Surface For Dummies
Whether you're using the Windows 8 Pro version of the Surface or a Windows RT model, to get the most out of your device, you'll want to keep your system updated, find out about all of the latest apps, and learn to navigate the Charms bar.
Updating Your Surface via Windows Update
Your Surface automatically downloads waiting updates from Windows Update, but it doesn't always install them until you restart your Surface. To be on the safe side, follow these steps to download the latest updates, and then restart your Surface:
From any screen, slide your finger inward from the screen's right edge to fetch the Charms bar, and then tap the Settings icon.
When the Settings pane appears, tap Change PC Settings.
At the PC Settings screen's bottom-left edge, tap Windows Update.
Tap Check for Updates now, install all waiting updates, and restart your Surface, if requested to do so by Windows Updates.
All About Windows 8 Surface Apps
The Windows 8 Start screen serves up a smorgasbord of apps, each built to handle a specific task. But no matter how much the apps differ, every app shares the same basic commands. These tips work in every app, whether it came bundled with your Surface or you downloaded it from the Windows Store:
Open an app: From the Start screen, tap the app's tile with a finger. (You can return to the Start screen with a press of your Surface's Windows key.)
Close an app: Apps needn't be closed, as I explain in Surface For Dummies. But if you really want to close your currently viewed app, slide your finger all the way down the Surface's screen, from top edge to bottom edge.
Change an app's settings: Fetch the Charms bar by sliding your finger inward from the screen's right edge. Then tap the Charms bar's Settings icon.
Search an app's contents: Fetch the Charms bar, tap the bar's Search icon, and type your search term in the Search box.
Print from an app: Fetch the Charms bar, tap the bar's Device's icon, and tap your printer's name. (Not all apps can print.)
View an app's menus: Slide your finger up from screen's bottom edge or down a bit from the top edge.
Return to your last-used app: Slide your finger from the screen's left edge to the right edge; your last-used app drags itself into view.
See currently running apps: Slide your finger in slightly from the screen's left edge, and then back to the left edge. A strip appears along the left edge, displaying thumbnails of your currently running apps. To return to an app, tap its thumbnail.
Understanding the Windows 8 Charms Bar on Your Surface
The Charms bar in Windows 8, an icon-filled strip that appears along the screen's right edge, works throughout your Surface, from the Start screen to the desktop.
You'll find yourself constantly summoning the Charms bar to move quickly from one place to another, as well as to search and send information other places.
To summon the Charms bar, slide your finger inward from the screen's right edge. The Charms bar appears, with its five icons:
Search: Tap this, and a Search pane appears, letting you direct your search to various areas, including your apps, files, and settings. Icons for apps also appear on the Search pane's lower half, letting you search through apps. You can direct a search for DeNiro to the Netflix app, for example.
Share: When you want to share what you're seeing with friends, tap the Share icon. The Share pane appears, listing all the apps capable of sharing what you're seeing.
Start: Tap this for a quick way to return to the Start screen.
Devices: This gateway to devices attached to your Surface lets you send your screen's contents to your printer, for example, or view your screen on an attached projector or TV.
Settings: Tap this to see all of your settings, different ways to change either the app you're seeing, or your Surface's general behavior.
Downloading Surface App Updates from the Windows Store
On your Surface, the Start screen and the Windows 8 desktop work as separate entities. Downloading updates from Windows Update won't update apps you download from the Windows Store. No, your apps must be updated separately, meaning it's yet another chore to put on your list.
To install updates for Windows' bundled or downloaded apps on your Surface, follow these steps:
From the Start screen, tap the Windows Store tile.
When the Windows Store appears, tap the word Updates in its top-right corner.
If you don't see the word Updates, you're safe. Chances are, however, you'll see it and need to install updates for the Surface's bundled apps.
Tap the Install icon from the Store app's menu bar.
The Store app begins downloading and automatically updating your apps.