What’s New on Windows 8 Desktop?
The Windows desktop has been an essential part of Microsoft’s operating system right from the very start. At first it was a place to display icons and shortcuts to your favourite programs, but over the Windows iteration to become an incredibly useful and important part of the system.
At first glance it might not seem like too much has changed since Windows 7. But in just a few minutes of using Windows 8‘s new desktop you’ll soon discover just how much is new.
While the Metro interface is excellent for calling up apps, sites and media quickly and easily, if you want to complete more complex tasks, such as word processing or browsing folders, then you’ll want to load up the Windows 8 desktop. Unlike earlier versions of Windows, the desktop isn’t the first thing you see after you’ve logged on. Instead it’s the Metro user interface. To go to the desktop, either click the ‘Desktop’ tile or press the ‘Windows’ key on your keyboard.
The first change you’ll notice is also the biggest. The Start menu, a Windows stalwart since Windows 95, is no more. Rather than having the familiar list of programs and shortcuts of the old Start menu, Windows 8 has a simplified menu that contains just a few options: Settings, Devices, Share and Search.
To find and run programs without the old Start menu:
Hold down the ‘Windows’ key on your keyboard, and press [F] to open up Search. Click ‘Apps’ and you’ll be left with an alphabetically sorted list of installed apps and applications -just click one to launch it, or right-click one and select ‘Pin’ to add it to the Metro screen for easy access later.
Another new feature is the inclusion of the Ribbon interface in Windows Explorer when you’re browsing files and folders on your PC. If you’ve used Microsoft Office 2007 or 2010, or used Paint in Windows 7, then you’ll recognise Ribbon. The Ribbon interface is context-sensitive, which means it displays different sections and options according to what you’re doing, making it even easier to work with files and folders.
For example, if you click a program’s executional file to launch the program, you’ll see an Application section appear on the Ribbon, providing you with options to pin the file to the taskbar, run it as an Administrator, or another user, or troubleshoot “compatibility issues” if it won’t run.
Another great new addition to Windows Explorer is the Quick Access Toolbar. This gives you easy access to options like New Folder, Minimise, Undo and more. It’s customisable, too – click the arrow to the right of the default buttons, in the Explorer window caption bar, and choose the options you need. And you can add any other Ribbon option on the Quick Access Toolbar by right-clicking it and selecting ‘Add to Quick Access Toolbar’.