For Microsoft Kool-Aid Drinkers, Non-paid MS Evangelists written by a Senior Consultant, Passionate about Tech

All posts in Windows 8.1

DesktopI keep hearing every other day people complaining about Windows 8.  Most of the complaints are still about the Windows Start screens.  Even though I don’t believe that people have given it much of a chance, I have just resorted to chipping away at the complaining.

Though my response was usually, “What don’t you like about it?”, I now say, “You know you can boot to desktop so you don’t have to see it right away, right?  Most of the time, I still hear, “No, I didn’t know that.”  Geez.  Talk about uniformed people.

So, I thought I would write up a quick post to quickly explain how to boot to desktop.

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imageIf you are an avid web surfer and you have a Windows 8 tablet, you are going to love this new feature in Windows 8.1 Update 1.  IE11 has now been updated to include a reading view mode.  Though you probably won’t use this as much on the desktop, you will love using it on the tablet.  Instead of scrolling up and down, reading view will reformat the website to view using left to right scrolling.  This is especially nice when you are trying to read really long articles and you want to remove the clutter.  Check it out.

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So, I was talking to someone the other day about Windows 8.1 and how amazing it really is to work with in all of my environments.  They mentioned that the one thing they wish they could do is organize their start screen and have it be more functional like their old desktop.  I nearly fell off of my seat.  Uh, more functional like the desktop?   It didn’t take long for me to convince him that the new start screen is by far more useful than the old desktop.  For example, to really organize your desktop icons, you needed to move them around and place them into groups. Or use a third party tool.  You would also have to rename them so that you could actually understand what they were.  Not only were they hard to read, but very hard to use on a touch screen.  Add moving them around on multiple monitors and resolutions, yikes!!  If I think about how terrible the old desktop was, I might start having nightmares again.  So, I will stop there.

I started to talk more about live tiles,  moving one or more icons with semantic zoom and resizing them.  He already knew about all of that, but I happened to notice that he had a variety of large and small groups, but I couldn’t figure out what they represented for him.  So, I asked him why he didn’t name his groups.  He said, “I hadn’t even thought of that.”

So, today, I thought I would give you a quick tip on naming the groups of tiles you have on your start screen.

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LockscreenImageNow that most of us have a camera in our pocket, we snap a picture at everything that moves us.  Then we share it on our plethora of social networks.  Why not showcase those bad boys off to the world?  Okay, maybe not to the world, but how about to anyone that walks by our device or home PC?

Well, Windows 8.1 allows you to show off all your pictures in all of their glory.  Show people your ski vacation, summer retreat, fun family pictures, your nature walks or even that crazy guy doing street tricks on your walk to work.  Windows will create a unique slideshow with collages, full screen pictures and a number of animations to bring them all to life.  Did you know it will also pick images from the last year if you let it?  Yeah, I know, pretty darn cool!  I have heard that it also selects images based on the time of year, however, I haven’t taken the time to research the truth to that rumor.

Are you interested?  Well, let’s begin…

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imageWindows 8.1.  Wow.  Some really great changes from Windows 8.  Wow.  I mean, look at that Start screen.   Wow, it is beautiful.  Isn’t it?  Those tiles just pop out and give you so much information.  Wow.  I don’t even have to open up half of my applications anymore.  Wow, just look at how much more information you can get by just looking at your screen.   Did, the old desktop give that much information (without widgets of course)?  Wow, it is amazing.

So, you love the “Wow” factor of Windows 8 as well?  What is that?  You want more “Wow”?  Well, the great thing is that in Windows 8.1, you can get even larger tiles for even more information!!  And “Wow”.

Okay, enough with the “Wow”s for a while and let’s see how we can make a tile larger.  First thing to note is that an application has to support the larger tile format.  Let’s take a look at one that does.

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RecycleBinRemember back in the good old days when things were running slow, you could go to your recycle bin on your desktop and delete files permanently in hopes that it would help performance?  Well, with Windows 8.1, unless you have it setup to go directly to the desktop on startup (see my posts on Windows 8.1 Tips and Tricks:  How to boot to desktop and Windows 8 Tip #4 – Pin Any File to Start Screen), you need to go to your Start Screen, click on the desktop tile, then double click on the Recycle Bin.  Geez, that seems like a lot of work.

Truthfully, unless you like to manage your Recycle Bin regularly, you probably only do it once every month or so.  Maybe even less often.  However, if you are a Recycle Bin Junky (tee hee), you might want a quicker way to access it, say, through the Start Screen, via a tile.  I mean, isn’t there a simple way to do this and still do most of my work in Metro?  Well, yes, slightly.  It is actually really easy to setup.  Let’s take a look. Read more

UpdatesIconIf you have used Windows in the past, or even Windows 8.0 … you might have had times when you said, “Geez, I hate trying to figure out what apps need to be updated.  Why can’t it just do it for me.”  Am I right?  Well, in the latest Windows 8.1 upgrade, you now have the ability to turn on automatic updates so that you don’t have to worry about it anymore.  By default, apps update automatically.  So, you don’t have to do anything.

However, what if you don’t want to have applications update automatically.  Maybe you like to have more control since you pay for a very small chunk of bandwidth and data on your internet connection.  Well, it is easy to toggle this feature on and off.


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