Windows 8.1 tips and tricks to aid productivity.


Windows 8 had some pretty big changes when compared to the familiarities that were always kept with every previous upgrade of Windows that Microsoft released – Namely on this occasion the removal of the Start menu button and the addition of the tile screen were met with mixed reviews.

Well Microsoft quickly took on board the complaints and set about rectifying some of the features people did not like in Windows 8 and recently released an updated Operating system named Windows 8.1.

Below are listed 9 tips to aid productivity when using 8.1

1 – Boot to desktop

In Windows 8.1 you can now boot directly to the desktop. Although, this feature needs to be manually activated. To accomplish this right-click the Task bar > Properties > Navigation tab. Under Start screen, select the first option that says, “When I sign in or close all apps on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start”. Click on OK or Apply.

Windows 8 – Desktop

2 –  Give me a proper Start Button

Windows 8.1 is reintroduced a dumbed down Start button, but thankfully there are alternatives that bring back the one we liked in the Windows 7 version. One of the most popular is Classic Shell. The app offers three types of Start Button – Classic, Two Column and Windows 7.

The latest version offers improved compatibility with Windows 8.1. New features include: a shutdown button and the ability to pin programs to the task bar from an explorer windows.

3 – Open Libraries

Microsoft has disabled the libraries feature. However this can be reactivated easily. To do this open up Windows Explorer > View > Options. Select the box ‘Show libraries’ in the navigation pane to re-activate the feature.


4 – Uninstall unused apps at the same time

Windows 8.1 allows users to select multiple apps and uninstall them all at the same time. If you ever need to do this, right click on the Start screen > Customize > Tick apps you want to uninstall.

5 – Disable Charms

Charms in Windows 8.1 aim to speed up access to menus. But if you find yourself inadvertently activating the menu with your mouse, it’s possible to disable it.

Go to Task bar > Properties > Navigation and deselect the “When I point to the upper-right corner, show the charms.”

Windows 8 – Charms


6 – Open files in the desktop instead of Modern UI

Music, videos, pictures and PDF files are automatically opened using Modern UI apps by default, but you can changed to be opened within the desktop.

To do this, from the Windows Start screen type “default programs and click on the Default Programs icon under results. Click “Set your default programs” and choose the app you want to set as your default for your files.

7 – Keyboard shortcuts

Many people still use the mouse to perform tasks which can be done more rapidly using a keyboard shortcut. Here some useful combinations which will get you started.

Windows key + F: Opens up the Search box to help find files.

Windows key + I: Opens up the Settings Charm.

Windows key + C: Opens up the charms menu

Windows key + H: Opens the Share charm in any app you are currently in.

Windows key + M: Minimizes all windows and brings you back to the desktop.

Window key + O: Locks the orientation of the screen

Windows key + Q: Opens up the App Search pane. This now appears alone and without the Start screen.

Windows key + (full stop) + Arrow key: Moves app to the left or right of screen so you can view more than one app at once. Using the down arrow key with this combination will close the app your currently in. More shortcuts can be found.

8 – Disable notifications

Get work done without being distracted by notifications, Windows 8.1 has got you covered.

Go to PC Settings > Search & apps and then make sure the Quiet Hours switch is on. You can

then choose which times you want to be left in peace.

9 – Search locally and on the internet

The search in Windows 8.1 searches files on your computer and also for solutions on the Internet simultaneously. When you enter a term, the local files will appear as normally, but swiping to the left will bring up other web pages Bing has trawled through. This also shows up files on One Drive too.

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