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Stuck Using Windows 8? 5 Helpful Navigation Tips

Windows 8

Windows 8. No matter how glamorous, appealing and trendy Microsoft and some of its PC manufacturing partners try to make it look, IT SUCKS!

It’s NOT user-friendly, it’s NOT easy to use, it’s does NOT work well on a regular desktop or laptop computer, it requires a HUGE learning curve, and it’s VERY FRUSTRATING for normal computer users. (You can still read my complete review of Windows 8 by downloading it at

I’ve spoken with computer professionals nationwide, as well as some of my more “techie” friends. Every single one of them who has tried Windows 8 say the same thing – “it’s HORRIBLE!”  Then they proceed to permanently erase it from their computer and reinstall Windows 7.

Thus far, I’ve been fortunate to only have had to work on one computer with the Windows 8 operating system installed. I think this is because most of my clients (and hopefully readers of this column) heeded my warning late last year to stay away from – no, avoid like the plague – buying any computer with Windows 8 on it.

However, I’m sure some of my readers didn’t hear (or heed) my Paul Revere-esque alarms. Now they’re struggling trying to make sense of this strange, new operating system.

(By the way, just because all the computers at the big box stores come with Windows 8, does NOT mean you’re stuck with it. We can still order new computers with Windows 7 preinstalled – saving you the headaches and frustrations of Windows 8.)

So for those of you who maybe got a new computer with Windows 8 for Christmas and haven’t yet returned it or thrown it out the window, here are a few tips and tricks to help you:

  • Use Search to open programs. When your computer powers on, you’ll see what is now called the Start screen. Unfortunately, it’s flat and doesn’t show all the software installed on your PC. However, you can launch programs using Search from the Start screen (located on the right side of the screen). Simply type in the name of the program you want, then click on the program’s name in the list of search results.
  • Forget the tiles, go to the desktop. Well, almost. The start button in the bottom left corner of the screen no longer exists. But you can go back to the familiar desktop by pressing Windows+D on your keyboard. (The Windows key on your keyboard has the Windows logo and is usually to the left of the spacebar.)
  • Quickly navigate to everything else. The Windows+X key combination gives you access to the control panel, power options, programs and features (where you add or remove programs) and much more.
  • How to close apps. Windows 8 apps do not have close or minimize buttons in the top right corner like a Windows desktop program. To close an app, move your mouse pointer to the top of the screen until it becomes a hand icon, then left click, hold and drag down. The app will minimize, allowing you to drag it to the bottom of the screen. Or, just press Alt-F4 to save a few steps.
  • Customize the Start screen. When you install software on your PC, their tiles are automatically added to the Start screen. But you can add your own. Simply press Windows+Z, select All Apps, then right-click the program you want to add.

Windows 8 is VERY CONFUSING. If you don’t already have it, avoid it. If you do have it, I would strongly suggest purchasing the book “Teach Yourself Visually Windows 8.”  It provides step-by-step explanations with pictures. You’ll need to keep this book next to your computer at all times!  You can purchase the book here: