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Hidden / secret features of Windows 8 | Windows 8 tips and tricks

Written By Sansation on Friday, 2 November 2012 | 06:34

Windows 8 is packed with great new features and useful shortcuts, but what you probably do notknow is that Win8 has a many handy, less-known settings available. In this post I give you some of Windows 8's secrets that will make things easier and more efficient.

Automated maintenance on a schedule
Windows 8 is equipped with a new feature running automated maintenance tasks such as software updates, security scanning, and other diagnostic tests. By default, it runs them at 3:00 AM, of if you are using your it, the next time your system is in idle mode. You can change the time in the Action Center, or instruct Windows 8 whether or not you want it to wake your system up to perform the tasks. You may also perform the maintenance manually from the Action Center, if you wish to do so.

Customizing apps in the search bar
If you search from the Start screen, you will see a list of apps under the search bar. Click on one of them, and you search those same terms in that specified app. You can tweak that list, remove and add apps through Windows 8's settings. Bring up the Charms bar (with Windows-key + C), then click Settings, and go down to Change PC Settings. From there, you choose Search from the left sidebar, and turn off the apps you don't want in this menu.

Enabling the hidden "Aero Lite" theme
When Windows 8 was still in beta, it had anextra Aero Lite theme that removed some transparent glass features of Windows Aero. But in the final release of Windows 8, Microsoft opted for a much more basic theme than the test builds, so Aero Lite no longer shows up. But you can still find it in the Themes folder. With a few small tweaks, you are able to re-enable it in your Personalization preferences. It's not very different from the default themes, but it gives a different look to the title button bars and some other small parts of in Windows 8.

How to enable the secret start screen animation
When you first sign in to Windows 8, you see a neat flow-y animation of all your tiles filling up the screen. After that though, the start screen has a much more toned-down animation. How to enable the cool animation for every launch? You can do this with an easy registry tweak and you can customize certain settings for the animation at the same time, which is quite awesome.

How to take faster screenshots?
Windows had a ridiculous screenshot dunction by which you had to press printscreen, then open up an application and paste in your screenshot from the clipboard. That's all history now, if you press Windown-key + printscreen or Windows-key + Volume down on a tablets, Windows will take a screenshot of your screen and automatically save it in your pictures folder as a PNG file.

Customizing more ucons in Windows Explorer
Do you remember in Windows 7, when you created a library, it had that ugly, nondescript icon? You had to go through some complicated process to change it, Windows 8 now lets you customize your Library icons right from its settings. Simply right-click on the Library, go choose Properties, and you will see the option to change the library's icon right at the bottom. If Windows Explorer's favorites icon is getting in your way in the sidebar, you can right-click on the sidebar to hide it, you can't do the same for Libraries, homegroup or other annoying icons.

How toreate and name app groups on the start screen
When first opening the start screen, you will see that some of your apps are in their own groups. You can create your own groups just by dragging an app's tile to an empty space on the Start screen. It creates its own group. If you want to name your groups you can do that by clicking the small button in the bottom-right corner of the screen and right-clicking on the groups.

Changing the number of rows on the start screen
By default, the Start screen fills your screen up with as many rows of tiles as it can fit, up to 6 rows. If you want to decrease that number you can tweak this by editing the Registry. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to let you pack more tiles onto smaller screens, but it's a neat little tweak if you want to give your start screen a more minimal look.

How to hide Recent Files from your jump lists
Jump lists were a great addition in Windows 7 and helped boost your productivity, but theirRecent Items feature was a potential privacy concern. Windows 8 lets you customize jumplists better than Windows 7, giving you the option to hide recently opened items programs. To see the preferences, right-click on the taskbar, go to Properties, and click the jump lists tab.
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