Microsoft Windows 8: How to Customize Win 8, Tips, Gallery

Written by Sandy Berger

Here’s a great list of tips to help you customize screens in your Windows 8 system. Our Sandy Berger has tips and screens galore in this gallery-tip fest. — Microsoft Windows 8 is nothing if not colorful — and hugely customizable. In this gallery I compiled, check out the screens you’re able to personalize and find tips on how to do it.

Lock Screen

The Windows 8 Lock Screen is the first thing you see on launch. You’re able to customize a lot of information the system displays here, including whether it displays a date, time, number of unopened emails and so on.Tip: Open the Lock Screen by swiping in a downward motion with your finger. Just press any key on the keyboard.Windows 8 lock screen

Start Screen


  • The Start screen is defacto home page for MS Windows 8. You’ll see all the app tiles — they represent everything from email to news, weather, docs you’ve opened and stocks. Live Tiles Update constantly with current information and images. Your latest pics show up in a tile in the default Start Screen settings. This is either cool or potentially embarrassing, depending on your pics, we suppose.

Windows 8 Start Screen

The Start Screen Extended

Tip: It’s easy to extend the start screen, something you’ll want to do as time goes on for sure. Just swipe right on the Start Screen with your track pad or on screen on a mobile device to reveal even more tiles. Or move around using your keyboard’s arrow keys or mouse wheel. 

Start Screen Extended



Nostalgic for the old Desktop, yet? Good thing Windows 8 lets you choose between the new tiled Start Screen and a Desktop interface more similar to the one you’re used to from Microsoft Windows 7. Check it out.

Windows 8 Desktop

Windows 8 Apps

Want to see an app full-screen. Here’s a tip that won’t come naturally to PC owners of previous systems. Just touch or click on an app tile to view it in full screen — this is how you would do it on your smartphone or tablet. Tip: Think of Windows 8 as a touch-enabled system and your trackpad, keyboard and mouse as a touch screen and you’re 90 percent of the way there toward figuring this thing out.
Windows 8 Full Screen Apps

How to Show App Controls in Windows 8

It’s pretty simple. Just swipe down from the top of your screen or up from the bottom to show app controls. Tap anywhere on the screen to hide them. Or with a mouse, just right click to show controls.  Left click to make controls disappear. That’s a handy tip.
Windows 8 App controls

How to Show All Your Apps at Once

A question that Windows 8 users often ask is or even whether it’s possible to see all their programs and apps and files on one screen. It is. But it’s not intuitive if all you’ve known is Windows 7, Vista or XP. To show all apps and programs swipe up from the bottom of the Start Screen. That will display all apps. If you’re using a keyboard and mouse, right click on a blank part of the screen and choose All Apps from the bar the system displays.

Windows 8 all apps
The Charms Menu

The Charms Menu lets you access Search, Share, Start, Devices and Settings. Tip: To show the Charms menu, swipe from right to center screen,Or, if you’re using a mouse, move your cursor to the upper right corner of the screen. The Charms Menu will appear on the right.  

Windows 8 Charms                                               
How to Display Windows 8 PC Settings
As I said, Microsoft Windows 8 lets you to customize the OS in several ways. It’s possible to add users, change privacy settings and choose colors and images from the Settings menu.
Windows 8 Settings                       
Meet Universal Search

Access the powerful Search function in Windows 8 from the Charms menu, where you can search for just about anything — apps, files, settings, people, and more.      Windows 8 Search                                              
11. Internet Explorer 10 as an App
Windows 8 includes both an app and a desktop version of Internet Explorer (IE). The app opens full screen and looks very different from what you may be used to in Windows .
Windows 8  internet explorer
12. Internet Explorer 10 in Desktop Mode
In Desktop mode, IE looks very much like previous versions of the browser.
Windows 8 app Desktop
Watch for more Windows 8 tips here at
Image credits: Sandy Berger