Basics of the Windows 8.1 Charms Bar - dummies

Basics of the Windows 8.1 Charms Bar

By Woody Leonhard

In lieu of a Control Panel, Windows 8.1 has a simple bar with a charming name, the Charms bar, and a somewhat limited repertoire. You can get to the Charms bar from either the desktop or the Metro side of Windows 8.1. Unfortunately, on the desktop, it doesn’t do much.


As long as the Charms bar is up, you see the system time and date, and the system badges that appear on the lock screen (for example, network status or battery charged) in a big black box on the lower left of the screen.

Here’s what you do to bring up the Charms bar, which you can do when you’re on the Metro Start screen, on the desktop, or inside any running program, any time:

  • On a touch-enabled screen, slide a finger or thumb from the right toward the center of the screen.

  • With a mouse, hover it in the upper-right or lower-right corner of the screen, and wait until you see a ghost outline of the charms. Then move your mouse along the right edge toward the middle of the screen. When the charms have fully materialized and the background has turned black, you’re ready to click a charm.

Several of the charms lead to powerful programs inside Windows, others can take you interesting places, and a couple are just dullards.