Explore Windows 8.1
Work Smart by Microsoft IT
Quick Reference Guide
Updated: July 2014
Quick Reference Guide, 168 KB, Microsoft Word file
The Windows 8.1 operating system provides a robust array of features for touch-based, mouse-controlled, and keyboard-controlled devices. This Quick Reference Guide will get you started.
Unlocking your computer
The lock screen is the first screen that you see when you start Windows 8.1 Update. To unlock your computer:
- Tap the lock screen and slide your finger up. With a mouse, click the screen and drag it up. With a keyboard, press any key.
- On the sign-in screen, type your network password, and then tap or click the arrow (or press Enter).
Using the Start screen
The Start screen replaces the Start button from earlier versions of Windows. The Start screen appears after you sign in, tap or click the Start button , or press the Windows logo key . Use the Start screen to start or organize apps; search for apps, settings, and files; go to the desktop; open File Explorer; or start the Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 browser.
Windows 8.1 Update features charms. They appear like a toolbar on the right side of the screen when you swipe in from that edge, or when you use a mouse to point to the upper-right or lower-right corner of the screen.
Charms are available from both the Start screen and the desktop. Charms include: Search , Share , Start , Devices , and Settings .
Switching from the Start screen to the desktop
On the Start screen, tap or click the Desktop tile to view the desktop. You can also swipe in from the right edge of the screen and then tap or click the Start charm if the desktop was the last-started app. With a keyboard, press the Windows logo key +D.
Searching for apps, settings, and files
Click the Search icon at the top of the Start screen or just start typing. The search box automatically opens. For example, type Outlook on the Start screen and press Enter to find the Outlook desktop app. Then, just tap or click the app tile to open it.
Finding app tiles on the Start screen
To view app tiles on the Start screen, swipe across the screen from right to left. With a mouse, use the horizontal scroll bar at the bottom of the screen to scroll across the screen. With a keyboard, use the Right Arrow and Left Arrow keys.
Showing all installed apps
To view a list of all installed apps, on the Start screen, swipe up to show the Apps view. With a mouse, click the downward-pointing arrow in the lower-left area of the Start screen to open the Apps view. The Apps view, by default, displays all apps sorted by name. You can tap or click by name to select a different sort order.
Exit an app
To exit an app, tap and hold or click and hold the top center of the app. Drag the app to the bottom of the screen and hold it until it flips and closes. With a keyboard, press Alt+F4.
Personalizing your Start screen
You can personalize your Start screen by changing app tiles.
- Right-click a tile to access the tile’s context menu.
- Tap and hold a tile and a bar appears with options to resize, pin/unpin, or uninstall a tile, or turn off a live tile. Select the appropriate option.
To move a tile, tap and hold or click and hold the app tile and drag it to a new location.
Using the Quick Link menu
You can use the Quick Link menu to quickly access management apps and shutdown options. To open it, tap and hold or right-click the Start button .
Locking your computer or signing out
On the Start screen, you can choose to lock the computer or sign out.
- Tap or click your user name in the upper-right corner of the screen.
- Tap or click Lock or Sign out.