Here are some notes that should get a user familiar with previous Windows version up and running quickly on Windows 8.
Windows 8 paradigm shift
Windows 8 presents a look and user interface that is quite different from previous versions of Windows, so much so that even an experienced Windows user will likely be confused and floundering on first try. However, once you understand the paradigm shift and some basic operations you should be able to access the Windows functionality you expect - and more.
Think of it this way: Windows 8 has taken the Start menu from the Windows 7 desktop and converted it into a Start screen which presents itself as the main interface - the face of Windows 8. All programs are "apps" which have dynamic tiles (icons) on the Start screen. The idea is to present a modern interface consistent across all platforms. In fact, Microsoft calls it the Modern UI - not Metro, that was just an internal name. It's touch friendly and tablet-like, but works just as well with a mouse and keyboard.
Another paradigm is that Windows 8 "Modern UI" apps attempt to present a clean, minimal interface, maximizing screen space, with menus and options accessed either with a right click or a pull-out side menu. The corners of the screen are magic touch points.
- programs are "apps" and appear as tiles on the Start screen (remember, no Start Menu!)
- on the Start screen, to scroll left just push the cursor to the right (or swipe touch screen)
- only apps written for Windows 8 create a tile on the Start screen; they optionally display info that updates live on the tile
- to access all installed programs, accessories, and system utilities (Control Panel) - essentially the old Start Menu
- right-click anywhere on Start screen, bottom ribbon appears, select "All apps" on right
- All Apps screen shows all installed programs and utilities
- click on a program to run, right click for context menu, which includes option Pin to / Unpin from Start screen
- "Desktop" is an app on Start screen
- Windows desktop is still there underneath, accessed through a "Desktop" tile on the Start screen.
- The desktop itself will look familiar - except no Start menu!
- Desktop can have programs and browsers open in varying size windows, shortcut icons, a taskbar with minimized programs, Windows explorer, etc.
- File Explorer, formerly Windows Explorer, looks very familiar, with the addition of a tool ribbon.
- Windows 8 apps generally take over the complete screen (tablet-like)
- cursor at top middle of screen changes to hand; pull down app to close
- can use "hand" to shift app to 1/3 or 2/3 side of screen; can open second app in remaining space
- when in an app, to go back to the Start screen bring the cursor to lower left corner of window, click on Start thumbnail that appears
- shortcut to Start screen - press Windows key
- to go to last used app, click in upper left corner
- to go to a recently used app, go to lower left, see Start thumbnail, bring cursor up the left side and select thumbnail of desired app
- on a touch screen you can just swipe in from the left side to go back to the last app
- go to lower right to bring up Charms bar on right column
- contains Search, Share, Start, Devices, Settings
- Settings->Tiles allows you to "Show administrative tools as tiles on Start screen"
- shortcut for Charms bar - Windows+C
- or swipe in from right side on touch screen
- Charms bar within app is app specific, but from Start screen is general to system
- right click on Start screen shows system menu bar at bottom of screen (including "All apps")
- right click within an app shows menu bar at bottom, and possibly top, which is app specific
- Quick Access Menu (advanced users) - right-click on Start thumbnail in lower left corner
- offers system tools, like Control panel, Run, File explorer, Task manager, Cmd prompt, Computer/Disk/Device manager, System panel
- Integrated Search - just start typing anywhere on Start screen, opens search, finds anything (apps, files)
- e.g., on Start type "Des" and list shows all installed DesignSync tools (GUI, SyncAdmin, shells, DS doc)
Internet Explorer 10
- The standard browser for Windows 8 is IE10, although Chrome and Firefox are available
- There are actually two versions of IE10 - the Windows 8 app run from the Start screen tile, and the one from the desktop
- IE10 run as an app takes over full screen, minimalist controls, maximum screen
- IE10 run on Desktop looks similar to IE9 - adjustable window size, menu bar
- software written for older Windows version will likely install and run under Windows 8 but not create a Start screen tile
- you can create a Start screen "app" tile for these programs by going to “All apps”, right click on program name, and select Pin to start menu