About views in Windows (Start screen/menu, Control Panel)
On this page:
- Windows 8
- Windows 7
- Vista and XP
Microsoft made a major change to the Windows 8 interface, with a "Start screen" replacing the Start menu. The intent is to provide a seamless experience on desktops, laptops, tablets, and phone devices. Windows 8 is intended to be "touch first", working well for devices enabled for touch screens; however, you can still use a mouse and keyboard on devices without touch capability.
Power User menu
To open a menu (called the "Power User" menu) listing some of the features available from the previous Start menu, do one of the following:
- Move your cursor to the bottom left corner of the screen and right-click.
Configuring the Start screen
The Start screen has a default application display you can customize:
- Right-click any app (called "tiles" in Windows 8) 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.
Viewing and closing apps
Note: Some applications and features in Windows 8 (e.g., Control Panel, Internet Explorer) have both a Windows 8 version and a pre-Windows 8 version. Windows 8 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.
Win-qto view all apps (similar to viewing all programs in previous versions of Windows).
Alternatively, 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 applications, go to the top of the screen (your cursor will become a hand) and drag down to the bottom of the screen.
Accessing the Desktop
Options for accessing the Desktop:
- Hover your mouse pointer at the very top or bottom of the left edge of the screen, and click the desktop picture that appears.
- By default, the Start screen contains a Desktop tile you can click.
Accessing the Control Panel
Win-i. On the panel that appears on the right, click
Change PC Settings. The Windows 8 version of the Control Panel will appear.
- To display the pre-Windows 8 Control Panel, do one of the
- From the Start screen, type
control panel, and click the resulting
Initiating a search
Typing while in the Start screen initiates a search. Simply type your search term(s) and choose the appropriate result.
The Charms bar appears as a panel on the right with five options:
To access the Charms bar, either press
Win-x or move your cursor to the lower right
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 button 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 December 19, 2012.