The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Lifestyles

October 26, 2012

11 things to know about Windows 8

NEW YORK — With the launch of Windows 8, buyers are about to discover a computing experience unlike anything they’ve seen before. Here’s a guide to getting past some of the hurdles.

The main thing to know is that Windows 8 is designed especially for touch-screen computers, to make desktops and laptops work more like tablets. It is Microsoft’s way of addressing the popularity of tablets, namely the iPad. But Windows 8 will work with mouse and keyboard shortcuts, too. It’ll take some getting used to, though.

There are two versions of Windows 8, or more precisely, there’s Windows 8 and there’s Windows RT. They look the same, but they run on different processing chips. Windows 8 runs on standard chips from Intel and AMD and is the version you’d get if you’re upgrading your home desktop or notebook PC. Windows RT is the version for light, small tablets and laptop-tablet hybrids.

Windows 8 will run programs written for older versions of Windows. Windows RT won’t. It’s limited to applications specifically written for it and available through Microsoft’s store. (As a consolation, a version of Microsoft Office is included free on Windows RT devices).

Here are some tips on how to navigate the new Windows:

  • When you start a Windows 8 machine, you’re greeted with a screen that shows the time and a pretty picture. To get past it with a touch-screen device, swipe upwards with your finger from the bottom edge of the screen. If you have a keyboard, hit any key.
  • Next, you’ll see a mosaic of Live Tiles, each representing an application. Programs specifically written for Windows 8 will run in this new environment, which is unofficially nicknamed Metro. Each application fills the screen when you run it. Applications written for older Windows versions will open up in something that looks very much like the old Windows Desktop environment. You can switch back and forth between Metro and the new Desktop, though Microsoft wants people to eventually use only Metro.
  • The Desktop screen lacks a Start button, so it’s hard to start programs from there. Microsoft’s idea is that users should learn to go to the Metro tiles to start programs or access settings, even if many programs, including some Windows utilities, will open up in Desktop. To get back to the tiled Start screen with a mouse or touchpad, move the mouse cursor to the top right corner of the screen, then swipe it down to the “Start” icon that appears. If you have a touch screen, reveal the Start icon by swiping in from the right edge of the screen.
  • In the Desktop environment, you can glance at the Taskbar to see which Desktop programs are running. If you’re a mouse or touchpad user in Metro and want to see what’s running, you have to know this trick: Move the cursor into the top left corner of the screen, then drag it down along the left edge of the screen. If you have a touch screen, swipe in from the left edge, then quickly swipe back in.
  • Neither environment will show you programs that are running in the other environment, but if you have a touch screen, swiping in from the left side of the screen lets you jump between open applications. The “Alt-Tab” combination does the same thing with a keyboard, in case you aren’t using a touch screen.
  • There are two versions of Internet Explorer, one for each environment. A Web page you open in one doesn’t appear in the other, so if you’re trying to find your way back to a page, it helps to remember which browser you were using.
  • When using Metro on a touch screen, you close a program by first swiping your finger down from the top edge of the screen. That shrinks the window. Then you swipe your finger down to the bottom edge of the screen. Don’t stray to the right or left edges of the screen, or the app will end up “docked” in a column along that edge. You can perform the same action with a mouse cursor by clicking and dragging from the top edge of the screen, but using the old “Alt-F4” command is easier.
  • In the Desktop version of Internet Explorer, you can see at a glance which pages you have open in “tabs.” In Metro, each Web page fills the screen, leaving no room for tabs.
  • To see which other pages are open on a touch-screen computer, you swipe your finger down from the top of the screen to reveal thumbnails of the other windows. Don’t sweep too far, or you’ll shrink the window instead.
  • If you’re using a mouse in Metro, you right-click anywhere on the screen to reveal the tabs. Of course, this means right-clicking no longer does any of things it can be used for in previous versions of Windows, such as letting you open a link in a new tab.
  • When Microsoft introduced Windows 95, some people thought it was amusing and counterintuitive that the procedure for shutting down the computer began with the “Start” button. In Windows 8, that incongruity is gone along with the Start button, but shutting down with a mouse or touchpad isn’t obvious either. Move the cursor into the top right corner of the screen. A menu will pop out. Sweep down to the “Settings” button that appears, and click it. Then click “Power,” then “Shut down.” If you’re on a touch screen, start by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, then tap “Settings.”

     

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Lifestyles
  • beach boys.jpg 'Love those Beach Boys

    Despite riding the wave of success for more than 50 years, founding member Mike Love of The Beach Boys is anything but bored.

    March 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • third day 1.JPG Christian entertainers ready to rock arena

    Top Christian performers will join together for one big evening of music.

    March 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • raz.jpg "Grown Ups 2" razzed

     "Grown Ups 2" is making the most noise at this year's Golden Raspberry Awards

    January 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • iStock_000022758530XSmall.jpg 12 annoying songs of Christmas

    It's that time of year, when Christmas songs fill shops, restaurants and your home. While anything on repeat can drive you mad, these 12 tunes are some of the most annoying.

    December 1, 2013 1 Photo

  • 8a5319c0595635132e67b282cdcd3136.jpg 6 creative ways to use your Thanksgiving leftovers

    The day of eating has passed and the fridge is full of leftovers. Check out our Pinterest board of recipes and creative ways to make meals from the remnants of Thanksgiving.

    November 29, 2013 1 Photo

  • 0801-couple-married.jpg Engagement ring lost, found on wedding-eve bike ride across Iowa

    When a bride-to-be lost her engagement ring while cycling across the state of Iowa last week, finding it again seemed like an impossible task.

    August 1, 2013 1 Photo

  • Film-Speedy Zombies_Denn.jpg Penn State prof lends zombie expertise to World War Z

    In a scene of the movie "World War Z," hundreds — maybe thousands — of virus-infected people swarm at the base of a wall in Jerusalem to find more humans to bite and infect. These zombies then form a human ladder to charge over the wall, which Israel's government had put up in the hope of sparing the city the wrath of the creatures.

    A professor at Penn State had something to do with that part of the movie.

    June 28, 2013 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX People Paula _Denn.jpg Paula Deen's 'Today' appearance ends in tears

    Paula Deen dissolved into tears during a "Today" show interview Wednesday about her admission that she used a racial slur in the past, saying anyone in the audience who's never said anything they've regretted should pick up a rock and throw it at her head.

    June 26, 2013 1 Photo

  • NY Premiere White Hou_Denn.jpg Movie Review | 'White House Down' doesn't live up to expectations

    "Independence Day", The Day After Tomorrow" and "2012" were guilty pleasures — excessive in every way, from their frenetic Wile E. Coyote action sequences down to their impressive A-list casts. And they worked. But while Emmerich's "White House Down" mostly sticks to the same formula, this latest cinematic assault on the Oval Office fails to deliver on the campaign promise that it will be as fun as the original "Die Hard."

    June 26, 2013 1 Photo

  • gtr-tatpastor01-06081_Denn.jpg For pastors, tattoos as symbols of faith

    As the spiritual leader for two United Church of Christ congregations, the Rev. Richard Lindsay-Bignell found a way to combine his love of the ministry and his passion for art.

    June 10, 2013 1 Photo

Poll

Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results