Archive for August, 2013

In Windows 8, when you performed a search, the default search location would be ‘Apps’ – even if there were no results in Apps, and there were results in Settings, the results page would display no results. Of course you would need to manually select ‘Settings’ or ‘Files’ as the search location to display results from those areas.

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In Windows 8.1 they’ve changed the default search location to be ‘Everything’, which means whether you’re searching for an App or a Setting, the results will all display in one place as you start typing.

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Just above the search box, you will notice the ‘Everywhere’ filter, which when clicked allows you to change the results to only ‘Settings’ or only ‘Files’. Notably the ‘Apps’ filter has been removed from this list. You will also be able to select results from 2 new locations: Web Images, and Web Videos; which displays results from Bing.

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When searching for an app, for example ‘Mail’ the first result will be the Mail app, and will be highlighted by default. If you press enter after typing the search term, the Mail app will be launched straight away. However if you search for something like a Control Panel setting, for example ‘Add or remove programs’ the first result will not be highlighted, and so pressing enter opens up a new search results app instead of opening our first result, even though there was only 1 result…

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Also important to note is that if you press the search icon instead of hitting enter (like most touch users would do I imagine) it will open this search app no matter what – even if the first result is highlighted by default.

While the search results app looks and feels like a windows 8.1 modern app, it doesn’t actually show up in the apps list, and when I search for search it returns no results, so I don’t think we can pin the search app to our start screen just yet; maybe they will change this in the full 8.1 release.

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Windows 8.1 Camera from Lock Screen

Posted: August 13, 2013 in Windows 8

Windows 8.1 now has the ability to use the camera from the lock screen, so you don’t have to log in each time you want to take a photo. This means you can quickly capture photos without missing the moment.

To ensure this feature is enabled, open the ‘Change PC Settings’ window, and select ‘PC & devices’. Then under ‘Lock Screen’, find the Camera heading, and ensure the option ‘Use camera from the lock screen’ is set to ‘On’.

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Once this in enabled, you can try it out by locking the screen, and then from the lock screen swiping down instead of up. This will activate the camera allowing you to take photos and videos without logging in first.

In windows 8, the start button was removed from desktop mode. In 8.1 however, it’s back!

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While the start button is back, the start menu is not. So clicking the start button will still only open the full start screen – which I would argue is better anyway as it allows you to display more apps on screen. When you click the start button from the desktop, the start menu will open up as normal, and will even continue displaying the start button so that you can quickly close the start screen and go back to the desktop without moving the mouse.

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The old icon that you can see below, which appeared when moving the mouse into the bottom left corner of the screen has also been replaced by this sleek new icon in all areas of windows, including inside apps. Just like before, when you click on this icon, it will take you to your last viewed app, or just the start screen by default.

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When viewing the open apps side menu, the start button at the bottom has also changed from the icon you can see above, to the new icon below.

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With Windows 8 app tiles, you could either have them normal size (1 tile space) or double width (2 tile spaces). With 8.1 we now have the option to go 1 bigger, and 1 smaller. As you can see below, we still have apps in the both the Medium (single tile), and Wide (double tile), however we also have Small (quarter tile) and Large (four tiles).

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As you can see with the ‘weather’ tile, the larger tiles allow for more information to be displayed, and with the small tiles in the top right corner, you can see it only displays the app icon, and not the app name.

The apps are resized slightly differently to before, in that instead of right clicked or swiping down to select a tile, and then selecting ‘larger’ or ‘smaller’ from the app bar, there is now only 1 option called ‘Resize’ which lists all the available sizes for that tile.

To rename a group in windows 8.1, simply pull up the app bar and click ‘Customize’ or simply right click or press and hold on any app. This will enter the customize mode which provides an area at the top of each group to specify a name. Simply click into the text box, enter the group title, and hit enter. Did I mention it’s simple?

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In Windows 8, to name a Group on the start screen, you would need to zoom out using semantic zoom, and then select a group by either right clicking or swiping down, then selecting Name Group from the app bar. This required quite a lot of work, and is not obvious at first.

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Windows 8.1 has made this process much easier and more obvious to users. And in case you were wondering, if you try and name the groups the old way in Windows 8.1, you will find there is now no option to change the name when in semantic zoom.