Windows 8 cheat sheet

How to find your way around Microsoft's new OS and make the most of its features

By Preston Gralla, Computerworld |  Windows, windows 8

Buying a new Windows-based tablet this fall? Some tablets, such as Microsoft's own Surface RT, don't come with Windows 8 but are instead based on Windows RT, a lightweight version of Windows 8 that's designed for devices with energy-efficient ARM processors. Windows RT shares the new Windows 8 interface and many of its features and apps, and it ships with its own version of the Office 2013 productivity suite. It doesn't, however, run most traditional Desktop-based applications.

This cheat sheet is for users running the full version of Windows 8, but Windows RT users can use this guide to learn about the Start screen, the Charms bar, Windows 8 apps and navigational gestures.

(Deciding between a Windows 8 tablet and a Windows RT tablet? See Seven things to consider for a Windows tablet.)

By default, those apps that show notifications have larger Start screen tiles than those that don't.

You'll also find tiles for Desktop-based apps on the Start screen, and the Windows Desktop itself is now accessed via a Desktop tile. Desktop apps are traditional programs like Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop; as a general rule, any application that you've run on previous versions of Windows is a Desktop-based app.

Desktop-based app tiles don't show notifications, and they have smaller graphics on them. Also, tiles for Desktop apps often appear on the right side of the screen, and they (and other tiles as well) may be off of its edge, so you'll have to scroll (or swipe, if you've got a touch-screen device) to see them.

Charms bar. If you move your mouse pointer to the upper-right or lower-right corner of the screen, the Charms bar appears as an overlay on the screen -- sometimes directly on top of tiles or other content. This bar gives you quick access to features such as search and system settings from anywhere in Windows 8. I'll provide a detailed look at the Charms bar later in the story.


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