Windows 8 Start Screen

Microsoft Windows 8 New Start ScreenWindows 8 Start Screen

The Start screen is the hub of Windows 8.  Here is where you click on a tile to launch the app you need. Alternatively, begin typing the name of a program or setting.

Windows 8 Start ScreenWindows 8 Start

Just click on Winkey to return to the Start screen.


Windows 8 Start Screen Tiles

The Start screen tiles are like other Microsoft shortcuts, but larger and smarter.  While most tiles are practically square, some are rectangular and have enough real estate to display dynamic information, for example the weather, or the latest stock market prices.

To be frank, it's up to you to make the most of your Windows 8 Start screen by spending time pinning just the tiles you need to work productively and keep up-to-date.Pin to Microsoft Windows 8 Start Screen

The key concept to controlling the tiles on your Start screen is 'Pinning'.  Just type the name of your app or program then right click and 'Pin to Start'.  You can extend the usefulness of your Windows 8 machine by downloading apps from Microsoft's store.  Many apps such as news are free, while others cost a few dollars.

As your collection of tiles grows you may wish to organize them by dragging them from the right end, where they are born, into a more logical position.  An advanced technique is to group your apps into columns, and to give them a heading.

Windows 8 Start Screen Elements

  • Realize that the word 'Start' itself has no links. However, if you click on the User's name, you get useful options such as to lock the screen.
  • Appreciate that Microsoft's new apps have 'live' tiles, whereas the tiles for the traditional desktop software are just like overgrown shortcuts.
  • Look out for a pop-up menu at the bottom of the screen featuring the App bar
  • Activate a pop-down menu at the top of the screen when you need additional options for your app.
  • Observe thumbnails of running apps that pop-in from the left of the screen
  • Also remember the Windows 8 charms, which can be activated at the right of the screen; indeed it is through the charms that you shut down or hibernate.

Try this: hold down the ctrl key and turn the mouse's scroll wheel.  The tiles should enlarge, or shrink to allow apps to appear on screen.  See more on Semantic Zoom.

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Positioning Your Windows 8 Apps

Each app that runs in Windows 8 is capable of running in full screen mode.  However, it is possible to have two apps running side by side, one in a narrow pane on the left or right of the screen and one filling the rest of the screen space.  This allows you to use a main app-let's say a stock-market report, with another small pane alongside containing a news program.  You can switch between your running apps by using WinKey +Tab.

Remember you need a minimum screen resolution of 1366 x 786 pixels to view Windows 8's new UI properly.  Another feature for tablets is adaptive brightness.  This is a classic example of hardware and software developing in tandem.  Tablet screens can change their brightness based on light conditions. 

Windows 7(8) Start Button

Microsoft resists all requests to bring back the Windows 7 Start orb / button.  You can either go with the flow and embrace the whole Start screen as one massive start button, or else seek out a 3rd party program to mimic the old start button.

Next step configure Windows 8 PC settings »

Summary of Windows 8 Start Screen

The Start screen is your launch pad to Windows 8 apps.  Here is where you access the underlying programs via information-rich tiles.  Alternatively, begin typing the name of a program or setting, then 'Pin to Start'.

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Microsoft Windows 8 Start Menu

New features for Windows 8  • Windows 8 Run Command  • Network Performance Monitor

Windows 8 Start Screen  • Windows 8 Create Tile  • Windows App Store  • Windows 8 PC Settings

Windows 8 Configuration  • Windows 8 Keyboard Shortcuts  • Windows 8 Metro-style UI  • SEUM