Technology with attitude

26 Best Tips For Customizing Your Windows 8 And 8.1

0

If you’re keen on getting along with your Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 operating system, but don’t really dig the look and feel of it all, re-installing a preview OS version might not be necessary. Before you jump to any harsh decisions, check out these 25 tips on how to customize the OS, and you’ll probably be better off.

Start Screen App Pinning

In Windows 8, you would automatically get all your installed apps pinned in the Start screen, but with Windows 8.1 you have to do that by yourself. Pinning down apps means that you can quickly and easily access them when you need to open them fast. To pin them, simply open the Start screen, then click on the Apps button if you’re using Windows 8. If you’re on Windows 8.1, click on the arrow button from the down-left corner of the Start screen. From there, you will see the list with all your installed apps. Find the one you want pinned to the Start screen and click on it. The option should be then available. You can also pin other things to the Start screen, such as folders and shortcuts. To do this, simply go to the location of the desired file and right-click it. From the option list, choose the pin to Start option.

Although it’s not as straight forward, you can also move specific files to the Start screen. For this, you will need to use a little trick. Go to the location of your file and use the Send To option from the right-click menu. Send it to the desktop as a shortcut, then move your shortcut to the path C:ProgramDataMicrosoftWindowsStart MenuPrograms. Before you proceed, makes sure the “see hidden files” option is checked in your File Explorer. Next, go to your Start screen and use the key combo Windows + Q to bring up the search bar. Search for the specific file, the use the Pin to Start option.

Resize Your Tiles

The tiles in the Start screen are not only useful, but pretty neat as well. However, if you’re not a fan of how they all come together, it’s understandable, as some might enjoy their tiles to be smaller or larger. You can resize these tiles by right clicking them. If you’re on Windows 8, you will have the Smaller or Larger option, whereas Windows 8.1 will provide you with a Resize option that will offer as many as 4 different sizes if available. Take into account that not all apps can be resized in four different sizes. Desktop apps only offer two sizes usually.

Organizing the Start screen

The tiles in your Start screen can also be organized in groups, so you will know exactly where to grab a specific tile from. In Windows 8, this is more useful because all your apps appear automatically on your Start screen, whereas in 8.1 they only appear in the App screen, but leave the Start screen pretty clean. If you want to move a specific tile to a group, or place it in a group of its own, simply right-click on the app, and you will be presented with options for moving the tile, which can also be done with drag and drop, and also renaming a group. The group name appears above each group. Once you are done editing, you can click anywhere on the screen to exit the customize mode.

Personalize Further

Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 offer you further customization option. You can change not only the style, but the background, color and accent of your Start screen as well. This means that you can completely change the visuals for the Start screen, and you can even set your desktop wallpaper as the Start screen background. All this is available by bringing up the charm bar on both Windows 8 and 8.1, then choosing Settings, Change PC Settings and Personalize. The option to have you wallpaper as a background is only available in Windows 8.1.

Personalizing the Apps screen

By default, you will get the Start screen if you press the Windows button on your keyboard. However, there is a way to make that button open your Apps screen instead. For this, you’re going to need to go to the Properties menu of your Taskbar and go to the Start screen tab. From there, check the appropriate option. From there, you can also make it so Desktop apps will have priority over other apps in thee Start/Apps menu. In Windows 8, your Apps were placed with no customization option available. In Windows 8.1 however, you can sort them out by their type, installation date, usage frequency and name.

The Log-In Screen

By default, you are asked to enter a password every time you log in to your computer. However, you can change that so it will ask you for a PIN or picture password instead. The PIN is self explanatory, but for those who don’t know what the picture password is, we are going to get things straight. The picture password is a log-in method that requires you to draw three gestures on a picture of your choosing. It can be something from your gallery. Next time you open your PC, you will have to draw those three gestures the same way you did the first time. To get to this option, open up the charms bar, the look for the Settings/Change Settings charm. On Windows 8 you will have the User category, while Windows 8.1 comes with the Account one. Either way, you end up at the Log-In category, where you choose either method.

Taskbar Toolbars

Your taskbar offers the option of housing some toolbars that could be helpful for you. You can have toolbars for internet links, desktop apps and even web addresses, so you can enter a web address without even opening your browser. To put ne or more of these toolbars to good use, simply open up to settings by right-clicking on the taskbar, then go to the toolbar category. From there, select one or more of the ones that you want on your desktop. From here, you can also use the New Toolbar option to create a fresh toolbar that can lead you to any folder you want.

Uncover Hidden Items

If you need to poke around some hidden files or folders, the kind that Microsoft doesn’t really wants you to play with, you can do that by using the File Explorer. From there, you can go to the View menu and check the box that says hidden items. Sometimes you need ot see these files so you can fx or tweak things around.

No Lockscreen

This one requires you getting dowsn with some registry editing, although nothing complicated. You have to search for regedit in the Start screen,and once that’s ready, type the command HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindows.

After that, check for the Personalization key. If there is none, choose the New command from the edit menu and name the new command Personalization. Then choose New once more and then select the DWORD (32-bit) Value. This value has to be named NoLockScreen. The last step is double clicking on the lock screen value and changing the 1 to a 0. There will be no lock screen the next time you boot your PC.

All your apps in one folder

If you want to see all of your application in one single folder, you can do that. For some, this might be very useful because they like having everything in one place. To do this, create a new folder anywhere you want on your desktop, and give it the name Applications.{4234d49b-0245-4df3-b780-3893943456e1}. When you open it, you should see all of your apps together.

All the settings at your fingertips

There is a tweak called the God mode, where all your PC settings, meaning hundreds of them, are available in just one folder. For this, you have to create a new folder, and give it whatever name you want, followed by {ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}. From this folder, you will see pretty much any setting you could wish for, and all you have to do is click on them.