If you’re an early adopter of Windows 8, then you’re probably interested in learning the ins and outs of your new operating system. There are plenty of new tips and tricks to learn in Windows 8. If you’ve already read our first article on how to speed up Windows 8, then here are 8 more ways to improve your system’s performance customizability.

7) Disable the Metro UI

One of the most noticeable changes to Windows 8 is the new interface. Code-named metro, the new UI has also polarized the Windows fanbase between those who hate it and those who love it. While some like the sleek, polished look, others claim that it favors tablet and mobile PC users over desktop and laptop users. To force Windows 8 to start in classic mode, follow the walkthrough listed below.

First, find your Windows directory and perform a search for ‘Shows desktop’. A shortcut called ‘Shows desktop’ should appear. Copy that shortcut into the following location:

C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

Then, restart your PC to apply these changes.

6) Link up to your Xbox 360 console

If you have an Xbox 360, then you’ll like Windows 8’s ability to synchronize movies, music, and games across both your PC and your Xbox. Find the ‘Xbox companion’ application in your Start menu and walk through the steps to connect your two systems together. While the features of this mode are limited in the beta, Microsoft has big plans for the future, including the ability to play Xbox 360 games through your PC. Linking up your Xbox and PC today will give you a head start once these features are officially released.

5) A new approach to passwords

If you’re sick and tired of memorizing passwords for your user accounts, then Windows 8 has a new feature you’ll like. Instead of typing in a password every time you log onto your computer, you can associate a picture with your account. When you want to log in, you draw three different shapes on this picture. You might draw a heart around a picture of you and your cat, for example.

While this may seem awkward on PCs, people who use touch-screen devices are going to find it quite useful. You need to get all 3 gestures correct in order to successfully log in.

4) Optimize the placement of your tiles

The Windows 8 desktop has a rectangular grid of tiles that you can arrange to your heart’s content. Each tile represents a shortcut to an application, and it’s easy to group common applications into certain areas of your screen. You can also resize tiles by right-clicking on them and selecting ‘larger’ or ‘smaller’. Unfortunately, there is no ‘select all’ tool that lets you move multiple tiles at the same time.

3) Change your default start-up programs

Windows 8 starts with a bunch of cool applications, but you may not need all of them from the moment your PC starts up. To speed up your PC and reduce your boot time, try removing a few applications from the start-up sequence. This can be done by typing ‘default programs’ into the Metro UI and clicking on the first link that pops up. From that menu, select ‘set your default programs’. Then, pick and choose the applications you want to load when your computer starts up.

To make this feature even more useful, Windows 7 notifies you if the number of programs set to start up exceeds your computer’s resources and ‘batch processing power’.

2) Sync up your social media accounts

Using the ‘Peoples’ application in Windows 8, you can easily sync your social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Hotmail. One of the major advantages of this app is the ability to sign into just one messenger program and talk to all your friends on Facebook Chat and Windows Messenger.  

1) Sync your Microsoft account

Once you’re done syncing up your social media accounts with Windows 8, you should try linking your Microsoft account. This helps you connect with Microsoft’s SkyDrive cloud storage and also keeps track of your personalized settings, like language, apps, visuals, and more.

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