Chapter 20: Windows 8 in action

To get a better idea of how Windows 8 works, here are some videos showing some of the new functions and features, including the Start screen, Switcher and Charms. Please note that the videos don't have audio; there are descriptions below each video instead.

Playing with tiles

The Start screen has replaced the Start Menu button in Windows 8 and you can place shortcuts to all the apps that you want to use on this screen. In this video, we show how easy it is to make tiles smaller and re-arrange their position on the screen.

The Switcher

In this video, we show you what the Switcher looks like. We moved the pointer down to the bottom-left corner until the Start button became visible and then we moved the pointer up until the Switcher itself became visible. The Switcher showed the apps that were open. The first app we clicked on was Maps. We then invoked the Switcher again to switch to the Bing News app, then to the Weather app.

Finally, we moved the pointer to the top-left corner of the screen and clicked on the icon rapidly to show how quickly you can switch between applications. The same effect can be achieved on a touchscreen computer by swiping your finger in from the left side of the screen.

Showing all apps and launching apps

The Start screen does not show all Windows applications on it by default. In order to see all the Windows Accessories and other applications, you have to right-click on an empty space within the Start screen (that is, not on a tile) and then click All apps. You can see that we then launched Notepad, which took us to the Desktop environment.


You can bring up the Charms bar by moving the mouse pointer to the bottom-right corner of the screen until it disappears, and then moving it up. After the Charms bar appears, we demonstrate what it is like to use the various charms within it. We start off by pressing the Start screen charm, and then move along to the Settings charm.

Here is the Search charm in action. Searches can also be undertaken by going to the Start screen and typing the first few letters of your intended search.

The Snap feature

The Snap feature can be used to display two apps on the screen at one time. It's useful if you want to use the Desktop while also keeping an eye on a new-style Windows 8 app. In this example, we open the Maps app and drag it towards the right side in order to then bring up the Desktop on the left part of the screen.

We then show how easy it is to re-arrange the screen and make the Maps app the focal point while relegating the Desktop to the side. Finally, we show you how to close an app by clicking-and-dragging it from the top of the screen towards the bottom.

In this video we show you what new-style apps look like when they are in full screen, and also what happens when you right-click on them to bring up their options.

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