Windows 8 tips: tweaks and customisations

33. Start screen background

If you'd like to change your lock, user tile or start screen images then press Win + I, click 'Change PC settings' and choose the Personalize option. Browse the various tabs and you'll be able to choose alternative images or backgrounds in a click or two.
And in theory you'll also be able to define apps that will display their status on the lock screen, although the app must specifically support this before it'll be accessible from your Personalize settings.

50 Windows 8 tips, tricks and secrets

34. Scheduled Maintenance

Windows 8 can run common maintenance tasks - software updates, security scanning, system diagnostics and more at a scheduled convenient time, which is good.
Unfortunately it doesn't actually ask you what time is convenient, instead just setting it to 3am and allowing the system to wake your computer (if hardware and circumstances permit) to do its work. Which isn't so good.
To change this, launch Control Panel, click System and Security > Action Centre > Maintenance. You can now click 'Start maintenance' to launch any outstanding tasks right now, while selecting 'Change maintenance settings' enables you to choose a more convenient time, and optionally disable the feature's ability to wake up your computer if that's not required.

35. Picture password

Windows 8 enables you to create a picture password, where you choose an image, then draw on it in a combination of taps, lines and circles - only someone who can reproduce this pattern will be able to log on. Select Win + I > More PC Settings > Users > Create a Picture Password to give this a try.

50 Windows 8 tips, tricks and secrets

36. Hibernate or Sleep

You won't necessarily see either Hibernate or Sleep in the Windows 8 shutdown dialogs, but if that's a problem then you may be able to restore them.
Launch the Control Panel Power Options applet (powercfg.cpl) and click 'Choose what the power buttons do' in the left-hand pane.
If you see a 'Change settings that are currently unavailable' link, then click it, and if Windows 8 detects that your PC supports Sleep and Hibernate options then they'll be displayed here. Check the boxes next to whatever you'd like to use, click Save Changes, and the new options should now appear in your shutdown dialogs.

37. Simplify Search

By default Windows 8 includes every bundled app in its Search results. If you'll never want to use some of these - the Store app, say - then select Win + I > Change PC Settings > > Search, choose which apps you don't want included, and your search list will be more manageable in future.

38. Touch keyboard

By default the Touch keyboard will try to help you out by, for instance, playing sounds as you type, capitalising the first letter of each sentence, adding a period if you double-tap the spacebar, and more. If any of this gets in your way, though, you can turn the relevant feature off: just go to Win + I > Change PC Settings > General and customise the keyboard to suit your needs.

39. Sync and privacy

One very useful Windows 8 feature is its ability to synchronise your settings with other PCs and devices. So if you've set up your new Windows Phone device with your contacts, email details and so on, then use the same Live account on Windows 8 and it'll import them for you: very convenient.
Of course that may not always be a good idea. If several people use a device then you may not want your website passwords to be synced, for instance. In which case you'll want to hold down the Windows key and press I, then click Change PC Settings > Sync Your Settings and disable anything you'd rather not share.
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