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Five Tips for Using Windows* 8 Features Like a Pro

Microsoft’s latest and greatest offering, Windows* 8, is a groundbreaking new operating system that delivers a truly unique user experience. Designed primarily for use with Ultrabook™ devices, all-in-one PCs, and tablets, Windows 8 looks and feels a lot different than what you’re probably used to. But that doesn’t mean mastering the touchscreen interface has to be difficult. It also doesn’t mean you have to have a touchscreen device to make great use of the operating system for work productivity or leisure entertainment activities. Here are a few helpful tips and shortcuts that’ll have you using Windows 8 features like a pro in no time, no matter what platform you’re utilizing.


How to Get the Most Out of Windows 8 Features: Charms

Put in place to give you quick and easy access to some of the most frequently used features, the Windows 8 charms bar resides on the right edge of your screen and includes commands like search, share, settings, devices, and the all-important start button. There are three different ways to access the charms bar, depending on what kind of computer you’re using:


  • Touchscreen: Swipe the right edge of your screen.
  • Keyboard: Press Windows Key+C.
  • Mouse: Hover your mouse over the top or bottom of the right edge of your screen.


How to Close Down Apps in Windows 8

You’re probably used to closing programs by simply clicking the X in the top-right corner of the window of the program you want to shut down. In Windows 8, the process is different depending on whether you’re using it with a touchscreen device or a mouse and keyboard:


  • Touchscreen: Swipe downward from the top of the screen to the bottom of the screen.
  • Keyboard: Press ALT+F4.
  • Mouse: Hover your mouse over the top-left edge of your screen to launch the list of currently running apps. Right-click the app you want to shut down and click close.


Maximizing Space with Windows 8 Split Screen Mode

One of the neatest Windows 8 features is an improved ability to split your screen between two apps, making it much easier for you to move back and forth between the apps without having to physically toggle, which can significantly improve your productivity. By default, one application will take up two thirds of the screen, while the other app will take up one third. Here are the three methods you can use to activate split screen between two apps in Windows 8:


  • Touchscreen: Swipe down from the top edge of your screen and swipe to the left or right, depending on where you want to position either app.
  • Keyboard: Press Windows Key+left arrow or press Windows Key+right arrow.
  • Mouse: Click and drag the app by the title bar to the left or right. The app will automatically resize to fill half of your screen.


Windows 8 and the Emergence of Super Cool Picture and Gesture Passwords

Windows 8 takes the concept of password protection and revolutionizes it. If you’re the type of person who’s always had a love/hate relationship with passwords—whether you’re always forgetting them or struggling to come up with new ones that are secure enough—you’re going to love the Windows 8 password feature. Essentially, it combines pictures with gestures and eliminates having to type in an alphanumeric combination. Instead, you simply use a self-chosen combination of circles, lines, and screen taps over a specific image. If that’s not cool and easy, we don’t know what is.


Toggling Over to Traditional Desktop Mode

With Windows 8, you can toggle between standard “touch screen” mode to a more traditional “desktop mode.” What this feature means is that if you want to revert to the operating experience you’ve come to know and love, you can have that too. Windows 8 desktop mode operates just like Windows 7, essentially giving you two operating systems in one.


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