbar. (That’s the grey-ish bar at the bottom of your screen.)
4. Make your files easier to access
Pinning apps and programs to the start screen is a life-saver. You can pin any program or app by right-clicking on the icon and hitting ‘Pin to Start Menu’.
That app or program is then accessible right from your menu. But did you know you can also pin folders for easy access? Head over to this guide from Into Windows for in-depth steps.
5. Whiz around your computer with keyboard shortcuts
You might not use or know too much about keyboard shortcuts. In our day-to-day lives the ones we likely know and use begin and end with copy and paste, refresh, search and find, and a few more of the basics.
But Windows is equipped with dozens of useful shortcuts. The shortcuts you’ll use are dependent on how you use your computer. Unfortunately, we can’t predict which shortcut you’d like so we’ll take a look at a couple of the most useful ones instead:
· Alt and F4 = close an app.
· Windows and F = search for a file.
· Fn and F3 = search for a word in a document/online etc.
· Ctrl and z = undo an action. Sadly, this doesn’t double as a magic unsend button.
· Ctrl and y = redo an action.
· Alt and tab = switch between open windows. Handy if the boss suddenly appears.
· Ctrl and shift and esc = open task manager. Useful if you need to close a frozen program or file.
· Ctrl and esc = open the start menu.
· Ctrl + = zoom in.
· Ctrl - = zoom out.
If you want to become a real shortcut ninja, take a look at Microsoft’s keyboard shortcut list.
While Windows 10 is the new toy on the block, these quicks tips mean that there is still plenty of life in Windows 8 yet!
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