Microsoft Windows 8 Basic 101
Getting To Know Microsoft Windows 8
Microsoft Windows 8 Start Screen
Microsoft Windows 8 – Finding The Control Panel NEW
Microsoft Windows 8 – Finding My Computer NEW
Microsoft Windows 8 – Removing Software NEW
Microsoft Windows 8 – Media Player NEW
Microsoft Windows 8 – Microsoft Office Using An Earlier Version NEW
Microsoft Windows 8 may seem foreign to most Windows users at first. I have been a Windows customer since Millennium, so I know your pain and it did take me about a day to get used to the new make over of Windows. I assure you that a lot of the features that you are used to are there and are pretty much the same, just getting to them has changed. I am creating this page to help everyone get through the confusion a little easier. I am going to show you how to navigate Windows 8 and how to find all of the stuff that you are used to using an probably want to know how to get to eventually such as the Control Panel. I will be using Windows 8.1 since that is what I started with, but I am pretty sure there isn’t much of a visual difference.
The entire world is now app crazy since the iPhone was released and Microsoft has jumped on that band wagon. It’s not a bad thing since Windows 8 was designed to be used with touch screen computers, but it does take some getting used to. I hope to help you with that and get you started on the road to a Windows 8 that is some what familiar to you. Most of us are used to booting up our Windows computer and being take directly to our Desktop, that is no more. Now you are taken directly to your Start Screen. A couple of things that you need to realize right off the start line is that there are two main screens, Desktop and Start Screen. That’s right, there is no longer a Start Menu, there is now a Start Screen. It’s really not as confusing as it sounds. Your Start Screen contains all of your apps including an app to your Desktop, which does look normal!
Microsoft Windows 8 Side Notes
1. Windows 8 was developed for touch screen computers, but you can still use a keyboard and mouse with Windows 8.
2. I am having issues setting up a home network between my Windows 7 computers and my Windows 8 computer.
3. You can still use earlier versions of Microsoft Office with Windows 8 (I am using Microsoft Office 2010).
Microsoft Windows 8 Start Screen
Instead of your Desktop, Windows 8 boots up to your Start Screen now and houses all of your apps. Most of the Windows Programs that you are used to using such as the Control Panel or Microsoft Paint is now an app that can be accessed from the Start Screen. Of course most of them aren’t there on first boot up, so you have to search them out and pin them to your Start Screen for quick access. You can also download popular apps that you would have on your phone like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc. If you have a touch screen computer, you can touch the apps to open them. If you do not have a touch screen computer, you can use your mouse to click on them. Let’s get to know the Start Screen and show you how to find some program and store apps.
Here is a snapshot of my Start Screen. I deleted a bunch of apps to lessen the confusion on you (my readers). You can do all kinds of things here. The Start Screen consists of columns. You can move your apps around to group them and then label the columns.
1. To label the app columns, Right click in the empty space above the columns and click Name Groups. I’ve labeled the open space in red below showing the Name Groups option.
2. Once you click Name Groups all of the column boxes will show. Now you can name them whatever you desire.
3. You can make the apps big or small. You can unpin them from your Start Screen to reduce clutter for less used apps. You can do all of this by Right clicking the app that you want to change and choosing the corresponding option.
Start Screen Options:
– Unpin From Start – Removes app from your Start Screen and sends it to the app bone yard (more to come on the app bone yard).
– Pin To Task Bar – Pins a copy of the app to your Desktop Taskbar for quicker access.
– Uninstall – Removes the app from your computer.
– Resize – Changes the size of the app to (small, medium, wide, and large).
– Turn Live Tile Off – If you have a news or weather app that displays current information in real time this will turn off the live feature. You can still access the app, it just will stop streaming you constant information. My advice would be to turn them all off. These apps will just eat up your computer’s processing resources and eventually make your computer slow.
4. Now if you keep an app installed, but unpin the app it goes to what I like to call the app bone yard. You can find the bone yard by moving your mouse around the main part of the Start Screen or Right clicking any app. When you do this look to the bottom left of the screen for an arrow with a circle to appear. Click that arrow and you will be taken to the app bone yard.
5. Here is my app bone yard. Here you can search for long lost apps in the search block or you can scroll the window left to right to visually see all of the apps that you have managed to collect, then neglect. We all do it.
6. When you Right click an app in the bone yard you can do quite a bit.
App Bone Yard Options:
– Pin To Start – You can pin the apps in the bone yard to your Start Screen from here. If only the Unpin option is shown then that app is already on your Start Screen.
– Pin To Taskbar – Pins a copy of the app to your Desktop Taskbar for quicker access.
– Uninstall – Removes the app from your computer.
– Find In Start – You will have this option if the app is in your Start Screen. Click the option and you will be taken to your Start Screen and that app will be highlighted.
7. To leave the bone yard and go back to the Start Screen, move your mouse around and look for the arrow.
8. Now that we are back on the Start Screen I am going to show you a quick and easy way to find an app that you need on the run. Click the Search icon in the top right.
9. Type the key words of the app that you are looking for in the search block. Since we will be using the Control Panel later, let’s search that. If you search “control panel” it will be the first option that shows up in your search results. Right click it and then click Pin To Start.
10. BAM, your Control Panel app is now on your Start Screen.
11. Two more basic apps that you will need are Settings (search PC Settings) and My Computer (search This PC). Search them as they are typed here and they will be the first options in the search results. Below I have circled them, so that you know what they look like. You can move the apps around as needed by Left clicking – hold – drag to where you want them.
12. The best way to get to the app store is from your Desktop. You can access your Desktop in two ways from the Start Screen.
Click the Desktop app. The app is labeled Desktop.
The other way is to hover your mouse in the very left corner of the screen. A little window will pop out, which is your Desktop. Click the little window and you will be taken to your Desktop. This little window feature works when you are viewing webpages or have program windows open as well.
Now this looks familiar!!!!
13. From your Desktop you can access the App Store by clicking the icon in the Taskbar.
Here is the App Store where you can find apps for all of your fancies, such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and you can buy game apps and all of that jazz. Once you install an app from the App Store you can locate it in the app bone yard or search for it as I’ve shown you.
Microsoft Windows 8 – Finding The Control Panel
The Control Panel is the control center for Windows and will become a necessity once you get familiar with Windows. Eventually you will need to access the power contained in the Control Panel in one way or another. For example you have to use the Control Panel to remove unwanted programs or solve USB item issues. When I first received my laptop with Windows 8, the Control Panel was one of the first things that I looked for and it took me a minute to find it. In the end it was fairly simple, but thought I would save everyone the headache and post the process here.
1. From the Start Screen click on the Search icon.
2. In the search window type Control Panel. The Control Panel app should be the first option. Right click it and click Pin To Start.
3. Now the Control Panel app has been added to your Start Screen. I am pointing out the app below, so you know what to look for on your Start Screen.
4. Now click the Control Panel app to open the Control Panel. Below will be shown the first time you open the Control Panel. The reason I point this out is because there are only a few options shown at first. Microsoft does this because the Control Panel is very powerful and if you are not careful, you can break the software. Next I will show you how to expand the Control Panel so that you can see all options.
5. Find the Category drop down menu in the top right corner of the Control Panel window.
6. In the drop down menu you, click Small Icons.
7. Now you can see all of the options in your Control Panel and the window will remain this way unless you change the Category back to Large Icons or reinstall Windows.
8. Below I point out some of the most used options in the Control Panel. I will be using some of them in some of my future tutorials.
- Internet Options – Change internet browser options such as security, parental, and setting your home page. This can also be done in the Tool menu of the browser that you are using.
- Windows Firewall – Turn Firewall on and off.
- Homegroup – Computer network options and setup.
- Network and Sharing Center – Network sharing options and setup.
- Device Manager – Computer device information. If one of your devices or device drivers are causing an issue with your computer, it will show and fixed here.
- Power Options – Computer power options.
- User Accounts – Create, modify, or swap computer user accounts.
- Windows Update – Update Windows (Most people that I help with their computers ignore this feature. By default Windows 8 installs updates automatically, but it is so important to update Windows that you should check this periodically to ensure that you have everything installed).
- Devices and Printers – Add printers and devices. I use it mostly for printer install and troubleshooting.
- Family Safety – Used to setup parental features and control children accounts.
- Programs and Features – Installed software information and removal.
- System – Shows Windows version and your computer information.
Microsoft Windows 8 – Finding My Computer
Windows 8 has changed quite a bit and since I have been using the software this is one of the things that I wonder about. Older versions of Windows we all used My Computer for many tasks. My Computer still exists in Windows 8, but now it is named This PC. This threw me off for a second, but here is how to find the app for This PC (My Computer).
1. Find the Search icon on your Start Screen.
2. In the search block type in This PC. It will be the first option, Right click it and choose Pin To Start.
3. Now with This PC pinned to your Start Screen it is easier to get to in the future.
4. Now this looks familiar, doesn’t it…=)!? Welcome to Windows 8’s My Computer…I mean This PC.
Microsoft Windows 8 – Removing Software
Sometimes software gets old or you may need to remove an old version before installing a new version. Another thing you may want to look for is when installing certain software, you may install included software that you don’t want. In any case here is how you can view what software is actually installed on your computer and how to remove software that you no longer want or need.
1. You will need to find your Control Panel app. You can find the steps HERE. Once you find your Control Panel app click on it.
2. In the Control Panel if you see only a few options, follow the following images to expand your view. Explained in detail in the Windows 8 – Finding The Control Panel tutorial.
3. Once your Control Panel view is expanded, locate Programs and Features and click it.
4. The Programs and Features window shows you all of the software that is installed on your computer plus information such as the software publisher, date installed, and software size.
5. Locate the software that you want to remove. Below I discovered software called Steam that I do not recognize and decided to uninstall it for this example. Below I’ve located Steam.
6. You can double click the unwanted software or Right click it to view the available options (Uninstall, Change, and Repair) . Click Uninstall if you Right clicked to get the following window. Double clicking will automatically take you to the window below. The window will ask you to verify that you want to uninstall the software, so click Yes.
7. Once you click Yes from above the uninstall process begins, just wait until it is complete. Once the uninstall is complete the software will disappear from the software list or you may be prompted to restart your computer.
Microsoft Windows 8 – Media Player
There is two apps for music files standard on Windows 8. You have the Music app which seems to be linked with Xbox Live and there is the regular Windows Media Player. I don’t have an Xbox, because I am a Playstation fan so here is the steps of finding the regular Windows Media Player app, which does work the same way as previous versions of Windows. A friend asked me how to change the file type and I will be walking through how to do that as well.
1. Find the Search icon on your Start Screen.
2. In the search block type Windows Media Player. It will be the first option. Right click it and choose Pin To Start.
3. Now that it is pinned to your Start Screen, click and open it.
4. If this is the first time you’ve opened it, select Recommended Settings and click Finish.
5. Now you should feel right at home.
6. To rip a CD, it works the same as it used to. Insert your CD and select the correct drive on the left.
7. Next click Rip CD at the top.
8. Once you click Rip CD it is a waiting game for the CD to rip to your hard drive.
9. Now the CD has finished ripping.
10. When you rip music it defaults to the Windows Music folder. Follow the steps here for locating This PC app (My Computer). Once you click on This PC a My Computer familiar window will open and the default Music folder is there.
11. The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s folder is the CD that I just ripped for this example. If you are happy keeping your music Media Player friendly then you are done. My friend wanted to know how to change the file type, so I am going into that next. Open the file to your new music.
12. Select one song and Right click, then select Properties.
13. In the Properties window click the Change button.
14. A smaller window opens. Here select More Options.
15. This expands your program options and locate the music program you wish to open your music with. Here I will use iTunes. Once you select the program in this list, all of your current music files will default to the program.
16. As you can see, all of my WMA files are now iTunes files. I support my favorite artists and do not pirate music so this example is as detailed as I can get.
Microsoft Windows 8 – Microsoft Office Using An Earlier Version
I had a friend that was having issues with the version of Microsoft Office that was installed on his machine which was the online version. He was trying to do some stuff at home for work and nothing was compatible with our Windows 7 machines at work since it was the online version. If you still want to use past versions of Microsoft Office on your Windows 8 machine, you can. I have Microsoft Office Student 2010 (need to be enrolled in school with a school email address) installed on my Windows 8 computer and everything works like normal. The only issue was finding it once I installed it. It doesn’t show up in the app search. The apps automatically go into the app bone yard. You can pin the apps to your Start Screen from there. Here are the steps to find your Microsoft Office apps after you have installed an earlier version.
1. Find the down arrow in the bottom corner of your Start Screen and click it.
2. Here is the app bone yard and my Microsoft Office apps ended up on the far fight side.
3. Right click the Microsoft Office apps that you want on your Start Screen and Right click. Next select Pin To Start.
4. Here is my Microsoft Word app now on my Start Screen.
5. After clicking on the app Microsoft Word opens, looks, and works as normal.