By now, it should be clear that Windows 8’s Mondrian-like tiled interface (formerly known as Metro) is optimized for touch-screen devices — and not so friendly for mousing around.
When navigating Win8 on a PC with a standard screen, mousing feels awkward and slow; however, learning a few keyboard shortcuts can greatly improve your productivity.
New ways to navigate the Windows environment
A large part of working faster with Windows 8 on a traditional desktop or laptop is knowing where Microsoft has placed the various navigation tools you’re accustomed to using. Here’s a quick roadmap:
View all applications with Win8’s app wrangler. Once you’ve used Win8 for some time, you’ll probably have created Start tiles for your most frequently used apps. But to view Win8’s equivalent of All Programs, right-click any open space near the bottom edge of Start; the All Apps icon will appear in the lower-right corner of the screen. Click it, and the Apps screen appears with all your applications and native Windows utilities. (See Figure 1.)
An alternative view: To see all tiles on the Start screen, scroll side-to-side (or use the roller wheel on the mouse, if it has one). But to see the entire Start window, click the minus sign icon in the bottom-right corner of the screen. You’ll get a thumbnail version of the Metro screen, shown in Figure 2, and its app groupings. (Click anywhere on that screen to restore it to its original size.) In the thumbnail view, you can move entire groups of tiles.
DOS lives: bring a DOS prompt when needed. Win 8 might look like a totally new OS, but it still retains many legacy elements such as DOS. On those occasions when you want to work from a DOS prompt, move the cursor to the lower-left corner of the Start screen and right-click until the text-based Desktop shortcuts menu appears (see Figure 3). Better yet, press Windows + X to bring up this menu. Then select either Command Prompt or Command Prompt (Admin).
Another method is to move your mouse around the upper-right corner of the Win8 screen until the Charms Bar pops out. Type cmd in the search box and press Enter.