With Windows 8.1, announced last month, Microsoft has fixed a lot of the things people hated about Windows 8.
But there’s one thing that it hasn’t fixed: the fact that this gesture-based operating system is not intuitive.
It can take quite a bit of poking around to figure out how to navigate or perform other tasks.
We’ve been playing with a Microsoft Surface Pro and the Acer Iconia W3 with 8.1, table for a few weeks and discovered a bunch of “hidden” tricks.
Microsoft says that Windows 8.1 will automatically close apps if you haven't used them for a while, but we've never experienced that.
But it can be baffling to figure out how to close a modern app, since there's no little 'x' in the Window anymore.
To close a window, with one finger swipe from the top of the screen to the bottom.
Windows 8 relies on lots cloud services. So every user needs to sign into the device with his/her own Microsoft account to access Microsoft's cloud storage, email, and so on.
To add multiple accounts: From the Start screen swipe the right side of the screen. Tap Settings, tap Change PC settings, tap Accounts. Choose Other Accounts. You can create a new Microsoft account from this screen using any email you have, even Gmail.
You'll also have an option to add a child account that lets you monitor/control your kid's Internet usage.
If you don't like the idea of an advertiser tracking your online moves, you can decide how much information Microsoft shares.
Sign into the Windows 8 device using a Microsoft account. From the Start screen swipe the right side of the screen.
Tap Settings, tap Change PC settings, then Privacy. Decide which apps can see your location, control your Webcam and mic. Then click on 'Manage my advertising privacy preferences' and choose how much data to share with online advertisers.
Windows 8.1 now offers you more choices in resizing Windows in 'Modern' mode, if you have a big screen, or multiple screens.
However, with a tablet like the Surface, not so: you'll see two apps side-by-side, no matter how much swiping around you try.
However, Desktop still lets you open many windows and resize them all you want.
We found that Windows prefers a two-finger swipe to resize a window. Using a single finger often made the content scroll within the Window. Place two fingers on the edge of the Window and drag from there.
The best way to see your list of open apps in Modern mode, is to swipe from the right side of the screen and then left. This will open up a Window list on the left side.
You can navigate to any open Windows that way, but you can't close them from this screen.
Microsoft has hung a bunch of secret settings off the new 'Start' button and the taskbar in Desktop mode too, including a way to see all your open windows if you use a mouse.
Touch an empty spot on the taskbar until the menu appears. Tap Properties. Click 'Use Peek' to preview the desktop when you move your mouse to the Show desktop button at the end of the taskbar.
Rest the mouse over the Start button and your list of open Modern apps will appear.
If you hardly use any Modern apps, you can now boot to the Desktop mode and avoid the Modern mode altogether.
To set this up, touch an empty spot on the taskbar until the menu appears. Tap Properties, then navigation. Click 'Go to the desktop instead of Start when I sign in.'
Microsoft has added some cool features to the onscreen keyboard. When it pops up, click the Control button to see a list of traditional shortcuts like select all, copy/paste.
You can also select a keyboard that has the alpha and numeric pad on the same screen and there's one that does handwriting recognition. You can even use your finger like a pen.
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