Launching Apps from the New Start Screen
After you log into your Windows 8 computer, you’re greeted with something completely new—the Start screen. You’re used to seeing the Windows desktop (which still exists; more on that later), but instead you see a collection of large, colorful, sometimes animated tiles against a colored background. This is your new home base in Windows 8.
The Start screen is where you find and launch all your programs, applications, and utilities. Instead of using a Start menu on the desktop, as was the case with all versions of Windows since Windows 95, you now find most of the same options and operations on the Start screen.
The main area of the Start screen consists of a series of tiles. Each tile represents a particular app, program, document, or function. At the top-right corner of the screen is your name and profile picture. Click or tap your name to sign out of Windows, lock the screen, or change your account picture.
Many users find the Start screen more functional than the old Start menu. Instead of displaying only the name of a program, the Start screen often displays “live” information from an application. For example, the tile for Windows 8’s Weather app displays your current temperature and weather conditions; the tile for the News app displays a scrolling display of current headlines. Some tiles even display current content—for example, the Photos tile displays your most recently viewed pictures, and the Desktop tile displays the desktop background. This lets you view some information without having to launch the actual applications.
Display the Start Screen
Because there is no longer a Start menu in Windows 8, you have to return to the Start screen when you want to open a new application or document. There are three ways to do this, depending on how you like to use your computer.
- From your computer keyboard, press the Windows key. Or...
- ...with your mouse, mouse over the lower-right or upper-left corner of the screen to display the Charms bar and then click Start. Or...
- ...on a touchscreen device, touch the right edge of the screen and swipe left to display the Charms bar and then tap Start.
Scroll Through the Start Screen
There are probably more tiles on your Start screen than can be displayed on a single screen of your computer display. To view all your Start tiles, you need to scroll the screen left or right. There are several ways to do this.
- To scroll with your mouse, click and drag the horizontal scrollbar at the bottom of the screen, or click the right and left scroll arrows on either side of the scrollbar. If your mouse has a scroll wheel, you can use the scroll wheel to scroll right (down) or left (up) through the tiles. Or...
- ...to scroll with your keyboard, one screen at a time, press the PageDown button (scrolls right) or the PageUp button (scrolls left). To scroll one tile at a time, press the left arrow or right arrow buttons. Or...
- ...to scroll with a touchscreen display, swipe the screen with your finger right to left to scroll right, or left to right to scroll left.
Open a Tile
Each tile on the Start screen represents a specific app or document. There are three ways to launch an app or open a document from these tiles.
- To open a tile with your mouse, click the tile, using the left mouse button. Or...
- ...to open a tile with your keyboard, use your keyboard’s arrow keys to move to that tile, then press the Enter key. Or...
- ...to open a tile on a touchscreen display, tap the tile with your finger.
Find Additional Apps and Utilities
Most of the applications and utilities installed on your computer should automatically appear on the Start screen, just as they used to do on the old Start menu. There might be some older or lesser-used programs, however, that do not end up on the Start screen by default. For that reason, Windows 8 includes a new All Apps screen that lists all the applications and utilities installed on your computer.
- Press the Windows key to open the Start screen.
- Right-click anywhere in an open area to display the Options bar.
- Tap or click All Apps to display the All Apps screen.
- Click or tap an app’s tile to open it.