Where to Start with Windows 8.1

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How to Show All Apps on the Windows 8.1 Start Screen

Windows 8.1 introduces the ability to show all of your apps in one massive blob on the Start screen. It also has a couple of tricks for organizing the list of All Apps. Here’s how to approach it: [more…]

How to Form and Name Groups on the Windows 8.1 Start Screen

After you have all of your tiles on the Windows 8.1 Metro Start screen, it’s easy to get your Metro Start screen organized. Try this: [more…]

How to Move Windows 8.1 Groups with Semantic Zoom

You may have discovered that you can’t move entire groups of tiles in Windows 8.1. In order to re-arrange the groups, you have to pop in to Semantic Zoom. Here’s how: [more…]

How to Work with Windows 8.1's Tiled Metro Snap

Windows 8.1 has a new, odd way of running two — and possibly more — programs side by side. Call it Tiled Metro snap to distinguish it from Aero Snap (also known as [more…]

How to Change PC Settings through Windows 8.1

No matter where you are in Windows 8.1, the Settings charm gives you immediate access to six common settings, plus a hook to get into more settings.

At the bottom of the Settings pane is the Change PC Settings [more…]

Understanding the Devious Devices Charm in Windows 8.1

Most people go to the Windows 8.1 Metro Start screen, bring up the Devices charm, click on one of the offered entries, get an error message — You Can Only Play from Apps, for example — and figure the Devices [more…]

Prevent Windows 8.1 from Showing the Charms and Running Apps Bars

Windows 8.1 finally (finally!) lets you tone down Windows’ incessant flittering of bars and apps. Specifically, you can tell Windows to stop flashing the Running Apps bar and the Charms bar when you hover [more…]

Aero Snap in Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1, like Windows 7, includes several “gesture” features that can save you a lot of time. Foremost among them is Aero Snap, a Windows 8.1 feature that’s been inherited from Windows 7 and works [more…]

Drop the Background from the Windows 8.1 Metro Start Screen

In Windows 8.1, Start doesn’t have cascading menus: All the tiles sit on the Metro Start screen, and you have to scroll to find them. What are those swirly designer backgrounds and squiggly things [more…]

Installing New Windows 8.1 Programs

When you install a new program in Windows 8.1, the installer throws a bunch of tiles up on the All Apps screen. They’re disjointed and unorganized and can be a massive pain to sort through. [more…]

Find and Add Programs to the Windows 8.1 Start Screen

Before you start grouping tiles and making them a bit more accessible and generally prettify the Windows 8.1 Metro Start screen, you need to bring back many of the programs that used to be on the Windows [more…]

Organize the Windows 8.1 Start Screen for a Lean Mean Desktop

If the general idea is to build the Windows 8.1 Start screen specifically to help you use the old-fashioned Windows desktop as effectively as you can, you need to click and drag tiles into groups that [more…]

How to Boot Windows 8.1 to the Desktop

Windows 8.1 includes the ability to tell Windows that, when it starts, it should show the old-fashioned desktop, not the Metro Start screen. That was one of the most annoying features in Windows 8. [more…]

What’s the Difference among Restore, System Repair, Recovery Mode, Refresh, and Restart?

Windows 8.1 has three very different technologies for pulling you out of a tough spot. You can liken them to the Wayback Machine, a brain transplant, and global thermonuclear war. [more…]

What Is Safe Mode in Windows 8.1?

Safe Mode still exists in Windows 8.1, but it isn’t used as much as it once was. Safe Mode used to be the gateway into the Windows inner workings: In earlier versions of Windows, if something went wrong [more…]

How to Create a Password Reset Disk for Windows 8.1

If you forget your password while working in Windows 8.1, a Password Reset Disk is what saves the day by enabling you to reset a password you otherwise wouldn’t be able to access. If you have a password-protected [more…]

How to Use a Password Reset Disk with Windows 8.1

As long as you have created a Password Reset Disk for Windows 8.1, which is, in fact, a little file called userkey.psw, you can reset your password. Here’s how to use the file and reset your password: [more…]

4 Tips for Navigating the Windows 8.1 Metro and Desktop Interfaces

If you've ever used Windows (like, oh, 1.4 billion other people on the planet), you'll be confused by Windows 8.1's Jekyll and Hyde interface. On the one hand, Dr. Jekyll's old-fashioned desktop looks [more…]

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