If you’re one of the early adopters of Windows 8, then you may have tried experimenting with the admin settings. Although Windows 8 features similar settings to Windows 7, there are plenty of secrets to be found lying just beneath the first layers of Microsoft’s new OS.
Today, we’re going to show you how to use Windows 8’s new admin tools to their full potential. Here are a few tips that will help you customize, optimize, and personalize your brand new operating system:
How to access the powerful new user menu
You probably noticed that the Start button has gone the way of the dodo. However, taking its place is the new user menu, which can be found by simply right-clicking away from any screen (in both desktop and Metro views). From here, you can access all of the most important functions in Windows 8.
From this screen, you will notice important settings options like Device Manager, Windows Firewall, System Configuration, and more. All of these settings are easily accessible from a screen that looks like this:
Simply click on the tile you need to access and then modify settings however you like.
From that user settings menu we told you about above, you can find a new button called system information. This is one of the new additions to the Windows 8 settings screen, and it provides –as the name suggests – useful information about your PC and its hardware. But instead of just telling you about how many GBs of RAM you have, this page tells you how well your hardware is currently running.
Each part of your computer is listed in detail. For example, clicking on the hard drive will tell you the name of the hard drive manufacturer as well as any partitions you might have. Put simply, if you need to know how well your PC is running, or which hardware drivers need to be upgraded, the System Information screen will tell you.
In the past, accessing the System Configuration screen was not intuitive. It required users to open a run command (or the search bar) and type in msconfig. Since the System Configuration screen allows users to choose which programs and applications run at startup, it’s a valuable settings menu that doesn’t deserve to be hidden.
Fortunately, the user settings menu makes it easy to access the System Configuration screen. Simply click the System Configuration button to change the way your computer starts up or alter the list of default startup programs.
The new Task Manager
The System Configuration menu isn’t the only way to customize your computer’s startup processes. You can also open up the new Windows Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete. Then, navigate to the Boot tab and choose which programs you need during startup. Windows even allows you to separate programs based on their resource use during the load sequence. Remove any unnecessary high-resource using programs from the queue and then watch your performance skyrocket.
The new Task Manager also shows detailed information about the performance of your computer, including Wi-Fi, RAM, and CPU usage, among other things. The App History tab is equally as useful, since it allows you to see how much performance each of your Metro apps is clogging up (just don’t expect to see traditional Windows programs in this menu).
New file transfer screen
You’ve probably transferred files from one part of your PC to another at some point in your life. If you have, then you probably noticed the plain, boring Windows screen that pops up. It simply tells you how much time is left in the process as well as the completion percentage – but that’s it.
Meanwhile, the new Windows 8 file transfer screen provides detailed information about the file transfer process. Most importantly, you can save and resume the operation at any time – something that was impossible in previous versions of Windows.
The new file transfer process will also wait until the entire file transfer is complete before asking if you want to replace any duplicate files. So if you have ever moved a large HD video file between hard drives, left for a while, and then come back to a ‘duplicate file’ warning screen, then this new Windows 8 feature will alleviate that problem.
Place your admin tools on the desktop
If you want to make accessing your admin tools as easy as possible, then you’ll want to place them directly on your Metro UI desktop. To do this, simply open the Charms bar by sliding your mouse to the right-hand side of the screen, then click Settings. Then, click the Tiles menu and move the Show administrative tools bar to the right. Simply click anywhere on the desktop in order to remove the Charms bar, and you’ll notice the admin settings have been placed right on the Metro UI desktop.
From here, you can resize certain icons or group common ones together – just like you can with any Metro UI tiles.
Back up files automatically in Windows 8
Nobody thinks their computer is going to crash. Which is why computer crashes are so devastating when they happen. Instead of being left out in the cold when your computer crashes, Windows 8 makes backing up your computer as easy as possible.
Windows 8’s backup function is more than just a recovery tool for your entire operating system. It also allows you to retrieve old versions of files or files that you may have accidentally replaced. To access the File History/Backup menu, go to the Control Panel and click on the File History setting. At this point, you can plug in an external hard drive or even a USB stick in order to backup your most important files.
From the File History settings menu, you can also choose how long to keep outdated versions of different files, among other advanced settings.
Windows 8 is filled with new features and settings that allow users to optimize their systems in more ways than ever before. Stay tuned to the Fix My PC Free blog for more Windows 8 secrets as we move forward!