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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

On the top are thumbnails for the most recent sites you've visited or tabs you've opened; click any to go there, or click the X at the top of any to close it.

To go to a new site, click the + button to the far right of the thumbnails and a page appears with a blank address bar at the bottom, a list of sites you've visited frequently, and any sites you've pinned to the Start screen. Click a frequently visited site or pinned site to go there, or type an address into the Address bar.

opening a blank tab in IE
Opening a new blank tab in the Windows 8 version of Internet Explorer: nothing on top, thumbnails and an address bar at the bottom. 

Working with the new Windows 8 apps

As I mentioned above, Windows 8 ships with a complement of new Windows 8 apps including Mail, People, Weather, Music, Bing, Photos, Maps and others. You can also download third-party Windows 8 apps through the Windows Store, although there aren't a great many available yet.

Providing details about how each of these apps works is beyond the scope of this article. So instead, I'll show you how to work with Windows 8 apps in general. (See "Meet the Start screen" for the differences between Desktop apps and Windows 8 apps.)

One thing to keep in mind about most Windows 8 apps: They're generally not powerful. Some are downright anemic. They're more like tablet apps than they are full-blown applications written for traditional computers. In Mail, for example, you can't create new mail folders, read mail using threaded messaging or make rules to route incoming mail to specific folders. And the SkyDrive Windows 8 app doesn't sync files between your Windows 8 devices and your SkyDrive cloud-based storage (for that you'll have to download the SkyDrive Desktop app).

Most of the other Windows 8 apps have similar limitations. They're fine for tablets, but they're often not so fine for traditional computers.

Windows 8 apps are designed to run in full-screen mode, so you won't be able to resize them like Desktop apps. And there's no apparent way to close Windows 8 apps. It can be done, however: When you're in the app, press the Alt key + F4 -- or if you have a touch screen, drag from the top of the screen until the app shrinks to a small size in the middle of the screen, then keep dragging it to the bottom of the screen.

 

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