Getting around in Windows
On this page:
- Windows 8.x
- Windows 7
- Vista and XP
Windows 8.x is designed for using touch, mouse, and keyboard together, on hardware ranging from touch-enabled tablets and laptops to PCs and all-in-one computers, including those without touch capability.
Getting around your PC
See Microsoft's Getting around your PC.
Start screen and Desktop
8.1: Microsoft updated the Windows 8.1 interface
by returning the
Startbutton, providing its ease of access along with the option of the Metro interface. The intent is to provide a seamless experience on desktops, laptops, tablets, and phone devices.
By default, the Start screen is displayed. Move your mouse pointer to the bottom left corner of the screen to make the
Startbutton appear. Left-click it to display the desktop. Or, left-click it again to display the Start screen.
8: The Start screen has a default application
display you can customize:
- Right-click any app and the Application bar will appear at the
bottom, with options for the application you have selected.
- To add an app to the Start screen, click
Pin to Start.
The Application Bar will reflect options relevant to the application you have selected. If an application is already on the Start Screen,
Pin to Startwill instead be
Unpin from Start.
- Right-click any app and the Application bar will appear at the bottom, with options for the application you have selected.
Power User Menu
The Power User Menu displays the most commonly used applications from the Control Panel, File Explorer, and Task Manager, as well as Restart, Run, Search, and Shutdown/Update. Access it in one of the following ways:
- In 8.1, right-click the
Startbutton to launch the
Power Usermenu. In 8, move your cursor to the bottom left corner of the screen and right-click.
Viewing and closing apps
Note: Some applications and features in Windows 8 (e.g., Control Panel, Internet Explorer) have both a Windows 8.x version and a pre-Windows 8 version. Windows 8.x applications (formerly called "metro" style applications) have neither close nor minimize buttons; they are designed to run as full-screen applications and cannot be resized.
- Tap the down arrow to view all apps (similar to
viewing all programs in previous versions of Windows).
Alternately, you can right-click an open area of the Start Screen, and the Application bar will open at the bottom. Click
All appson the lower right, and a list of all available apps will appear.
- To close Windows 8.x applications, go to the top of the screen (your cursor will become a hand) and drag down to the bottom of the screen.
Search Settings and other Charms
Options for accessing the Charms menu:
- Tap the upper right-hand corner and move down to select a charm.
- Hover your mouse pointer at the upper right-hand corner of the
screen. Then, move your mouse pointer downward to select a charm. The
following options will be displayed:
Initiating a search
Win-q . Simply type your
search term(s) and choose the appropriate result.
Typing while in the Start screen initiates a search. Choose
Everywhere from the drop-down menu for the best results.
Accessing the Control Panel
Win-i. On the panel that appears on the right, click
Change PC Settings. The Windows 8.x version of the Control Panel will appear.
- From the Start screen, type
control panel, and click the resulting
Windows 7 does not offer a complete Classic View or Classic
Start menu. To use a Classic theme, right-click anywhere on
the desktop, and then choose
Personalize. Under "Basic and
High Contrast Themes", select
In Windows 7, there is no Classic View in the Control
Panel. Instead, you can switch between
To customize your Windows 7
Start menu and
Taskbar, right-click the
Start icon and click
Windows Vista and XP
In Windows Vista and XP, you can choose whether
to use the default views for some items (e.g.,
Control Panel) or switch to Classic View. The option to switch is
usually visible in the left frame, or by right-clicking and selecting
Last modified on November 07, 2013.