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Windows 8 Start Screen

Windows 8 uses a new touch-based interface with colored tiles that are shortcuts to programs and live widgets that report data from those programs. However, the Windows desktop is still there. You can switch between the Windows 8 Start Screen and the traditional Windows desktop to fit your needs.

What is a Microsoft User Account?

A Microsoft account is the email address and password that you use to sign in to Windows. Microsoft recommends you choose the email address you currently use to communicate with friends and sign in to your favorite websites.

When you sign in to your PC with a Microsoft account, you’ll connect your PC to places like Hotmail, Facebook, Twitter, SkyDrive, Flickr and LinkedIn. Your personal settings are synced to any PC running Windows 8 that you sign in to, including your themes, language preferences, browser favorites, and apps.

If you've already installed Windows 8 and didn't sign in with a Microsoft account or you don't have a Microsoft account and want to get one, follow these steps:

1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen or press the Windows (Windows_keyboard_icon_topic_site_tcm245-1288864.gif ) + C key to open the charms bar, and then click Settings. (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down to the Settings charm, and then click on it to open.)

2. Click Change PC settings.

3. Click Users.

4. Click Switch to a Microsoft account.

 

The Windows 8 Start Screen.

The functions of the Windows Start button have been replaced with a new Start screen - colored tiles that are shortcuts to programs and live widgets that report data from those programs. For example, on the Weather app, you can see the current temperature and forecast. On the Mail app, you can see how many unread email messages you have and view reminders for upcoming events.

Figure 1: Windows 8 Start screen

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The new Start screen gives you a larger desktop by expanding the borders left and right. This allows you to organize your apps into groups so you can see all of them. To navigate through the Start screen, either click and drag on the scroll bar at the bottom of the screen and then move the screen left or right, or swipe your finger left or right across the screen.

Figure 2: Scrolling through the Start screen

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Customizing Your Start Screen:

You can customize your Start screen by changing the name or appearance of a group of tiles, and then organize your Start Screen by creating new groups for frequently used or similar apps.

1. To create a new group, select a tile, drag it to an open space, and drop it. You can have many groups on the Start screen. Scroll right or left to see your groups by clicking and dragging the scroll bar at the bottom of the screen.

Figure 1: Select and drag a tile

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2. To change the order of your groups, first reduce the size of your groups. Click the zoom button in the lower right corner of the screen, or hold down the Ctrl key and turn the mouse wheel. Then drag your groups into the new order.

Figure 2: The zoom button

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3. To name a group, while in the zoomed view, right-click the group you want to name. Then in the lower left corner, click Name group.

Figure 3: Click Name Group and then type name

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4. In the Name box, type a name for the group, and then click Name.

5. Click anywhere on the screen to return to the normal view. The new name for the group displays.

Figure 4: Start screen with new group name


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