Quick Guide: Get started with Windows 8 Start screen

Windows 8 Consumer Preview is full of new things and guess what Start screen is my favorite addition to Windows 8. And in this blog post I am sharing a quick guide that includes  new and old keyboard shortcuts that may help you get started with Windows 8 Start screen. So here we go –

Start screen- Initially Start screen runs automatically with Windows as it is explorer.

Windows 8 Charms

Windows 8 Charms

  • Keyboard: Windows logo key
  • Mouse: Point lower-left corner and click on Start thumbnail.
  • Touch: Swipe in from right edge.

The charms- Search, Share, Start, Devices, and Settings

  • Keyboard: Windows logo key + C
  • Mouse: Point lower-right or upper-right corner.
  • Touch: Swipe in from right edge.

Search charm: is used to find Apps, Windows Settings, Files – all from one place. And it begins searching for Apps by default as you start typing.

Windows 8 Start screen - Search charm

Windows 8 Start screen – Search charm

Search for Apps:

  • Keyboard: Windows logo key + Q
  • Mouse: Point top-right or bottom-right corner, click on Search charm and then click Apps.
  • Touch: Swipe in from right edge, tap on Search charm and then tap Apps.

Search for Windows Settings:

  • Keyboard: Windows logo key + W
  • Mouse: Point top-right or bottom-right corner, click on Search charm and then click Settings.
  • Touch: Swipe in from right edge, tap on Search charm and then tap Settings.

Search for Files:

  • Keyboard: Windows logo key + F
  • Mouse: Point top-right or bottom-right corner, click on Search charm and then click Files.
  • Touch: Swipe in from right edge, tap on Search charm and then tap Files.

Share charm: allows you to share links, pictures to social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn directly (Just like Windows Phone)

  • Keyboard: Windows logo key + H
  • Mouse: Point top-right or bottom-right corner and click on Share charm.
  • Touch: Swipe in from right edge and tap on Share charm.

Start charm: takes you to Start screen or last running App

  • Keyboard: Windows logo key
  • Mouse: Point top-right or bottom-right corner and click on Start charm.
  • Touch: Swipe in from right edge and tap on Start charm.

Devices charm: is a central place, helps you to send files, manage second screen (extended display), printers and more.

  • Keyboard: Windows logo key +  K
  • Mouse: Point top-right or bottom-right corner and click on Devices charm.
  • Touch: Swipe in from right edge and tap on Devices charm.

Settings charm: has all basic tasks like shutting down your PC and controls like volume, screen brightness similar to old taskbar notification area.

Windows 8 Start screen - Settings charm

Windows 8 Start screen – Settings charm

Besides Setting charm also shows current running App settings when you open without leaving the App you’re in.

  • Keyboard: Windows logo key + I
  • Mouse: Point top-right or bottom-right corner and click on Settings charm.
  • Touch: Swipe in from right edge and tap on Settings charm.

App Bar – Appears at the top and bottom of screen and shows common Save, Edit, and other commands as per the App you’re in.

Windows 8 Start screen - App bar

Windows 8 Start screen – App bar

It also shows All Apps command when you open on Start screen.

  • Keyboard: Windows logo key + Z
  • Mouse: Right click in an open space (no text or images).
  • Touch: Swipe up or down from either edge.

Switch between Apps - lets you jump from the App you’re in to previous one.

  • Keyboard: Windows logo key + Tab
  • Mouse: Point top-left corner and click on a App thumbnail.
  • Touch: Swipe in from left edge.

Snap Apps - allows you to keep two Apps side by side by sharing one-third of the screen, or expand it to two-thirds or full screen.

  • Keyboard: Windows logo key + . (period)
  • Mouse: Point top-left corner, hold left-click on the App thumbnail and drag to left or right side of screen until a border appears then move separator to expand/change the shared screen area. Or righ-click on the App thumbnail and click Snap left or Snap right.
  • Touch: Slide an App from left edge and move separator to expand/change the shared screen area.

Note: The screen resolution must be 1366 x 768 or higher to snap apps.

Pin to Start- Initially when you install a new app or program; the app is pinned automatically to Start. Or you can also pin an app, shortcut, system folders etc by right click on the item and click Pin to start.

  • To unpin, just select the tile and use command Unpin from Start from App bar.

Close an App -

  • Mouse: Point top-left corner, right click on the App thumbnail and click Close.
  • Keyboard: Alt + F4

Show desktop -

  • Keyboard: Windows logo key + D
  • Mouse: Click on Desktop tile.
  • Touch: Tap Desktop tile.

Quick Access Menu – As name suggests it provides quick access to some common places and administrative tools like Computer Management, Command Prompt, Search, Control Panel, Network Connections etc.

Windows 8 - Quick Access Menu

Windows 8 – Quick Access Menu

  • Keyboard: Windows logo key + X
  • Mouse: Point bottom-left corner and right click.

Take Screenshot – The old print screen is enhanced and automatically save screenshots in Pictures folder.

  • Keyboard: Windows logo key + PrntScr (Print Screen)

This is it for the time being! I wish it may help to you to get familiar with the Start screen quickly.