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Windows 8 cheat sheet

Preston Gralla | Oct. 29, 2012
How to find your way around Microsoft's new OS and make the most of its features

If you right-click when you're on the main screen of the Weather app, for instance, you'll be able to tell the app to refresh itself to check for the latest weather, change the degrees between Fahrenheit and Celsius, navigate to other places you've chosen to display weather, and so on.

If you display the App bar from the main screen of the People app, you can add a new contact or show which of your contacts are currently online. And if you display the App bar from the Notifications page of the People app, you can only refresh the page to check for the latest notifications.

Also, when you're in any app you can run the Settings charm and change the settings for that specific app.

The two Internet Explorers

In Windows 8, Microsoft introduces Internet Explorer 10. No, let me amend that slightly. It introduces two different versions of Internet Explorer 10: one a Windows 8 app and one a Desktop app.

The Windows 8 IE app, like many other Windows 8 apps, is somewhat underpowered. Its greatest shortcoming is that it doesn't have a Favorites manager. You can pin sites to the Start screen, but that's no substitute for a Favorites manager, because you won't be able to group the sites into folders -- and if you pin too many sites, your Start screen gets so cluttered it's barely usable. The Windows 8 version of IE also won't run add-ons, browser extensions or ActiveX controls.

What's more, the two versions of Internet Explorer don't always play well together. When you open a website in one version, that site doesn't open in the other version -- so you can have one set of sites open in the Windows 8 version and another set of sites opened in the Desktop version.

For these reasons, some traditional PC users will choose to forgo the Windows 8 version of IE in favor of the Desktop version. If you do want to try out the Windows 8 version, here are a few tips for using it.

Using the Windows 8 IE10 app
The Windows 8 IE app without controls
The Windows 8 version of Internet Explorer shows just a full-screen Web page.

When you launch the Windows 8 version of IE, at first all you see is a Web page, with no address bar or other controls. Right-click or press the Windows key + Z (or swipe down from the top or up from the bottom of a touch screen) to display the App bar, and two sets of controls appear.

The Windows 8 IE app with controls
The Windows 8 IE app with controls. Click to view larger image.

 

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