10 Windows 8 tips, tricks and hacks

Take control of Windows 8 on the Desktop, the lock screen and more.

By Preston Gralla, Computerworld |  Software, windows 8

First make sure that you can view hidden files in File Explorer, as outlined in the tip above.

Now right-click the Desktop's taskbar and select Toolbars --> New Toolbar. From the screen that appears, navigate to

C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu

where username is your account name, and click the Select Folder button. That will place a Start Menu toolbar on the far right of the taskbar. Click its double arrow to display a variety of folders (such as Programs and Computer) that you can browse through until you see the item you want; click it to launch it.

Here's your quick-and-dirty Start menu. Click to view larger image.

To make the Start Menu toolbar go away, right-click the taskbar and select Toolbars, then de-select the Start Menu listing.

By the way, you may have noticed that when you right-click the taskbar and select Toolbars, there are other pre-built toolbars you can put on the taskbar. Here are your choices and what each does:

Address: Adds a box on the Taskbar into which you type URLs. After you enter one, press Enter and you'll head to the site in Internet Explorer.

Links: Displays your Internet Explorer favorites on the Taskbar.

Touch Keyboard: Displays a keyboard icon on the Taskbar. Click it to display an onscreen keyboard.

Desktop: Displays a list of every icon on your Desktop. It even displays some items that aren't visible on the Desktop, such as Homegroup. For any item with a subfolder beneath it (such as Homegroup and Network), you'll see an arrow next to it. Move your cursor to the arrow to see all of the subfolders beneath it.

To turn off any toolbar, right-click the taskbar and choose Toolbars, then uncheck the toolbar.

3. Use and hack the Power User menu

Microsoft giveth and Microsoft taketh away. In Windows 8 it took away the Start menu, but it also provided a very useful new tool: the Power User menu. Right-click in the lower-left corner of the Desktop (or press the Windows key + X) and up pops a text-based menu that gives you access to 16 tools, including a Run box, a command prompt, an administrative command prompt, the Device Manager and plenty of other useful power tools.

Windows 8's new Power User menu.

Most choices are self-explanatory, but not all. For example, click "Programs and Features" and you get sent to a Control Panel applet that lets you uninstall Desktop programs, look at Windows updates you've installed and turn certain Windows features on or off.


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