Windows 8 includes the Modern UI and a number of new features. In this video, you’ll learn about side by side apps, pinning, Microsoft OneDrive, Windows store, PowerShell, and much more.
Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 bring an entirely new user interface from the Windows Vista and Windows 7 days. So in this video, I’ll show you some features that are unique to the Windows 8 operating system.
Many of the new Windows 8 applications are full-screen apps, but you can put more than one app on the screen by using this side-by-side functionality. You would use this by taking a full-size app, dragging it down from the top edge and moving it over to the left or right side. You can also use the keyboard to do this with the Windows left arrow and the Windows right arrow.
Here’s how you might use this on your Windows 8 desktop. You have a full-size Windows 8 app. If you move near the top, you’ll get the title bar up here, then you can grab it and move it to the left or right side of the page. I use my Windows key to go back to the Start page. We’ll grab another application, and now I’m running two side-by-side on the same Desktop.
You may have noticed that Windows Start screen looks very different than Windows Vista or Windows 7. This is the modern UI, and this is Microsoft’s common user interface. You’ll see this in Windows 8, you’ll see it on the Xbox, you’ll see on the Windows Phone, and other Microsoft systems as well.
You may also see this referenced as the Metro UI, but there were trademark concerns with that, so Microsoft has standardized on calling this the Modern UI.
One thing that is different about this user interface is that it’s not just a bunch of static icons. These are live applications with different colors and animation. And you can get information right on the front of the Start screen.
You’ll notice that these live tiles are dynamic. They’re constantly updating, and they’re providing you information right on the Start screen without having to move into different applications. You may recall in Windows 7 that you can pin applications right on the Taskbar. And, of course, you could this in Windows 8 as well.
In Windows 7 and in Windows 8, you wait to until the app is running, you can right click and choose Pin This Program to the Taskbar. Or if you’re on a touch environment with Windows 8, you can simply touch and hold that application and choose Pin to Taskbar.
From the Windows 8 desktop, we can see the applications running down here on the Taskbar, and if there is a certain task that we’d like to always have available there, we can right mouse click and simply choose Pin This Program to the Taskbar.
Windows 8 also integrates cloud-based storage directly into the operating system. You don’t have to install any third-party applications. It simply is part of the OS itself. You may see this referred to as SkyDrive or Live Folders. Those are older names. These days, it’s referred to as Microsoft OneDrive.
Like most cloud-based storage systems, you’re able to store all of your documents into the cloud. But because it’s integrated into the operating system, this becomes the default storage location for all of your documents. And all of the settings for your computer are also stored in the cloud as well.
If you need to migrate, for instance, from one computer to another, you simply login with your Microsoft OneDrive credentials, and all of your settings will be downloaded and installed on the new computer.
The Windows Store is a central place to find applications for your Windows operating system. There’s both paid and free applications that are curated and available in this easy to use interface.
This is also the central point to go for installing the newer modern UI applications. There’s also other windows applications that could be downloaded from the Windows Store as well.
If you’re an independent developer or someone who has created their own application, this is a great place to install your apps, and then all the Windows users can go to one central place to download your application.
In today’s computing environments, we often will have more than one monitor that we use at our desktop, and with Windows 8 you can customize how the Taskbar looks on different monitors. You might want to have the Taskbar button showing across all the monitors that you’re using or maybe just on the monitor where you’re using the current application.
You can also change the way the buttons look on each Taskbar. So one monitor’s Taskbar might have a certain way that it looks, and another monitor might be configured in a completely different way. Maybe you’re combining applications together on one screen and separating them on the other.
Here’s a good example of how this might look. I’ve put two separate screens side by side, and you can see on the left screen the Taskbar has a certain style with the icons at the bottom. On the right side is exactly the same Taskbar, but you can see that we’ve expanded it out so it looks a little bit different on the right screen than it does on the left.
In Windows 8, there are a set of shortcuts that are available from every screen. These are called Charms. They are able to search, to share, to go to the Start menu, look at devices, and change the settings for the configuration of your operating system. You can use the keyboard to access these.
You can move with your mouse, or if you’re using a touch screen, you can use your finger. Windows C will bring up the Charms from the keyboard. If you’re using your mouse, you can go to the right window and move over, or you simply swipe over from the right with your finger to show the Charms bar. If we’re using our mouse, we can move to the upper or the bottom right. The Charms bar will appear, and then we can choose any of these options.
If you’ve been doing Windows administration for any amount of time, you’re probably familiar with PowerShell. This is something you could add on to previous Windows versions, but it’s now included with Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.
PowerShell is like taking the command line and expanding its capabilities to really take advantage of the Windows operating system. It can use these command functions called commandlets. They are PowerShell scripts available that you can run. And they’re also standalone executables the will work in PowerShell.
If you’re someone who is administering many different Windows systems or you have to handle large domains, the PowerShell is a great utility to use. If we like to find PowerShell, we can go to our Start menu. We can either look through all of the different applications that are on our system, or if we’re at the Start menu, we can simply type in what we’d like.
So let’s type in PowerShell, and it brings up Windows PowerShell as the first option. And it looks very similar to the command line you might use. But now you have other commands available. For instance, I can run Get-Service and list out all of the different services that are running in my operating system.
One of the advantages you have in an Active Directory environment is everyone has a centralized login, and all of your configuration settings are automatically backed up. Well, Microsoft has brought this same idea to the home by allowing you to log in with your Microsoft account. So you can use the Microsoft network account, Hotmail account, Live account, or an Outlook account to centralize the login to your operating system.
This isn’t just used for authentication, of course. If you’re downloading applications from the Windows Store, all of those can be centralized onto all of your different systems. And if there’s download app content, it will be automatically updated because it knows your login. And if you have PC settings that you’re using across multiple systems, all of those could be centralized with one central login.
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