Discreet Windows 8.1 Features

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Five Subtle Yet Wow Features of Windows 8.1

Little Things Make a Big Difference. The saying fittingly applies to the Windows 8.1 Update that was released last month by Microsoft. The update comes with various subtle features hidden behind its main interface that go a long way in giving a wow feel to its users. Here we highlight a few of the discreet ones that are surely worth more than a try.

Discreet Desktop Shutdown

We all know that the Start button is back in Windows 8.1. However, Start Menu isn’t. So it still takes several clicks and a trip to the Charms bar to shut your Windows 8.1 PC down. There is a work-around though to avoid dealing with any annoying Windows 8 modern menus.

  1. Right-click on the Start button on the bottom-left corner of the desktop (or if you are using a touch PC just tap and hold it). A menu with a host of menu options pops up.
  2. Hover over the Shut down or Sign out menu option to view ‘Sign out’ ‘Sleep’ ‘Shut down’ and ‘Restart’ options.
  3. Click on Shut down and you are done.

Discreet Desktop Delight

Die-hard desktop fans, advanced options are available under the newly included Navigation menu in the Task Bar.  Here’s how you open up the Navigation bar. Simply right-click on the Taskbar on the bottom of the screen. Then select Properties ->Navigation, and access some really cool options to customize Windows 8.1 to your needs.

Do Away With Charms Bar Annoyances

Charms Bar is really annoying at times. It pops-up even when you don’t need it, especially when you intend to close a Window in Maximize mode and by mistake hover to the extreme right. Here’s the workaround.

Under Corner Navigation group un-tick the box on the left of the text When I Point to the upper-right corner, show the charms.

This effort will stop the Charms Bar from popping up when you don’t want it to do so.  Now in case you require the Charms Bar to pop-up simply press Win + C hotkey.

Boot Directly To Desktop

For many of us, the all so famous Start screen of Windows 8 was a good for nothing thing. But they had no option as it was the default page until Windows 8.1 came to life.  Here’s a simple workaround Windows 8.1 offers.

In the Navigation tab, tick the box next to When I sign in or close all apps on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start.

Now the next time you sign in, you are taken to your good old desktop screen by default.

App Launcher Hidden In Your Start Screen

Let’s face it, at first sight the Start Screen may give an attractive feel to your PC, but for many, it’s a problematic lot. Many users don’t like it a bit as they find it difficult to zero-in on the app they need to use in the maze of tiles. Fortunately for them, the Navigation panel of Windows 8.1 has the solution.

Just tick the box next to Show the apps view automatically when I go to Start.

Now whenever you boot up, big tiles will pave way for a list of apps.

SkyDrive Puts Everything On Cloud Automatically

The Windows 8.1 SkyDrive comes with an interesting feature enabling which you can automatically save all your documents and camera photos over the cloud. To do so follow the steps underneath.

  1. Go to Charms ->Settings ->Change PC Settings  ->SkyDrive.
  2. Click Files from the menu that appears on the left of the SkyDrive main page.
  3. In Files on your SkyDrive section, turn the toggle under Save documents to SkyDrive by Default to On position, hat is to the extreme right.
  4. In Camera roll folder turn the toggle under Automatically upload videos to SkyDrive to On.

What’s more, you can also adjust the quality of photographs on SkyDrive and manage online space.

Hands Free Mode in Food & Drink App

The Food & Drink appis a cook’s delight.  It is home to various delectable recipes from across the globe. In Windows 8.1 the app comes with a really worthwhile feature – the Hands-free mode.

The mode comes into play when you intend to swap the touchscreen of your Windows 8.1 PC but can’t do so as your hands are full with flour or chocolate or what not. However, don’t worry. Just wave your hand in front of the device’s webcam and the screen would move.

Quiet Hours

Windows 8.1 clubs various mobile and desktop features. One of them is app notifications, which pop-up when you get an alert. However, an annoying aspect of such notifications is the sound they generate along with the alert. Thankfully though, Windows 8.1 has a solution for the problem, aptly called as Quiet Hours. Here’s how it works.

  1. Go to Charms bar ->Settings ->Change PC Settings->Search and Apps ->Notifications.
  2. In Quiet hours section turn the toggle under Quiet hours tab to On.
  3. Select the duration for which you want the app notifications to stay off.

The notifications will automatically start once Quiet hours end.

Alternatively, you can also permanently turn off the notification sounds.

  1. Go to Charms bar ->Settings ->Change PC Settings ->Search and Apps ->Notifications.
  2. In Notifications section turn the toggle button next to Play Notification Sounds to Off

You can turn the toggle button to On to play notification sounds again. However, they won’t turn on automatically.

As you can see Windows 8.1 is a hive full of such nimble features. We will keep you posted as and when we decipher more of them, so keep a watch on our activities.

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