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10 Windows 8 tips, tricks and hacks

Preston Gralla | Feb. 1, 2013
Starting to get comfortable with Windows 8? Don't stop now: From invoking 'God Mode' to hacking the lock screen, here are 10 ways to make Windows 8 act the way you want.

(Note: You can also rearrange and regroup the apps on your Start screen. To find out how, see "Customize the Start screen" in the Windows 8 cheat sheet.)

9. Build an Applications folder for quick program launching from the Start screen or Desktop

There's an even quicker way to access all your apps, whether you're on the Desktop or the Start screen: Create an Applications folder to house them all.

First, run File Explorer. Navigate to the Desktop and create a new folder. After you create it, rename it:


On the Desktop and in File Explorer, the folder will be called Applications. Double-click it to see a list of all your applications, including Windows 8 Store apps, traditional Desktop applications and many system apps such as Control Panel. To run an app, double-click it.

The Applications folder includes both Windows 8 apps and Desktop apps. Click to view larger image.

There's still one problem, though: The folder doesn't show up on the Start screen. It's simple to put it there, though. Right-click it on the Desktop or in File Explorer and select "Pin to Start." It's now pinned to the Start screen, though it might not be immediately visible there.

To find it, scroll all the way over to the right, and it'll be there. Click it, and the folder opens with all your apps. If you like, you can move it to a more prominent location on the Start screen by dragging it to the left.

10. Fool the Mail app into using POP mail

The Windows 8 Mail app has a surprising shortcoming -- it won't work with email accounts that use the POP3 mail protocol. Instead, Windows 8 Mail works with Web-based mail accounts such as Gmail and and accounts that use IMAP.

However, there's a workaround that solves the problem. You can tell either a Gmail or an account to get POP3-based mail from a POP3 account, and then tell Windows 8 Mail to get mail from that account.

Of course, you'll also have to consider whether your POP email account might contain sensitive correspondence that you don't wish to share with an additional cloud-based service. If you're willing to route your mail through or Gmail, keep reading for how to do it. (Skip to Gmail instructions.)

Configure to get POP3 mail

Got an account? You might have one without knowing it. The service was formerly called both Hotmail and Windows Live Mail at various times in its history, and those accounts have been converted to automatically. So if you've got an old Hotmail account, for instance, just go to and log in; you'll be redirected to


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