Windows 8: 8 tips and tricks, 8 cool new features

Microsoft's forthcoming PC and tablet OS has lots of good stuff for those willing to look

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Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts and hot corners you should know
Working faster usually involves some kind of shortcut. Windows 8 provides a bunch of shortcuts using the Windows key (which means you need a physical keyboard to enter them), as well as hot corners you can click with a mouse that make other features available.

Here are the essential shortcuts:

  • Windows: Pressing just this key toggles among the Metro Start screen, the last-run Metro app, and the Windows 7 Desktop.
  • Windows-C: Displays the charms bar.
  • Windows-D: Launches the Windows 7 Desktop.
  • Windows-E: Launches the Windows 7 Explorer.
  • Windows-F: Opens the File Search pane.
  • Windows-H: Opens the Share pane.
  • Windows-I: Opens the Settings pane.
  • Windows-K: Opens the Devices pane.
  • Windows-L: Locks the PC.
  • Windows-Q: Opens the global search utility.
  • Windows-1, Windows-2, and Windows-3: Open the first, second, and third open apps on the Windows 7 taskbar, respectively.

If you hover the mouse over or right-click the four corners of the screen (called hot corners), you get these quick-access options:

  • Lower left and upper left: This shows a thumbnail preview of the Metro Start screen, the last-opened Metro app, or the Windows 7 Desktop; click the thumbnail to switch to the item. If you scroll down from the upper-left corner's thumbnail or up from the lower-left corner's thumbnail, a pane appears with all open Metro apps, the Windows 7 Desktop, and the Metro Start screen; click the desired thumbnail to open its item.
  • Upper right and lower right: These hot corners open the charms bar.

On a touchscreen PC or tablet, you can accomplish the same functions that the hot corners provide via a mouse. For example, slide one finger from the left side of the screen to switch to the next open application, the Windows 7 Desktop, or the Metro Start screen (whatever Windows 8 sees as "next" in its list of running apps). To see the thumbnails of those running apps, slide your finger to the right from the left edge; when the thumbnail for the "next" app appears, slide to the left until your finger approaches the screen edge. Just don't release your finger when doing the motion reversal! To open the charms bar, slide one finger to the left from the right side of the screen.

There are certainly many more features in, as well as tips and tricks for, Windows 8. I'll share those as Windows 8 nears and is released, building on the essentials revealed here.

This story, "Windows 8: 8 tips and tricks, 8 cool new features," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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