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Windows 8: Master basic functions on the Start screen

Instead of the Start menu that was in previous versions of Windows all the way back to Windows 95, there is a brand new Start screen in Windows 8. The Start menu no longer exists and everything you need is accessible through tiles and functions on the Start screen. Some functions are obvious, but some are not, so let's take a close look at some of them.

Windows 8 Start

There are many tiles and some represent apps installed from the app store, some are for programs installed in Windows and some have other functions. Some apps are live and you will see that their contents change and display different information, but others are static.

If you left click a tile on the Start screen, the app is started, the software is run or in the case of Desktop, you go to the Windows desktop that we are all familiar with. If at any time you want to return to the Start screen you just press the Start key on the keyboard. It is sometimes called the Windows key because it has the Windows logo on it.

It is not the only way to return to the Start screen and if, when running an app, you hold the mouse in the bottom left corner of the screen a small Start screen tile appears. Click it to return to the Start screen. Try it with the Calendar.

At first you won't have many apps and they will all fit on the screen. As you add more software to your computer the number of tiles will no longer fit on the screen. Click and drag the scrollbar left or right to see all the apps.

Instead of scrolling the screen using the scrollbar at the bottom, if you have a wheel mouse you will find that spinning the wheel scrolls the tiles left and right.

In the bottom right corner of the screen is a magnifying glass icon and click this zooms out to give you a bird's eye view of all the tiles. If you see the one you want, click it to zoom back in and then you can click it to run the app.

Windows 8 Start

Not all apps have tiles. The Calculator and Paint accessories for example, don't have any tiles. To run these apps just right click the mouse on an empty part of the screen, such as near the top where it says Start. A panel appears at the bottom of the screen and clicking All Apps displays a complete list. Click the one you want to run.

Windows 8 Start

When you have finished using the computer and want to shut down, click your name/picture at the top of the screen and select Sign Out. This takes you to the Lock screen. Slide the photo out of the way by clicking and dragging up the screen and then click the power icon in the bottom right corner. Select Shut Down.