The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free. The more I use my new laptop the more comfortable I get with it, and I have found there are several Windows 8 shortcuts worth remembering. With any new operating system you find yourself trying to learn new ways to do old things. Common tasks are always assigned shortcuts and learning the most useful separates the computer novice from the adept. It starts by using it once. It may seem forced or awkward, and take longer than your usual way at first. Then you may catch yourself doing it the old way, and correct your behavior. Perhaps it will make some tasks easier and faster for you.
My Windows 8 Shortcuts Worth Remembering: Charms: They are the ostensible replacement for the Windows 7 Start Menu, constantly used for a myriad of everyday tasks. The Settings, Devices, Share and Search options are all available at a quick swipe in from the right, unless you don’t use touch inputs. In that scenario this crucial menu requires hovering your cursor in a corner commonly crowded with other things you click often. Windows Key+C will bring it up. Ctrl+C is everyone’s favorite shortcut, and you may find Win+C to be just as easy and almost as useful.
- Screenshots: “If only you could see what I’m seeing.” Anyone who has participated in a phone conversation within someone else on a computer has said this. Screenshots are a great tool when explaining a computer’s situation. A picture is worth almost 1500 words these days, after inflation. Windows has let you quickly send screenshots to the clipboard to be pasted in to anything you like, but Windows 8 has taken the next logical step. Pressing the Windows key and PrintScreen saves your screen in a folder called (oddly enough) Screenshots in your Pictures. Just one step saved, but it may be enough to add screenshots to your repertoire.
- Lock: Your computer has your life on it, more or less. Everything from childhood memories to next month’s vacation reservations is right there at the click of a mouse. You do not have to let anyone who should not be in there in there. Developing a habit of locking your computer when you walk away from it can pay dividends even if your data is not national security level. Cats walking over keyboards can insert remarkable numbers of consonants into the middle of any well constructed paragraph to be discovered in the middle of your meeting. Windows+L will lock your computer just like (insert finger snap here). Quick, easy, habit forming.
Projecting: It’s not just for PowerPoint any more. Today’s robust streaming services and YouTube make my computer a viable television replacement, and gets used as such all the time. Inexpensive (<$50) devices plugged into a modern television allow us to stream whatever’s on our computers on to our large screen televisions. Windows+P skips through the Charms menu directly to selecting the device to stream to. It’s a handy time saver that I use all the time.
- “Start” Menu: I miss the Start Menu. We got along so well. Maybe you had a similar relationship with yours, and are still going through the same stage of grief as me (bargaining). Perhaps you’re still stuck in anger. If so, try hitting Windows+X, and see if it soothes your pain somewhat. You get all the fancy pants system tools you covet in a gloriously retro text menu. I use it to shut down and get at my control panel all the time.
- Switching Apps: Windows has let you flip between your open programs with Alt+Tab for a while, and Windows 8 adds the equivalent shortcut for your apps. Windows+Tab will switch between all running apps, and Alt+Tab still works for old school programs running on your desktop.
Computers are intended to save us time and make us more productive. The HP Envy TouchSmart 15.6” touch screen laptop from Best Buy I use lets me run my world. The AMD FX Special Edition APU lets me do so many things at once smoothly. Best Buy makes it easy to get, with free shipping on everything over $35 or store pickup in as little as 45 minutes. The more quickly and easily we can accomplish our everyday tasks, the more time we have for the people and things we love. If learning one of these shortcuts can help wrap up your daily tasks a little faster, it is time well invested.
Do you know a shortcut worth remembering?