With the expiration of Windows XP support and many businesses upgrading their workstations, here are some tips on how to make Windows 8.1 a little more user friendly. Many of these tips require Windows 8.1 which is a free update to Windows 8. Consult your IT professionals if you need to perform the update.
Boot to desktop
Many of us are not huge fans of the tiled “Metro” interface that you are presented with at the start of Windows 8. Metro is very beneficial for tablet and touch screen use, but many business users feel as though it slows them down. If that describes you, there is a nice boot to the desktop feature so you can bypass the Metro interface when logging in. To enable boot to desktop, right click your task bar > click properties > click the navigation tab > click the box next to "When I sign in or close all apps, go to the desktop instead of Start."
Working around the lack of a start button
With Windows 8.1, Microsoft brought back the Windows or Start button to the desktop. But this button merely sends you back to the Metro interface when left clicked. If you are like us and miss the old start button to get to your applications, we recommend simply pinning your key local apps to your task bar. You can do this by opening an app, and once it is open, right click the icon and select pin to the task bar. This will prevent you from having to either go to the Metro interface or desktop and save you some time.
Using the Metro interface to quickly access apps
But wait! You just said the Metro interface could slow you down! The Metro interface can slow many users down. However, if you are a keyboard command junkie and pine for the days of MS-DOS, getting to your apps can be done quickly through Metro. If you are in the desktop and need to quickly access an app that is not pinned to your task bar you can hit the windows key and just start typing. Once you see your app to the right of the screen auto fill you can simply hit enter and the app will open.
Using Windows 8 for the first time can be a bit overwhelming for many users but with some simple tips you can be working quickly in no time. For more tips on Windows 8 check out this article by CNET.