Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Rishi Bhargava, Liz McMillan, Xenia von Wedel, Elizabeth White, Flint Brenton

Related Topics: Microsoft Cloud, Java IoT, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog, Silverlight, @CloudExpo

Microsoft Cloud: Blog Post

Working with the Windows 8.1 Interface

Windows 8.1 for Business: Oh Start menu, how do I miss thee…or do I?

One of the most often questions/feedback we get regarding Windows 8.1 is where is my start menu.  These conversations can get very passionate, and usually turn into a commentary around on how much we miss our start menu.  I am sure some folks want to punch the screen.

imageI totally understand your frustration and I went through this as well.  While Windows 8 does provide a big change to how we do things in the interface, it did make me re-think why I used my start menu.  What I learned from my own usage and talking to all you wonderful folks,  is that the start menu is used for small common set of minimum tasks.  Here is a list of the most common things folks like yourselves have told me, and I personally had problems finding in Windows 8.1:

  • Shutdown and Sign Out
  • Search
  • Launch and Find Recently Installed Applications

Like all of you once I learned how to get around Windows 8 and find these basic tasks, I found that I will never need my start menu again.  In this article, I am here to help show you how to accomplish these tasks with ease in Windows 8.1.   In the end I hope you learn some new tips and tricks to improve how you use Windows 8.1

Last note, in another article in this series,  I will talk about how as an IT Admin you can take control of the Windows 8.1 interface with our good friend, Group Policy.

Shutdown and Sign Out

imageThis is easiest thing that was not easy to find until Windows 8.  You had to use the charms bar (sliding the mouse down the right hand side of your screen or Windows +C)  access it.  Then you would click on settings and you would see the power icon.  This is where you could shutdown, restart or sleep your system.  Log off was a little harder to find, on your start screen (formerly metro) if you clicked on your name you were given a menu that allowed you log off.  In Windows 8.1, you can still use the same tasks mentioned above you can use the Expert Menu.  I love that name, and to access it simply right click on the start button on the lower left corner of the screen and you will see a screen similar to one below:

image

In addition to shutdown and sign out you also have access to many control panel applications and Explorer.  So while this is different than what you are used to it is still essentially in the same location now in Windows 8.1

imageSearch:

This is one of my most favorite features in Windows 8.1, and easily one of the best ones you can show anyone.  To access from your start screen simply start typing, and you have nearly a fully federation search environment.  Which BTW is the same way it has worked in previous versions of Windows, however this engine will allow you to quickly query other data sources.  Not only does the search access your local repositories of information, it also will quickly extend to the Internet and beyond.

Unfortunately, this was not obvious, however once you know you can type on the screen, it really takes on a life of its own.  This always seems to really please people when I show them, and for me this was my huge selling point on the new interface.  The search will also query for your applications, and my search as I typed in Word is shown in the screenshot to the right.  So the next time you cannot find something, simply type on the start screen, I be the results will surprise you!

Launch and Find Recently Installed Applications:

This is probably the most common thing that folks cannot find and I totally understand the frustration here.  I remember the first time I installed a new application I could not find it either.  It was not in the modern interface default screen, so where did it go?  The answer is that it went to Apps View.

image

You will also notice in the all apps screen you can quickly sort your applications in 4 ways:

  • imageby name
  • by date installed (this is how find the recently install applications)
  • by most used
  • by category

That’s great Matt but how do I get to the all apps screen?

From the Start menu, you can access the Apps view either by clicking on the down arrow in the lower left corner of the screen. Additionally when you are on the start screen you can press ctrl + tab to access the all app view as well.

See my fun super tip below for an alternative to get to your applications off the desktop, however before you dive head long into the super tip I want to ask you a small favor.   Give Windows 8.1 interface a try, and take a look at the new ways to accomplish your tasks.  While they are different ways to get to the tasks, I am confident you will find these new ways that are more efficient then in previous versions of Windows.

Fun Super Tip to access applications from the desktop

Check this out:

image

Now I know what your thinking, what free app is that?  It is not a free app, I am actually using a built-in Windows 8.1 feature, called a toolbar.  This is a custom toolbar that references the Programs in the start menu folder on imageyour system.  This is how you create it:

  1. On your desktop, right click on your taskbar
  2. Hover on Toolbars and select New Toolbar…
  3. On the New Toolbar – Choose a folder screen browse or  type in the path to your directory.  If you installed on the c: drive the directory would have to be the following

    C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

    NOTE: You will have to make sure you are viewing hidden items to see the folder.
  4. After you get the path into the screen simply click on Select Folder and your Toolbar will be created.

By default this tool bar will be all the way to the right of your task bar, but you can drag the toolbar to the left, but using the resizing icons, you may also need to drag the right hand side as well to get the button the size you need.

Lastly, I had someone ask me what my favorite application in Windows 8.1 was and my answer is it depends on if I am at work or going on vacation.   Since this is a series called Windows 8.1 for business, I will give you my work answer:  Desktop.  That is where I spend all of my time, and if you checkout my teammates Jennelle’s post tomorrow she will show you how to go directly to the desktop and go directly to the All Apps view.  This will help you save time, check out her blog tomorrow: http://www.techbunny.com/

If you miss any of the Windows 8.1 for business series you can click here

http://aka.ms/Win814Biz

More Stories By Matt Hester

Matt Hester is a Senior Information Technology Professional Evangelist for Microsoft. Matt has been involved in the IT Pro community for over 20 years. Matt is a skilled and experienced evangelist presenting to audiences nationally and internationally. Prior to joining Microsoft Matt was a highly successful Microsoft Certified Trainer for over 8 years. After joining Microsoft, Matt has continued to be heavily involved in IT Pro community as an IT Pro Evangelist. In his role at Microsoft Matt has presented to audiences in excess of 5000 and as small as 10. Matt has written 4 articles for TechNet magazine. In addition Matt has published 3 books:

You can contact Matt off his blog at http://aka.ms/matthester

@ThingsExpo Stories
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, drew together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established compa...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web ...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their backend AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT - especially in the connected home and office. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Kocher, founder and managing director of Grey Heron, explained how Amazon is extending its reach to become a major force in IoT by building on its dominant cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strat...
Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, will share examples from a wide range of industries – includin...
"We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, provided an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data professionals...
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
"IoT is going to be a huge industry with a lot of value for end users, for industries, for consumers, for manufacturers. How can we use cloud to effectively manage IoT applications," stated Ian Khan, Innovation & Marketing Manager at Solgeniakhela, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Onalytica. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...