Even if you’ve been a Windows user for a long time, you’ll find that some new tricks will help you get along better with Windows 8.1.

Just type

If you want to find something in Windows 8.1, just start typing. As long as you are at the Start screen, there’s no need to click anything or open Search first.

Use all the tile sizes

Windows 8.1 gives you four different tile sizes and you should make use of them:

  • Use the smallest size to save space.

  • Use the medium size when you need a reminder of a tile’s purpose.

  • Use the wide size for most live tiles.

  • Use the largest size for live tiles that need to display a lot of information.

Use tile groups

Tile groups are a great organizing tool, especially if you use the option to name your tile groups and you create groups of tiles for related apps.

Swipe up

Swipe up from the bottom of the screen (or click the down arrow below the leftmost tile group) to view all your apps. The All Apps screen is especially handy when you want to see apps you may have installed but forgotten about because you didn’t pin them to the Start screen.

Click the upper-left corner

The upper-left corner of your screen is where you’ll find you can tap (or click) to switch to another open app.

Use multiple apps

It’s easy to open more than one app at a time, and it’s often handy to split your screen between two or more apps. In Windows 8.1, you can control how your screen is split by dragging the splitter that appears between the open apps.

Use the Start button menu

The new Windows 8.1 Start button has a handy pop-up menu that appears when you tap and hold (or right-click) the Start button. You can use this pop-up menu to quickly access a number of useful features.

Use your Start screen

Windows 8.1 allows you to specify certain apps that can display information on the Start screen. You can use this feature to see if you have new messages or to display other important information, such as weather alerts.

Use the PC Settings

In Windows 8.1, you no longer have to use the Control Panel to adjust most of the important settings on your system. Instead, use the PC Settings option that appears at the bottom of the Charms panel.

Swipe down

To perform this action with the mouse, drag the mouse pointer from the top to the bottom of the screen.