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Getting around in Windows

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Windows 8.x

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 Start button, 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 Start button 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:

    1. Right-click any app and the Application bar will appear at the bottom, with options for the application you have selected.

    2. 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 Start will instead be Unpin from Start.

    Also, see In Windows 8, how can I have a Start Menu as in previous versions of Windows?

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:

  • Press Win-x .
  • In 8.1, right-click the Start button to launch the Power User menu. 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 apps on 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:
    • Search
    • Share
    • Start
    • Devices
    • Settings

Initiating a search

Press 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

  • Press 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 Control Panel.

Windows 7

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 Windows Classic.

In Windows 7, there is no Classic View in the Control Panel. Instead, you can switch between Category, Large icons, and Small icons.

To customize your Windows 7 Start menu and Taskbar, right-click the Start icon and click Properties.

Windows Vista and XP

Important: As of April 8, 2014, Microsoft no longer supports Windows XP with security updates. To ensure the highest security standards, the UITS Support Center no longer registers Windows XP devices to the IU network. UITS strongly recommends that you look into the options for replacing or upgrading your Windows XP computers for full compatibility with IU systems. See About end of life for Windows XP.

In Windows Vista and XP, you can choose whether to use the default views for some items (e.g., Start menu, Control Panel) or switch to Classic View. The option to switch is usually visible in the left frame, or by right-clicking and selecting Properties.

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Last modified on March 24, 2014.

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