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10/18/2013
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Windows 8.1 Desktop PC Installs: 8 Tips

Windows 8 was a complete flop on non-touch desktop PCs but Windows 8.1 cures some headaches. Here's how desktop users can get the most out of Microsoft's new operating system.

5. Set the Start button to launch the All Apps view.

The boot-to-desktop mode is a nice touch, but if mouse-and-keyboard users want to further purge Live Tiles from their workflow, they can do so by configuring the Start button to launch the All Apps screen. (By default, the button jumps to the Start screen.) Go to the Navigation tab and click "Show the Apps view automatically when I go to Start."

6. Configure the All Apps view to your liking.

Windows 8.1 users who spend most of their time in the desktop will probably pin essential applications to the taskbar. Still, the All Apps view offers new configurations that make it easy to organize both legacy software and Modern UI touch apps.

Desktop users especially might be interested in listing desktop apps ahead of all others. This view can be activated by selecting "List desktop apps first in the Apps view when it's sorted by category" in the Navigation tab, and then choosing "by category" in the All Apps view. The All Apps screen can also sort apps according to name, installation date or frequency of use.

7. Disable the hot corners.

Many of Windows 8's features, such as the Search charm, remain invisible until activated, either through a touch gesture or by pointing the mouse at a hot corner. Some users found this minimalism confusing. If this matches your experience, Windows 8.1 will let you deactivate hot corners through the Navigation tab.

8. Poke around the Modern UI once in a while.

Most of these tips help you treat your Windows 8.1 PC like an upgrade to Windows 7 -- that is, as if the Modern UI didn't exist. Still, Microsoft is committed to its new platform, and as it and its partners slowly add new apps, even hardcore desktop users might find a Live Tile or two to interest them.

If you find yourself in this position, Windows 8.1 makes it much easier to multitask between the desktop programs and Windows Store apps. The update not only provides more flexibility for snapping apps together, but also does so much more fluidly and quickly than before. Also, the Modern UI's apps are much improved. The original Windows 8 Mail app, for example, was so basic that users were almost forced to either use a desktop email program or handle email via the Web.

Shortcomings like these did a lot to encourage people to spend most of their time on the desktop side of Windows 8. But with Windows 8.1, Microsoft is stepping up its game. It's too early to predict whether improved apps and better multitasking can reverse this trend -- but it's progress.

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ratinaflat
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ratinaflat,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/29/2013 | 4:21:46 AM
Windows 8
The best way to get rid of the windows 8 mess, which was ostensibly made for tablets and not desktops is to download and install CLASSIC SHELL.  You will be relitavely back to normal in no time.
wht
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wht,
User Rank: Strategist
10/23/2013 | 4:51:03 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Desktop PC Installs: 8 Tips
The metro is only front and center, as you put it, if you leave it in default mode. It is very easy (2 minutes or less) to change the default to boot to desktop so it looks like Win 7. Incidentally, I now prefer the metro vs the desktop screen 90% of the time. One keystroke to swap back and forth...how easy is that. Fools like you that only complain make it difficult for yourself, and misinform those not using Win 8 yet, or using it incorrectly for their needs. If you are a consumer I give you some forgiveness, but if you are an IT staffer you are an embarrassment.
moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
10/22/2013 | 10:46:27 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Desktop PC Installs: 8 Tips
Win8.1 remains a flop on desktops because the Metro UI is still front and center, even when booting straight to the desktop. In order to get to anything that used to be in a well-organized and quickly accessed start menu one has to continue to hassle with Metro that looks like a mix between Bloomberg TV and an explosion in a crayon factory while giving zero means of hierarchical organization. Grouping the tiles is no help because there will still be only one level and given how much space they take up even when resized (all extra steps that are not necessary with a real menu) it will only be a matter of time until you need to swipe left and right to get to what you need. That UI just sucks for desktop. The one OS for everything strategy is the dumbest idea Microsoft ever cooked up and they had plenty of dumb ideas.
The only chance for 8.1 is that it can still be customized using a large number of 3rd party tools that force 8.1 into the OS that it should be right out of the box.
MarciaNWC
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MarciaNWC,
User Rank: Author
10/21/2013 | 7:19:36 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Desktop PC Installs: 8 Tips
Thanks for the helpful tips. Win 8 has been frustrating; Win 8.1 sounds like it's a good step forward to making things smoother.
midmachine
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midmachine,
User Rank: Strategist
10/21/2013 | 5:54:16 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Desktop PC Installs: 8 Tips
I can't crash it and believe me I've tried. Slowed it down a bunch (my fault) but couldn't crash it. Big improvement over 8.0, I am enjoying it.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
10/19/2013 | 8:50:07 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Desktop PC Installs: 8 Tips
I don't have experience yet with both Win 7 and Win 8 on the same machine, but I actually find Win 8.1 on my Surface Pro more satisfying than Windows 7 on my Lenovo ThinkPad, which is less than two years old. Yes, Win 8.1 still makes some things harder than they should be, but it runs much snappier than Win 7 in my opinion, crashes far less, lets me throw more at it at once in the desktop, etc. Some of the Win 8.1 advantage I'm seeing is owed to the Surface Pro's superior hardware, but some is also due to Win 8.1 being better in some ways.
mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
10/19/2013 | 8:03:06 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Desktop PC Installs: 8 Tips
I've seen a lot of reviews from staff writers, not that many from users. Also, anyone from Win 7 that did the upgrade? Is it worth it?
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