Three Tricks to Make Windows 8 Much Easier and Quicker to Use

Windows 8 can be frustrating because nothing seems to be where it used to be. Here are three tricks that help you find things. They will make ordinary tasks much easier to carry out.

1. Quick and easy way to access all the settings in Windows 8

One of the annoyances of Windows 8 is trying to find all the various system settings. Here is a way to make them readily available in one big list.

  1. Go to the Desktop
  2. Right-click an empty spot on the Desktop
  3. Choose “New-Folder”
  4. Give the folder this name:
    All Settings .{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C} 
  5. Open the folder to see a complete list of settings

(This works in Windows 7 also where it is sometimes called “God Mode”.)

2. How to shut Down Windows 8 quickly

Shutting down Windows 8 the usual way involves multiple steps. You have to open the Charms bar, click "Settings", then "Power", and finally "Shut down". Here is how to create a desktop shortcut that will reduce these four steps to just one.

  1. Go to the Desktop
  2. Right-click an empty spot on the Desktop
  3. Choose “New-Shortcut”
  4. Go to the line labelled “Type the location of the item…”
  5. Enter:  shutdown.exe -s -t 0 (The last character is "zero".)
  6. Click “Next”
  7. Type a name like Shutdown
  8. Click “Finish”

Once the shortcut is created, you can pin it to the Taskbar:

  1. Right-click the shortcut
  2. Click “Pin to Taskbar”

You can also place the shortcut on the Metro (Modern) interface:

  1. Right-click the shortcut
  2. Click “Pin to Start”

Start in this case refers to the Start Screen and places a copy of the shortcut along with the tiles on the Metro interface.

3. How to put commonly used folders and functions on the Desktop

The default desktop in Windows 8 is pretty bare. If you would like ready access on the desktop to some commonly used features, here is how:

  1. Go to the Desktop
  2. Right-click an empty spot on the Desktop
  3. Select “Personalize”
  4. On the upper left of the dialog box, click “Change desktop icons”(shown in graphic on right)
  5. In the dialog that opens (shown below) put a check by the icons you want on the desktop. Control Panel is one I like to have
  6. Click “OK” and close the Personalization window

Change Windows 8 desktop icons

And there you have it - three ways to make using Windows 8 a little easier

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's, guides, and tutorials, including a site for learning about Windows and the Internet and another with Windows 7 tips.

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Comments

by Tom Whyte on 19. October 2013 - 22:38  (111593)

Very much liked the "God Mode" on my Win 8 machine - still have to experiment though!

by BruceG on 5. December 2012 - 5:24  (103359)

Very useful information. How can I make a shortcut to Sleep as opposed to Shutdown?

by baja463 on 5. December 2012 - 9:50  (103367)

For a complete list of available switches, open a command prompt and type: shutdown /?

(Or, shutdown -?)

I see a switch for Hibernate, but not Sleep

by BruceG on 5. December 2012 - 10:24  (103368)

Thank you for taking the time to answer me. I am new to computing and just getting used to Windows 8 so when I figure out how to open a command prompt I will give it a go.

by baja463 on 5. December 2012 - 10:47  (103370)

Here's a way to view lots of Win8 options (including Command Prompt):

- Tap the Windows key and X simultaneously

- Have fun!

by baja463 on 4. December 2012 - 19:29  (103351)

Loving the Shutdown tip. Thanks!

PS You can also do a fast reboot by using the -r switch (in place of the -s)

by benedict1 on 4. December 2012 - 14:54  (103347)

The first tip is great! I have been using Windows since 2003 and have never seen that one. Thanks, Vic

by paul99 on 4. December 2012 - 14:39  (103346)

Great! Windows 8 is getting easier by the day to use.

by ssoundman on 4. December 2012 - 13:52  (103345)

Thanks, Vic. I support many older folks in our town and there seems to be a general reluctance by most of them to learn something new. This information will help them a lot (and me too)!

by CASD on 4. December 2012 - 13:49  (103344)

Excellent.....

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