Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


New User - questions, coments, gripes

  1. #1


    Posts : 10
    windows 8

    New User - questions, coments, gripes


    My old desktop with XP died several months ago and I've finally replaced it. I think the reason it took me so long was a fear of Windows 8. I have some exposure to Win7 but am essentially jumping from XP to 8. So far it seem to be a matter of learning what has replaced what.

    Without a start menu what good is the desktop? It seems all you can do is launch a program from a desktop shortcut. I’ve also found F1 will start help and Alt-F4 will shut down. I’m thinking you want to customize the start screen with what you use the most and go to all apps for the rest. For me the desktop can go away.

    How do you open help from the start or all apps screens? F1 on the desktop is the only way I’ve found.

    Is there a more direct way to shutdown other than Charms>Settings>Power>Shutdown. Why doesn’t Alt-F4 work from the start screen?

    I keep seeing the word ‘Meta’ around the forum. What’s that?

    Do the pictures on the start screen have a name?
    That's all I have time for now.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Sloe Deth, Californicatia
    Posts : 3,908
    Windows 8 Pro with Media Center/Windows 7


    "Meta"? You have probably seen "Metro" which is the name of the new interface.

    You can install one of several Desktop modifications that replace the Orb - Start8 which is 5 bucks, or Classic Shell which is free. Google both. There are more, "Start is Back" is another. There are trials for each of them. Once you install one of these, you will have the Shutdown button back where it used to be.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 10
    windows 8


    Yeah, I meant Metro. After some searching and reading I get the picture. From a user point of view it seams to be a meaningless word.

    Tiles. The pictures on the start screen are called tiles.

    The tutorials section has so many tutorials, mostly how to do specific tasks, that I'm having trouble finding anything useful there. Can you suggest which ones would be most helpful to a new user?

    I discovered I can turn off the computer by pushing the power button on the front of the cabinet. Any harm in shutting down like that?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 13
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    Here's a pdf brochure that Microsoft has available for download. This might be helpful for you.
    Download Windows 8 End User Training Brochure from Official Microsoft Download Center
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Hi topdnfun,
    I came directly from XP to Win8 after buying a new Acer Aspire notebook with touchscreen. Before I even took delivery I went on YouTube & watched several videos about Win8. This helped me a lot when I eventually rec'd the PC. After downloading Win8, I did general searches concerning Win8. I went right through the free apps in the Win. store looking especially for tutorials about Win8 & put them adjacent to my Start screen so I could quickly refer to them when needed.
    You can put a 'Shutdown' in the taskbar of your desktop. The desktop as I'm sure you're gradually finding out is for several things, mainly the 'File Explorer' which was originally the 'Windows Explorer' on XP. This contains amongst other things the 'Control Panel' & 'Computer', etc. Some websites will only open on the Desktop, & ones that usually open from the Start screen can be transferred to the Desktop if you prefer it that way. As I have a touchscreen I prefer the Start screen's 'Internet Explorer' because I can just swipe from side to side which is preferable to touching right & left arrows. I think however that now you have joined the Windows 8 forum you should read some of the postings & study some of the tutorials. I personally find it a great forum & the members have been very helpful to me as I have gradually become accustomed to using Win8. I think it's great once you become used to using it, & so fast compared to XP.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 10
    windows 8


    mark233, thanks for that link. Lots of good information there.

    Now I see what a Metro app is. A metro app uses the Win8 user interface, an older program doesn't.

    Quote Originally Posted by topdnfun View Post
    I discovered I can turn off the computer by pushing the power button on the front of the cabinet. Any harm in shutting down like that?
    Found the answer to my own question here. Control Panel > Power Options > ...when you push the power button. That's the way to turn off the computer, just reach over and push the button.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Youtube has a lot of good video's on the in's and out's of windows 8.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 5,707
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    Quote Originally Posted by topdnfun View Post
    Yeah, I meant Metro. After some searching and reading I get the picture. From a user point of view it seams to be a meaningless word.

    Tiles. The pictures on the start screen are called tiles.

    The tutorials section has so many tutorials, mostly how to do specific tasks, that I'm having trouble finding anything useful there. Can you suggest which ones would be most helpful to a new user?

    I discovered I can turn off the computer by pushing the power button on the front of the cabinet. Any harm in shutting down like that?
    The word "metro" is the design language of the Xbox, Windows Phone, Windows 8, Office 2013 and the whole other slew of Microsoft products and services that were released this past year or so. There is a whole story to the design language, the main concept of it is that it takes things from directional signs from airports, highways and other things to make navigating the UI easier. Things like flat icons, icons that are simple white, heavy focus on typography, ect. It also takes other design elements such as the Bauhaus design (where you don't take a piece of wood and make it look like metal nor do you take a screen pixel and make it look like fake glass) and letting the pixel be what it is: a pixel. A pixel isn't a piece of glass, metal, transparency, or other faux design and effects. The tiles on the Start Screen of Windows and Windows 8 are what is considered the "new" Windows for the 21st century and the internet always connected age.

    Each live tile is a small "window" into that app (certain developers know how to use this correctly). For example, the Bing Weather app shows you the current weather. This in turn means you do not need to open the app unless if there is a severe weather notification on the tile, which hints you to open the app for that. A news reader app will show or cycle through the latest headlines, so you do not need to open that app unless something peaks your interest. The Bing Finance app shows you the top three stock indexes and the trade graph on the tile, so do you not need to open the app. Basically, condensed down relevant information is at a glance.

    Now contrast this with Windows xp, where if you wanted the weather, you will need to open your browser and navigate to a weather site. If there is a tornado warning for example, you won't know that information unless if you keep that browser window open at all time and hitting refresh. If you wanted to see what's in the news, open another browser window and navigate to different news sites to and skim through the content that peaks your interest. Again, keep that window open and hit refresh to see what's new. Do the same for the stocks and finances.

    So now you have at least three internet browser windows open to show three different things that you have to manually refresh, the start menu is not involved in this, nor the File Explorer, nor the rest of the operating system. Microsoft has picked up on this trend with Windows 7 and deemed it "booting twice," once into Windows and twice into a browser. What good is the operating system if all you do is mostly the internet?

    But this doesn't go to mean that all of a sudden, the Desktop UI is irrelevant. It's not. This doesn't go to mean that the Start Screen is just a place for internet based apps. It's not.
    Click image for larger version
    This is MY Start Screen, and it's a pretty good reflection of what I do. I have my Desktop apps and File Explorer locations pinned on it. It's pretty. I can see the relevant information I care about quickly and move on with my life. I have it setup so when you open the Charms bar and hit Start, I can move my mouse pointer right and open a Desktop app, usually Outlook.

    Anyways, to open Help files on the Desktop, it's the same as usually, F1. Or much of the time, if you open the Settings Charm ANYWHERE, Desktop or usually metro apps, a Help link is there. On Start, there is a Help link that opens on the Desktop to show you what's new, through video, pictures and text. You can make a new shortcut tile from the Desktop where you can put on the Taskbar, leave on the Desktop as an icon, and even on the Start Screen to shutdown; although I'd recommend just putting your PC to sleep as three seconds is faster to start up than about 15.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Harrisonburg, Va.
    Posts : 10,488
    Windows 8.1.1 Pro with Media Center


    If you choose to try Classic Shell here is a picture of it on Desktop:

    Click image for larger version

    Start button & regular menu.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

New User - questions, coments, gripes
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