3 Quick Tips for Windows 8.1

Last week we introduced you to the latest SkyDrive integration within Windows 8.1, formerly known as “Blue”. This major update to the Microsoft operating system is expected to go RTM (released to manufacture) sometime in August, but if you are already using the beta version then you are likely still sorting out what has changed, and some of those alterations are rather well hidden.

Microsoft is frequently good about about giving customers their wishes, but lousy at making things easy. To that end, the next-generation version of the operating system has countless hidden features. Too many, in fact, to enumerate here, so we shall start off with just a small taste of the ones that customers may find most useful and appealing.

Sync Desktop and Start Screen Backgrounds

From launch, Windows 8 supplied images for customers to choose from in an effort to add a bit of personalization to the Start page, all of which are rather whimsical and colorful. What the software giant did not include was the ability to add images of your own. That changes in Windows 8.1, as Microsoft introduces an option for syncing your desktop background to your Start page.

synced theme

Head to the Charms bar, click on the Settings charm, and then select the Personalize link. The various background choices appear as thumbnail images at the top of the Personalize pane, with your desktop background the last item in the list. Select the thumbnail for your desktop background, and your Start screen takes on the same image.

Boot to Desktop

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One of the most talked about new features is the ability to boot to the desktop, something many Windows 8 users seem to have been clamoring for ever since the operating system debuted late in 2012. In true fashion, though, the software maker has done a rather nice job of hiding the option, though it does so in plain site.

To access the feature, you will need to find a blank space along the taskbar at the bottom of the screen and right-click on it. Choose “properties” and then select the “Navigation” tab.

taskbar and navigation properties

Here,you will find an option called “Go to the desktop instead of Start when I sign in”. Simply check the box next to it, click OK, and you are done.

Easy Access to the Apps List

Getting to the list of apps in the past required a fair amount of hoop-jumping. With the introduction of 8.1 this process becomes simpler — did you think it could get harder? A new Start button resides at the bottom left of the screen, though it produces no menu, it does direct the user to the Start screen.

However, good news is, from here, there is now easy access to an app list. Simply click the “Ctrl + Tab” keys to bring up a full-screen list of these programs.

There are countless minor details within the Windows 8.1 release, and likely many of them are still undiscovered. BlogsDNA will continue to bring you this information over the coming weeks as Microsoft marches towards release.

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