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Windows 8 Start Screen Tips and Tricks

In Windows 8, there is no Start menu as what you can find in Windows 7 or earlier versions. The old cascading style of Start menu is replaced with Windows 8 Style UI called Start screen.

It should be not hard for adventurous users acclimated to new ideas. For others, probably spend few minutes to pick some essential tips and tricks, then you’ll might like it and embrace this new design.

Press ENTER key to Show Desktop

Unlike the “Show Desktop” of previous Windows versions, the Windows 8 Desktop app doesn’t minimize all open windows but switch the Start screen to Desktop view. I would call it “Desktop Switch”, which can be activated by either one of these ways while you’re in the Windows 8 Start screen:

1. Hit ENTER key. This trick only work provided the Desktop app is the first app in Start screen – drag it to the top-left corner, right below the word “Start”, as shown:

Rearrange Windows 8 Start screen tiles

2. Hit Windows+D, Windows+B, ESC key, or Windows key (function as toggle to switch between Desktop and Start screen). NOTE: Unlike ENTER key (previous trick), the ESC and Windows key don’t work on Start screen that shown immediately after Windows boots up.

UPDATE: My mistake! When in Start screen,
1. ESC key is to show previous Windows app (if there is a Windows app running) or Desktop (if the previous window object is actually the Desktop).

2. Windows key is to toggle between Start screen and Windows app (if there is a Windows app running) or Desktop (if the previous view is Desktop).

Go back to Start screen

To open Windows 8 Start screen, use one of these ways:

Windows 8 Start button1. Click the Windows 8 Start button – move the mouse pointer to bottom-left corner and click this Modern UI style of Start button:

2. Click the Windows key or CTRL+ESC hotkey.

Windows 8 Start Charm3. Swipe in from the right edge of touchscreen and tap the Start charm (as shown by screenshot on the left).

4. Move mouse pointer to upper or lower right corner to bring up Charm bar and click the Start charm.

Search a program, app, file, or setting

Windows 8 endeavors to search as soon as you type in Start screen:

1. Go to Start screen and type the name of search target (e.g. type “cmd” if you’re looking for Windows Command Prompt).
2. Press Windows+Q or Windows+W followed by typing the search term.

Windows 8 Program menu

There is no Start menu and therefore no Program menu. If a program installation will create shortcut in Start/Program menu, the program installation on Windows 8 will place the shortcut in Start screen. To view program/app shortcuts created in Start screen by respective installers (as shown), just press Windows+Q:

Start screen with all program view

I must say this view is much better than old cascading Start menu. All shortcuts are seen at one glance, otherwise scroll it horizontally for extended view by swiping on touchscreen or scrolling the mouse wheel (or sliding the horizontal scroll bar).

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