How to tweak Windows 8 for business use

Anna D, Account Executive at Bryley Systems, reveals how she overcame some frustrations with Windows 8 and set it up for business use.

“My experience with Windows 8 started out a little bumpy, but with a few tweaks, I was able to customize the OS (operating system) to be more suitable for my business needs.

The first thing I noticed when I booted Windows 8 were the tiles, which can be compared to app icons for Android and Apple devices.  Personally, I only like navigating app icons on a touch-screen-capable device, and find it inefficient in my everyday business-computer needs.  For instance, when I am using an app on my phone, I am only using that one app.  At work, I am constantly multitasking, and moving back and forth from one application to another.  In order to solve this problem, I changed the settings so my computer will boot into desktop mode.  (For details on this procedure, please see Bryley Basics later in this post.)  I can still access the tiles with my Windows key, if I wish.

Once I changed the boot settings I came across another hurdle.  My Windows Start Button was missing and was replaced with a Windows key that brought me back to the tiles.  So, I went to Windows Store to restore the Windows Start Button.

The first option that was presented to me was Classic Start Button, but I decided to go with Classic Start 8, because it was the closest resemblance to the Windows 7 Start Button. (For details, see Bryley Basics later in this post.)  I have also tried Pokki, which is also nice, and which you can download directly on their website, or from the Windows Store.

I am now much happier with Windows 8.  I can understand the direction that Microsoft was going towards in creating a single operating system for all devices, but the OS still needs to be tweaked based on how you will use it.  The nice thing is I have the option and ability to customize Windows 8 for either business or fun.  At work I am more efficient using Windows 8 like a Windows 7 computer.  At home I much prefer the tiles, especially with a touch-screen-capable Ultrabook, which is how I imagine Microsoft envision we use it.

I have more tips on tweaking Windows 8.  Next month I’ll let you know how to change the default photo-viewing application, Photos, back to the old Photo Viewer.  Those of you running Windows 8 have probably experienced the new Photos app, which opens the image in the full-screen, hiding everything else on the screen.  It is really inconvenient for me, and I am guessing I am not the only one.”

Bryley Basics: Anna’s Windows 8 procedures

Setup your Windows 8 PC to boot to Desktop Mode:

    1. Click the “Windows” key on keyboard to access the “Start” screen.
    2. At the Start screen, select the tile named “Desktop”.
    3. Once at Desktop, go to the bottom taskbar (circled below), place your cursor on the taskbar, right-click, and then select properties.

  1. A pop-up screen named “Taskbar and Navigation Properties” will appear. Select the “Navigation” tab, check-on the desired items (and check-off the undesired items), and then click OK.

Add a Start Button to you Windows 8 Desktop Mode:

    1. Click the “Windows” key on keyboard.
    2. Go to “Store”.
    3. Type “start button” in the search bar at the top-right.
    4. Select “Classic Start 8”.
    5. Select “Get app from publisher” on the upper, left-hand side.
    6. Select the “FREE Download Now!” icon.
    7. Follow the prompts.
    8. The new Windows Start Button is now added to you Desktop!

Booting Windows 8 into Safe Mode

Safe Mode is useful for diagnosing PC problems. Because Windows 8 starts quickly, you cannot get into Safe Mode by pressing [F8] during the boot-up process (as you could with previous versions of Windows). The new procedure:

  • Go to Settings and then select Power
  • Hold [Shift] and then press Restart to open System Recovery Options
  • Select Troubleshoot from System Recovery Options
  • Select Advanced options
  • Select Startup Settings
  • Enable Safe Mode