Several months ago I had the opportunity to meet with the Microsoft Training Team during a Verizon Ambassador event to learn more about the devices I already own including Windows 8.1. It turns out, I was making my life harder by trying to “wing it” when it comes to learning how to use my devices and their operating systems. What I should have done is make use of some of Microsoft or Verizon’s training videos to become more comfortable right from the start and to avoid the frustration of trial and error.
3 Reasons Windows 8.1 is Better
We spent about 30 minutes covering Windows 8.1. I’d actually been using it for a few months on an all-in-one computer I already owned so I thought I had it figured out. Boy, was I wrong! Microsoft started the event by giving us each a Nokia Lumia 2520 Tablet loaded Windows 8.1 to learn on. It was obvious within the first few minutes that I knew NOTHING about Windows 8.1 and I was making it so much harder than it was.
How To use Windows 8.1 – Quick Overview – The Basics Tutorial:
- How do I customize the Start Screen (the Windows tiles) can easily be customized to provide the info that’s important to you.
- To move an app shortcut to your Start Screen, select it from the apps list (see how to access below). Press and hold the button and you’ll see an option to “pin to start.” Choose that and your app icon will move to your start screen. Options available for pinning including selecting a size – small, medium, or large. If your tile can be made live, you do it here as well. Live tiles give you a preview
- You can rearrange your tiles on the Start screen by touching and holding until the options appear at the bottom of the screen. Then drag them to the new location. You can resize and turn on/off the live tile as well (see the video below).
- How do I get to the Charms Bar? Swiping from the right hand edge towards the middle will bring up the Charms Bar.
- The Start Button is there – always go to the start button when you get lost and start over from scratch.
- You’ll also find the Search Bar in the upper right hand corner. Use it to find out how to change a setting, find an app, etc. It will search on your local device as well as on the Internet.
- Settings is here as well. If you’re in the operating system, you’ll find options to connect to Wi-Fi, personalize the colors, fonts, background, share the screen, and more. If you’re accessing settings from a running application, say Twitter, you’ll find the Twitter setting options there.
- How do I find the apps list? Swipe from the bottom up to access your apps list. That will show you everything that’s currently installed on your computer. Swipe left to right to see them all. If you scroll
- How do I close an app? Swipe from the top edge to the bottom to close the current app.
- How do I tell which apps are running? Swipe from the left side approximately 3” into the middle of the screen and then back to the left hand edge to find out what apps are currently running on your Windows 8 device. It also allows you to switch between running applications.
- How do I run two apps side-by-side: You can multitask two apps at the same time by pulling them into the middle and splitting the screen (that’s how I watch HuluPlus and play a game at the same time).
Windows 8.1: Organizing your Start screen
Learn More about Windows 8.1
Microsoft offers instructional videos for Windows 8.1 in the following topics:
- More about Windows 8.1 features
- Learn how to get online
- Learn about Microsoft account
- Learn about the Start screen
- Learn about the desktop
- Learn how to get around your PC
- Learn about the charms
- Learn how to get and use apps
- Learn about Internet Explorer 11
- Learn how to personalize your PC
- Learn about OneDrive
- Games, Music, Photos, Videos, TV & Movies, Keep your kids safer on the PC
This is just a quick overview of the Windows 8.1 features, but I learned more in this few minutes than I did in the few months I was hands-on and guessing at how to work with it. Those few moments of instruction made me become a Windows 8.1 lover.
Did you know that Verizon offers free instruction for their devices? I didn’t! You’ll find them in your MyVerizon homepage.
Have you tried Windows 8? Do yove it or hate it?