Getting around in Windows

Note:
In Windows 10, 8.x, and 7, it can be easiest to find programs and features by searching for them.

On this page:


Changes to Windows

Navigating in Windows has changed in the following ways:

  • Windows 7 and earlier used a Start menu to access programs.
  • Windows 8 introduced the Start screen and full-screen Modern apps that are installed via the Store app; they use touch, mouse, and keyboard together.
    Note:
    Microsoft does not fully support Windows 8. If you use Windows 8, you should upgrade to Windows 8.1 or later; see Microsoft Support Lifecycle.
  • Windows 8.1 reintroduced the Start button to make it easier to access the Start screen, and enabled an option to go directly to the desktop.
  • Windows 10 combines the best of Windows 8.1 and 7 with the return of a Start menu, Universal apps, and new features like Cortana, Notifications, Virtual Desktops, and Continuum. The Edge browser also replaces Internet Explorer. Windows 10 Universal apps are similar to Modern apps, but they run on a variety of Microsoft devices, including desktops, laptops, hybrids, tablets, and smartphones. You can resize Universal apps just like traditional desktop programs. Continuum enables you to switch between Desktop and Tablet mode.

Getting started with Windows 10 and 8.1

Finding tasks and features in your version of Windows

In Windows 10, 8.x, and 7, it can be easiest to find programs and features by searching for them.

Also, all versions allow you to customize the Start menu or Start screen by right-clicking a program or app and choosing Pin to Start (Windows 8.x and higher) or Pin to Start menu (Windows 7). If an application is already pinned to the Start screen, you'll see Unpin from Start instead.

Most of the same functions and features are available in all versions of Windows, but their locations have changed. In Windows 10 and 8.x, some applications and features have both a Universal/Modern version (e.g., Settings) and a traditional version (e.g., Control Panel).

For help, contact your campus Support Center.

Following is a list of common features and tasks and how to find them in your version of Windows.

Tasks and features Windows 7 Windows 8 Windows 8.1 Windows 10
All Programs, All Apps Click Start (Windows 7 Start button) and select All Programs. Tap the down arrow to view All Apps. Click Start (Windows 10/8.1 Start button) and select All Apps; alternatively, in Tablet mode, view the Start screen.
Charms menu (Search, Share, Start, Devices, Settings) N/A
  • Swipe in from the right edge of the screen.
  • Hover your mouse at the upper right corner of the screen.
  • Press Win-c.
N/A
Closing Universal/Modern apps N/A Move your cursor to the top of the screen and then drag down to the bottom.

In the app, move your cursor to the top border of the screen; when the app's title bar slides open, click X to close.

Alternatively, move your cursor to the top of the screen and then drag down to the bottom.

  • Click X to close.
  • In Tablet mode, move your cursor to the top border of the screen in the app; when the app's title bar slides open, click X to close.
  • Move your cursor to the top border of the screen, and then click and drag the app to the bottom of the screen.
Command Prompt Click Start (Windows 7 Start button), select All Programs, then Accessories, and then Command Prompt.

Alternatively, search for command or cmd.

From All Apps, select Windows System, and then Command Prompt.

Alternatively, search for command or cmd.

Control Panel (traditional) Click Start (Windows 7 Start button) and select Control Panel. Search for Control Panel. Search for Control Panel; alternatively, press Win-i and select Control Panel. Search for Control Panel.
Desktop Press Win-d. Open the Desktop App from the start screen; alternatively, press Win-d. Press Win-d.
Device Manager
  • Search for Device Manager.
  • Right-click Computer, select Properties, and then Device Manager.
  • From the Control Panel, switch to View by Large Icons or View by Small Icons, and then go to the Device Manager.
  • Press Win-Pause|Break and select Device Manager.
  • Search for Device Manager.
  • Right-click This PC, select Properties, and then Device Manager.
  • From the Control Panel, switch to View by Large Icons or View by Small Icons, and then go to the Device Manager.
  • Press Win-Pause|Break and select Device Manager.
Devices (Universal/Modern) N/A

Search for Devices and choose Devices from the results.

Alternatively, from the Charms menu, select Settings, then Change PC Settings, then PC and devices, and then Devices.

  • Search for the device; for printers, search for Printers and choose the Printers & Scanners result; for Bluetooth and other devices, search for Devices and choose Connected device settings from the results.
  • From Notifications, select All Settings, then Devices, and then Printers & Scanners (for printers) or Connected devices (for Bluetooth and other devices).
  • Click Start (Windows 10/8.1 Start button), select Settings, then Devices, and then Printers & Scanners for printers or connected devices.
Devices and printers (traditional)
  • Search for Devices and choose Devices and Printers from the results.
  • From the Control Panel, switch to View by Large Icons or View by Small Icons, and then go to Devices and Printers.
  • Click Start (Windows 7 Start button) and select Devices and Printers.

Search for Devices and choose Devices and Printers from the results.

Alternatively, from the Control Panel, switch to View by Large Icons or View by Small Icons, and then go to Devices and Printers.

Elevated Command Prompt Click Start (Windows 7 Start button), select All Programs, then All Programs, and then Accessories; right-click Command Prompt and choose Run as Administrator.

Alternatively, search for command or cmd, right-click Command Prompt, and choose Run as Administrator.

From All Apps, select Windows System, right-click Command Prompt, and then choose Run as Administrator.

Alternatively, search for command or cmd, right-click Command Prompt, and choose Run as Administrator.

Log off, sign out Click Start (Windows 7 Start button), select the arrow next to "Shut down", and then choose Log off. From the Start screen, select your account picture in the upper right corner and then choose Sign out. In Tablet mode, from the Start screen, select your account picture in the upper right corner and then choose Sign out.
Network and Internet settings (Universal/Modern) N/A Press Win-i, select Change PC Settings, and then Network.
  • Click Start (Windows 10/8.1 Start button), select Settings, and then Network & Internet.
  • From Notifications, select All Settings and then Network & Internet.
  • Press Win-i, select Change PC Settings, and then Network & Internet.
Network and Sharing Center (traditional)

Right-click the Network icon and select Network and Sharing Center.

Alternatively, from the Control Panel, switch to View by Large Icons or View by Small Icons, and then go to the Network and Sharing Center.

From the desktop, right-click the Network icon, and then select Network and Sharing Center.

Alternatively, from the Control Panel, switch to View by Large Icons or View by Small Icons, and then go to the Network and Sharing Center.

Right-click the Network icon and select Network and Sharing Center.

Alternatively, go to Network and Internet settings and select Network and Sharing Center.

Power User menu (quick access to advanced features such as Control Panel, Command Prompt, Programs and Features, etc.) N/A Press Win-x. Alternatively, move your cursor to the bottom left corner of the screen and right-click. Press Win-x. Alternatively, right-click Start (Windows 10/8.1 Start  button).
Refresh your PC N/A From Settings, select Change PC Settings, then General, and then Refresh your PC without affecting your files. Follow the instructions for refreshing your PC in Microsoft's How to refresh, reset, or restore your PC. Reset your PC (see Microsoft's Recovery options in Windows 10) and choose Keep my files.
Reset your PC N/A From Settings, select Change PC Settings, then General, and then Remove everything and reinstall Windows. Follow the "Remove everything and reinstall Windows" instructions in How to refresh, reset, or restore your PC. Reset your PC (see Recovery options in Windows 10) and choose Remove everything.
Searching Click Start (Windows 7 Start button), select All Programs, and then enter your terms in the "Search programs and files" field.

From the Start screen, enter your search terms; alternatively, press Win-q.

For best results, from the drop-down menu, choose Everywhere.

  • In Tablet mode, from the Start screen, enter your search terms.
  • Click Start (Windows 10/8.1 Start button) and enter your search terms.
  • Use Cortana text search.
  • From the Search box in the task bar, enter your search terms.
  • Select the Search icon in the task bar and enter your search terms.
  • If you've enabled Cortana, say "Hey Cortana" and ask Cortana to find something.
  • Press Win-q (Cortana voice search) or Win-s.
Settings (System) N/A

From the Charms menu, select Settings and then Change PC Settings.

Alternatively, press Win-i and select Change PC Settings.

  • Click Start (Windows 10/8.1 Start button) and select Settings.
  • Select Notifications and then All Settings.
  • Press Win-i.
Shut down, sleep, restart Click Start (Windows 7 Start button) and select Shut down.

Alternatively, click Start (Windows 7 Start button), select the right arrow next to "Shut down", and then Restart or Sleep.
From the Charms menu, select Settings, then Power (Windows   Power button), and then Shut down, or Sleep, or Restart.

Alternatively, press Win-i; select Power (Windows Power button), and then Shut down, or Sleep, or Restart.
  • From the Charms menu, select Settings, then Power (Windows    Power button), and then Shut down, or Sleep, or Restart.
  • Press Win-i, select Power (Windows   Power button), and then Shut down, or Sleep, or Restart.
  • From the Start screen, select Power if available (Windows Power   button) and then Shut down, or Sleep, or Restart.
Click Start (Windows 10/8.1 Start button), select Power(Windows Power  button) , and then Shut down, or Sleep, or Restart.

Alternatively, from the Start screen in Tablet mode, select Power (Windows   Power button) and then Shut down, or Sleep, or Restart.
Start button Opens the Start menu (Windows 7 Start button) N/A; see In Windows 8, how can I have a Start menu as in previous versions of Windows? Opens the Start screen (Windows 10/8.1 Start button)
  • Opens the Start menu (Windows 10/8.1 Start button)
  • Opens the Start screen (Tablet mode) (Windows 10/8.1 Start button)
Start menu Click Start (Windows 7 Start button). N/A; replaced by Start screen Click Start (Windows 10/8.1 Start button).
Start screen N/A Press Win. Click Start (Windows 10/8.1 Start button) or press Win. From Notifications, enable Tablet mode.
Task manager
  • From the desktop, right-click the Task bar and select Task Manager.
  • Press Ctrl-Shift-Esc.
  • Press Ctrl-Alt-Del and select Task Manager.

This is document alac in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2015-08-14.

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