The Start Screen is full of nice, big, chunky tiles that represent all your apps. The tiles are easy to see in small groups, but what if you have hundreds of apps installed? Most will be hidden from view, unless you want to do a lot of scrolling. Enter the new semantic zoom feature. If you’re using a touch display, squeeze the Start screen with two fingers to receive a bird’s eye view of your entire screen contents. And the feature is also available to mouse and keyboard users: Simply hold down the Ctrl button, and use your mouse wheel to zoom in and out.
Categorize your apps
Your Start screen can become a cluttered mess if you collect too many apps and other elements that have been pinned to the screen as tiles, so take advantage of built-in organization tools that let you divide everything into labeled groups.
First, drag all the tiles you want to assign to a single group to the far right-hand side of your Start screen in vacant territory; the OS should sequester the tiles together. Once you’re satisfied with your assembly, use semantic zoom (described above) to get a bird’s eye view of your desktop. Now right-click the group (or simply drag down on it), and select the “Name group” option on the left of the bar that appears below. Type in the name, and enjoy your newly organized Start screen!
Close an application
Closing an app sounds simple enough, but you’ll quickly notice that close buttons are hard to find in Windows 8. That’s because Microsoft encourages us to run apps in the background where they’ll take up minimal resources, but still be accessible at any time.
Nonetheless, if you insist on being rebellious, you can close an app by dragging it with your mouse or finger from the top of the screen all the way down to the bottom. As you drag, the app will miminize into a thumbnail, and when you reach the bottom, it will disappear from view. Alternatively, you can still close apps via Alt + F4 and through the Task Manager.
Use centralized, contextual search
The Search function located on the Charms bar is packed with power, letting you search the directories of not only your Windows 8 machine, but also the greater Windows ecosystem. Simply choose the bucket of data you want to sift through—it could be all your installed apps, your system settings, your files, your mail messages, or even an external service like the Windows Store or Bing Maps—type in a keyword, and hit Enter. The Search function will then return the results, perfectly contextualized for the database you’ve addressed
Oh, and how’s this for cool? You don’t even need to hit the Charms bar to access Search. From the Start screen, simply start typing, and you’ll be quickly whisked to the text-entry field for search queries. Try it. It works!