Switching made easy: From Windows 7 to Windows 8

These upgrade and basic navigation tips will ease the move to Windows 8

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  • Many people have trouble finding the controls to shut down or restart Windows 8. You access them through the Charms bar: Click or tap the Settings button at the bottom, and in the pane that appears, click or tap the Power button, which lets you then choose between restarting and shutting down the PC. A faster way to get the pane with the Power button is to press Windows-I.
  • To log out from your current account, go to the Start screen, click your avatar at the upper-right corner, then choose Sign Out. If you want to lock your computer so that a password is required to use it, such as when you leave your desk, press Windows-L.
  • Working with multiple monitors can be fun -- or awkward with the new user interface, because the Windows Destop's taskbar may not appear on the monitor you expect them to. One really cool feature is the ability to put your taskbar on both monitors. To do that, right-click the taskbar and choose Properties from the contextual menu. In the Multiple Displays pane, select Show Taskbar on All Displays, then determine how you want taskbar buttons to display; the options are All Taskbars, Main Taskbar, and Taskbar Where the Window Is Open.
  • Windows 8 apps take up processing power, so you should close those you're not using. You can of course go through the traditional Task Manager to close running apps (the shortcuts is the same as in Windows 7: Ctrl+Shift+Esc). But an easier way in the Start screen is to simply drag their tiles to the bottom of the screen; the app's tile will shrink and disappear.

Once you grasp how to navigate Windows 8, your next step should be to personalize the PC. After all, our PCs are extensions of who we are. Que Publishing was kind enough to provide some free content from my latest book, "Using Windows 8," for all to see on how to personalize the desktop background, taskbar settings, and Start screen options. After opening that link, click Sample Content and TOC, and choose Download the Sample Pages.

That should get you started. You might also want to check out a few free videos posted on the ClipTraining website under the Windows 8 Essentials series or the Windows 8 for Power Users series. You can also download a free, two-page ClipStart Guide, which will help you get up to speed with Windows 8. If you want to go deeper, check out my "Using Windows 8" book (paperback or iBooks), as well as the books from my InfoWorld colleagues: Woody Leonhard's "Windows 8 All-in-One for Dummies" (paperback, Kindle, or iBooks) and Galen Gruman's "Exploring Windows 8 for Dummies" (paperback or iBooks).

This story, "Switching made easy: From Windows 7 to Windows 8," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of J. Peter Bruzzese's Enterprise Windows blog and follow the latest developments in Windows at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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