Windows 8 Tips to Get You Started | MacRae Rentals

Windows 8 Tips to Get You Started

Metro Interface Media

This image is a vector file representing a metro interface design concept on various media devices.

With Windows XP support set to expire soon, tens of millions of people are already (or soon to be) using the all new Windows 8. Windows 8 has been completely re-imagined and it’s that re-imaging that may well throw off some Windows users.

One of the main things to keep in mind is that even though the startup screen will look fairly familiar, the new operating systems’ desktop view can be accessed from the tile that displays the desktop (in other words, wallpaper). Click on the tile and you’ll be transported back that warm, familiar setting. But one that’s vastly improved.

One thing you won’t miss as a Windows user is the age it took to boot up. The speed tests for the operating system have also faired pretty well.

Improvements have been made to tools like IE; file transfer dialogs and Task Manager.

So, here are 5 tips and tricks to navigating your way around Windows 8 comfortably, but with style.

Corners and Edges

By just remembering 2 interface procedures, you’ll get the hang of Windows 8 in no time. If you’re using a touch screen, simply swipe from the edges (it’ll become second nature quickly) to get back to your start screen, change settings, search and much more. If you prefer to work with a mouse, drag it to the corners of the screen which are the keys to the interface. The left corners allow you to switch between desktop, start screen and apps and the right side displays the Charms.

The Start Screen Isn’t As Intimidating As It May Seem

Don’t be taken aback by the new start screen. Think of it as a full-screen start button panel. All you have to do is start typing the name of a program to bring up the app names – kind of like a predictive text. If what you need isn’t there, let’s say the control panel, for example, switch your right-slide selector bar to Settings. If you’re after a doc or picture, switch to Files.

But by just typing you will find both the new style and traditional desktop apps. When you install them they’ll get their usual tiles on the start menu.

Here’s a good tip: organise your Start screen with the semantic zoom. It’s easy: pinch in on the screen or hit the Windows Key minus sign to shrink your tiles, swipe down or right click. Then you’re able to move and name group files.

It’s also easy to move individual tiles by holding them down or right clicking the mouse and dragging them to where you want them.

Visiting the Windows Store

Make sure you visit the Windows Store often. New apps are arriving in their hordes and even if you want to use your PC for traditional desktop style apps, there are just so many lightweight, mobile type apps to take advantage of. They’re super-fast to install and will automatically update.  You can sift through the top free and paid apps and browse through various categories. Most apps are free and those that do cost only cost between $1.49 and $9.99.

Skype is worth a mention. In Windows 8 the popular app draws on Windows Messenger and also works with Facebook messaging. Skype works as a great phone substitute and is a cheap way to make calls.


While cloud computing has been in the in thing for a few years now, SkyDrive offers PC users equal footing to Apple’s iCloud. Sign into the PC with your Microsoft account to take advantage of this handy cloud system. IT serves as a convenient backup for your PC settings and offers online syncing and storage and third party apps can use it like it’s another hard drive on your computer.

It also works a bit like Dropbox for syncing services but you will need to install its desktop client for this function.

If you want to sync your passwords, set “Trust” on your PC. Tap or click on the Settings charm and change your PC Settings. In the Users section, click “Trust this PC” which will open a web browser to your Microsoft account and offer a verification code to be sent to your mobile phone or email address.

Installing Drivers

To get everything up and running – from two or three-finger scrolling to anything else, really, do a Windows check to make sure the drivers are up to date. Even if the answer is “yes,” visit your hardware maker’s site and download the up-to-date drivers. A quick install will have all your multi-touch awesomeness on the new Windows 8 working in no time at all.