Make the Start Screen Work Smoothly

The Start Screen is one of the most controversial features in Windows 8 but it is also one of the most useful tools that you would need if you really want to start getting serious in accessing all the excellent features that the operating system has to offer.

Out of all the brand new stuff introduced in Windows 8, the Start Screen is the one that serves as the entry portal to the new world of PC and Tablets combined. It is impossible to use Windows 8’s Desktop environment without really rubbing shoulders with the Metro environment represented by the Start Screen. If you started using Windows 8 since it was launched more than a year ago then chances are you already know some settings and tweaks to the Start Screen which improves its functions and appearance but there are still more to learn about this brand new feature that will help you control it and make it behave the way you want it to.

Ways in Accessing the Start Screen

Windows 8’s Start Screen is the supposed replacement of the Start Menu in previous Windows versions but it is not accessed in the same way because of the absence of the “Start Button” on this latest operating system by Microsoft.

A lot of users who opted to upgrade to Windows 8 really got confused with this big change but this reaction is normal. Windows really is a bit confusing at first but once you get to know the ins and outs then you’ll surely love every aspect of it. If you already found your way to the Desktop screen but you don’t know how to get back to the Start Screen then here are some ways that will help you access this crucial feature.

1. Press the Windows Key

The first and the most obvious way of accessing the Start Screen is by clicking the “Windows Key”. This key is located to the left of the “Space Bar” on any keyboard. If you are already on the Start Screen and you press the “Windows Key” again then it will open the very last app that you were on before you went to the Start Screen.


2. Click the Start Charm

Charms are a new feature in Windows 8 which also serves as a gateway to the new metro/tablet environment added to the operating system. If you are using a touchscreen device, you can put your index finger near the right corner of the screen and swipe it towards the left to summon the Charms bar. If you are on a mouse-keyboard setup then you can put the mouse pointer to the top or the bottom-right corner of the screen then move it downwards (if you placed the pointer on the top-right corner) or upwards if you placed it at the bottom and you’ll see the Charms bar appear. You can also use the “Windows + C” keyboard shortcut to access the Charms. Once the Charms bar appears, click on the one at the middle so you can get to the Start Screen.


3. Click the Start Tile

Do you remember where the Start Button used to lie? It used to be on the extreme-left end of the taskbar. Pointing to this area on your Windows 8 machine will summon the Start tile which when clicked will take you to the Start Screen.


Tweaking Some Aspects of the Start Screen

Most aspects and settings of the Start Screen don’t really produce the best for you and your computer so you need to tweak some parts of it in order to make everything work in the way you want them to. Here are some tips that you can and tricks that you can follow to make everything on the Start Screen work even better.

Move Tiles and Shortcuts to Where You Want Them to Be

Whenever you install apps and desktop programs on your Windows 8 computer, the shortcuts (for desktop programs) and tiles (for Windows 8 apps) that represent them also gets pinned to the Start Screen but there is no feature that arranges them. If you already feel like your computer’s Start Screen is getting disorganized then you can arrange everything using simple steps.


Removing Unnecessary Tiles and Shortcuts

In time as more and more tiles and shortcuts gets added to the Start Screen, you will somehow find apps and programs which are not actually used and therefore deserve to be removed from being pinned on the Start Screen.


Change Tile Sizes

As you would see on the Start Screen, there are actually two sizes that each tile can take. Some tiles are rectangular while others are square but this doesn’t mean that you can’t change them anymore. For some apps that are represented by a rectangular tile, right-clicking on them will reveal the options at the bottom of the screen and if the tile is capable of being reduced to a smaller size then you should be able to see the option that says “Smaller”. If it is a small tile that you want to make bigger then all you need to do is right-click on it and see if the options that appears at the bottom has an item that says “Larger”.


Uninstall Some Apps

If things are really crowding very fast on your computer’s Start Screen then you really need not just to unpin some tiles but remove them permanently by uninstalling each irrelevant one. In the case of desktop programs, uninstalling them still undergoes the same process which is through the “Uninstall a program” section in the Control Panel. If you want to uninstall apps then you’ll need to follow the steps described below.


Get a Better View of the Start Screen

To get an even better view of things, you need to zoom out the entire Start Screen. On touch screen device, simply put your thumb and your index finger on the screen in such a way that they are apart from each other then do a “pinch” gesture.


If you are using a keyboard and a mouse then all you need to do to zoom out and zoom in the Start Screen is hold the “CTRL Key” then use the scroll wheel. Scrolling the wheel backwards (towards you) will zoom out everything then scrolling it forward will zoom things in until it gets back to the original size.


Grouping Your Apps

Now, while everything on the Start Screen is zoomed out, you can group some apps together and name them the same as you see on the screenshot above. First, you need to drag all the apps that you want to group together into one separate area on the Start Screen then zoom out everything. Once the screen gets the same appearance as shown on the screenshot above, simply right-click on the group of apps that you want to name and a bar will appear at the bottom again containing some options. From here, you’ll need to click or tap “Name group” then a small box will appear that will ask you to input the name that you want for the group. After inputting your desired name just hit the “Name” button.


Get a Better Start Screen

The steps I have shown above are only the basics in how you can streamline your computer’s Start Screen so it works better that its default settings. There will still be more advanced tweaks and configurations to the Start Screen that I’ll be showing in future tutorials so stay tuned to windowstechies.loc for the latest and the hottest tips that will surely help you master everything about the Windows operating system!