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Play Music from the Windows 8 Start Screen

The Windows 8 Start screen’s Music app isn’t as much of a music player as it is an online storefront. The program devotes most of its onscreen real estate to advertising: Billboard-like tiles promote the latest releases by the latest artists.

And your own music? Scroll to the left, and you’ll find tiles dedicated to music already on your computer. There’s another surprise in the app’s name. Although it’s called Music, it calls itself Xbox Music once opened.

To launch the Music app and begin playing (or buying) music, follow these steps:

1

Click the Start screen’s Music tile.

The Start screen appears when you first turn on your computer. To find it from the desktop, press your keyboard’s Windows key r point your mouse cursor to the screen’s bottom-left corner and click.

On a touchscreen, slide your finger inward from any screen’s right edge to summon the Charms bar; then tap the Start icon to return to the Start screen.

2

Sign in with your Microsoft account or your Xbox Live account, if desired, or click Cancel.

Each time you open the Music app, Microsoft tries to link the Music app with your Microsoft account or Xbox Live account. Because those accounts can be linked to a credit card, you need one of those accounts to buy music.

Don’t want to buy music? The app still lets you listen to your own music, but you’ll see the words Can’t Sign In located in the screen’s upper-right corner. If you change your mind and want to buy music, click the words Can’t Sign In, and the app offers you a chance to sign in with a Microsoft account.

3

Scroll to the right to sample or buy new music.

The Music app contains several screens, which you navigate by pressing the right-arrow key or pointing your mouse to the screen’s right or left edges.

The opening screen shows either pictures of popular artists or a collage of the music stored on your computer. In the bottom-left corner, the opening screen lists the last song you heard. Click the Play button to hear it again.

The second screen to the right, called Xbox Music Store, lets you hear song previews from the latest CDs, and purchase the songs, if you wish.

One more screen to the right reveals Most Popular, yet another storefront for the latest popular tunes.

Click any tile to explore its category.

4

Scroll to the far left to see and play music stored on your computer.

To head straight for your own music, scroll to the far left; there, the My Music screen lists music stored on your own computer. Click an album’s tile to see its songs.

To see all your stored music, click the words My Music at the screen’s top; a list of your music appears, letting you sort it alphabetically by songs, albums, artists, or playlists.

5

To play an album or song, click its tile and then click Play.

Click a tile for an album or song, and the mini-player finally appears. Depending on the licensing agreements and your own equipment, you can choose to play it on your computer, play it on your Xbox, or add it to a playlist.

6

Adjust the music while it plays.

Right-click the screen (or tap it with a touchscreen) to bring up the controls on the App bar. The App bar offers you five icons to control your music: Shuffle, Repeat, Previous (to move to the previous song), Pause, and Next (to move to the next song).

As the music plays, the Music app shows a collage your music’s cover art, but it tosses in art from other artists in the hopes that it will inspire an impulse purchase.

The Music app keeps playing music even if you begin working with other apps or switch to the desktop. To pause or move between tracks, you must return to the Music app and fetch its App bar, described in Step 7.

For more information about Windows 8 and its features, explore Windows 8 For Dummies, available online.

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