Explore the New Start Screen

Most of us have seen Windows transform from a simple type and click operating system into a touch, type, click or even talk multitasking machine that can accomplish almost anything that you want it to do. Windows 8.1 has raised all of these things into the next level by adding more features and capabilities into the already efficient Windows system. One of the newest features ever added to the operating system is called the Start Screen. Is this your first time of hearing about it? Don’t worry, after reading this tutorial, you should be able to use and navigate through this brand new feature like a pro!

What’s on the Start Screen?

Do you remember using the Start Menu back in Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7? You should have been able to use it a hundred times but never realized its value until you decided to upgrade to Windows 8 and suddenly, it’s gone!

Microsoft has received a lot of complaints just for the missing Start Button in Windows 8 and so in Windows 8.1, it has been taken back and placed to where it used to be but this time, it opens not the “Start Menu” but the new “Start Screen” instead.


While on the Start Screen, you will see some boxes of different sizes ad colors all containing some image or text overlay on them. These boxes are called “Tiles” and they represent all the mobile apps that are built-in with the system as well as those that you installed by yourself.


Start Screen Facts

Aside from providing a place for tiles and desktop app shortcuts, the Start Screen also has other parts that you need to get acquainted with so you can get the most out of your Windows 8.1 machine.

Starting at the top-right corner of the screen, you’ll find your account name and as well as your photo. You can click or tap on these objects so you can access a menu which includes an option for changing you account picture, locking your computer or signing out from the account that you are currently using. This menu is collectively called the “Account Settings” section.


You can scroll through the Start Screen by using your finger and swiping it from right to left (if your computer has a touch-enabled screen) or if you are using a mouse. You can move the mouse pointer and you will see a scroll bar that would appear at the bottom. Simply click and hold on the bar and drag the mouse to the left or right or you can also click on the arrow left or the arrow right icons located on both ends of the scroll bar.


You can also scroll through the Start Screen using your mouse by placing the mouse pointer to the left or the right edge of the screen and continuing to drag it to the direction of the edge where you pointed it on. Doing this will let the screen scroll to the right if you pointed it on the right edge or to the left if you placed the mouse pointer of the left edge of the screen.

Accessing the Apps Installed on Your Computer

The Start Screen shows all the tiles that represents the mobile apps which you have installed on your computer but it doesn’t show some of the shortcuts to your desktop apps installed on your machine as well as some links that leads to important locations like the Control Panel and others. To be able to access these shortcuts and links. You will need to first access the Start Screen and move the mouse pointer until you see the “Scroll Bar”. When you do this, you will also see an arrow down button located at the lower-left side of the screen. Click this button and you’ll be taken to the “Apps” view which lists all your apps, settings and locations into properly labeled categories.


The apps view looks like the screenshot below. The good thing it is that everything is arranged in alphabetical order making it easier for you to find the app, shortcut or system location that you are trying to access.


If you type a keyword while you are on the “Apps” screen, you’ll notice that the word you are typing will appear on the search input box located on the upper-right corner of the screen and the results will automatically display on the screen itself.


Once you see the icon of the app, shortcut or system location that you are looking for on the search result, simply click or tap on it to open or access it instantly.

Pinning an Item to the Start Screen

You might want to place an icon or shortcut to the Start Screen so you can easily access or open it anytime you want. To do this, simply access the “Apps” view and right-click on the icon, shortcut or tile that you want to pin to the Start Screen and select the “Pin to Start” option that appears on a bar at the bottom.


To unpin or remove a shortcut, tile or link from the Start Screen, simply right-click on it and click or tap on the option that says “Unpin from Start” located on the bar that appears at the bottom of the screen.


More Start Screen Tips Coming Up!

As you can see, the Start Screen is a wonderful feature that is added to Microsoft’s latest operating system Windows 8.1 but you have not seen everything about it yet. This brand new feature still has more to offer so keep a close watch on our upcoming tutorials for more! Are you having problems with your Windows machine? We’re here to help, just email us or post a clear description of your problem on the comments section below.