The diehard's guide to making the most of Windows 8

You may need to break many old habits to get the most out of Windows 8, but it doesn't have to be a cataclysmic event

By Serdar Yegulalp, InfoWorld |  Software, windows 8

You can always go with the likes of PortableApps to access popular apps from a menu on the legacy desktop. PortableApps offers a curated collection of free and open source apps that run in a self-contained way, without touching the Registry or other system settings. It might prove a useful way to organize and update many apps you might already work with, such as Skype, Chrome, Firefox, and so on.

Use the PortableApps system to launch and organize many common open source and freeware applications, without accessing the Metro Start screen.

Navigating Windows 8 without touchIf your system lacks touch input, true for the majority of PCs, you will need to use your mouse to emulate Windows 8 touch commands. Problem is, the mouse isn't really a one-for-one substitute for touch: Flicking, for example, is impossible to execute with a mouse.

Mouse movements are also used to expose functionality like the application switcher or the charms bar, by flicking the cursor into a corner of the screen -- a task made all the more difficult by having multiple monitors (see below) because you can overshoot the edges too easily.

If you hate fishing around for features using the mouse, Windows 8 offers a slew of new keyboard shortcuts that give direct access to Windows 8 features and settings, such as charms, search, and app options:

  • Win-C: Open charms bar
  • Win-Q: Open Search charm
  • Win-H: Open Share charm
  • Win-K: Open Devices charm
  • Win-I: Open Settings charm
  • Win-W: Search Windows settings
  • Win-F: Search files
  • Win-Z: Open Metro app options
  • Win-Tab: Cycle to next open app
  • Win-.: Snap Metro app to left
  • Win-Shift-.: Snap Metro app to the right
  • Win-PgUp and Win-PgDn: Move Metro desktop between displays
  • Alt-F4: Close Metro app (exactly like a real desktop app)
  • Win-D: Open the Windows Desktop (if you're already at the desktop, this toggles between minimizing and restoring all windows on the desktop)
  • Win-B: Switch back to to the Windows Desktop
  • Win-X: Open fast-access menu with links to common system tools, such as the power options, Mobility Center, and Command Prompt (regular and admin-level)

Be warned that utility software with hooks into Win-key combinations will likely override these shortcuts or make them behave strangely.


Originally published on InfoWorld |  Click here to read the original story.
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