Category Archives: Windows 8

Useful stuff for Windows 8

Windows 8.1 Autozoom and Trackpad settings

Sometimes the Trackpad or Clickpad on your lap top is too sensitive – you do so much as breathe on it and the screen changes…  You can change some of the settings which might help.

Go to Control Panel, and search for Mouse.  (A quick way to get to the Control Panel from the Desktop is to Right Click on the Start Screen symbol at the bottom left corner of the screen, then choose Control Panel.)

From here, it depends on your laptop – you need to look for something like Change Mouse Settings, or Clickpad Settings or Trackpad Settings.  Once you have the Trackpad Settings window, you can disable any features which drive you mad (like Pinch Zoom).

You can also change the sensitivity of the Trackpad: if you click on the arrow to the left of Pointing, you can then choose Sensitivity.  See also my earlier post Change the Sensitivity of the trackpad on your laptop.


Windows 8 – Create a short cut on the desktop

In Windows 8, you can find programs or apps like Word by going to the Start screen, using the Down Arrow, and then browsing your list of Apps.  When you find the app you want, you can right click on it and choose to Pin to Start or Pin to taskbar.

If you would like an icon on your desktop, then right click on the app, and choose Open file location.  This opens an explorer window on the desktop. Now right click on your chosen app and choose Send to then choose Desktop (create shortcut).  You wlill now have an icon on your desktop for your chosen app.

Change the sensitivity of the trackpad on your laptop

I have a HP laptop running Windows 8, and this worked for me.  Your laptop may vary slightly, but the steps should be similar.

Open the Control Panel.  (Using the screen charms, choose Settings, then Control Panel).

Choose Hardware and Sound.

Your touchpad should be listed, click on Settings.

A new window opens, click on the arrow left of Pointing.

Click on Sensitivity.  On mine, I then get a “cog wheel” next to Sensitivity; I click on that, and I get a slider to adjust the sensitivity from Light Touch to Heavy Touch.  Move the slider, click Close, then OK, then close the Control Panel.

To find which programs run at Startup

To find out which programs run when you start up your PC:

Click on Start, and type msconfig into the search box.  Then click on msconfig.exe.

The window which opens lists all the programs which run at start up; you can choose to disable individual programs, which may make startup quicker.

On Windows 8, open the Task Manager by holding down the Ctrl key, and the Alt key, and press the delete key.  Choose Task Manager. Choose the Start-up tab.

Do a Virus scan

This is a link to a page by Martin Lewis Money Saving Expert, which gives a list of free programmes which will scan your computer for viruses.  The programmes are from safe sources, and are free to download and run.  I tried the microsoft one, and it found no errors on my PC.
If you have anti-virus software on your PC which is up to date, you should be fine.

You may need to know what version of Windows you have on your PC in order to download the right version of the virus scan program.  To find out what version of windows you have, click on Start,  then right click on Computer, and click on Properties.

(For Windows 8, on the Start screen type “windows version” then choose “See if you have a 32-bit or 64-bit version of windows”

Windows 8 – Log in without a password

I find it really annoying to have to type in my password every time I use my Windows 8 lap top!

Here’s how to disable that:

Open the Run window  (press the Windows key + R), and type in “netplwiz” this will open the User Accounts dialog box. Uncheck the box near the top that says “Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer.” Click OK, and enter the username and password one last time to confirm your choice, and then logging in is a thing of the past!

You may also want to change the settings so that you don’t have to type a password very time you wake the lap top from sleep – those times when you shut the lid, but don’t shut down the lap top, and then wake it up by opening the lid again.  To do this, go to the Start screen and type “Sign”, then choose Sign-in Options, then at the bottom where it says Password Policy, if it says Password required when waking this PC from sleep, click on Change, and then Change again, and you will no longer need to enter your password.

Useful tip for comparing items on different web sites

When you are using a search engine like Google, to search for an item – say, brown leather gloves – you type “brown leather gloves” into the search box, and then you get a whole list of possibilities.  A useful tip for comparing the different results is to open them each in new tabs (or pages) in the browser, then you can move from one to the next and back again by clicking on the tabs at the top of the page.

To do this, when you click on a link, instead of using the left button of the mouse, click with the centre wheel – this will open the link in a new tab (or page).  Click on several links – as many as you like – then left click as usual on the tabs at the top of the page.

If you aren’t using a mouse, or the centre wheel click doesn’t work, you can right click and choose “Open link in new tab” .

If you are using a touch screen device, press and hold the link, and then choose “open in new tab”


Windows 8 – Search

On Windows 8 if you want to search for something, e.g. “check for updates” if you are on the Start screen, simply type “check for updates” and the search function will open and then show your results.

If you click on a possible search result, and then want to go back, move the mouse (or whatever you are using) up to the top left corner – the search results will be displayed – click (or tap) to view them again.

Magnifier – Windows 8

Sometimes you can change the size of things on your screen by changing the screen resolution: On the Start screen, type screen resolution. When the search panel appears, click on Change the screen resolution, and if your device allows you, you can change the settings.  This doesn’t always help though when you open an application that is not affected by changes to the screen resolution, and the text can still be very small and hard to read.

In cases like this, sometimes holding down the Ctrl key and scrolling with the center wheel of the mouse (if you use one)  will zoom in or out, allowing you to see things better.  If this doesn’t work, you can turn on Magnifier.

On the Start screen type magnifier.  When the search panel appearsclick on Turn magnifier on or off.  When the Settings window opens, click on the slider under Magnifier to turn the Magnifier on.

Everything will now be bigger!

Click on the Magnifying glass symbol to change the settings, or click on the red X to close.

If you want to pin this application to Start for easy access, on the Start screen, type magnifier.  When the search panel appears, press and hold Magnifier, and then tap Pin to Start. If you are using a mouse, right click Magnifier and then click Pin to Start.

You can also get to Magnifier by going to the Control Panel, and then choose Ease of Access, and then choose Ease of Access Center.  There are other features there that may be useful.