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Displaying the Desktop

You can use the "classic" Windows desktop by tapping, clicking, or selecting the Desktop tile in the lower-left corner of the apps listed in the Start screen. This action takes you to a desktop area that looks similar to the familiar one in Windows 7. One major difference here, however: The Start button with the Windows logo that you see in the lower-left corner doesn't display the Start menu—instead, it takes you back to the Start screen. If you're a big Windows 7 user, as I am, this particular item may take a bit of practice. Nine times out of ten, I still tap that button and expect to see a menu pop up.

The classic Windows desktop comes with just a few icons preloaded in the Windows Developer Preview; no doubt before the Windows 8 beta comes along more will be added. But what you see looks familiar: The taskbar stretches along the bottom of the screen; the notification area on the far-right side gives you the date and time, as well as controls for connectivity, volume, power, and more. You can add apps such as Internet Explorer, Windows Explorer, and Windows Paint to the Taskbar.

You can work with the programs and files on your desktop using touch, keyboard, or mouse. For example, in Windows Explorer, you can tap, click, or select the Windows Explorer icon to launch the program.

Within Windows Explorer, you can tap to do the following:

  • Resize the window by dragging the corners or sides
  • Grab a tab or tool you want to use
  • Select files and copy, move, or share them
  • Reorganize folders
  • Change the view of files and folders

Using the keyboard and mouse in Windows Explorer, you can perform these tasks:

  • Press Alt to display shortcut keys for selecting Windows Explorer tabs and tools (see Figure 4)
  • Use the arrow keys to choose files and folders so you can work with them
Figure 4

Figure 4 You can use touch, keyboard, or mouse on the classic Windows desktop.

When you're ready to return to the Windows 8 Start screen, you can tap the Start button, or you can press the Windows key on your keyboard (just left of your spacebar).

This article has spotlighted some of the basic techniques you'll use to navigate in Windows 8 using touch, mouse, and keyboard. In other articles, you'll learn more about how to customize the Start screen and share your apps in Windows 8.

Katherine Murray is the author of My Microsoft Windows 7 PC as well as many other books related to digital lifestyle, green tech, and Microsoft products. She writes regularly for CNET's TechRepublic, PC World Business Center, and Windows Secrets, and you can get in touch with Katherine through her blogs, Connect & Coblogerate and BlogOffice. You can also follow Katherine on Twitter @kmurray230.

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