Windows 8/8.1 Useful Shortcuts


In an attempt to make using Windows 8 & 8.1 a little easier, especially for those who use shortcuts, we have put together a reference list for you to use.

  • Windows key + D = Desktop (A quick way to get back to the desktop)
  • Windows key + X = Will bring up a useful menu allowing quick access to features and options such as ‘Control Panel’ and ‘Shut down or sign out’. Pressing the underlined letter will take you straight to that feature. E.g. Windows key + X followed by ‘A’ will open a command prompt with administrative rights.

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Microsoft Release Windows 8

Windows 8 has been out for a couple of weeks now, so what is it like and is it worth upgrading?

Windows 8
Image courtesy of Microsoft

We’ve actually been using Windows 8 since the release previews and our general consensus is that, once you’ve got over the fact that the Start menu is now a Start screen and you’ve pinned all your main programs to the task bar, it’s pretty much the same as Windows 7. Except it feels even faster than Windows 7 with the same hardware.

If you don’t have a touch screen, the Start screen experience is ok, but you only get the full experience with a touch screen. However you could get one of the new types of touch mouse as a half way house. Microsoft Touch Mouse

Microsoft Touch Mouse
Image courtesy of Microsoft

Also most new laptops, will have touchpads with gesture support, so you can still utilise pinch zooming etc… But we’ve found once everything is pinned, you rarely go to the Start screen, except maybe to search for something that you haven’t pinned. Searching for programs on the start screen is crazy fast, just hit the windows key and start typing, you get Programs/Apps by default, but you’re just a click away from searching settings or files, or within another program.

With the Windows 8 Pro upgrade costing only £24.99, it’s a tempting offer: Windows 8 Pro Upgrade, if you’re getting new hardware then getting Windows 8 makes sense, especially if you can choose something with a touch screen.

Microsoft Surface Tablet – First Impressions

Microsoft Surface – First impressions

Photo courtesy of Microsoft

My 32gb Surface turned up today so here are my initial impressions. My hope for the product is that I can use it on a daily basis instead of a laptop, although most people seem to think this is a fanciful wish and I’ll end up lugging both around as I’ve done with my Ipad and laptop for the last couple of years. I’ve been using Windows 8 on a touch enabled laptop for the last couple of months so have grown used to Metro (not allowed to call it that anymore but I will anyway) and have, contrary to my initial impressions, really grown to like it.

I ordered the 32gb device with a cyan touch keyboard, the packaging was very well presented. I really like the way the keyboard snaps to the tablet, no messing around or fiddling to make sure it is lined up just put it together and it snaps into place – very nice.

Usual Windows 8 setup screens which took a couple of minutes to complete without any problems, these included joining my wifi network and setting the login account to my Windows Live (also Office 365) account. So after just a few minutes the new look desktop appears. Skydrive immediately pops up with settings transferred from my Win 8 laptop and touching the email Icon brings up the accounts which I’ve used on the Windows 8 laptop, all I have to do is re-enter my password and I’m up and running with messaging.

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