Windows 8 tips: mastering the interface

8. App bar

Windows 8 apps aim to be simpler than old-style Windows applets, which means it's goodbye to menus, complex toolbars, and many interface standards. There will usually be a few options available on the App bar, though, so if you're unsure what to do then either right-click an empty part of the screen, press Windows+Z or flick your finger up from the bottom of the screen to take a closer look.

9. What's running?

If you launch a Windows 8 app, play with it for a while, then press the Windows key you'll switch back to the Start screen. Your app will remaining running, but as there's no taskbar then you might be wondering how you'd ever find that out.
You could just press Alt+Tab, which shows you what's running just as it always has.
Holding down the Windows key and pressing Tab displays a pane on the left-hand side of the screen with your running apps. (To see this with the mouse, move your cursor to the top left corner of the screen, wait until the thumbnail of one app appears, then drag down.)
And of course you can always press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to see all your running apps in the Task Manager, if you don't mind (or actually need) the extra technical detail.
Windows 8 tips

10. Closing an app

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Windows 8 apps don't have close buttons, but this isn't the issue you might think. Apps are suspended when you switch to something else so they're only a very minimal drain on your system, and if you need the system resources then they'll automatically be shut down. (Their context will be saved, of course, so on relaunching they'll carry on where you left off.)
If you want to close down an app anyway, though, move the mouse cursor up to the top of the screen. When it turns from the regular mouse pointer to the icon of a hand, hold down the left mouse button and drag it down the screen. Your app should shrink to a thumbnail which you can drag off the screen to close it.
If that's too much hassle, then simply pressing Alt+F4 still works.
And when all else fails then press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to launch Task Manager, right-click something in the Apps list and select End Task. Beware, though, close something you shouldn't and it's easy to crash or lock up your PC.

11. Mastering Internet Explorer in Windows 8

Click the Internet Explorer tile from the Start menu and you'll launch a full-screen version without toolbars, menus or sidebars, which like so much of Windows 8 may leave you initially feeling lost.
Right-click an empty part of the page or flick your finger down from the top of the screen, though, and you'll find options to create and switch between tabs, as well as a Refresh button, a 'Find' tool and the ability to pin an Internet shortcut to the Start page. Click the spanner icon and select 'View on the desktop' to open the full desktop version of Internet Explorer.
Windows 8 tips

12. Run two apps side by side

Windows 8 apps are what Microsoft calls "immersive" applications, which basically means they run full-screen - but there is a way to view two at once. Swipe from the left and the last app you were using will turn into a thumbnail; drop this and one app displays in a sidebar pane while your current app takes the rest of the screen. And you can then swap these by swiping again.
50 Windows 8 tips, tricks and secrets

13. Spell check

Windows 8 apps all have spellcheck where relevant, which looks and works much as it does in Microsoft Office. Make a mistake and a wavy red line will appear below the offending word; tap or right-click this to see suggested alternative words, or add the word to your own dictionary if you prefer.

14. Run as Administrator

Some programs need you to run them with Administrator rights before they'll work properly. The old context menu isn't available for a pinned Start screen app, but right-click one, and if it's appropriate for this app then you'll see a Run As Administrator option.

15. Make a large app tile smaller

You'll notice that some Windows 8 apps have small live tiles, while others have larger tiles that take up the space of two tiles. Right-clicking on a Windows 8 app's Start screen tile will display a few relevant options. If this is one of the larger tiles, choosing 'Smaller' will cut it down to half the size, freeing up some valuable Start screen real estate.

16. Uninstall easily

If you want to hide an unused app for now, select 'Unpin from Start'. The tile will disappear, but if you change your mind then you can always add it again later. (Search for the app, right-click it, select 'Pin to Start'.)
Or, if you're sure you'll never want to use an app again, choose 'Uninstall' to remove it entirely.
50 Windows 8 tips, tricks and secrets

17. Apps and privacy

It is worth keeping in mind that by default Windows 8 apps can use your name, location and account picture. If you're not happy with that, it's easily changed. Press Win+I, click More PC Settings, select Privacy and click the relevant buttons to disable any details you'd rather not share.
50 Windows 8 tips, tricks and secrets

18. Administrative tools

Experienced Windows users who spend much of their time in one advanced applet or another are often a little annoyed to see their favourite tools buried by Windows 8. Microsoft has paid at least some attention, though, and there is a way to bring some of them back.
Open the Charm bar by flicking your finger from the right-hand side of the screen and select 'Settings' then 'Tiles'. Change 'Show administrative tools' to 'Yes' and click back on an empty part of the Start screen. And it's as simple as that. Scroll to the right and you'll find a host of new tiles for various key applets - Performance Monitor, Event Viewer, Task Scheduler, Resource Monitor and more - ready to be accessed at a click.
50 Windows 8 tips, tricks and secrets
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