Join Tim Grey for an in-depth discussion in this video A Windows 8 overview, part of Learning Windows 8.
When you launch Windows 8 for the very first time, your reaction may very well be that this is unlike any computing experience you've ever had before. If you've used any version of Windows, and in fact just about any computer, you've probably not seen an interface like this. And that's because Windows 8 incorporates a new Start Screen. In many ways, if you're familiar with previous versions of Windows, this is similar to the Start button. Except, instead of just being a button that pops up a menu, the start screen literally takes up your entire screen.
And that screen is largely dominated by tiles, live tiles to be specific, and those are the large boxes that you see here representing the various applications that are currently installed on the computer. Many of these applications, at least those that you'll find by default in Windows are what are generally referred to as Metro Applications. And that's just another way of saying that these applications were especially designed for Windows 8. And so they'll almost seem to run directly within the Start screen. But we can always work in Desktop mode, if we'd like. And that takes us to an experience that is similar to previous versions of Windows.
You'll notice that I have a desktop tile at the bottom left of my start screen. And if I click that tile, I'll be taken to a desktop experience. You can see here I have some applications on the launch bar, and I have the typical experience that I'm accustomed to from previous versions of Windows, with one big exception. And that is that the start button is missing. There's no start button at the bottom left corner of the display. But actually, you can really think of there as being a start button. It's just a start button that doesn't show by default.
I'll go ahead and move my mouse down into the bottom left corner of the display, and you'll see that a start button appears. I can also swipe from the bottom left corner, or I could press the Windows key on the keyboard in order to access the start screen once again. So now that I've hovered my mouse at the bottom left corner to reveal the start button I'll go ahead and click that button and that takes me right back to the start screen. There are also a variety of other interface elements that you'll want to get familiar with in Windows 8. The first of those is the Charm Bar. To access the Charm Bar we can swipe in from the right side of the screen or simply move the mouse up to the top right or bottom right corner. And that will bring up the Charm Bar.
This includes buttons where we can access a search feature. We can share items with friends and family. We can access the start screen if we're not currently in the start screen. Or if we are currently at the start screen, clicking this button will take us to the desktop. We can configure devices and we can also adjust settings. And speaking of settings, there are additional options available on the Options menu, which we can access by swiping up from the bottom of the display, or simply right-clicking anywhere in an empty space on the Start screen.
And when we have applications running, we can access those applications over on the left side, either by swiping in or moving our mouse to the top left corner or the bottom left corner. And that will give us the next application available. Which we could then click on in order to activate that particular application. I'll go ahead and press the start button to get back to the start screen. And then move my mouse back to the bottom left corner to demonstrate that we can also then move the mouse over toward the left side, or swipe back toward the left side of the screen in order to bring up a display of all the applications that are currently running.
And of course, we can click on the tile for any of those applications to bring them to the forefront. So that gives you a sense of the overall experience within Windows 8. Just a little bit of familiarity so you'll have an idea of what sorts of features you'll be accessing in various places within Windows as you start to get more familar with this new experience.
- Changing your environment and customizing live tiles
- Using gestures
- Creating and using a picture password
- Using Windows applications
- Working with media
- Accessing and personalizing the desktop
- Working with the File Explorer
- Changing Windows settings
- Backing up your files