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Windows 8 PC Settings
Like it or not, Windows 8 is here and itís quite a change from what long term Windows users have been used to. Since Microsoft is trying to get more into the smartphone or tablet game they wanted to make an operating system that can be used for those devices as well as personal computers. And it all begins with the Windows 8 operating system.
Windows 8 came out in October of 2012 and has been a little slow at taking off since many people didnít want to learn something new or were happy with their Windows 7 computers. Now itís hard to find a new computer with anything but Windows 8 on it. So if you are lucky to have Windows 8, or stuck with Windows 8 on your computer you should learn how to change your settings to make it work for you rather than against you..
Windows 8 offers many ways to customize it to help better suit your needs and we will go over many (not all) of the ways you can do so. To get to your settings you will need to find your Charms Bar which can be accessed by holding the mouse over on the very right hand side of your main window or by pressing the Windows key + C on your keyboard and then clicking on the gear icon for Settings.
Next you will click on the Change PC Settings link to open up the main settings window. You will notice that there are several sections in this list of settings to choose from. We will go over some of the more commonly used and useful settings.
The Personalize area is where you do things such as set options for your Lock screen which is what is displayed when your computer is locked. You can change the image used for your lock screen as well as what apps that will continue to run in the background while the screen is locked. The Start screen is what you see when you are in Windows that shows all of your tiles. They style and colors can be changed to personalize your Start screen’s look. Then the account picture works the same as it did in Vista and Windows 7 where it will show a picture for your specific user account.
The Users section is where you can change user information as well as add new users. Microsoft is trying to tie all their services together for all your devices so now they let you log on with an email address. You can switch back between a local account and your email account if you desire. There are security settings you can change here such as changing your password or assigning a pin number to your account so you can just enter that for quick access. If you have a touchscreen you can setup a picture password which lets you draw a pattern on a chosen picture to log yourself in.
In the Notifications area you can enable and disable notifications for various apps as well as assign sounds to those notifications. If you want these notifications to show up on your Lock screen then you would make those changes here. Notifications might get a little overwhelming so choose the ones you want carefully so you don’t end up with useless information bothering you all day long.
Search is where you can setup your search settings (of course) for things such as photos, videos, news, weather and so on. The notifications are performed by apps installed on Windows that are used for these functions. There is a delete search history button as well if you want to erase your tracks.
The Share section lets you configure your sharing option. If you have a smartphone I’m sure you have taken a picture and then tapped that picture and was given ways to share it such as by text message, email, Facebook and so on. Here you can choose which apps you want to have available to use to share with as well as doing things such as displaying the most frequently used sharing apps and displaying how you go about sharing most often.
The General section has some more useful tools to help you manage your computer. Here you can do things such as set the time, set app switching preferences which controls how you switch between apps and delete your app history. You can also see how much disk space your apps are taking up. There are spell checking settings to auto correct misspelled words as well as underline them like you would see when using a program like Microsoft Word. If you need to change the language used on your computer then this is the place to do it. There are also some diagnostic features you can use from here such as changing startup settings, refreshing your computer’s configuration and doing a complete wipe of your system and then a Windows reinstall.
Privacy controls how apps use your personal information. Allowing apps to use your location lets them tailor information based on where you are. This comes in handy when looking for places on a map such as a restaurant. Apps can also be configured to use your name and user profile picture for various purposes.
If you want to add new hardware or peripherals to your computer then you can go to the Devices section to do so. Here you can have Windows search for new hardware by clicking on Add a device as well as get a look at some of the devices you already have installed on your computer. This is just a basic view and is no substitute for Device Manager
The Ease of Access section works pretty much like you would expect and does things such as adjust the contrast, magnify the screen and setting up keys to do certain tasks. It doesn’t seem to have as many options as older versions of Windows but maybe that’s because its geared towards smartphone and tablet users.
Since Windows 8 is more device based than PC based you can sync information with all your devices that run Windows 8. The Sync your settings area lets you set this up and choose your options for synchronization. There are many options you can sync such as personalization settings, passwords, app settings, browser settings and so on. You can also control how the sync is done depending on your connection if you are on a laptop or tablet for example.
The Homegroup section works the same as it does in Windows 7 where you can share printers and media between computers. This will only work on a home network and not on a domain of corporate network.
Finally the Windows Update will let you download updates for your computer if there are any available. If you use automatic updates this should be done for you so you shouldn’t need to worry about it.
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