Use Your Windows 8 Tablet's Start Screen with Mouse and Keyboard

If you plan on using the Desktop app to crank out some serious work on your Windows 8 tablet, you’ll want to plug a mouse and keyboard into your tablet. The mouse and keyboard will feel right at home on the desktop, of course, but the Start screen is a different world.

Even when you work within the desktop app, you’ll still find yourself scurrying to the Start screen to open programs, add accounts for new people, and perform other common tasks.

If you want, you can simply use your fingers while navigating the Start menu; plugging in a mouse and keyboard doesn’t disable the touch controls. But if you prefer to leave your hands on your mouse and keyboard, the table shows how to control the Start screen with a mouse and keyboard.

Controlling the Start Screen with a Mouse and Keyboard
How to do this . . . Mouse Keyboard
Open the Charms bar Point at the screen’s upper- or lower-right corner. Win+C
Return to last-used app Point at the screen’s upper-left corner and click. Win+Tab, Enter
Return to Start menu Point at the screen’s lower-left corner and click. Win
See currently running apps Point at the screen’s upper-left corner; then slide the mouse downward. Win+Tab (then keep pressing Tab to cycle through open apps)

Chances are, though, you’ll still use your fingers on your tablet’s screen even after plugging in a mouse and keyboard. You’ll probably use the keyboard only for typing text and the mouse for pointing at small items on the desktop.

Power users take note: If you right-click any screen’s bottommost left corner, a power menu appears. That menu places many oft-used settings a mouse-click away. (That secret menu is available only with a mouse or a trackpad.)

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