Frequently Asked Questions
Change can be challenging when you become accustomed to an interface display. Windows 8 presents an entirely new platform, which is vastly different from all of its predecessors. The new technology opens doors like never before, but if you want the latest operating system complete with some of the old features of Windows 7, you have several options.
The Start screen is the default landing page when you power up your Windows 8 computer , as opposed to the desktop in previous versions. If you would like to revert back to the default desktop, download Skip Metro Suite. This free program allows you to not only skip the Start screen in favor of the desktop, but also to disable all the “hotspots” that prompt a menu to appear. For instance, the Charms bar will no longer appears simply by placing your cursor in the top or bottom right corner of the screen.
Some Windows 8 users do not mind the new functionalities that come with it, but miss the Aero glass effects and overall look of WIndows 7. No options currently exist to get all those neat translucent effects back, but several apps are available that partially restore them. UxStyle is a free application that allows your system to install third-party themes. Deviant Art also offers a Windows 7 theme in the form of a downloadable zip file. Despite warnings that say otherwise, the theme will work for Windows 8.1 as well.
One of the most common complaints about Windows 8 is the lack of a Start button. One option to restore it is a program called Start8. It cost a few bucks, but is simple to use and has received positive reviews from several large publications. Another option is Classic Shell. A Stardock Corporation product, the program allows you to choose from the XP, Vista/7 or “classic” design.
Windows 7 was a coup of sorts for Microsoft. It replaced a vexing Vista system, and returned Microsoft to its perch on top of the computer universe. Windows 8 took it a step further and demonstrates Microsoft’s willingness to adapt to the market. The most obvious difference between Windows 7 and Windows 8 is the new Metro 8 typography-based interface. Metro is the default screen users are taken to when they power up their computers, as opposed to the previous desktop. The bright, colorful tiles activate various apps and can be customized to fit your individual taste.
Metro is designed to perform best with touch-enabled devices, but a traditional mouse can still be used with it. Windows 8 has the look and feel of a smartphone or tablet , complete with the Windows Store, where more than 120,000 apps are available for download.
Bing Smart Search is specifically built to enhance the user experience with Windows 8.1. A simple search for “New York” will provide interactive results including the best attractions, a place to purchase tickets to upcoming events and all the latest headlines associated with the city.
Two new fail-safe mechanisms called refresh and restart are now available. If your system becomes corrupted, refresh re-installs Windows 8 from scratch, but preserves all your personal settings. Reset starts the system over completely.
Windows 8 was designed specifically for optimal performance with the touch screen interface. But that does not mean you cannot work your way around Windows 8 with a mouse.
The main adjustments that you will have to make if you decide to use a mouse involve the “hot corners.” All the menus and toolbars for Windows 8 are primarily accessed with the swipe of a finger. Your mouse and cursor will work in a similar fashion. For instance, moving the cursor to the bottom-left corner of a Windows 8 screen and clicking on the thumbnail will activate the Start screen. When you’re already in the Start screen, that same corner will take you back to the last app you were using. Move the cursor to the upper-left corner of your screen to toggle between apps. Moving the cursor downward will show other apps that were recently used. Simply click on the one you wish to return to.
The upper-right and lower-right corners are the hot spots to make the Charms appear. These include Search, Devices, Share, Start and Settings. Another option is to purchase a mouse specifically designed for Windows 8. The Logitech Zone Touch Mouse T400 and the Microsoft Sculpt Touch are two options to consider.
The best way to stay up-to-date on all the latest tips, tricks and news surrounding Microsoft and its products is to sign up to receive emails from the company. You’ll need to create a Microsoft account to get the updates. However, if you already have an Xbox, Hotmail or Messenger account, you will not need to create a new one to receive Microsoft updates. Before installing any upgrades, make sure you run Windows Update. Install all necessary updates and re-start your system.
Another way to get tips is to use the search function in Twitter. Simply type in “Windows 8” or “Windows 8.1” to see what people are currently talking about Follow Microsoft on Twitter, in addition to tech blogs like Gizmodo, CNet and Engadget.
The Microsoft Community is a place you can ask questions about any Microsoft product and get answers. You can also browse all the existing threads. Sevenforum.com, named for Windows 7, is another community you can post a question and others will answer it. Windowsforum.com is another online Q & A community.
Most new computers come with some type of warranty that grants telephone or remote technical support. If you need additional help, contact them directly for assistance.