Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How to Use Windows 8 with a Mouse...Yes! You Do Not Need a Touchscreen

Windows 8  Extended - Two Monitors
Screen 1:  Start Screen with Charms Bar and Tiles
         Screen 2:  Windows 8 Desktop with Task Bar and Icons

Windows 8 introduces a touchscreen graphic user interface, but what if you don't have a touchscreen?  

Do you need a touchscreen to use Windows 8? No you do not. 

Does Windows 8 work with a mouse?  Yes it does.

It's very easy to use Windows 8 with a mouse, and it works great.  


It can be frustrating for the first time user. 

Don't Panic!

Here are six easy tips that will get you going on Windows 8 in no time.

1 Tiles and the Start Screen

Windows 8 stuff:  We can think of Windows 8 tiles as similar to the traditional desktop icons that we know in Windows 7. 

Tiles work a lot like the icons from the Windows 7 (or earlier) desktop.

Tiles are a little different, though. Instead of having separated icons on the background of the desktop, in Windows 8 you get a contiguous tiling of a region, or regions of the screen. 

The setup of tiles on the Start Screen is a bit like an atlas of applications consisting of tiles grouped into continents.

The tiles on the Windows 8 Start Screen can be moved around with the mouse and dropped into a new location to provide convenient groupings.  

Try it. Mouse cursor over a tile and hold down the left mouse button, then move the tile around to where you want. It works great with the mouse.

To open an application, left click a tile, and the application program associated with the tile opens.

The array of tiles slide "as a whole" when you move the mouse cursor to the right or left edge of the screen. No need to click or hold down a mouse button. Just move the cursor to the left or right edge of the screen. It's like horizontal "scrolling" of your collection of tiles on the Start Screen.

If you right click a tile you can manage the tile and do other stuff.  Try it, and see how it works.

2 Close an Open Application

If you haven't used Windows 8 before, it's not always obvious how to close an open application.

If you have an open application on the screen,  you can close the application like this:  Slide the mouse cursor to the top of the screen until a "hand" icon appears. Then, hold down the left mouse button, and move the hand down to the bottom of the screen. Then "drop" the hand (release the left mouse button.) This causes the application to close with a cool looking animated shrinking effect.

You can re-open the application from its tile. For example, if you close a Word document with "the hand," clicking the Word tile will reopen Word and open that same document again.

Of course, the traditional menus within the Microsoft Word application work with the mouse as always.

3 How Navigate to Windows Desktop, Control Panel, Search, Settings, Devices, etc. with a mouse

From the Windows 8 Start Screen it's easy to get to the familiar Windows Desktop. Slide the mouse cursor over to the lower left corner of the screen and a small image of the desktop appears. Click on this image and the Windows Desktop is displayed.  It looks like the traditional Windows 7 desktop and works the same way.  

Return to the Start Screen from the Desktop using "the hand."  Just slide the mouse cursor to the top edge of the screen and the hand appears. Then hold down the left mouse button and swipe downward. This causes the Desktop to close and the display reverts to the Start Screen.

To reach the control panel and other features we used in Windows 7, you need the "charms bar" in Windows 8. 

The charms bar is a vertical task bar at the right edge of the screen.

To reveal the charms bar, you first slide the mouse cursor to the upper right corner (or lower right corner) of screen. No mouse click needed. 

Doing this causes a vertical task bar to appear on the right side of the screen. 

This vertical task bar is called the Windows 8 charms bar. 

On the charms bar, you can then mouse-over five icons to access useful stuff. The charms bar icons are: Start Screen, Settings, Search, Share, and Devices.  The names are self explanatory.

Mouse click on any of these charms bar options to do stuff. Some examples given below.

4 How to Open Task Manager

If you want the Windows Task Manager, first go to the charms bar (aka right vertical menu bar) as described above ... move the mouse cursor to the upper right corner of the screen, then when the charms bar reveals itself,  select >search, and type in "task manager."  

The Task Manager App tile will appear on the screen to the left. Just left click the tile to start up Task Manager.

5 Windows 8 Task Manager

The Windows 8 Task Manager screen has a format that's different from Windows 7.  In Windows 8 Task Manager, there is one large data graph displayed along with a collection of menus. 

Task Manager has seven tabs: Processes, Performance, App History, Startup, Users, Details, and Services. The menu titles are similar to  what we had in past versions of Windows. 

Also, Task Manager contains a task-bar with drop-down menus for Files, Options, View.

Finally, to view options for the Task Manager display, just right click on the graph itself. This brings up a  display options menu. 

For example, you can display usage data from all four cores of your quad-core CPU, or display other graphs according to the display options menu.

6 Windows Control Panel and System Info

If you want the Windows Control Panel, go to the charms bar and select >"search" then type in "Control Panel," this will bring up the  Control Panel tile. Click the tile to bring-up the Control Panel itself. The Windows 8 Control Panel is similar to the traditional Control Panel we used in Windows 7.

Also, within Control Panel you can select "System and Security," which gives something like the old "system info" application we used in Windows 7.

6.1 Where are the File Folders?

In Windows 8, Files are accessed using the File Explorer AppOnce you open File Explorer, you will know what to do. Its setup is similar to that of Windows 7.

So we need to open the File Explorer App in Windows 8 to find our files.  That can be accomplished by two methods.

Method 1:  Go to the charms bar and click search. Then type "File" in the search text field.  This will cause the File Explorer App Tile to appear on the left side of the screen.  Click on File Explorer Tile and your file system page will open.  This page will be familiar to Windows 7 users.  Just look for your files as usual from there.

Method 2:  From the Start Screen click the "Desktop" Tile.  This will bring up the Windows 8 desktop. It looks like the Windows 7 desktop except the "Start" button is missing. (However, the charms bar works from the desktop, which is just as good or better than a Windows 7 Start button.)  Ok...back to the narrative...

In Windows 8 desktop, there is a task bar at the bottom of the screen. File Explorer is represented by a "manila file folder" icon on the task bar. Click the file folder icon and File Explorer will open.  Just look for your files as usual from there. 

If you have the desktop open, you can close the desktop, and go back to the Start Screen. This can be done using the "Hand" method described above under How to Close an Open Application.  Just slide the mouse cursor to the top of the screen to get the "Hand."

That's about all you need to get going using Windows 8 with a mouse.

Comments, questions, suggestions welcome, as always.

And another thing...

How to Shutdown Windows 8 from the Start Screen

Go to the charms bar select >settings then click the "power" icon.
This pops up an options list including sleep, shutdown, and restart.

How to save a full screen shot in Windows 8

From the keyboard type: 

Windows Key + Print Screen  

This command saves a picture file of everything showing on your monitor (or monitors.) 

The picture file in bmp format is saved to your pictures library file folder on the Windows 8 desktop.