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Windows 8 hasn’t had the best press – this is not because there is anything technically wrong with it (like Windows Vista) – it is simply because it is different than previous versions of Windows, and takes some getting used to


This article will cover all the basics you need to know, as well as showing you that you can still use it in the same way as Windows 7 without having to use all the new features if you don’t want to


Start Screen


This is the first screen you will see when starting your computer - and basically replaces the start menu from previous version of Windows




From the start screen you can launch your desktop programs (just like you did from the start menu in Windows 7), or you can open the new full screen Windows 8 apps


But if you want to use your computer in the same way as you did with previous versions of Windows then simply click the Desktop icon (tile) to get back to the familiar view - then you only need to open the start screen to launch programs (just imagine it as a full screen start menu)




You can still put shortcuts to your regularly used programs on the desktop or taskbar - and then you will hardly ever need to access the new start screen if you don't want to




To access the Start Screen from the desktop, click the start button (as shown below), or press the start button key on your keyboard




Boot to Desktop


You can also if you wish go to the desktop screen automatically when you start Windows rather than the Start Screen - by default this is enabled on all devices without a touchscreen


To enable this feature:-


1)  Right mouse click on the taskbar at the bottom of the screen and choose Properties




2)  When the Taskbar and Navigation properties windows appears choose the Navigation tab at the top



3)  Select the option "When I sign in or close all applications on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start" as highlighted above


4)  Click OK


Shutting Down


Something that is completely different in Windows 8, is how you shutdown/restart your computer - this can be done in three ways:-


1)  Access the charms bar by moving your mouse pointer to the bottom right corner (or swiping in from the right of the screen if using a tablet) - then select Settings from the menu that appears



You can then click on the Power icon, and a menu will appear allowing you to choose Shut down, Restart, Hibernate (if available) or Sleep




2)  You can also shutdown/restart/hibernate quickly from the desktop screen by pressing Alt + F4 - a screen will then appear where you can choose what you want to do




3)  Right mouse click on the start button and a menu will appear where you can choose Sign Out, Shut down or Restart




Closing Windows 8 Apps


Windows 8 Apps run full screen, so they cannot be closed by clicking the closingprograms_cross_win8 in the top corner like you usually do with desktop programs


To close a Windows 8 App follow either of these steps below:-


1)  Drag the application from the top of the screen using mouse pointer (or with your finger on a tablet device)


When you move your mouse to the top of the screen the cursor will change to a closingprograms_hand_win8icon - click and hold the left mouse button and drag down towards the bottom of the screen


Or if using a tablet swipe down from the top of the screen towards the bottom



2) If using a device without a touchscreen then a close button will now appear in the top right hand corner when you move your mouse to the top of the screen - click this to close the app






3)  Press Alt + F4


More Help


For more detailed information and guides please read the other sections on my website, which cover all aspects of using Windows 8 in more detail


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