Windows 8 tricks, tips and shortcuts: a power user must-read

By on March 6, 2012, 2:43 AM

Windows 8 Consumer Preview cracked 1 million downloads shortly after launching last Wednesday and I'm sure many of you have tried it already. Whether you went with a dual-boot, upgrade, clean install or virtual machine, if you're coming from Windows 7 you'll notice significant changes immediately, while others may not be as obvious.

Inevitably, with change comes good and bad -- at least until you learn some tricks that get you back up to speed. I know I've been hitting my head against the wall when things don't behave the way they used to. The Start menu's absence is a perfect example of a radical change. Indeed, the duality of the OS may bring some trouble, but as skeptical as I was, I must admit Microsoft has done a pretty good job of easing many of my concerns.

File copy dialogs, the task manager and search look better and work faster, and that adds up for an improved experience. Without further ado, here's a shortlist of Windows 8 shortcuts and useful quick tricks I've gathered thus far.

Read the complete guide.




User Comments: 32

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slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I don't see the point of hiding the Windows orb... it probably takes like 30x30 pixels on the taskbar.

Guest said:

If only I could download the Windows 8 consumer preview without any of the files getting corrupted.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

slh28 said:

I don't see the point of hiding the Windows orb... it probably takes like 30x30 pixels on the taskbar.

Agreed, stupid move by Microsoft, it should be as easy as right clicking on the start bar anywhere and ticking "Show Standard Start Menu".

I think I will stay with Windows 7 This round, I'll skip to the next one.

kuroiei kuroiei said:

I'll also pass on this one. I just don't see the necessity of implementing touch-screen oriented UI in a major, mainstream Windows edition. Shouldn't it be called something like Windows Touch? Also, I think Microsoft tends to work "too fast" - I remember hearing about Win8 just a month after Windows 7 came out.

What was wrong with the old desktop mode? Me, being a power-user myself can't see the purpose of installing this OS. What does it have that Win7 doesn't? How is it improved, not how the UI is changed? Frankly, I can't imagine my daily work using this UI. If I can't call it "desktop mode", well, it just doesn't suit desktops, right?

Guest said:

There's also the hotkey: WINKEY + C, that show's up the charm tab and a huge clock at the left botton screen (very useful for those who like to deactivate the native clock of windows.

Stupido Stupido said:

Looks like Win7 to become the new old WinXP... on the longer run I mean...

Cota Cota said:

If you actually count the clicks and keys you need to press, 8 is slower than 7 in most of the cases...

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Cota said:

If you actually count the clicks and keys you need to press, 8 is slower than 7 in most of the cases...

I found that as well, Hell when I login I have to "Click" to get the desktop, To shutdown the machine I have to hover and click, click again and click again, If I was to see my apps that requires at least 3 clicks, in windows 7 it was one.

Sure setting Windows up took less clicks, but infinitely more once actually using it.

I'm still testing it but so far its not looking good for Microsoft.

Guest said:

I have to agree with the above comments. I'm still testing out Win 8 however I don't see any reason to leave Win 7 at this time. It really seems like it's the tablet OS and not a real improvement for desktop users.

Guest said:

I played with It for few hours, my first Impression was Hmmm.. a tablet OS badly ported for pc desktop use, It also reminded me of the first time I tried to use apple OS X (that didn't end well either).

Now I realize It's just a preview and things will change before It ships but, one thing It really needs Is a check box In the appearance settings called "windows classic" but then I think you'd just end up with windows 7..so what's the point.

Leeky Leeky said:

I must confess, that apart from downloading the ISO's I've not even tried this preview yet, so the tips will come in very handy.

I'm curious though, as a multiple display user myself, how it impacts usability Julio? I presume the hot corners work on just the primary display?

I really need to get this installed when I have some time, its just finding it right now.

Guest said:

Ive just installed Win8 OS in my new pc, so it was a clean instal, but when Win8 promts to use an Microsoft ID, I tried to use my Live ID, where I have everything related to Microsoft, as messenger account and Xbox Live, but it didnt let me use that email addres, saying that was from Live ID and/or hotmail domain, but it did let me use my gmail account... so it is supouse to work like that?

supyo said:

For those of you dual booting a word of warning: don't use the refresh OS feature. It will wipe out the dual boot menu and remove all installed programs (chrome, itunes, firefox etc). I had to install EasyBCD in order to get Windows 7 back. Not sure the purpose of refresh OS, it took twice as long to work compared to actually installing Windows 8 and it wrecked more things than fixed.

indiangamer said:

is there any difference in working of os if i install it on virtualbox or a clean install??

can i play games on it (specifically Battlefield 3)??

m4a4 m4a4 said:

For all you power users, I've been exclusively using Win8 since the 29th and I have been doing just fine. Nothing that has been annoying. Heck, I can even see Metro as a more advanced start button with more customization.

Am I saying it's worth the upgrade however? Maybe, if it's free. And if you really don't like the metro, then there's a good chance that something will be out by the official release to fix that. It's got a lot more powerful features, it's faster, and everything in integrated into your one Windows ID. It's really not as bad as some people would like to think.

-A Fellow Power User

Guest said:

I am unable to right-click and drag files -- I used to use that all the time to specify copy vs move when dragging files. Can anyone else still do that or did they take that "feature" away ?

Guest said:

@indiangamer, Virtualbox CANNOT run video card intense games, as it can only emulate a graphics card

@Guest before me, They still have the right-click and drag feature as mine works just fine...

EXCellR8 EXCellR8, The Conservative, said:

I gave it a whirl for a little while through VM and i was mostly unimpressed. Once i installed it on a real machine it was a little better but i couldn't help but feel like the OS was too unorganized. In order to use it as a desktop OS users should be able to retain all the traditional elements. The tweaks are fine but not having the option to disable the new tablet UI features is a little discerning. Maybe that will change by the time RC1 rolls out but for now I'm all set with it.

Guest said:

I have been using Win8 from the developer preview days. Initially there was the "where it is?" time while getting used to the new UI. But I am talking less than a day for that.

The performance benefits, less memory usage, better tools like the new task manager, copy window, etc., and the fact that all the drivers just worked, clinched it for me. I like it.

Now, whether it is worth dropping $100 on will depend on how you use it and whether the fine tuning will make any tangible difference for you.

Guest said:

Oh and I forgot to mention that I installed it on a desktop, a laptop, and a tablet. Obviously I can use the Metro UI in a much better and natural way on the tablet than than the other form factors. But even on the desktop/laptop the Metro UI is really just a fancy, more customizable, and "live" start menu.

Guest said:

Metro as simply as I can iterate................is UGLY

rogyaeger said:

The Hot Corner idea seems to have some use. But has anyone figured out how to make the hot corners a bit bigger?

Guest said:

If I had to summarize Windows8 (Tablet) in one word i would use: Garbage.

Nothing else to say about the quality. As for tools. I see no reason to use even more bloated and bordering on uselessness tools "made in Microsoft". Total Commander (or NortonCommander under DOS) hasn't changed much. It does tons of things all in small package. Why would anybody be interested in new or old Win Explorer/Task Manager/etc is totally beyond me...

avoidz avoidz said:

Each Windows OS since XP seems to require more and more clicks to get to something that used to be simple and easy to find. Now they are hidden again under an ugly touch interface that somehow ended up on a desktop. Many of the mouse actions in Windows 8 feel clumsy and unnatural. And are those corner hot spots about 1 or 2 pixels in size or what? I will also be sticking with XP and 7 for now.

Guest said:

Like the above mentioned, I have been getting slower and slower with my normal tasks since XP. I was forced into Win7 with DirectX changes and will no but be forced into Win8.

If you are faster at everyday tasks like finding files and starting odd programs in Metro, please post how and why that is. Note that making shortcuts and editing the registry to effect the speed are showing a blatant failure of Win 8.

Guest said:

The best Trick - Don't install it win h8 instead save yourself the time and stick with xp or 7, unless you like keeping up with the same ppl who thought vista was terrific there is nothing to gain.

Guest said:

hi friends m not able to select the things in desktop view like whether, pinball, people etc...and cant even open "more pc settings" in windows 8 consumer preview....any 1help me out with this.....

Guest said:

Is it possible to change the "move cursor to right corner" setting to "move cursor to right side"?

What I mean is that it's annoying to move the mouse to the corner, and it would be much more simpler to just drag it to the side.

Does any of that setting(s) exist in Windows 8?

/ Joel

avoidz avoidz said:

Is it possible to change the "move cursor to right corner" setting to "move cursor to right side"?

What I mean is that it's annoying to move the mouse to the corner, and it would be much more simpler to just drag it to the side.

Does any of that setting(s) exist in Windows 8?

/ Joel

Yeah, it's a fiddly maneuver with a mouse and the hot spot seems to be tiny, like a few pixels. The touch command Windows Key+C to open the "Charms" (ironic name) is easier. But why is it made to be so awkward on a desktop with mouse control?

fivish fivish said:

Like the above mentioned, I have been getting slower and slower with my normal tasks since XP. I was forced into Win7 with DirectX changes and will no but be forced into Win8.

If you are faster at everyday tasks like finding files and starting odd programs in Metro, please post how and why that is. Note that making shortcuts and editing the registry to effect the speed are showing a blatant failure of Win 8.

MS must split the OS from the GUI so users can decide on the interface.

XP is still on 40% of PCs and its very easy to understand and use.

W7 is less user friendly and W8 sucks. Metro is for children. Adults want XP!

freythman freythman said:

Your link to Droplr is broken. FYI

Guest said:

What I hate about Windows8 is the missing customizing options.

For example this is displayed when I change the volume with my media keys on my keyboard and I found no way so far to disable it.

This: http://I.imgur.com/xQqqMyc.jpg

If anyone of you guys knows how to disable it please write me a mail @ [email removed].

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