Chapter 12: The Control Panel and other system settings

The Control Panel in Windows 8 looks largely the same as the Control Panel in Windows 7, except for some added sections (including File History, Family Safety and Add features to Windows 8). It can be accessed by bringing up the Charms on the right side of the screen, clicking on the Settings charm, and then clicking on Control Panel. Alternatively, you can bring up the Start screen and start typing 'Control Panel' to bring it up. Using Control Panel, you can still perform the same types of personalisation tasks as in Windows 7, including changing Desktop background pictures, system colours and fonts and Aero themes.

Programs can be uninstalled from the 'Programs and Features' section, but the new section 'Add features to Windows 8' has been included as a way to purchase additional features for Windows 8. One of these features is Windows Media Centre, which is not included with Windows 8 by default. If you want to play DVDs and Blu-ray discs, then you have to either download Windows Media Centre, or install third-party decoding software from CyberLink or another vendor.

More settings

In addition to the Control Panel, other system features can be accessed from the 'Change PC Settings' screen that is accessible from the Charms menu. Through this screen, you can change Lock screen, Start screen and User images, as well as manage your user account (and the accounts of others if you are an administrator). Notifications from many default apps can be changed if you don't want to receive them all, search and share settings can be customised and many other settings can be accessed, too, such as privacy (location data) and synchronisation settings.

The General section in the 'PC Settings' screen is perhaps the most interesting as it contains the features that allow you to easily repair or restore your Windows 8 installation. See chapter 10 for more information on this.

Shutting down

As for shutting down a Windows 8 computer, you could always close the lid of your laptop of press the power button to put it to sleep, but the process for actually shutting down the system is not an obvious one now that the Start Menu button has been removed. There are a couple of ways to power down a system. The easiest is to simply press Control-Alt-Delete, then click on the power icon in the bottom-right corner and select Shut down. The other way, which comes in useful if you are on a tablet, is to bring up the Charms, click on Settings and the click on the Power icon.

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Previous chapter: SkyDrive cloud storage

Next chapter: What are the different versions of Windows 8?

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Elias Plastiras
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