Windows 8 Tip: Bring Back The Start Menu With Start8

Stardock Start8 - restore Windows 8 Start menu

Missing the Start button on your new Windows 8 computer? It’s easy to get it back with Start8 from Stardock Software.

Microsoft made a bold (and perhaps misguided) decision to insist that everyone use the new Windows 8 Start screen to start programs. Sure, there’s a rocky transition, but the idea is that if everyone becomes familiar with the Start screen, then two things happen: (1) the Start screen becomes pretty lovable, and (2) people will be more likely to use Windows 8 tablets and phones, since they share the identical interface. […] continued

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Windows 8 Tip: Sign In With A Microsoft Account

Windows 8 - Sign In With A Microsoft Account

One of the first questions asked during setup of a new Windows 8 PC has particular significance. By default, you’ll be asked to sign in with a Microsoft account. If you do, you’ll be able to take advantage of one of the best features of Windows 8, the built-in ability to sync settings automatically among your PCs. […] continued

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Windows Tip: Use The Browser Address Bar For Web Searches

Internet Explorer address bar

You can type web searches into the address bar of your browser and get the same results as if you had typed them directly into Google.

This is an old trick but it’s not well known – and it’s incredibly useful. I type search terms into my browser all day, without the extra clicks that would be necessary to go to […] continued

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Windows 8 Tip: What You Need To Know About Windows 8 Security


Windows 8 includes antivirus software built into the operating system. You don’t have to install anything additional for malware protection on a Windows 8 computer.

Microsoft has been increasingly assertive about giving away antivirus software but this is the first time it has included this level of protection as part of the operating system. […] continued

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Windows 8 Tip: Turn On File History

Windows 8 File History - search on Start screen

Windows 8 includes a feature that lets you recover older versions of documents or photos easily and flexibly. File History is an improved version of “Previous Versions,” a feature of Windows 7 and Vista that almost no one ever discovered in its hiding place on the Properties menu of individual files. […] continued

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Windows 8 Tip: The Five Things You Need To Know For Your First Windows 8 Computer

Windows 8 - Windows key to return to Start screen

When you sit down at your first Windows 8 computer, you will be disoriented. Important controls are hidden, toolbars appear and disappear in ways that are unintuitive, and the Start button is missing from the desktop.

The learning curve is not steep! In fact, a Windows 7 user can be completely comfortable at a Windows 8 computer after learning only five things. […] continued

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Windows 8 Tip: Make Outlook The Default Program For Mail

Windows 8 - make Outlook the default program for mail

This tip is for Outlook users who want to use Outlook exclusively and bypass the Windows 8 Mail app on a desktop computer or notebook.


Open Default Programs and select Microsoft Outlook.

Click on: “Set this program as default – Use the selected program to open all file types and protocols it can open by default.”

Applies to: Outlook users on Windows 8

Windows 8 includes a simplified full-screen Mail app. […] continued

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Windows 8 Tip: Set Internet Explorer To Open On The Desktop


This tip is directed to people experiencing Windows 8 for the first time on a desktop or notebook computer who want to minimize confusion by spending most of their time on the familiar Windows 7-style desktop.


Windows 8 - Internet Explorer - open links on desktop

In Internet Explorer, click on Tools / Options / Programs.

Choose to open links: “Always in Internet Explorer on the desktop.”

Check the box: “Open Internet Explorer tiles on the desktop.”

Applies to: Windows 8 on desktop PCs and notebooks. […] continued

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Windows 8 Tip: Make Desktop The Default Tile On The Start Screen


There is no shortage of guides for learning Windows 8 basics, starting with Microsoft’s guide to new features. Here’s an article that goes through the basics of the Charms bar, the Start Screen, switching apps and snapping them to the sidebar, printing from apps, and more.

Instead of writing a tutorial, I’ll be giving you a series of tips that aren’t as well known – settings that might make Windows 8 more comfortable and easier to adjust to. […] continued

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Windows Tip: Customize The Windows 7 Start Menu


We have a long relationship with the Windows Start menu. It was introduced in ancient times in Windows 95 and expanded to two columns in Windows XP. We are emotionally attached to it at a deep level, as you will discover when you try to adjust to a different concept in Windows 8. […] continued

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Windows Tip: Remove Unwanted Toolbars

Unwanted toolbars - Bing Bar and Bing Rewards

We are under constant assault from advertisers seeking a foothold on our computers. We invite some of them into our lives voluntarily – every time you do a Google search or check your Facebook page, you’re making advertisers very happy (and making Google and Facebook exceedingly rich).

There is, however, a bit of advertising that you can control. […] continued

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Windows Tip: Turn Off Transparency In Windows 7

Windows 7 - Tip: Turn Off Transparency

There are thousands of ways to customize Windows 7. This week I’ll describe a few that might fit a few people and be unimportant for others.

Almost everyone runs Windows 7 with Aero enabled. Aero harnesses the video power in the current generation of motherboards and video cards to produce the thumbnail window previews that appear when you hover over taskbar icons, along with subtle animations and many more effects. […] continued

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Windows 7 Tips For Power Searches

Windows 7 Tips For Power Searches


Windows 7 Search
More About Windows 7 Search

Windows 7 Searches – Small Business
Windows 7 Searches – Libraries
Windows 7 Searches – Search Techniques

SUMMARY: Once you have some experience with Windows 7 searches, Mark Minasi has some tips for power users here.

Old Windows XP computers are falling over left and right, meaning every day people are being exposed to Windows 7 for the first time. […] continued

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Getting Started With Windows 7

A lot of people are buying Windows 7 computers! Here’s a roundup of articles about new features to discover and some of the ways that Windows 7 is different than Windows XP. Click on the pictures or the titles for the original articles with all the details to help you get started! […] continued

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Customize Windows 7 Taskbar – The Bruceb Way


Windows 7 taskbar
Customize Windows 7 taskbar – restore quick launch
Customize Windows 7 taskbar – expand buttons

I use a lot of programs. (If you have a morbid desire to know how many programs you use, install this little gadget from Wakoopa. Remember, this is not a contest – please, no wagering.)

You can pin 20 or so icons on the Windows 7 taskbar, more than enough for most people, but I wanted easy access to more even programs and shortcuts without cluttering up my desktop. […] continued

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