Top five Windows tips and tricks

If you’re using Windows 8, some of these tips below may still work, but you can click here to jump to the next page for five tips specifically for Windows 8.

Windows 7

1. Search

When you open up the Start Menu, you can start typing to look for a program file. For example, opening up the Start Menu and pressing the ‘S’ key will search for and bring up Skype if you have it installed, if it fails to do so, try typing the full title of the file or program for which you’re looking. 

2. Pinning to the Start Menu or Taskbar

You can pin programs that you use frequently to your Start Menu or Taskbar. To do this simply right-click on a program in either the Start Menu and select “Pin to Taskbar” or “Pin to Start Menu”.

3. Show desktop

Moving your mouse to the bottom right-hand corner of your screen will show the Desktop, clicking once will minimise all of your windows and clicking again will bring your windows back.

4. Change your backgrounds

Right clicking on your Desktop background and selecting “Personalize” will allow you to change a number of settings. 

By clicking on “Desktop background” you can even select a series of photos to use as your background, and choose how frequently they will change. To choose your own images, click Browse and select the folder where you have the images that you would like to use as backgrounds, just remember to click “Save Changes” when you’re done.


5. Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Shift+Arrow keys. Allows you to select multiple items, such as emails or documents. Alternatively, the Shift key can be used in combination with the mouse to select multiple items. To do this, click on the first item you wish to select, hold down Shift and then click on the last item.
  • Ctrl+Mouse. Allows you to click on and select multiple items and move them, similar to the shift function above but this shortcut enables you to select non-consecutive items.
  • Ctrl+A. Select All; highlights all of the text or items in a particular window.
  • Ctrl+C. Copy; saves an item or a block of text to your clipboard, which can then be duplicated by the use of the Paste function.
  • Ctrl+V. Paste; inserts any text or other item(s) which you have copied.

Windows 8

1. Customise your tiles
You can change the size of your tiles in Windows 8 by right clicking on them and selecting resize.
Move a tile by clicking on it, holding down the mouse button, and dragging it around.
Tiles can also be pinned to the Start screen by right clicking and then pressing “Pin to Start.”

2. Hot corners
Moving your mouse to the top or bottom right-hand corner of your screen will activate the Charms menu, giving you access to a few useful features.
Moving your mouse to the bottom left-hand corner and clicking will open the Start screen and, right clicking will open the Power User Menu.
Moving your mouse to the top left corner and then dragging down will display all the apps that you currently have running, which you can right click to close.

3. Run two apps at once
Holding down the Windows Key and then pressing the full stop/period key will move the app to the right-hand side of your screen, doing this again will move it to the opposite side. Once you have done this you can open another app to the other side. This can also be done by clicking and dragging the top of a tile to either side of your screen.

4. Different types of passwords.
In Windows 8 your password doesn’t have to be a word, it can be a 4-digit pin, or a ‘Picture Password’.
To change your password, go to PC Settings > Users > Sign-in options.
A Picture Password enables you to access your computer by performing a series of customisable gestures on a picture, which is especially handy if your device has a touch screen.

5. Keyboard shortcuts:

  • Windows Key + D opens the Windows Desktop.
  • Windows Key + C opens the Charms menu.
  • Windows Key + I opens Settings.
  • Windows Key + Tab shows your open apps.
  • Windows Key + Print Screen will take a photo of your screen and save it to your My Pictures folder.

Written by ryanbo