Windows 8 : Some shortcuts and tricks for better start


As the Windows 8 Developer Preview is soon to in the wild, most people might find the new shell and user experience a little difficult to settle into. Here are a few simple tips and less-known features I’ve accumulated to help you master the new Start experience.

  • Just start typing with a keyboard in the Start screen to quickly search and launch applications.
  • Find additional applications (e.g. accessories generally found in the Start menu) can be found in the application list by clicking on the “Search” charm.
  • New shell keyboard shortcuts:
    • WIN+Q for application search
    • WIN+W for settings search
    • WIN+F for files search
    • WIN+I for “settings” charm
    • WIN+O for rotation lock
    • WIN+C to bring up simple “Start menu” and time/date
  • Most old shell keyboard shortcuts also work: e.g. WIN+D activates desktop, WIN+R opens “Run”, WIN+L locks user. WIN+E opens Explorer.
  • In mouse mode, activate the options/charms by moving the mouse to the bottom left edge (where the Windows button used to be).
  • In mouse mode, right clicking activates in-app options.
  • With a keyboard, you can use the arrow keys and page up/down to select tiles. Enter launches them. The “menu” button (the key with a drop down) selects them.
  • Make sure to check the “settings” charm in applications to reveal app-specific settings.
  • Enable the “high contrast” mode in Control Panel > Ease of Access to see a dark themed Start screen (above)
  • With multi-touch, zoom out in the app list in “Search” to activate semantic zoom

If anyone else finds any cool tips for the new shell experience on Windows 8, feel free to leave a comment below.

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