“Control Panel” Metro App in Windows 8

One of the things which I noted instantly after installing the Windows 8 Consumer Preview was that the Control Panel Metro App which was there in the Windows 8 Developer Preview was missing in Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

I was instantly thinking, has Microsoft taken it away? well the answer for that is “NO”

Its still there in Windows 8 Consumer Preview, but not as a Metro App and it can be accessible in different ways

Press Window Key + I and select More PC Settings or Move your mouse pointer to the top right corner or bottom right corner of the screen and click on the Settings Charm

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Click on More PC Settings

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Bingo.. you can access the Previously known Metro Control Panel named as PC Settings

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Power User tools in Windows 8

In Windows 8, although the start button is not at the traditional bottom left side of the screen, when you right click at the place where the start button used to be, you will get a menu which is filled with tools which are very useful.

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This can be accessed by Holding down the Window Key and pressing X on your keyboard

The new Task Manager in Windows 8

Windows Task Manager is one of the utility that most of the us use in our day to day life to troubleshoot or monitor our computers.

In Windows 8, The task manager has got a new facelift and has a lot of additional features to help us.

When you open task manager in Windows 8, it looks very simple as per the picture below

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From this view, we can simply see what are the applications that are opened and it will indicate if any of these are “Not Responding” which you can terminate by clicking on End Task.

When you click on the “More details” arrow it gets more interesting

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All the processes that runs on the computer are displayed under the Process Tab and in Windows 8, its categorized. You will be able to see what are the Application Processes, Background Processes and Windows Processes. The Process Tab contains a Heat Map, the more higher resources are being utilized the color will turn in to red, the above picture shows more in to a lighter yellow color which means that its not that dangerous Smile . If you are not sure of a process you can right click on top of it and select the option “search online” which will open up the default browser and help you find more info with regards to that process.

The Performance tab has been included with the details of CPU, Memory, Disk, WiFi and Ethernet. It gives a very good insight on how each of these components are performing.

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The other tabs App History, which gives an insight on the Apps that has been used, the Startup tab shows on the services/applications that are being enabled and disabled during startup, the User tab shows the logged in users resource utilization, and so on.

Simply the new task Manager gives more information and is organized for us to work better and have a better computing experience.

Windows 8 App Groups

One thing that I noticed after installing Windows 8 Consumer Preview is that, all the Apps and Software that I have installed are not organized.

In Windows 8, you can not only group the Apps and Program you have installed rather you can name those groups as well.

This is how my screen looks like before grouping

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The more applications and programs I install I have more icons on this screen and by default it looks a lot messy, especially when its non metro apps or programs.

You can click and drag the icons to group specific programs and you can pin and unpin from these apps form the start screen by right clicking on top of it.

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If you want to create a new column, to group your apps, move/drag any app horizontally until you see a grey bar on which you may  drop the tile which will create a new grid.

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Once you have created you grids/columns and moved/dragged/arranged your apps, now its time to name the groups. Click on the magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the screen (on the scroll bar), and this will zoom out the apps from your screen. Now in this mode, you can move around the apps in group, select as a group and name them

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After grouping and naming, this is how my start screen looks like, which is much more organized.

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Windows 8, Screenshot (Tip)

In the previous versions of Windows to capture a screen shot, we had to use either a third party tool or do multiple clicks and steps to capture and save a screenshot, often referred to as a “print screen” or a “print shot”. In Windows Vista, life was made easier when Microsoft introduced the “Snipping Tool”. Using the snipping tool one can easily snip anything from the screen, save it, copy it or email it directly from the application.

In Windows 8 Consumer Preview, Microsoft has included the “snipping tool” as well as another keyboard shortcut which allows us to take a print screen and automatically save it as a PNG file within the My Pictures folder. Now how cool is that?

When you press the Window Key+PrtSC key, a PNG file is automatically saved which will be named as Screenshot (1), Screenshot (2)….

Go on and try it now and share your thoughts

Windows 8 Advanced Boot Options

Unlike the previous versions of Windows, Windows 8 Consumer Preview does not boot in to the Advanced Boot Options menu when you hit F8 while the computer is booting up.

A traditional Windows Advanced Boot Options looks as below,

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In Windows 8, one will have to access the Advanced Boot Options Menu through the new “Metro” style Environment which also consists of a series of other troubleshooting tools. Traditionally the advanced boot option menu provides a list of tools and some modes in which Windows will start up with minimal and important files and processes. Both these tools and start up modes are used to troubleshoot PC’s which has issues, especially starting up issues. One such mode which is widely used is the “Safe Mode”.

With Windows 8, if you try hitting the F8 key to enter in to the Advanced Boot Options menu, you will be utterly disappointed. Instead press Shift+F8, which load a richer and sophisticated Metro style environment which is the gateway for the Advanced Boot Options.

How to start Advanced Boot options in Windows 8

Press Shift+F8 while the computer is booting, it will start loading

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The Recovery page opens

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Click on See advanced repair options

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Click on Troubleshoot

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Two new features introduced in Windows 8,

1) Refresh your PC

2) Reset your PC

These two features are like a Soft Reset and a Hard Reset of your phone. If you have issues with your Windows 8 PC, with a few clicks you can either do a refresh (installs a fresh Windows 8 OS and restores your data and apps) or you can Reset your PC (which is like a factory reset, it will format the drive and install the OS)

Click on Advanced Options

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Advanced troubleshooting tools, used in different occasions to trouble shoot various issues

Click on Windows Startup Settings

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Click Restart

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This will load the Advanced Boot Options and some of the Windows Startup Modes such as Safe Mode, which will help us to troubleshoot our PC’s much more efficiently and effectively.