Windows 8: Charms & Other New Concepts + 6 Time-Saving Keyboard Shortcuts

This article is the first in a series to provide assistance and helpful hints for using Windows 8 Pro within the DIS environment. In the future you can expect more articles, videos and quick reference guides.

If your dealership chooses to migrate to Windows 8 route, please be aware that Windows 8 Pro is the edition that most businesses will use and that DIS highly recommends.

And now for something
totally different…

Late last year Microsoft launched their much-anticipated new operating system, Windows 8. Not just a minor update, Windows 8 is radically different from previous versions. Microsoft redesigned its OS with mobile computing in mind, adding the ability to interact with a touch screen.

To the uninitiated, the new look and feel of these mobile apps might be a bit over- whelming. But fear not, a more traditional mouse/keyboard/PC desktop option is still available for those who prefer it.

What’s new?

The familiar Start Menu has been replaced by a new Start Screen which features the same kind of live, colorful tiles and data as a Windows Phone home screen. The tiles are connected to people, apps, folders, photos or websites, and are alive with the latest info. In addition, the desktop you expect – with the taskbar, folders and icons – is still there and better than ever.

If you choose to install the DIS component CD on a Windows 8 Pro PC, your desktop apps will already appear on the Start Screen. DIS related apps/icons like Keystone, Interface manager and client access are just a few of the apps you’d want pinned to the start menu. Additional apps can be easily added.

Some things have new homes – the Shutdown/Restart action is now under settings.  The Simple Start Menu, which you access by right-clicking in the lower left corner, will display common system management functions like control panel, disk manager, run box, etc.

The new Charms are the universal toolbars of Windows 8. You will see two bars on the screen; the first bar appears just above the taskbar on the left and displays the current date/time, battery power, and network connectivity strength. The second bar is along the right side of the screen and has 5 buttons – Search, Share, Start, Devices and Settings. You can access the Charms from anywhere by mousing to the right-hand side of the screen, right-clicking your mouse in the top or bottom right corner of the screen or by swiping in from the right on a touchscreen.

Feeling Social? Windows 8 supports FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter natively, so you can browse social updates within the People app and elsewhere.

Similar to Apple, the Microsoft’s Windows Store offers both desktop and Modern apps, both free and paid. You can search the Store using the Search charm, as well as browse apps by paid, free, or category. As apps are updated, you can download updates easily, just as you would on iOS or Android.

Windows 8 also offers Sync and Cloud Integration. You can sync data to SkyDrive – there’s a SkyDrive app – or save data to and from your cloud storage. Microsoft also syncs your Windows 8 PC settings – including your browsing history in IE, for instance. Photos can also be shared across multiple PCs.

Keyboard shortcuts

If you prefer using the keyboard over the mouse, you may want to master some basic keyboard shortcuts for easier navigation. Here are a few of the more popular ones that make navigating with Windows 8 a little easier. Most involve pressing the Windows key plus some other key.

Windows-D: Go to the bare desktop. If you’re in the Start screen, you just switch to the desktop. If you’re in the desktop, it behaves like the Windows 7 hotkey, toggling between running applications and the bare desktop.

Windows Key: Switches between the Start Screen and the last application used

Windows-C: Shows the Charms

Windows-R: Goes to the desktop and shows the Run dialog box

Windows-E: Opens the “Computer” which enables you to use the file manager

Windows-X: Brings up the Simple Start menu, allowing easy access to key system-management apps, like Control Panel.

As you enter the world of Windows 8, rest assured, DIS will be there to help you along the way. If you have questions about using Windows 8 Pro edition with your DIS system, please contact us at 800-426-8870 or

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