Microsoft Windows 8.1 Tips & Tricks

With the upgrade from Windows 8 to 8.1, Microsoft has made several changes mainly to improve on certain aspects that Windows 8 has received criticism for. For starters, there’s the return of the good old Start button, ability to create a lock screen slideshow, and even support for 3D printing!  Windows 8.1 is a free update for user of Windows 8.0 so if you haven’t already upgraded, just head to the Microsoft Store from the Start menu.

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you get the most out of Microsoft’s latest operating system:

1. View Options From The Start Button
The Start button is back. It is similar to the Start button found on Windows 7. Left-click on the button (bottom left of the screen) and it will redirect you to the Start Screen. If you right-click on it, it will show options for Run, Search, Desktop, Shut Down, and many more.

2. Log In Straight To Desktop
When you start your computer, by default it will take you to the Start Screen. There is a way to start your computer and go straight to the Desktop instead. Right-click on the desktop toolbar, select Properties and go to the Navigation tab. Under the Start Screen options, enable the box “When I sign in or close all applications on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start”.

3. Customize Home Screen Tiles
Besides resizing icons, you can also customize your home screen tiles on Windows 8.1. To move and group tiles, just go to your Start Screen and right-click on any of the tiles. After grouping your tiles, you can also name them by filling in the Name Group field.

4. Customize Start Screen Background
Windows 8.1 also allows you to customize your start screen. Just swipe the Settings Charm menu and tap on Settings. Click on Personalize to change the colors of the background as well as the accent.

5. Create A Lock Screen Slideshow
Previously, your Windows lock screen could only be a static photo. On Windows 8.1, you are able to create a lock screen slideshow with your favorite photos. To do this, go to the Settings Charm menu, click on Change PC Settings, select PC and Devices then click on Lock Screen. Enable the option On to create a lock screen slideshow.

6. Use Hands-Free Mode
One of the coolest features that not many know about is found in the new Food & Drink app. If you do not like to get your computer all dirty when you are cooking, then this app is for you. Going through the recipe, you can set the app on Hands-Free Mode. It will detect your hand motion via your computer’s webcam.

7. Restore Libraries
By default, Windows 8.1 has hidden Libraries. If you want to get it back, open File Explorer and you will find the newly renamed This PC view. Here, select View, and click on Navigation pane. Lastly, enable the option to Show Libraries.

8. Use Help & Tips App
For further help on how to get the most out of Windows 8.1, an app has been added to guide you on pretty much everything. There are short animations to show you the correct gestures and concepts to master Windows 8.1. You can find this app on the Start Screen, titled Help+Tips.

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