Windows 8 Quick Start Reference Guide

If you are new to Windows 8, you may be feeling a bit lost. We thought you might appreciate this quick reference for how to get around and get things done.

Switch from The Desktop to The Start Screen:

  • If you are using a keyboard, the Windows key toggles between Start screen and Desktop modes.
  • With mouse or touch; click or touch the desktop “tile” while in Metro mode, Move the cursor to the lower left corner, until the Start icon pops up, then click the icon to go to Metro mode.

Windows 8 Start Screen Desktop Tile

  • With the mouse, you can hover over the lower left corner and in either mode, it brings up an icon of the other, that you can click on, to switch back and forth.

To exit an app:

  • Press the Alt key and the F4 key (Alt + F4)
  • Move the cursor to the top of the screen, where it becomes a “hand tool”, then drag the app window down to the bottom of the screen.


  • Windows Key (Win) + c = Charms Bar
  • Alt + F4 = Close an app
  • Win + i = Settings
  • Win + Tab = Displays open apps
  • Win + number 1 = Internet Explorer
  • Win + z = Click or touch All Apps located at the bottom right of the screen – Displays all the Apps

To access the Charms Bar:

  • With your mouse, move cursor to upper right or lower right corner and the Charms Bar will slide out from the right side of the screen.
  • If you have a touch screen, a swipe in from the right side will do it.
  • You can use the keyboard shortcut: Windows Key + c.

To display the Keyboard

  • Charms Bar>Settings>Keyboard

To get to the Control Panel:

  • Charms Bar > Settings > Control Panel

To get to PC Settings:

  • Charms Bar > Settings > Personalization or Win Key + I, and then click on PC Settings. We did have this take us to the camera a few times, then it started working.

To use Quick Search:

  • While at the Start Screen, just start typing.

How to add users:

  • Desktop/charms/settings/control panel/user accounts/manage another account/add a user account

How to switch users:

  • From Start screen tap your account picture/name, tap user name to switch to

How to turn off your computer in Windows 8:

  • Charm/Settings/Power

How to resize Start screen icons:

  • Pinch two fingers together on empty space on Start screen or on touch pad and icons will shrink to smaller size (only choice is large or small)

How to set the time in Windows 8:

  • Touch time in bottom right corner and tap change date and time settings

How to show the desktop:

  • While in doc can get to desktop quickly by pointing mouse cursor to bottom right corner of screen and click once