20 must-know Windows 8 tips and tricks

With just a little hand-holding, the OS suddenly becomes much less mysterious.

By Jon Phillips, Alex Cocilova, Loyd Case, PC World |  Windows, windows 8

Your Start screen can become a cluttered mess if you collect too many apps and other elements that have been pinned to the screen as tiles, so take advantage of built-in organization tools that let you divide everything into labeled groups.

First, drag all the tiles you want to assign to a single group to the far right-hand side of your Start screen in vacant territory; the OS should sequester the tiles together. Once you're satisfied with your assembly, use semantic zoom (described above) to get a bird's eye view of your desktop. Now right-click the group (or simply drag down on it) and select the "Name group" option on the left of the bar that appears below. Type in the name and enjoy your newly organized Start screen!

Close an application

Closing an app sounds simple enough, but you'll quickly notice that close buttons are hard to find in Windows 8. That's because Microsoft encourages us to run apps in the background where they'll take up minimal resources, but still be accessible at any time.

Nonetheless, if you insist on being rebellious, you can close an app by dragging it with your mouse or finger from the top of the screen all the way down to the bottom. As you drag, the app will miminize into a thumbnail, and when you reach the bottom it will disappear from view. Alternately, you can still close apps via Alt+F4 and through the task manager.

Centralized, contextual search

The Search function located on the Charms bar is packed with power, letting you search the directories of not only your Windows 8 machine, but also the greater Windows ecosystem. Simply choose the bucket of data you want to sift throughit could be all your installed apps, your system settings, your files, your mail messages, or even an external service like the Windows Store or Bing Mapsand then type in a keyword and hit Enter. The Search function will then return the results, perfectly contextualized for the database youve addressed

Oh, and how's this for cool: You don't even need to hit the Charms bar to access Search. From the Start screen, simply start typing, and you'll be quickly whisked to the text-entry field for search queries. Try it. It works!

Adjusting privacy settings

A lot of apps tap into very personal information by default. Indeed, your pictures, location and name are libreally woven throughout the system, and like many users you may not be comfortable trusting your machine with that much sensitive data. To adjust the settings, press (Windows) + I, and go to Change PC Settings. Select the Privacy option and personalize the settings for your personal data there.

Adjust SmartScreen settings


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