Windows 8 Survival Guide

Well, it’s out. Microsoft officially released Windows 8 yesterday. As your local tech experts we’re happy to answer your questions about any Windows, computer, or general tech topics. Call us at 888-928-3336 or jump on our Contact Us webpage, or hit us up on Twitter or Facebook.

Before you buy:

There are four versions:

  • Windows 8 RT is a tablet-only version that only has the new interface (formerly known as Metro) and runs new Windows Apps…RT does not run Windows Programs like your computer. There’s an “app store” like iPad and Android have. That said, WinRT does come with Microsoft Office “Apps” that will let you use Word and Excel files. Here’s a picture of a MS Surface running RT:
  • Windows 8
    This package replaces the old Windows 7 Home/Home Premium. It’s not Pro so it must be Amateur? Win 8 base is a full desktop/notebook operating system. It combines the WinRT tile motif (and its Apps) with a Desktop “App” that launches Windows As You Know It. This is a good version for most non-business use. Below is a picture of the Win 8 Desktop.
  • Windows 8 Pro: The Professional version of the schizoid monster Operating System adds two important features from the base/Amateur version:
    The ability to operate in Windows Domain networks, and Bitlocker whole-disk encryption. Even if you don’t plan on using these features immediately we recommend going with Pro for any business use.
  • Windows 8 Enterprise is only available as part of a Microsoft Licensing Agreement and its special features are mainly of interest to corporate IT folks. We don’t recommend Enterprise for businesses with fewer than 500 seats.

You’ll want to make sure your system meets the requirements (most computers made since 2007 or so already exceed these. We’ve found Win 8 to run as well or slightly faster that Windows 7 on all supported hardware. Tip: Win 8 loves SSD drives and takes full advantage of the possible speed improvements.

Office

At this time we’re not at all impressed with MS Office 2013. We still recommend Office 2010 for your document, spreadsheet, etc, etc needs.

Finding your way around

There’s an important concept here. RT is RT, desktop is desktop, and never the twain shall meet. Keep that idea in mind and Win 8 will be a lot less confusing to you. Think of the RT environment as a tablet and the Desktop as a computer. (This makes a lot more sense on a convertible device like a Lenovo Thinkpad Twist)

For example, you’ll connect your RT Mail App to your Exchange mail/contact/calendar server. This will synch the RT side of things but you’ll also need to connect desktop Outlook as you normally would.

Remember also that there’s an Internet Explorer in RT which is a different version (and has different favorites, plug-ins, etc) from the desktop one.

For instance, here’s desktop Internet Explorer:

And here’s Internet Explorer’s evil twin in RT. It’s designed as a touch-interface system:

Although Win 8 works best on a touchscreen it’s still usable on a non-touch desktop or conventional laptop. The desktop has a few places where visible navigation has given way to “you just gotta know:”

To bring up the Start Streen press the Windows key, or move your mouse to the bottom-left corner.

To bring up settings move your mouse all the way to the right.

Keyboard shortcuts are back!

In one of their worst moves in years, Microsoft has taken away many of the Windows interface elements, figuring that people would either a) use a touch device, b) eventually figure things out, or c) give up and buy an Apple.

Added tip: Fastest way to shut down or hibernate a Win 8 machine: Press Ctrl-Alt-Del. In the bottom-right corner you’ll see a power icon. Click it and you’ll be able to choose Shutdown/reboot/hibernate, etc.

Here’s a list of every keyboard shortcut we know of (there ARE a lot of them but most of ’em you already know…)

Windows key: Switch between Modern Desktop Start screen and the last accessed application
Windows key + C: Access the charms bar
Windows key + Tab: Access the Modern Desktop Taskbar
Windows key + I: Access the Settings charm
Windows key + H: Access the Share charm
Windows key + K: Access the Devices charm
Windows key + Q: Access the Apps Search screen
Windows key + F: Access the Files Search screen
Windows key + W: Access the Settings Search screen
Windows key + P: Access the Second Screen bar
Windows key + Z: Brings up the App Bar when you have a Modern Desktop App running
Windows key + X: Access the Windows Tools Menu
Windows key + O: Lock screen orientation
Windows key + . : Move the screen split to the right
Windows key + Shift + . : Move the screen split to the left
Windows key + V: View all active Toasts/Notifications
Windows key + Shift + V: View all active Toasts/Notifications in reverse order
Windows key + PrtScn: Takes a screenshot of the screen and automatically saves it in the Pictures folder as Screenshot
Windows key + Enter: Launch Narrator
Windows key + E: Open Computer
Windows key + R: Open the Run dialog box
Windows key + U: Open Ease of Access Center
Windows key + Ctrl + F: Open Find Computers dialog box
Windows key + Pause/Break: Open the System page
Windows key + 1..10: Launch a program pinned on the Taskbar in the position indicated by the number
Windows key + Shift + 1..10: Launch a new instance of a program pinned on the Taskbar in the position indicated by the number
Windows key + Ctrl + 1..10: Access the last active instance of a program pinned on the Taskbar in the position indicated by the number
Windows key + Alt + 1..10: Access the Jump List of a program pinned on the Taskbar in the position indicated by the number
Windows key + B: Select the first item in the Notification Area and then use the arrow keys to cycle through the items Press Enter to open the selected item
Windows key + Ctrl + B: Access the program that is displaying a message in the Notification Area
Windows key + T: Cycle through the items on the Taskbar
Windows key + M: Minimize all windows
Windows key + Shift + M: Restore all minimized windows
Windows key + D: Show/Hide Desktop (minimize/restore all windows)
Windows key + L: Lock computer
Windows key + Up Arrow: Maximize current window
Windows key + Down Arrow: Minimize/restore current window
Windows key + Home: Minimize all but the current window
Windows key + Left Arrow: Tile window on the left side of the screen
Windows key + Right Arrow: Tile window on the right side of the screen
Windows key + Shift + Up Arrow: Extend current window from the top to the bottom of the screen
Windows key + Shift + Left/Right Arrow: Move the current window from one monitor to the next
Windows key + F1: Launch Windows Help and Support

PageUp: Scroll forward on the Modern Desktop Start screen
PageDown: Scroll backward on the Modern Desktop Start screen
Esc: Close  a charm
Ctrl + Esc: Switch between Modern Desktop Start screen and the last accessed application
Ctrl + Mouse scroll wheel: Activate the Semantic Zoom on the Modern Desktop screen

Alt: Display a hidden Menu Bar
Alt + D: Select the Address Bar
Alt + P: Display the Preview Pane in Windows Explorer
Alt + Tab: Cycle forward through open windows
Alt + Shift + Tab: Cycle backward through open windows
Alt + F: Close the current window Open the Shut Down Windows dialog box from the Desktop
Alt + Spacebar: Access the Shortcut menu for current window
Alt + Esc: Cycle between open programs in the order that they were opened
Alt + Enter: Open the Properties dialog box of the selected item
Alt + PrtScn: Take a screen shot of the active Window and place it in the clipboard
Alt + Up Arrow: Move up one folder level in Windows Explorer (Like the Up Arrow in XP)
Alt + Left Arrow: Display the previous folder
Alt + Right Arrow: Display the next folder
Shift + Insert: CD/DVD Load CD/DVD without triggering Autoplay or Autorun
Shift + Delete: Permanently delete the item (rather than sending it to the Recycle Bin)
Shift + F6: Cycle backward through elements in a window or dialog box
Shift + F10: Access the context menu for the selected item
Shift + Tab: Cycle backward through elements in a window or dialog box
Shift + Click: Select a consecutive group of items
Shift + Click on a Taskbar button: Launch a new instance of a program
Shift + Right-click on a Taskbar button: Access the context menu for the selected item
Ctrl + A: Select all items
Ctrl + C: Copy the selected item
Ctrl + X: Cut the selected item
Ctrl + V: Paste the selected item
Ctrl + D: Delete selected item
Ctrl + Z: Undo an action
Ctrl + Y: Redo an action
Ctrl + N: Open a new window in Windows Explorer
Ctrl + W: Close current window in Windows Explorer
Ctrl + E: Select the Search box in the upper right corner of a window
Ctrl + Shift + N: Create new folder
Ctrl + Shift + Esc: Open the Windows Task Manager
Ctrl + Alt + Tab: Use arrow keys to cycle through open windows
Ctrl + Alt + Delete: Access the Windows Security screen
Ctrl + Click: Select multiple individual items
Ctrl + Click and drag an item: Copies that item in the same folder
Ctrl + Shift + Click and drag an item: Creates a shortcut for that item in the same folder
Ctrl + Tab:  Move forward through tabs
Ctrl + Shift + Tab: Move backward through tabs
Ctrl + Shift + Click on a Taskbar button: Launch a new instance of a program as an Administrator
Ctrl + Click on a grouped Taskbar button: Cycle through the instances of a program in the group
F1: Display Help
F2: Rename a file
F3: Open Search
F4: Display the Address Bar list
F5: Refresh display
F6: Cycle forward through elements in a window or dialog box
F7: Display command history in a Command Prompt
F10: Display hidden Menu Bar
F11: Toggle full screen display
Tab: Cycle forward through elements in a window or dialog box
PrtScn: Take a screen shot of the entire screen and place it in the clipboard
Home: Move to the top of the active window
End: Move to the bottom of the active window
Delete: Delete the selected item
Backspace: Display the previous folder in Windows Explorer  Move up one folder level in Open or Save dialog box
Esc: Close a dialog box
Num Lock Enabled + Plus (+): Display the contents of the selected folder
Num Lock Enabled + Minus (-): Collapse the selected folder
Num Lock Enabled + Asterisk (*): Expand all subfolders under the selected folder

Press Shift 5 times Turn StickyKeys on or off
Hold down right Shift for 8 seconds Turn FilterKeys on or off
Hold down Num Lock for 5 seconds Turn ToggleKeys on or off

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