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Windows 8: Use and configure apps

The biggest change in Windows 8 over previous versions of the operating system is the new Start screen and the apps that appear on it. A small collection of apps is provided when you first start Windows 8 and more are avialable online. Although each app is different, some features and functions are common to all apps. Learn how to use and configure one app and you can apply the knowledge to a wide range of apps. Let's look at the Weather app.

Move and configure tiles
The Weather app tile on the Start screen can be moved by clicking and dragging it to a new location. You might want to make it the first tile on the screen so you can see it when you start the computer or whenever you switch to the Start screen.

Right click the Weather tile and a panel is displayed at the bottom of the screen with several options. Unpin from Start removes the tile from the Start screen, but it does not delete the app. To remove all the files, click Uninstall instead. The Weather app is a large tile and you can reduce the size by clicking the Smaller icon. It is a live tile, which means that it shows live information that is regularly updated. For example, it shows a mini weather report on the tile without you having to run the app. There is an option the bottom panel to turn off this live update facility.

Explore the Weather app
Left click the tile to start it. The current weather is displayed on the left and there are forecasts for the next few days. More information is off the screen, so use the scrollbar at the bottom of the screen to view the rest. There is hourly forecasts, maps, historical data and so on. Scroll to the far right using the scroll bar at the bottom of the screen to view the historical weather chart. Under it are icons to show the temperature, rainfall, sunshine, and snow. Click them to view the different data available.

On the home screen where the current weather and the forecasts are displayed are some controls. On the right is a right arrow and clicking it shows more forecasts further into the future. An up arrow displays more information.

Windows 8 Weather app
The weather app

Add more locations
Right click on the screen and two panels appear, one at the top and the other at the bottom of the screen. In the bottom right corner is the option to switch between Fahrenheit and Celcius.

At the top is a World Weather icon. Clicking this displays a map of the world and selected locations, such as Paris, New York, Cape Town and so on, display the weather. Click the left arrow at the top to go back to the Weather app's main screen.

Right click the home screen to display the top and bottom panels, then click the Places icon. On the screen that appears, you can add new locations. Click the tile with the plus symbol. You are prompted to enter a location. Type the name of the nearest big city and it should be recognised by the app. You can then add it. (The target icon at the right of the location box adds your current location.)

Windows 8 Weather app
Scroll right to see more information, right click for the top and bottom panels

Several locations can be added, but which one will be displayed when the app starts? Right click a location tile and click Set as default. It then becomes the top tile. Any tile apart from the first one can be made the default - the first one is the default. Any location tile can be deleted by right clicking and then clicking Remove, except the first location tile. If you want to delete the the first location tile, make another one the default and then you can right click the tile and select Remove.

Use the charms
When you are on the Weather home screen, move the mouse to the top right-hand corner of the screen and let it hover for a second. The charms panel appears and if you select Settings, then settings specific to the Weather app are displayed, such as Farenheit or Celcius. Click the About link in the panel and you'll see where all the data comes from. There are lots of links and clicking them goes to the website and displays it in Internet Explorer.

Windows 8 Weather app
Display the charms panel and click Settings for the app settings

Quit the app
There isn't a button or menu option to close an app. The idea is that you leave them open so you can easily switch to them. To go to the Start screen just press the Start (Windows) key. To switch to another app that is running, move the mouse to the top left corner of the screen and a tile is displayed for each app. Click one to switch to it. You can switch back in the same way.

If you really want to quit an app, press the Start key to go to the Start screen, move the mouse to the top left corner to display the tiles of running apps, right click the Weather tile and select Close.

Windows 8 Weather app
Close an app in the top left corner of the screen

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