Working with the Desktop Screen

Windows 8.1 has two environments working hand in hand in improving productivity for every user. These are the familiar Desktop environment and the new Metro environment where mobile apps thrive. You surely know some tweaks that can be done to the desktop environment since it existed for a long time since the days of some older Windows versions but in Windows 8.1, there are some settings to this very important section of the system which can be accessed from the App bar or the Metro environment itself. To learn what these tweaks are, simply go through each of the item shown and demonstrated below.

Pinning Files, Folders and Shortcuts to the Desktop

Just like its predecessors, Windows 8.1 also allows the pinning of some stuff to the Desktop screen. If you know how to do this in older Windows versions then you’ll be able to do it in the brand new operating system but the method of getting to the files and folders in Windows 8.1 has slightly changed. It now involves the new Metro environment in most of the processes that can be done in it. For instance, you can open file explorer from the Apps view so you can start searching for the files, folders and shortcuts that you can pin to the Start Screen. Here are the steps in doing it.

1. First, you’ll need to open the Start Screen by pressing the Windows Key or clicking the Start Button. After doing so, simply move the cursor on the screen and you will see a small arrow-down icon appear at the bottom-left portion. Once you see it, simply click or tap on it and the Apps view will open.


2. Next, on the apps view section, you will see all the apps, desktop programs and as well as system locations that are available on your computer. If you are planning to pin a shortcut to a file or folder on the desktop screen, you will need to open “File Explorer”.


3. When the File Explorer Window opens, simply look for the file or folder that you want to pin to the Desktop screen and once you find it, just right-click or long tap on it and the right-click menu will appear. When you see the menu, look for the option that says “Send to” and put the mouse pointer on it. After you do so, another set of options will appear and on these options, simply select the one that says “Desktop (create shortcut)”.


Pinning Items to the Taskbar

Windows 8.1 not only allows the pinning of some stuff to the desktop, it also allows you to pin items to the taskbar so you can have easier access to some important items saved on your computer. To do this trick, simply access the Apps view again as you did in the earlier step and start looking for the files, folders, desktop programs or even some system locations from the list. Once you find them, simply right-click on them one after the other and you will see a set of options that will appear on a bar at the bottom of the screen. From these options, simply click on the one that says “Pin to taskbar”.


The “Pin to taskbar” option only works for desktop programs that are installed on your computer. If you try to right-click on a tile in the Start Screen, the App bar will still appear at the bottom but it will never show the “Pin to taskbar” option.

Changing the Desktop Background Quickly

The mood on your desktop screen largely depends in the background image that you used in it. You can save a photo or any image that you downloaded from the Internet and use it as a desktop background using a few simple steps. To do this, simply browse to the location of the image that you want to use and right-click or do a long tap gesture on it if you have a computer that has a touch-enabled screen. After doing so, the right-click menu will appear and from the options that appears on it, click on the one that says “Set as desktop background”.


Make Windows 8.1 Look Better with Themes

Themes bring a package of design that can make your machine look a lot better. It contains a set of background images and others even have an included sound scheme especially those that you can download from third party sources. Most themes that you can download from Microsoft’s official website only include desktop background images and nothing else while those coming from other sources outside of the official Microsoft website usually include icon packages and other cool stuff that can make your computer look more personalized.


Access the Desktop Personalization Window Quickly

If you are working on the Desktop screen, you don’t need to go to the Control Panel section just to make tweaks on some aspects of the desktop appearance. You can easily access the “Personalization” Window from the desktop screen simply by right-clicking on an empty space in it and clicking on the option that appears on the right-click menu which says “Personalize”.


Move the Taskbar to Different Edges of the Screen

The taskbar is usually found at the bottom of the screen. It bears icons of all the open programs in your computer and as well as other quick launch buttons of other software and even system locations which you pinned to it. You might think that the taskbar is permanently fixed to its usual location but you are wrong. This section of the Windows 8.1 operating system is capable of being moved to the different edges of your computer screen. To do this, simply right-click on an empty space of the taskbar and click on the item that says “Lock the taskbar” to remove the checkmark that is currently on it.


After doing so, you can click and hold on the taskbar and drag it to the location where you want it to be. On the screenshot below, you will see that the taskbar is already on the right edge of the screen.


Once you are done moving the taskbar to the new location where you want it to be, you will need to right-click on it again and click on the “Lock the taskbar” option in order to put the checkmark on it again.

Master the Desktop Screen

The desktop has existed ever since the very first stable version of Windows was released and most of its features and tweaks have never changed aside from those that were recently added so it can work smoothly with the Metro environment in the new Windows 8.1 system. Feeling intimidated with Microsoft’s newest operating system? You actually don’t need to. The desktop screen in Windows 8.1 is still the same as you used to know it but you need to get familiar with some additional buttons and shortcuts in it so you can use everything more efficiently. Learn more about the Windows 8.1 operating system only here at windowstechies.loc!