Computer Users’ Group

January 16, 2013

 

Wiindows 8: Win 8 was designed to not fall behind in the age of Touch Screen tablets and laptop computers. In so doing, many desktop and non touch screen computer users feel left out. The primary complaint is the the Start Menu is missing. That deficiency can be over come. You can upgrade an existing computer to use Win 8 or buy a new computer with it installed. We’ll cover both instances and provide some guidance to help you get it right. One difference is that on the computer that I bought with Win 8 installed, I had to create a password for the Microsoft Store which had to be the same as the password used to access the computer. I could not delete it. With the old computer where I installed Win 8, I could get by without a password.

 

Existing Computer: Windpws 8 installation runs a compatibility test to see if your computer can accept Windows 8. If you want to check this out before you spend money buying Win 8, you can download the Windows 8 compatibility advisor here:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/upgrade-to-windows-8 Run the program to see if your computer is capable of running Win 8 and learn what steps you may need to take to make it capable. You can get Win 8 on a disk or you can download a copy from Microsoft. Go here to read about it and download it for $39.95 until January 31, 20013. http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/meet

 

Before you install it, you should make an Image copy of your existing system and files. An image copy is an exact copy of everything on your computer’s hard drive. If you choose to revert to the system you are using now, you can just copy the image file back to your computer. It will over write everything on your hard drive and put you back exactly as you were before. You will need an external hard drive on which to place the image. You should also back up the files and data that you have so you can copy it back in case the installation of Win 8 removes any. Before you restore the system from the system backup file that you made, you should backup Win 8 installation file if you downloaded it so that you will be able to re-install it once you’ve resolved any problems.

 

Once you’ve done that housework, you can start to install the program. The first step is to run the Upgrade Advisor which you already have done. It provides a walk-through of your existing programs (apps) where you will learn what apps are compatible with Win 8, which ones aren’t and which ones can be upgraded free or at a cost. Installation will then procceed, installing Win 8. Data can be re-loaded from the backup file that you made. How you do it depends on what program you used to back it up. If you used the Windows Backup, you can search through the backup file and choose what you what to add back in. Your apps will have to be installed from the disk they came on or from the download file that hopefully you backed up.

 

New Computer: Step one is to read whatever documentation you got with the computer which generally will only be a Quick Start guide, From that you can find out how to access the User Manual. I would be very patient about adding any new apps or creating any data until you can feel comfortable navigating through what’s there. Let’s see what we’ve got. The following applies to both of the computers under discussion.

 

A screen full of rectangular boxes listing apps and links is called the Start Page and to start something, it only takes a single click. Many of what is shown are apps that you can try for free but must buy to continue. One link is to the Microsoft Store where you can buy additional apps and you will often be asked if you want to. One link is to the Desktop which you can click on to get to a desktop similar to what is on Win 7. On the Desktop in the Task Bar, the second ICON from the left will take you to File Explorer which is similar to Windows Explorer in Win 7 where you can search files. You can start any app or folder by typing it’s name anywhere on the start screen as soon as you start to type, a list of apps will appear matching what you’ve typed so far and will be narrowed down as you continue to type. Click on the app that you want as soon as you see it. It’s easier to type several letters that it is to type just the first one and try to pick out the one that you want from the several dozen that may be listed.

 

To see all of the apps that may be open, right click on the Start Page and select All Apps.

 

Start Button: There is no start button and Start Menu as we know it; that has been replaced with the Start Page. If you want to have a sttart button, you can download and try adding one by going here: http://download.cnet.com/Start8/3000-2072_4-75732532.html . It can be downloaded and tried for 30 for free and it costs $4.99 to keep. You can read about it there before you try it.

 

Hot Corners: Windows 8 has what are known as Hot Corners. Each of the corners will respond if you drag a mouse pointer or slide a finger on a touch screen into it.

 

Lower Left Corner: Move your mouse to the lower left corner to switch between the Start Screen and the Desktop or your last viewed open app. Click to open it.

 

Upper Left: The upper left switches between the present open app and the previously open app. To see the last viewed app, point to the upper left corner. You can click on a page Icon to open it or Right Click to see Close, Snap Left or Snap Right. Clicking on the Snap Left or Right allows you to open the last viewed app along side of one you are viewing.To see all of the apps that may be open, click on the upper left and hold the mouse key down and drag the files down to see them all.

 

Upper Right and Left: These two corners respond in the same way: They open what is called the Charms Bar. These are links to several useful functions: Search, Share, Start, Devices and Settings

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Search searches by subject so you can choose from the list and search for what you want. The list includes Apps, Settings, Sharing, Files, Amazon, Dictionary, Encyclopedia, Microsoft Store and much more. What you get may depend on the computer manufacturer if a new computer.

 

Share: Click on it to share what’s open by copying it to a new location or sharing with Social Networks or via email.

 

Start takes you to the Start Page.

 

Devices list all of the devices and printers attached to your computer and you can select a device to use; one use is to set up a second monitor and choose what to view and how to view it.

 

Settings links to various computer controls such as Control Panel, Power, Network and various other places where you can personalize and setup functions. Settings will apply to any app that you might have open. To change the settings for Internet Explorer, for instance, open it and then go to Settings on the Charm Bar.To turn the computer off, click on Power and choose what you wan to do.

 

Shortcuts: There are a few keybourd shortcuts that you can use. The Windows key opens the Start Page, the Windows Key plus the letter D will open the Desktop page. Press and hold the Alt key and repeatedly press the Tab key to cycle through all open apps.

 

SkyDrive. SkyDrive is Microsoft’s Cloud storage and you get 7 GB of free space and can buy more if you need it. Click on the SkyDrive App and then right click on the app when it opens and select Upload and select what you want to unload. No matter where you are, if you have access to a Web Browser, you can see or download what you have in your SkyDrive.

 

When you start up the computer, it will go to the Lock Page where you can click anywhere on the page to open up the sign-in page. Enter your password to go to the Start Page. You can then click on the Desktop if you want to navigate that way. To switch between the Desktop and the Start Page, point to the lower left corner to see the one that is not showing and click to switch between the two of them. The switch takes place between the last viewed page and the Start Page.

 

A site that I found to be very useful is run by the Goodwill Community Foundation and it has dozens of free tutorials that are very well written. It’s called LearnFree.org and you can get it here: http://www.gcflearnfree.org/ You’ll find a very good tutorial on Windows 8 if you look under computer topics. Also, keep it in mind for help with the many other topics that are covered.

 

MyHeritage: My Heritage has a Genealogy Program and a very well populated web site,               Once you post your genealogy, it will search for matches with other people on other sites and through records. The site is somewhat awkward to use but getting all of those record matches is helpful.

We’ll look zt my site but you can look around to see what’s there at www.myheritage.com . You can start by posting up to 200 names for free. They have provided 863 record matches that can help me flesh out some of my ancestors but I have to do it carefully to be sure they’re correct.

 

Java: Oracle reports that a fix has been provided for the problem with it’s Java product. If you use Windows, the fix should be provided by Microsoft through a Windows update. There were 9 updates on the 14th but I wasn’t able to tell if anyone of them was for Java. Many experts are still worried and suggest you leave Java disabled for a while. It’s a programming language that is independent of the system on which it runs,.but we seem to be able to get along without it.