Personal Computer Fixes

Essential Windows 8 Usability and Maintenance Tips

Windows 8 start screen

Windows 8 is the latest, totally reworked Microsoft operating system. Even though Microsoft’s developers did a lot to improve overall stability of the new Windows, there is still a lot you can do in terms of maintenance to make your new Windows 8 stay fast. Here are essential Windows 8 maintenance tips that you should know.

Configure scheduled maintenance

Windows 8 has an option to schedule all sorts of maintenance tasks, such as security scans, software updates, system diagnostics, defragmentation and so on. Unfortunately, by default the time for these tasks is set to 3 a.m., which is not very convenient. To make the most out of scheduled maintenance, change the time to when your PC is on but you are not using it. Lunchtime is ideal. To change Windows 8 maintenance schedule:

  1. Launch the Control Panel and go to System and Security
  2. Then go to Action Center and open Maintenance
  3. Select Change maintenance settings to configure maintenance or click Start maintenance if you want to perform it manually

If you want, select the option for the system to wake your computer for maintenance.

Make Administrative Tools accessible

Experienced users who like to be able to monitor everything their computer does would be a bit disappointed by the default Windows 8 configuration because their favorite tools, such as Task Scheduler and Resource Monitor, are well hidden. Luckily, it’s easy to make them accessible:

  1. Open the Charm bar, select Settings and then select Tiles
  2. Change Show administrative tools to Yes
  3. Click on an empty part of the Start screen
  4. Scroll to the right and you’ll find Task Scheduler, Resource Monitor, Event Viewer and other handy tools there

Get the traditional Start menu back

While Windows 8’s interface is modern and pretty, a lot of users are missing the good old Start menu. If you are one of them, install Start8 – a free app from Stardoc, and the traditional Windows Start button and Start menu will be back.

Use shortcuts

Just like any version of Windows, Windows 8 has a lot of useful shortcuts. Here’s a list of the most essential ones:

  • Win : switch between the Start screen and the last-running Windows 8 app
  • Win + C : displays the Charms: the Settings, Devices, Share and Search options
  • Win + D : launches the desktop
  • Win + E : launches Explorer
  • Win + F : opens the File Search pane
  • Win + H : opens the Share pane
  • Win + I : opens Settings
  • Win + K : opens the Devices pane
  • Win + L : locks your PC
  • Win + M :┬áminimizes┬áthe current Explorer or Internet Explorer window
  • Win + O : toggles device orientation lock on and off
  • Win + P : switch your display to a second display or projector
  • Win + Q : open the App Search pane
  • Win + R : opens the Run box
  • Win + U : open the Ease of Access Center
  • Win + V : cycle through toasts (notifications)
  • Win + W : search your system settings
  • Win + X : displays a text menu of useful Windows tools and applets
  • Win + Z : displays the right-click context menu when in a full-screen app
  • Win + + : launch Magnifier and zoom in
  • Win + – : zoom out
  • Win + , : Aero peek at the desktop
  • Win + Enter : launch Narrator
  • Win + PgUp : move the current screen to the left-hand monitor
  • Win + PgDn : move the current screen to the right-hand monitor
  • Win + PrtSc : capture the current screen and save it to your Pictures folder
  • Win + Tab : switch between running apps

Show all folders

Windows 8 likes to keep your display clean and simple, which is a good thing. However, it comes at a cost and some folders you may be used to having, like Control Panel, Recycle Bin and others, are missing. You can make Windows 8 show them by clicking View, going to Options, checking Show all folders and clicking OK.

Use a registry cleaner

Even though Windows 8 is pretty fast, it does slow down with use, just like any other Windows version. Regularly scanning it with a reliable Windows 8 registry cleaner will help you keep your new OS fast and stable.

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