Windows 8


Friendlier Windows 8

Moving to Windows 8 can be a bit of a shock if you’ve spent the last 10 years or more learning to drive earlier versions of Windows, but don’t give up, it’s worth the effort. You can ease the transition with a growing range of freeware utilities that restore or enable various features that have been lost or hidden in the swish new interface. We’ve recently shown how to boot W8 into the familiar desktop. Complete with a working Start button, but there are plenty of other thing you can do to make it feel more friendly, and a lot of them are grouped together on the Winaero website. Here you will find over 40 freeware utilities for tweaking the user interface, from a Boot Tuner that puts you in charge of the messages and logos that flash up on the screen at switch on, to WinaeroGlass, which puts the Aero Glass window transparency feature back into W8. Incidentally, the latter is an alpha release, so it may be a bit buggy, but there are plenty of other more refined utilities to try. Also, watch where you click, there are rather a lot of spurious Download buttons on the page, leading to unwanted toolbars, download managers and advertising.



Getting A Head Start With Windows 8

I suspect that the first thing most newcomers to Windows 8 will notice is the lack of a Start button and conventional desktop. It’s quite a shock, especially if you’ve spent the last dozen or so years in the company of XP, Vista and W7. If you are willing to dive in and embrace W8 you quickly learn to live without it, but if you prefer to make the change more slowly, or when you are ready, then one of the first programs that you should install is a little freeware utility called StartMenu8. Once on your shiny new PC two things will happen. Firstly Windows 8 loads to the normal desktop view, instead of the tile-based Metro Start page. Second, it creates a XP/Vista/W8 type Start button, along with all of the familiar links and icons. In fact, the only way that you would know its Windows 8 is when you press and hold the Winkey, and this toggles the display back to Metro.



Who’s Trustedinstaller?

Here’s another little irritant that newcomers to the wonderful world of Windows 8 are likely to stumble upon (to be fair W8 is mostly a pleasant experience). This one happens if you try delete or rename files, and for some reason W8 says you are not allowed to and only someone called Trustedinstaller has permission to do so. It’s all down to file ‘ownership’ but there’s no mention of who this Trustedinstaller fellow is and all attempts to take control of your files lead nowhere. So what do you do? Well, there are plenty of tutorials on the web showing you how to change the Security settings but be warned, they’re quite long-winded and can be quite difficult to follow. The alternative is a simple Registry hack, first developed for W7, but works fine in W8; just bear in mind that it’s not this is not approved and not recommended for novices, Rather than edit the Registry manually you can download a ready-made Reg file from the How-To-Geek website and all you have to do is double click on it to make the changes, it takes around 10 seconds, and once it’s installed, every time you right-click on file that you want to get rid of, just click Take Ownership, and it’s all yours to do with what you will.



Shutdown Windows 8

Well, it’s here and the general consensus is that Windows 8 is not half bad. I suspect that most users will quickly adapt to its funny little ways and get used to the tile-laden desktop, but if you are accustomed to Windows XP, Vista or W8 one of the first things that will strike you is the lack of a Start button and, most annoyingly, no obvious way of shutting the computer down. This is all to do with W8 being designed for always-on tablet computers. The Off switch is there of course, but it’s buried several clicks deep on the Start menu and desktop (the easiest route is Winkey I, Settings), but here’s a way to put a proper shutdown icon or tile on the desktop, and Start menu. On the desktop right-click and select New > Shortcut. In the Type location box enter the following (without the quotes) ‘shutdown /s /t 0’. Watch out for the spaces, and the last character is a zero. Click Next, give it a name, Shutdown being the obvious one, and click Finish. You can leave it as-is for a basic shortcut icon, or right-click on it and select Change Icon, for something more interesting. When you are finished right click on it and select Pin to Start, drag it to a prominent position and it’s job done!



Charming Windows 8

By all accounts the Windows 8 Consumer Preview is proving very popular, and it’s a good way to get a feel for the new operating system – due out later this year. You won’t need fancy hardware either, just a reasonably recent Vista/W7 machine with a minimum 1GHz processor – faster is better, at least 1Gb of RAM and at least 20Gb free drive space.


Many newcomers to W8 are complaining that there’s no obvious way to shut down the machine. The familiar Start button is no more, and there’s no power-off function. It probably wasn’t an oversight by Microsoft, they’re quite keen to get us to learn new habits and don’t forget this OS was designed for touch-screens and tablet PCs, which have a dedicated on/off button, but on desktops and laptops it’s not clear what you have to do. Well, there are a number of ways to shut down W8. The simplest method is to press Alt + F4, which brings up the Shutdown dialogue, alternatively set Shut Down as your preference for the Power Button or when you close the lid. Another option is the new Charms Bar – the new take on the old Start menu -- which you can open with the shortcut Winkey + C, or go directly to the Charms Bar shutdown options by pressing Winkey+I. Another common concern is that there doesn’t seem to be a way to close down apps on the Metro interface. You can, but there’s actually no need as Windows automatically suspends apps when they’re not being used, so they consume no system resources. However, if you want to make certain you have to think touch screen, and the way to do it is to click on an app icon and drag it quickly it to the bottom of the screen. The other method is to press Alt + tab to display the Switch List and right click on the app you want to close.


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