Windows 8.0 was much the same as earlier versions but with a Start Screen added. The desktop is there, but without a start button. To get to the desktop, click the Desktop tile on the Start Screen or click the Windows Key and D. To return to the Start Screen, click the Windows Key. To shut down, click your desktop and press Alt + F4 button.
Microsoft stopped supporting Windows 8 on 12 Jan 2016. So, if you are still using it, you should really upgrade to Windows 8.1, Windows 10 or Linux Mint.
To install 8.1, click the Windows Store tile and then on the Windows 8.1 upgrade tile. It will be a large tile - if you cannot see it, it means that your copy of Windows 8 is not yet ready for an upgrade; look again next week. The upgrade is enormous, so you may find it runs all night. Don't turn off your PC whilst its in progress. You will know it has completed when you are asked to agree to a Microsoft licence.
If the upgrade to Windows 8.1 does not work, or Windows 8.1 can no longer update itself, you need an alternative. Backup your data and then install Windows 10 Home, (which you can download from Microsoft and write to a memory stick), and see if it activates automatically. If it doesn't, either buy a Windows 10 licence from Amazon or replace Windows 10 with Linux Mint.
If you are on Windows 10, make sure you check and fix the privacy settings; the defaults seem horrible.
Shortcuts to make it easy This is a list of the ones I used in Windows 8:
|Windows Key (Winkey)||Opens the Start Screen, should you ever want to.|
|Winkey and C||Opens the Charms Menu|
|Winkey and D||Opens the Desktop when you have the Start Screen open|
|Winkey and E||Opens Windows Explorer|
|Winkey and F||Windows Search|
|Winkey and M||Minimise windows to taskbar|
|Winkey and R||To run a program from a command line|
|Winkey and X||Open the Windows Menu to access the Control Panel etc.|
|Winkey and left or right arrow||Dock current window on right or left of screen|
|Winkey and pause||View System Properties|
|Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V, Ctrl+P,
|Respectively: Select All, Copy, Paste, Print, Refresh, Cut
Just as in older versions of Windows.
Logging in: Unless you want to sync multiple Windows 8 devices, its best to log in to your PC with a local account. There is a good guide to switching from a Microsoft Login to a Local one here.
Account Picture: To change it, open the new Start Screen and right-click on your picture in the top right hand corner.
Side Swipe: If you find on a laptop that you keep accidentally opening the Start Screen, turn off Touchpad Side Swipe, There's a guide here.
To add image resizing to Windows Explorer, download Windows Image Resizer. Its free.
To resize your hard disk partitions you need this freebie: Partition Wizard Mini Tool.
Where has Microsoft Office gone? Windows 7 sometimes came with Microsoft Word and Excel, but Windows 8 does not. You can download Libre Office for free instead - it really is very good.
Keep Secure: The chances are that your new computer came with a trial security package like Norton. I would rather use Microsoft's own free product Windows Defender which is already installed in Windows 8. So, first open the Control Panel and uninstall your trial security software. Next reboot your computer. Finally click on the flag down by the clock on your Desktop and turn on Windows Defender. If the flag is missing, press ctrl+r to open a command line and type: control /name Microsoft.ActionCenter and turn on Windows Defender.
Missing those Microsoft games? If you have an iPad, use that instead - there are some great card games with lovely graphics that cost next to nothing. With Windows 8, you can use the Store app, but the games I've tried seem a bit clunky. Instead, visit Steam for a nice wide range. If you like strategy games, you can download Civilization 3 for about £3. Great Game. Rather older is Populous which can be downloaded free from here. It works for me with compatability set to Windows XP with SP2.
If you have other suggestions or want us to configure Windows 8 for you in Milton Keynes, please get in touch: David and Margaret