Windows 8.1 has been out for a few weeks now and that has given us plenty of opportunities to find tips, tricks, and secrets with the new operating system upgrade. Here are a few of our favorite tips and tricks designed to get the most out of your PC:

Boot directly to your desktop

One of the most annoying features of Windows 8 was the inability to boot directly to your desktop. Microsoft so desperately wanted its Metro UI to work that it forbid users from booting into anything else.

windows 8-1 shutdown

With Windows 8.1, Microsoft has relaxed these changes and now allows users to skip the Start screen and boot directly to the desktop. Here’s how to do it:

-Right click on the taskbar

-Click Properties

-Switch to the Navigation tab

-Check the Go to the desktop option

Your desktop will now load first instead of going to the Start screen or any other menu

Find all your apps

Windows 8.1 removed some of the clutter from the app screen. Instead of pinning every app by default to your Start/Metro screen, Windows 8.1 now moves a bunch of apps to the app drawer.

So don’t worry! Your apps aren’t lost. You can find all of them by clicking on the down arrow in the lower left corner of your screen.

Customize your Metro wallpaper

You can now customize your Start/Metro wallpaper to more than just the default Microsoft choices. Personally, I prefer setting a universal wallpaper for both the desktop and Metro screens.

windows 8-1 wallpaper

To do that, open the Settings charm on your Start screen and click Personalize. Look for your current desktop background on the list of images and your background wallpaper will now be the same between Metro and your desktop.

Shut down and restart more quickly

Windows 8 was so bad that many users had no idea how to even shut down their computers. They had to search Google to find out how to do it.

With Windows 8.1, Microsoft has made some improvements to the shortcut menu. You can access the shortcut menu by right-clicking on the bottom left hand corner of your desktop screen. This menu has always existed but now there are some new options to discover. You can shut the system down, for example, and log out of your account. This is way easier than going through the stupid Settings charm menu.

Disable Bing from the Smart Search menu

If you’re typing a search query into your desktop, you’re probably not looking for information on the internet. Instead, you’re looking for something in your PC’s own files and folders. Unfortunately, Windows 8.1’s Smart Search uses Bing by default alongside your PC search.

windows 8-1 tips 2


You can disable Bing from Smart Search by going to Settings > Change PC Settings > Search and apps > Search and then by toggling off Bing search integration. Now, Windows will only look through SkyDrive and your PC when you type in a query.

Change live tile sizes

You can now edit the size of your live tiles to reflect the importance of a particular app. You could do this in Windows 8, but you now have more size options in Windows 8.1

To change live tile sizes, right click on any tile and click Resize from the menu at the bottom. From there, you’ll see four different options: Large, Wide, Medium, and Small. Pick whatever one you like.

Disable hot corners

I find it kind of funny and I find it kind of sad that most of the tips listed here are simply disabling pointless features that Microsoft desperately tried to include.

windows 8-1 tips


Here’s another feature you might want to disable: hot corners. Many Windows 8 users disabled Hot Corners because they were so annoying, but it wasn’t easy. You needed to hack the registry just to remove the feature.

In Windows 8.1, Microsoft has made it much easier to disable Hot Corners. Just open up the PC and Devices settings menu and look for the Corners and Edges section. Turn off the Corner navigation options.

Dock apps alongside one another

Windows users have been able to adjust the size of their windows and screens for years. In Windows 8’s Metro menu, this feature was severely restricted.

dock windows 8-1 apps

Fortunately, Microsoft has brought it back in Windows 8.1 and users can now easily dock two Start screen apps side by side and also adjust the size of each pane. You can completely control how your Start screen looks, which should make it easier for users to actually, you know, use the Start screen.

Other useful features

-Apps now update automatically in Windows 8.1

-You can now create a system image backup from the desktop Control Panel > File History > System Image Backup

-You can now edit pictures using the Start screen Photos app, which has autofix tools and lets you adjust colors, shades, rotation, crop, and more.

-For more information, you can go to the Help and Tips app on the Windows Metro screen

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