Windows 8.1 For Seniors For Dummies Cheat Sheet - dummies
Cheat Sheet

Windows 8.1 For Seniors For Dummies Cheat Sheet

From Windows 8.1 For Seniors For Dummies

By Peter Weverka, Mark Justice Hinton

Take charge of the Windows 8.1 operating system by knowing how to get to the Start screen, what the functions at the edge of the screen are, how to switch between apps, and how to handle passwords.

Going to the Windows 8.1 Start Screen

The Start screen in Windows 8.1 takes you to apps and programs. You go to the Start screen to find and start an app, and you can also start programs from there if you know how to pin programs to the Start screen. Use these techniques to go to the Start screen:


You can use your mouse to get to the Start screen:

  1. Move the mouse pointer to the lower-left corner of the screen. The Start button appears.

  2. Click the left mouse button one time.


Your touchscreen is an easy way to get to the Start screen:

  1. Swipe a finger from the right edge of the screen to display the charms bar.

  2. Tap the Start button in the middle of the charms bar.


The keyboard offers a Start screen shortcut: Press the Windows key on the keyboard.

Using the Edge Functions on the Windows 8.1 Screen

Use the tools on the edge of the Windows 8.1 screen to get to certain places in the system. Mostly hidden, you can make the tools appear with your finger, mouse, or keyboard:

  • Charms bar: On the right edge of the screen, the Charms bar displays five charms (buttons, if you will): Search, Share, Start, Devices, and Settings.


  • App switcher: On the left edge of the screen, the app switcher makes it easy to switch between apps and the Start screen.


  • Snap: If your screen supports this feature, you can snap an app to the left or right to use two, three, or four apps at once.


  • App bars: On the top or bottom of the screen (sometimes both places), the app bars provide useful app-specific functions.


Switching between Open Apps in Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 offers several ways to switch from one open app to another. Use your mouse, the app switcher, key combinations, or the Windows key to get to another app.

Switch apps with the app switcher

Use the app switcher with your mouse:

  1. Move the mouse pointer to the app switcher in the upper-left corner of the screen. A small image of the previously open app appears.

  2. Select the thumbnail to switch to the app.

Use the app switcher on a touchscreen:

  1. Move your finger to the upper-left corner of the screen and then swipe downward. Thumbnail images of all open apps appear in the app switcher.

  2. Select an app to switch to it.

Switch apps with keyboard shortcuts

Use the Alt+Tab key combination:

  1. Press Alt+Tab. A dialog box shows all open apps and programs (and the desktop, too).

  2. Holding down the Alt key, keep pressing Tab until the app or program you want is selected in the dialog box.

  3. Release the Alt key.

Use the Windows key:

  1. Press the Windows key to switch to the desktop.

  2. Select open programs on the taskbar.

Choosing and Using Windows 8.1 Passwords

Windows 8.1 lets you assign passwords to help keep your information more safe and secure. Laptop users should always create a password. Windows 8.1 offers two types of passwords:

  • A Microsoft Account password secures your computer and lets you take advantage of Windows 8.1 features such as the Microsoft Store for apps, SkyDrive for online storage, and synchronizing settings between computers.

  • A local password secures your computer against unwanted entry.

Getting to the password settings

To tell Windows 8.1 how you want to handle passwords, do the following steps. From the Accounts screen, you can manage passwords.

  1. Go to the Start screen.

  2. Select your name (in the upper-right corner of the screen).

  3. Choose Change Account Picture from the drop-down menu that appears. The Accounts screen opens.

Change password type to Microsoft Account

You can make the password type a Microsoft Account:

  1. Select Your Account on the left side of the screen.

  2. Select the Connect to a Microsoft Account link.

  3. Go through the screens that appear, selecting the Next or Switch button as you go along. (You’re asked for your current password and the e-mail address you provided when you set up your Microsoft Account. Microsoft sends you a verification code by e-mail to the e-mail address. Enter this code.)

Change password type to local account

You can make the password type a local account:

  1. Select Your Account on the left side of the screen.

  2. Select the Disconnect link (to disconnect from the Microsoft network).

  3. Negotiate the screens that appear, entering your local account user name, password (twice), and password hint.

Start Windows 8.1 without a password:

You can start Windows 8.1 without using a password:

  1. Change to the Local account type.

  2. On the Accounts screen, select Sign-in Options on the left side.

  3. Under Password, select the Change button. The Change Your Password screen appears.

  4. Enter your password and select Next.

  5. On the following screen, leave all boxes blank and select Next.

  6. Select Finish.