Useful Microsoft Windows 8.1 Tips & Tricks Part 1

Useful Microsoft Windows 8.1 Tips & Tricks Part 1

As compared to Windows 7, Microsoft Windows 8.1 has several new features. In the first part of Windows 8.1 tips & tricks, we take a closer look at various features that may be useful for new users who are becoming familiar with this operating system. We provide five tutorials, which explain how to 'boot' to the Desktop, open a Command Prompt, disable Help Tips, manage Application Groups, and open a file using different applications. Follow the instructions below and learn about these new features included in Windows 8.1

Quick menu:

How to enable Boot to Desktop in Windows 8.1

A new Windows 8.1 feature is the “boot to desktop“ option, which enables you go straight into classic desktop mode when you turn on your PC. As Windows 8.1 is based on Windows 8, it boots into the Start Screen by default, however, enabling the 'boot to desktop' option is just a few mouse clicks away.

Firstly, move your mouse over the Taskbar, which is by default located at the bottom of your screen, and right-click it.

Right clicking the start menu

In the menu bar, left-click the “Properties“ option. A “Taskbar and Navigation properties“ tab will appear. When it opens, click the “Navigation“ tab.

Navigation properties on the taskbar

In this tab, the required option is located under the “Start screen” section. Check the first option: “Go to the desktop instead of Start"

Checking the 'Go to the desktop instead of Start' checkbar

If you wish your Start screen background to match your desktop, check the second option “Show my desktop background on Start” under the “Start screen” option list.

Checking the 'Show my desktop on Start' box

When your required options are checked, click “Apply”, and then “OK”.

Clicking OK

The next time you boot your computer and log in, Windows 8.1 will go directly into desktop mode. If you checked “Show my desktop background on Start”, the Start screen will look more like the desktop, since it will have the same background image.

Here is a video showing how to enable 'Boot to Desktop' option in Windows 8.1:

How to open the Command Prompt as Administrator in Windows 8.1

Command prompt can be used by regular users to run commands that do not require administrative rights. Sometimes, however, you may wish to run commands that require administrative rights, and in order to do this, you need to open command prompt as administrator.

There are two methods to do this. The first method involves the Start screen. To start, go to the desktop, left-click the Start button in the bottom-left corner of your screen.

Clicking on start menu

In the Start screen, type “command prompt“ (without the quotes). The command Prompt option will appear in the Search panel on right of your screen. Right-click on Command Prompt and then select “Run as administrator“ from the menu provided.

Searching for Command PromptAfter clicking, you will be returned to your desktop. A User Account Control box might pop-up - in this case, simply click “Yes“ to continue.

The second method to access the command prompt as administrator is by right-clicking the Start button in the bottom-left corner of your screen, and then selecting the “Command Prompt (Admin)“ option from the menu. This menu can also be accessed by pressing the Windows key + X combination.

Right clicking on the start menu button

You can now use commands that require administrative privileges in the command prompt.

Command Prompt as Administrator

Here is a video showing how to open the Command Prompt as Administrator in Windows 8.1:

How to disable help tips in Windows 8.1

When updating to Windows 8.1 for the first time, users will receive help tips and pop-ups. These pop-ups helps user to learn and understand Metro UI. These tips should disappear after the first time, however, they sometimes remain enabled. This is how to turn off help tips:

Firstly, click the Start button.

Clicking on the start menu

When you are in the Start screen, type “gpedit”. On the right side of the screen, an option to click “Edit group policy” will appear. Move your mouse over it and left-click.

Searching for gpedit

A new window will appear. On the left hand side, you should see a “User Configuration” folder, and beneath, the “Administrative Templates” option. Click this folder.

Going to Administrative Templates

Next, click “Windows Components”.

Clicking on Windows Components

Within “Windows Components", click “Edge UI”.

Clicking on Edge UI

New options will appear. Click “Disable help tips”.

Clicking on Disable help tips

A new window will pop-up, within this you can choose “Not Configured”, “Enabled”, or “Disabled”.

Check the “Disabled” option.

Disabling the help tips

To finish, simply click “Apply” and then “OK”.

Applying the changes

Here is a video showing how to disable help tips in Windows 8.1:

How to manage apps in Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 enables you to put your own applications on the Start screen. In order to keep your Start screen tidy, you can create app groups. This is easy to do and will keep your apps ordered by any category you wish.

To begin, go to your Start screen by pressing the Start button at the bottom-left corner of your desktop.

Creating app groups in Windows 8.1 step 1

Your Start screen should appear. Here, you can find to apps you can to place into groups. In this case, we selected the “Music” and “Games” apps.

Creating app groups in Windows 8.1 step 2

Left-click the chosen app and drag it to any free space on your Start screen.

Creating app groups in Windows 8.1 step 3

The selected app, “Music”, now appears in its own group. If we wish to add more apps to the group, simply click a different app “Games” and drag it to the newly-created app group.

Creating app groups in Windows 8.1 step 4

You can also customise the names of these groups. Right-click any part of the Start screen and select the “Name groups” option.

Creating app groups in Windows 8.1 step 5

New text boxes will appear over the apps that are within the groups.

Creating app groups in Windows 8.1 step 6

To rename the group, click it and enter the text. Shorter names are usually best, so try to use a single word if possible. When you are finished, click Enter.

Creating app groups in Windows 8.1 step 7

Here is a video showing how to manage apps in Windows 8.1:

How to open file in different app in Windows 8.1

By default, when you open a file in Windows 8.1 it will usually open with the Start Screen application. You might wish to change this if you are more familiar with other applications. Changing the default app, or opening a file with different app once, is simple.

Firstly, find the file you wish to open.

Open file in different app step 1

Then, right-click it and move to the “Open with” option.

Open file in different app step 2

While your mouse is over the “Open with” option, new selections will appear. Choose the app with which you wish to open your file (in this case, Paint, Photos, or Windows Photo Viewer).

Open file in different app step 3

After you click it, your file will be opened with the selected application.

Open file in different app step 4

To change the default app for opening this file, return to the “Open with” option and select “Choose default program”.

Open file in different app step 5

A new display listing the available applications will appear. Click the one that you use most often.

Open file in different app step 6

Here is a video showing how to open a file with different apps in Windows 8.1: