Tips for learning Windows 8

February 27, 2013 

Windows 8 is a great productivity tool, but it can be a difficult transition without brief training. This article focuses on answering a few of the questions we have gotten from new users of Windows 8.

Q: What are the squares that have replaced my desktop, and how do I get back to the desktop I used in a prior version of windows?

A: The squares and rectangles are called "Tiles." Think of them as normal desktop shortcuts, but with more pizazz. Tiles are more than a short cut. They can display images, receive news feeds, and more. To open the item the tile represents, simply click the tile.

Q: How do get my old desktop until I am familiar with the new one?

A: To get the old desktop to display, press your Windows button to toggle between the new main screen and the former desktop. To add a shortcut to the task bar, right click the desktop tile and then select "Pin to Taskbar" in the lower left of your screen.

Q. How do I power off or put my machine to sleep?

A. To access power features (e.g. to sleep or shut down), you will select "power" from the charms list. To display charms from the new main screen,

press the windows key plus "C." Alternatively, swipe (or move the mouse) all the way to the right off screen, then "u turn" back to the screen just north of where you left. The "charms" will display. A great overview of the 5 charms is here:

Q. How can I quickly learn Windows 8?

A. A list of Windows 8 tips is located here: Your local technology provider may be able to assist with training. A series of quick and easy to follow videos can be found here: Watching as little as 5 minutes of video will greatly increase your enjoyment of and ability with Windows 8.

Kathy Durfee, CEO and Founder of TechHouse:IISS, Inc. can be reached at

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