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Tom's Guide: Windows 8 Tips & Tricks

Windows 8 has been out for almost six months but many users are still getting to grips with the drastically different user interface this new iteration of Windows ushered in. To help you get the most out of Windows 8, the Tom's Guide team has put together a list of tips and tricks for the OS. Check out 'Windows 8 Tips & Tricks' for the full list.

Months after its release, Windows 8 continues to irritate and confound longtime Windows users. However, those willing to do a little unlearning and relearning have made the most out of the new OS's hybrid of traditional keyboard and mouse controls, as well as its touch-driven interfaces. Here are a few of our favorite little tips, tricks, and habits to make Windows 8 that much easier to use.Windows 8 Tips & Tricks

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  • soundping
    Admiral Ackbar: "It's a trap!"
    Reply
  • jisamaniac
    Tip 1 "Don't install Windows 8."
    Reply
  • John Nemesh
    Tip #2: If you DO have Windows 8 installed already, format your drive and install a proper OS.
    Reply
  • AndreT
    Why doesn't Microsoft listen to us??? We don't all want the tablet based stuff forced on our desktops/laptops?? It's not natural/easy and is in the way of productivity. Enterprise office work is for production, not consumption. Tablet based OS's are geared for consumption, not production. Admit the mistake and move on with a proper UI for Desktop/Laptops or at least the option to not use Metro without a 3rd party app.
    Reply
  • John Nemesh
    What's worse in my mind are all of the tech sites (like this one) that seem to gloss over the HATE that users have for this OS..."tips and tricks" articles, etc. I feel that the tech sites in particular, ESPECIALLY ones that cater to enthusiasts like "Tom's Hardware" should be steering customers away from this abomination instead of taking the approach that "Metro" is inevitable and we should just get used to it!
    Reply
  • phump
    The start screen is no different from the old start menu:
    - Hit winkey or click lower left to access
    - Navigate to program or setting shortcuts

    The start menu provided too much information and relied heavily on hover mechanics, which are terrible. While windows 8 employs hover mechanics for charms, you can completely avoid the use of those by creating custom tiles for power options or other important settings (try Obly Tile or other 3rd-party apps).

    The winkey+x shortcut gives you easier access than ever for program management, power settings, control panel, device manager, system, disk mgmt, and other things power users use daily.

    Tom's users try to create the impression that the start menu is a tablet interface and a huge change from the old interface. It's not.
    Reply
  • AndreT
    Yes, it IS different. It's there for the sole purpose of running "apps" which don't run on the desktop. That's it! Period! It's not cleaner by any means after you've installed a few applications (heck even office alone bollocks it up). Same way you can't run desktop based programs from the "modern UI", it's a separate OS in and of itself designed for Microsoft to sell consumption content via the app store. Why is this so hard for everyone who sings win 8 paises to grasp?

    A lot of us don't want consumption driven "apps" on our production geard/based PC at work. Or any form of touch for that matter. It's ill suited interaction in a modern workstation environment. Sitting on a couch is one thing, but at a desk is something entirely different.

    I understand all the key combo shortcuts, and some of them are awkward as well to do with one hand. I shouldn't be forced to use them if I don't want the Jarring MetroUI to snap back into view. It is a huge change from the old interface.

    (oh and those hover mechanics you mention about the old start menu, you can turn those off by removing a checkmark, not so with giving me the option to not use "Modern UI", I have to go to a 3rd party app).
    Reply
  • phump
    It's there for the sole purpose of running "apps" which don't run on the desktop.

    No, it's not. You can have shortcuts to "apps" (which I don't use), but it's a quick link to commonly used applications, just like the start menu. You control the content and nothing is forced on you.

    you can't run desktop based programs from the "modern UI"

    I would love to know what that means. I have tiles to open Steam, Starcraft, MS Office, etc. How does the start screen limit the programs you can launch?

    I understand all the key combo shortcuts

    Keyboard shortcuts are one reason I will never prefer touch screens. You may not use them, but you can't discount their efficiency. Still, you can create tiles on the start screen to link to various setting menus, and you can pin something like the control panel to the taskbar.
    Reply
  • slomo4sho
    When will Microsoft learn that Windows 8 is a failure and a lost cause?
    Reply
  • AndreT
    slomo4shoWhen will Microsoft learn that Windows 8 is a failure and a lost cause?
    Answer to #1, you can have desktop shortcuts to "apps", but they don't run in the desktop environment. How many other windows can you have open when you are running that app. I understand you can have the Modern UI screen 85/15% split with the desktop interface but a lot of times that renders the app running in the 15% space completely useless. The desktop is definitely useless in the 15% space. Hence everyone's remarks that it should be called Window 8, instead of Windows 8.

    Answer to #2, you can run Microsoft Word from a shortcut on the Modern UI, but it's not running as an "app" in the modern UI, it's running on the desktop. The two are not interchangable. Why do you think no programs designed for Windows 7 will run on Windows RT, because that platform only supports modern UI apps. On the desktop it's a schizophrenic OS.

    The point is that the two should never have been cobbled together or if they were, at least give users the ability to easily select the proper UI for their computing environment. Not force a change on me that is ill suited for desktop/laptos especially in the workplace.
    Reply