Monthly Archives: March 2012

How to personalize Windows 8–Change your lock screen

Windows 8 introduces in a lot of user experience improvements. One of them you will encounter the first time you boot up Windows 8. Lock Screen is a new feature of the Windows 8 user experience which provides a curtain over your Account Screen.

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Windows 8 comes with a collection five lock screen pictures you can choose from, see below:

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Lock Screen Gallery.

If would like to change your lock screen, its very easy, lets take a look at how to do it.

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Press Windows + I on your keyboard or point your mouse to the right hand corner of the screen and click Settings. Then click More PC settings

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To change your lock screen, just click on one of the available pictures displayed. If you would like to use one of your own pictures, it is just as easy.

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Click the Browse button in Personalize

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Click in one of the folders where the desired picture is located.

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Click on the picture you want to use.

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Then click Choose picture

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There you have it, your own personal Lock Screen photo.

 

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How to use Remote Desktop in Windows 8

In Windows 8 Microsoft has included a Remote Desktop App just for the new Start Screen. In this article, we take a look at how to use it.

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On the Start Screen, click Remote Desktop

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This will open the Remote Desktop app which looks quite different from what we are use to seeing in Windows 7 and previous versions.

To connect to a remote computer, simply enter the IP address or the machine name in the field box at the bottom of the screen.

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Click Connect after entering the machine name or ip address.

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Wait while Remote Desktop connects to the Remote Machine.

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If you receive the following error, click ‘Don’t as me again for connections to this PC’ and click Connect

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Enter your credentials on the remote computer.

If you want to connect to another machine, do the following, click the Remote icon at the top of the screen:

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This will bring up the app bar for Remote Desktop.

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This will bring up the Remote Desktop screen. Enter the machine name and repeat the steps for connecting to it.

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When you want to switch between virtual machines, click the Remote Desktop button and click the Thumbnail for the Remote Machine you want to work in.

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When you want to end your session, click the close button on the Remote Desktop app bar.

If you still want to use the classic Remote Desktop app, you can access it by doing the following:

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Open a Run command (Windows key + R)

Type in: mstsc.exe

Click OK

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How to organize tiles on the Start Screen in Windows 8

Personalization is at the heart of Windows, the ability to make it look and behave just the way you want is one of its best qualities. Windows 8 is no exception and today we will look at how to organize tiles on the Start Screen, create new groups and name them.

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Here we are at the Start Screen, as you can see, we have out of box look and feel when you first install the operating system. If you want organize some of these tiles, especially for programs you install, here is how you do it.

Drag and Drop

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To move a tile, simply click and hold then drag into the group you would like to see it, once you have placed it where you want, just release. See below:

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As you can see, I have placed the Photos and Camera tiles into a group with Music and Videos.

Creating a new Column

If you want to create a new column with a different set of tiles, here is how you do it.

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Simply drag a tile outside of its group, when you see a vertical bar, that indicates you can create a new group. Just Release it and you will now have a new group. See below:

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I have created a new group just for Games

Naming Groups

If you would like Name your groups, you can do so easily.

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In the lower right hand corner of the Start Screen, click the magnifying glass. (You can also press CTRL + Scroll) This will bring up a birds eye view of your groups of tiles. See below:

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To name a group, just hover over one of the groups you have created and right click.

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This will bring up the App Bar, click the Name group button that appears.

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Enter a name for the group and click Name. You can repeat this step for other groups.

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As you can see, I have created groups just the way I want it, organized for easily finding my favourite apps.

 

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Quick tip: How to access Folder and Search Options in Windows 8 Explorer

Windows 8 includes significant changes not only to the desktop, but also Windows Explorer or what is known as File Explorer. With the addition of the Ribbon, a lot of functionality has been shifted around. There are some features you might want to access and might be wondering where they are gone. One of these features in the Folder and Search Options window. Folder and Search Options allows you to change how your files are viewed and opened in File Explorer.

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In Windows 7, you can access it by clicking Organize > Folder and search Options.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview-2012-03-12-00-24-46

In Windows 8, you click the View tab

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Then click Options.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview-2012-03-12-00-27-18

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How to use Search in Windows 8

If you have a lot of data stored on your Windows 8 PC’s search can be a lifesaver when looking for that one needle in your haystack. Thanks to the many search improvements in both Windows 7 and Vista, searching for files is easier than ever. Windows 8 harnesses those benefits by bringing search enhancements to this new release. With the new Start Screen, there are some added improvements for finding just what you want.

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To start a search, just point your mouse pointer in the right hand bottom or top corner of Windows Desktop. This will bring up the Charm bar. Click Search.

Alternatively you can press Windows + C to bring up the Charm bar or Windows key + F to bring up Search immediately.

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This will bring up the Search Start Screen interface. On the right hand side, you will see some options available. This includes the Find Files list box. Below that are three main search options:

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From here you can filter your search results which range from applications, settings and files. Lets try some search queries:

Files:

File search in Windows 8 is simple yet powerful, not to mention fast, just bring up the Search screen and enter your query:

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Here you can see I have searched for a file with the name machine report, immediately, a set of relevant results are displayed. I can hover the file and view details about it such as its location on my hard disk  and the time it was created along with the size. When you find the file you want, just click it to launch the application. That’s it.

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You can also used saved searches if needed, Windows 8 will display your most recent queries which can be reused.

Apps

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In the above screen shot, I did a search for the Mail app. One of the interesting things about searching is, you are able to filter search according to related topics. As you can see below Apps, there is also Files related to the search query. Lets see what that is about:

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You will see that Find Files brings up any data on the drive with key words relating to Mail, weather they are documents or spreadsheets. You can further filter your files specifically if they are documents. See below:

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Filtering files

Searching by App

Windows 8 offers an even more powerful way to make searching more relevant. You can search by app too.

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When you click on the app link in the Find Screen, this brings up the associated app allowing you to search it.

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All I need to do is enter the search query and it brings up relevant results. In the above screenshot, I am actually searching my Hotmail inbox. Very quick and easy. You have a variety of areas to search from, whether it is the Windows Store, People, Maps, Music, Videos, Photos or Internet Explorer. Here is another example:

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Searching Music

Finding Apps

If you want to find an app or setting really quick, just use the Windows + Q keyboard command and it will bring up the Search interface for Apps.

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Searching by Apps

Search in Windows 8 is very powerful and convenient. It offers you just the results you need when you need it. The search by app feature is one I like most, the visual enhancements, makes finding what you need fun and easy.

 

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How to install apps in Windows 8

What is Windows without applications? We use them to do all sorts of things, manage our finances, browse the web, connect and communicate with friends, compose documents and a myriad of other tasks. Today, we take a look at how to install applications in Windows 8 using Windows Desktop App and the Windows Store.

Installing an app using Windows Desktop

If you have a traditional desktop app you would like to use such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop, you can install your application from the Desktop app. Depending on the medium on which application is available, you might see different options on the Windows screen. For this example, we are going to install Microsoft Office from a CD.

Insert the disc:

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The following popup menu will appear from the right of the screen, click on it to choose an action.

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Depending on the options available, you can choose to run the application or open and view the files on the disc. Some applications might not present an option to Run the program, so you might have to ‘Open folder to view files’ and run the setup.exe file from there. Your options depending on the program you are installing from might be different. 

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Consult the documentation that came with your program for instructions about how to install it. Follow the on screen options to install your program.

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Wait while the program installs.

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Thats it, your program is now installed.

Installing Metro Apps using Windows Store

Windows 8 presents a new paradigm in software development and software distribution. The future is headed in a direction web only for procuring software. Windows 8 embraces this new way of acquiring software with its new Windows Store. Lets take a look at how to acquire and install an app using it:

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From the Start Screen, click the Store tile

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Wait while the store loads

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Once the Store has loaded, you will see a tile based user interface which uses a horizantal scrolling system for browsing the various categories of applications available at the Store.

The store makes it quick and easy to find apps that meet your budget, whether you want a paid app or something thats free, new releases or top applications in the store. Applications are also categorized, so you can choose from. Here are a list of categories available:

  • Games
  • Social
  • Entertainment
  • Photos
  • Music & Videos
  • Books & Reference
  • News & Weather
  • Food & Dining
  • Travel
  • Productivity
  • Tools
  • Security
  • Education

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Some of the top free applications in the Windows Store

There is just about something for everyone and as Windows 8 approaches launch, you will see even more apps than what is available in the store today.

Acquiring an app

In this example, I am going to download a free app from the Windows Store. For this example, I am going to download Evernote Free.

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After finding the app I want, just click on it.

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After you click on the app, you will be taken to a description page for the app. You can also view details about the app, such as system requirements along with reviews by other users who have installed the app and screen shots of the app. The page also displays a rating for the app.

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When you are ready to install the app, just click Install

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You can go back to the Start screen or desktop and do something else in the mean time. When the application is installed, you will be notified:

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Application installed and ready to be used.

Go to the Start Screen and launch your application:

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Couldn’t be simpler. Smile 

 

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How to shutdown Windows 8

There is a bit of controversy on the web about how to shutdown Windows 8. Some have concluded the process is convoluted. I say its far from it. Of course, the traditional Start button and Start menu no longer exist, but the process for powering down your system is not difficult either, lets take a look at the easy steps to shut down a Windows 8 PC.

Option 1

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Place your mouse pointer at the right hand corner of the screen. the Charm bar menu will pop up, click Settings. An alternate is Windows key + C will also bring up the Charm bar menu or swipe to left if you are using a Tablet device.

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Click Power then click Shut down. Thats it!

Option 2 – Quick keyboard shortcut

Another way you can shut down Windows 8 quickly is by using the Keyboard shortcut Windows key + I.

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Then use the up arrow (press once), then press the space bar and press the up arrow (press twice) then press Enter on your keyboard. Its little more involved, for keyboard savvy persons, is a quick and easy way.

Option 3 – Set the Power button option on your system unit.

You can have the power button shutdown Windows 8 when you press it. This will avoid interacting with Windows at all when you want to end your session.

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Press Windows key + F on your keyboard.

Type Power Options

Click Settings

Click the link ‘Change what the power buttons do’

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Click in the ‘When I press the Power button:’ list box and select Shut down. The click Save Changes.

When you press the Power button, Windows will automatically shutdown.

Option 4 – Create a Shutdown Shortcut

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Right click your Desktop, select New then click Shortcut

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Type the following command: shutdown –s –t 0 (that’s a zero not the letter “o”) then click Next

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Give the shortcut a name then click Finish

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This will create a quick shutdown shortcut on your desktop. If you don’t like the generic icon, you can change it.

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Right click on the shortcut and click Properties

Under the Shortcut tab, click Change Icon…, a gallery of icons should appear, select an appropriate icon or whatever you like, click OK then click Apply and OK again.

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You can pin it to your Windows Task bar for quicker access.

If you would like a similar shortcut for restarting your computer, follow the same instructions, but enter the following information instead: shutdown –r –t 0

 

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