Suzanne LeGette

Tips n Tricks for Windows 8 Users

Windows Start Screen v Desktop

Windows Start Screen v Desktop

Here at the Intel we use a lot of acronyms. OOB, for example, refers to the user’s experience of pulling a device “Out of (the) Box” after they’ve purchased it.  OOB is too dry a term to capture that magic feeling of taking your shiny new device out of its box, peeling away the plastic that encases it, and turning it on for the first time, knowing that soon you’re going to be creating great content to share. As I peeled the wrapping off my new HP EliteBook Revolve 2 in 1 with the Windows 8 OS, I was eager to test out the flexibility of the new device. The 2 in 1 is unique because it’s both a tablet and a notebook. A short stroll through the Quick Start guide and I was up and running.

For first-time Windows 8 users however, the OOB experience is not quite as magical. Windows 8 has two personalities; the winsome ‘Start Screen’ with large and small tiles that are entry points into Windows 8 Apps and programs, and the familiar ‘Desktop,’ that looks and feels like our old friend Windows 7. Windows 8 is about touch. So while exploring, put your mouse aside and get used to touching your screen to drive your computing experience. I have some tips for you that will enable you to get your bearings, and make the journey more enjoyable.

First, if you get lost, hit the ‘Windows’ button on your keyboard. This will take you back to the Start Screen with all the tiles. Then look for the ‘Desktop’ tile and select that to go back to the Windows desktop. This will enable you to get back to a familiar place. While working on the Windows 7 OS, I never used the ‘Windows’ keyboard button. As I worked through the learning curve for Windows 8, I was using it several times an hour to get back to the desktop.

If you are a fan of the classic Windows Desktop, then try my next tip.  Set your programs, especially for your PDF, image, and video files, to open by default on the Desktop. How? In Desktop mode, select ‘Settings’ from the Charms menu (stroke your finger across the right side of your display toward the center of your screen to open the menu), then select ‘Control Panel,’ then ‘Default Programs.’ Choose the ‘Set your default programs’ option and review the available list of programs. If, for example, you would like Adobe Reader to be your default program to open PDFs, select it in the Program preview pane. Instructions will pop up that will walk you through making it your default program to open PDFs. Thus assuring your PDFs always open on the Desktop.

Want to take that one step further and have the Adobe Reader icon appear on your Desktop task bar so you can always find it?  Go back to the Start Screen and find the Adobe Reader tile. Simultaneously touch and drag it downwards until a check appears in the upper right hand corner of the tile.  Then remove your finger from the screen. A menu will appear across the bottom of the Start Screen that will offer several options.  Select “pin to taskbar,” to have the Adobe Reader program icon appear on your Desktop task bar.

So yes, it takes some work to get to know Windows 8.  But once you are set up to enjoy it, it’s great to explore the all the cool features it offers.


Suzanne LeGette

About Suzanne LeGette

Suzanne has been a product marketing manager and digital marketer at Intel since 2007. Prior to joining Intel, Suzanne owned One Market Place, a marketing agency with an emphasis on digital projects. She is passionate about defining user experiences that delight users and encourage easy adoption of new technologies.

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