Customizing Windows 8 to Work Your Way - dummies

Customizing Windows 8 to Work Your Way

By Woody Leonhard

Part of Windows 8 All-in-One For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Windows 8 has lots and lots (and lots and lots) of options. Remember that there’s always at least a dozen ways to skin whatever cat may come calling. The following is a highlights reel of Windows 8 customizations you’ll want to check out:

  • Check out your e-mail, calendar, and photo-organizing option. By all means, kick the tires on Microsoft’s Windows 8 apps for Mail, Calendar, Contacts (the People app), and Photos. If you don’t like them, remember that the latest iterations of the old Windows Live programs — Windows Live Mail (which has contacts and a calendar) and Windows Photo Gallery in particular — still work (for now), but on the old-fashioned desktop side of Windows 8. They aren’t as visually fetching, or touch friendly, like the Windows 8 apps on the Start screen, but they get the job done, and they’re free. Also remember that Google offers excellent alternatives: Gmail, Google Calendar, and Picasa. So does the iPad.

  • Looking for a productivity tip? Set up a picture password. Even if you use a keyboard, you’ll find it faster and easier than typing/mistyping password.

  • Think about installing a different browser. Internet Explorer 10’s cool and all that, but many people are moving away from it. Chrome is getting better every day, and there are other options.

  • Don’t have a Facebook account yet? Sheesh. There’s another billion people you haven’t caught up with. If you’ve never worked with Facebook, or you have a Facebook account and haven’t locked it down, first get Facebook whipped into shape and then hook your account into Windows 8.

  • Want to speed up your computer? With rare exception, there’s very little you can do that will make any difference. (Installing a Solid State Drive may be the only reliable exception: SSDs almost always speed things up.) To really speed things up, spend your money on a faster Internet connection.