Windows 8 Tips: Close the Active App and More


Playing around with Windows 8 RTM has been quite an adventure! I tried working without the Start Menu for a few weeks, but the new Start Screen was usually such a horrible productivity sink that I ended up installing one of the 3rd party Start Menu add-ons (Stardocks's Start8). Most of my usual programs worked fine, though I did hit some walls on a couple forcing me to migrate to alternatives until Windows 8 compatibility is added. The Metro style (or Windows 8 style, now that MS can't use "Metro" anymore) apps.... some are good, but the majority are quite horrid and this unfortunately includes most of the default apps that come with Windows 8. For example, the Mail app doesn't allow you to adjust the three panes' column widths. Everything Metro is dumbed down to the point of being unusable. Also I've hit my share of bugs, even with the RTM release. For example, I added my Google calendar to the Calendar app and it loaded it without issue, but when I try adding events after hitting save everything I type in just goes into oblivion. Nothing shows up, yet no error message or anything else. Hopefully most of the worst show-stopper bugs will be fixed once the October release hits and since the apps are all on the App Store you can get updates quite easily. As for the back-end of things... beautiful. So many great features and improvements that I wish everything except the Start Screen (and the fact that they took away most of the old Desktop/Taskbar customizations) was simply part of a Windows 7 service pack. It's just that good from the Task Manager to the Copy/Move file dialogs.

 

Finally, the most absolute worst part of Metro is from a usability perspective. Absolutely nothing is intuitive other than tapping the tiles to open apps. Microsoft is trying to get us to learn this new environment that will be on all their device types, but throws you in without much of a tutorial at all. Here's my initial list of tips... I'll edit this post as I come across new ones. 

 

  • Tip 1: if you aren't sure how to do something in an app, do one of two things -> (1) Right-click or (2) Move your mouse to the upper-right corner and move the mouse down or the lower-right corner then move it up. This will bring up other menus. Don't always expect left-clicking on things to do what you expect it to do or give you all the available options.
  • Tip 2: To close the currently opened Metro-style app, grab the top of the app and drag it all the way down to the bottom of the screen.
  • Tip 3: To view all the opened Windows 8 apps (Metro apps) move your mouse to the upper-left corner and move the mouse down or the lower-left corner then move it up. Right-click on any of them to get an option to close them.
  • Tip 4: On the Start Screen, click the little minus "-" symbol in the lower-right corner to zoom out. Now you can more easily group tiles and even title the groups by giving them a name.
  • Tip 5: Right-click on any Start Screen tile to Run as Admin, Uninstall, Resize the Tile, etc. You can right-click on multiple Start Screen tiles to select more than one so you can unpin multiple tiles at once.

Hope this helps!

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