In our last-but-one post we talked about how to cheaply and rapidly install Microsoft Windows 8 (how to upgrade to Windows 8). In the next few posts I’m going to talk about how to make Windows 8 more usable in a work environment.
The first thing you’ll notice about Windows 8 is the start screen. This is what you have instead of the nice discrete Start menu from earlier Windows versions.
I don’t want news stories popping up on my work PC. Life is already too distracting! So, I’m going to personalize and clean up my Windows 8 Start screen.
- The first thing I want to do is remove or “unpin” some tiles.
- I want to get rid of all the ones that flash unnecessary info at me.
- I position my mouse over the tile I want to remove and right click. A menu appears at the base of the screen. I click on “Unpin from Start”.
- I unpin all the unnecessary tiles to leave me with a cleaner start screen.
- This doesn’t uninstall the applications, but it does take them off my start screen.
Now I have a smaller number of tiles on my Start screen but I want to arrange them better. I just click on a tile and drag it where I want. If you hit “Enter” on the Start Screen then Windows 8 will execute the top left hand tile. I want this to be the desktop because I’ll go there most frequently, so I drag the desktop tile to the top left position.
Now I want to add some of my commonly used applications to the Start screen so I can launch them quickly like I used to do with the start menu.
- In the Start Screen I right click with my mouse.
- A menu appears across the bottom of the screen. In the far right corner it says “All apps”.
- Clicking on “All apps” shows me all my installed applications.
- I mouse over the application I want to add to my Start screen and right click.
- A menu appears at the base of the screen. I click “Pin to Start”
Now I have a clean Start screen and I can easily move to the desktop by hitting “Enter” or by clicking on any of my commonly used application tiles, which launch the application on my desktop. I can get back to the start screen by hitting the Windows key or mousing over the bottom left of the screen and clicking on the start screen thumbnail that appears (see How to get back to the Start screen in Windows 8). Not bad for now.
At Qlockwork we’re Outlook and Windows developers with a keen interest in office productivity and usability. To find out more about how you use your time on your PC, try the Qlockwork free trial. Qlockwork automatically tracks how you spend your PC time.