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15 Tips and Tricks To Save You From Windows 8.1

15 Tips and Tricks To Save You From Windows 8.1

If you have Windows 8.1, chances are that you hate it, especially if you came from Windows 7 or XP. I deal with this daily since my work desktop is still on Windows 7, while my laptop is on 8, which means I’m pretty miserable every time I have to switch to the latter.

Here are a few ways to make your experience with this infamous operating system a bit more bearable…

1. Get your start button back.

1.2

    Windows 8.1 brought back the start button, albeit in an incredibly lame fashion. All it does it take you to that tablet-esque page with all of the useless tiles on it.

    To get a proper start button, you’ll want to check out an app called Classic Shell. Once you download that, you’ll be able to get something with some semblance of the old start button. It’s still not as good, but it’s better than nothing.

    2. Go straight to Desktop.

    2.2

      Get rid of those tiles once and for all! This will take you straight to your desktop, like Windows 7, when you log into your computer. To do it, right click on the toolbar at the bottom of your desktop, then click properties, navigation, and check the box that says “When I sign in or close all apps on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start.” The less you have to deal with the start screen tiles, the better!

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      3. Change the apps Windows 8.1 uses.

      3.2

        I used to hate how Windows 8 would resort to using the weird tablet-esque apps when I wanted to view a photo. Now, you can change that. Use your mouse and send your pointer to the bottom right of the screen. Hit settings, change PC settings, search and apps, and go to defaults. From there you can edit the default apps Windows uses. Now, you no longer have to use the pre-packaged mobile apps that come with 8.

        4. Remove those pesky Windows Store apps.

        4.2

          Why deal with all those apps when you have perfectly usable programs installed that do that same thing (and usually better at that)? To get rid of these apps, go to the change PC settings section I referenced in tip #3, except this time hit PC and devices. Now, click disk space, and wait for the page to load. Once that’s done, click “see my app sizes.” Now you’ll see a list of all the apps pre-loaded onto your PC. Feel free to uninstall them all if you want to, I won’t judge you.

          5. Organize your apps.

          5.2

            Windows 8.1 allows you to organize your apps in several different manners. First, go to your start screen and click the down facing arrow in the lower left corner. This will take you to the apps screen. From there, you can edit the big box next to the “Apps” title at the top. Choose to order your apps by the date they were installed, by how often you use them, etc. This is a useful tool to see whether there are certain apps you can uninstall (since they’re never used anyways).

            6. Make your start button more useful.

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            16.2

              Use this tip in the case that you don’t want to use the third party option referenced in #1. To do this, right click your taskbar on the desktop, click properties, then navigation. There, check the box that says “Show the Apps view automatically when I go to Start.” This way, you’ll see a list of apps when you hit your start button instead of the start screen.

              7. Easily shutdown your PC.

              7.2

                Back when we were all forced to use vanilla Windows 8, there really wasn’t a way to easily shutdown your computer. You either had to drag your pointer to the corner or do it from the start screen. Now, all you have to do is right click the start button and hit shut down. Simple as that.

                8. Adjust your display settings.

                8.2

                  To find the Windows 8.1 display settings, go to settings (which can be easily accessed using the hotkey windows button + C), change PC settings, then PC and devices. After that, navigate to display on the left-hand side, and from there you can change your resolution and orientation. You could do all of this by right-clicking your desktop as well, but some will probably prefer the streamlined interface Windows 8.1 offers.

                  9. View multiple apps at the same time.

                  9.2

                    This is sort of like Windows 7’s snap to the side feature, though a bit more advanced. First, open up multiple apps. Choose one of them to display on your screen (I chose weather). Now, move your pointer to the top left of your screen so you can see the other apps you have running. Choose any of them, right click, and select “insert left.” Now you’ll have two apps on the screen. Then, repeat this process, except this time when right clicking the app select “insert center.” Now you’ll have three apps on the screen. This is useful if you need to keep track of a lot of information at once, or if you’re running your PC through a large television screen and have the real estate to view multiple things simultaneously.

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                    10. Disable hot corners.

                    17.2

                      While the hot corners in Windows 8 sometimes prove to be useful, often they can be a nuisance, especially if you accidentally move your cursor to the edge of your screen and something pops up when you don’t want it to.

                      To turn them off, navigate to PC and devices, which you access in the same way you did before (settings > change PC settings > PC and devices). Instead of going to display, this time go to “corners and edges.” Under the corner navigation subheading, turn off both options. Now, neither the charm bar nor the recent apps list will pop up when your cursor creeps onto the right or left edges of your screen.

                      11. Take advantage of smart search.

                      11.2

                        Smart Search is one feature that I’ll give Microsoft credit for. From the start screen, just start typing and Smart Search will initialize. You can search for a file, a program, or even something you want to find on the web. Smart Search will literally search everywhere for what you’re seeking. Use it when you don’t have time to open your web browser, or are too lazy to search your cluttered desktop for a program you want to use.

                        12. Find obscure settings easily.

                        12.2

                          This is a slight variation of the Smart Search trick. Instead of setting Smart Search to look for “everything” use the drop down menu to set it to only look for settings options. This makes it much easier to find regularly sought options related to mouse pointer speed, projecting to a second screen, and changing your desktop background.

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                          13. Save online articles for later.

                          13.2

                            This is useful if you are going to an area where there’s no internet connection, or if you see an article you want to read but have to leave in a few minutes. To do this, find the article you want to save, and launch the settings bar (windows button + c). Then, click the share button, which should open the Reading List app. From there, add the article to the app, and it will be there for you to read at a later date.

                            14. Use the cloud.

                            14.2

                              A lot of people use Drop Box, but if you want to stay in the Microsoft ecosystem OneDrive comes preloaded into Windows 8.1 (it used to be called SkyDrive, for the record). To back up documents to the cloud, go to settings, change PC settings, OneDrive. There, set “save documents to OneDrive by default” to on. Now your documents are protected in the cloud, useful in the case that your hard drive crashes or your computer takes a swim.

                              15. Do something cool with Xbox Music.

                              15.2

                                If you’re going to be saddled with all of these Microsoft-related apps, you might as well put them to good use. This one actually has a semi-cool feature, in that it can create a playlist based on the website you are currently viewing. It does this by searching for songs or artists mentioned there, and pulling them up for you to listen to. To access this feature, go to a website, open the settings sidebar (windows button + c), and click share. Now, select Music, and it’ll create a playlist for you. While a lot can be said about Windows 8.1’s negatives, I’d say this is a pretty nifty little tool!

                                Windows 8.1 is far from perfect (as evidenced by the fact that Microsoft is pushing hard to release a Windows 9). Still, it’s packed with plenty of  interesting features if you’re willing to look for them. If anything, hopefully what I talked about in this list will keep your brain from dreaming of Windows 7…at least for a little while!

                                 

                                Featured photo credit: ms-gum.jpg/ MorgueFile via mrg.bz

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                                Last Updated on August 16, 2019

                                10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track in 2019

                                10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track in 2019

                                The success of our day is largely dependent on the quality of our planning. Not to miss out anything in their to-dos, some people prefer to make a list of upcoming tasks in a notebook, while others have long started using digital technology solutions.

                                Calendar applications are some of the main tools that are worth using to organize our life and plan your time carefully.

                                Many people have switched to specific tools; however, there are still some who do not use calendars on a daily basis. They may find some applications uncomfortable to use, non-functional, or expensive.

                                In this article, we are going to check out the best calendars apps to help you stay organized.

                                1. Cal Calendar

                                  Cal Calendar has recently appeared on the market of mobile applications (Android, iOS). It is the brainchild of the development team of Any.do that features impressive functionality and well-thought-out design.

                                  The application comes with many great features, including support for Exchange and Google Calendar, widgets, voice recording, and many more.

                                  Cal Calendar has direct integration with Any.Do To-Do List, which gives you a unique tandem of two applications.

                                  Apart from its extended functionality, Cal Calendar is easy to use. The creation of events is very simple and fast.

                                  What is more, depending on the name of the event, the application automatically adds contacts and geolocation data to the entry description. You can even import your lists and entries from Any.do.

                                  Cal Calendar is a great option for any type of user. It is very convenient and doesn’t overcomplicate the mode of display.

                                  Another good thing is that this tool is available for free, so you can use it without spending a dime for the software.

                                  Available for iOS and Android

                                  2. Google Calendar

                                    Google Calendar is the official calendar for Android devices that has been tested out by many users around the globe. If you are right now trying to get away from it, consider changing your mind.

                                    Since this application is installed on most Android devices by default, many users think that there is nothing special in this program. They are wrong.

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                                    Google has been updating its calendar for quite a few years, and now it comes in Material Design with advanced event features, direct integration into other Google services (for example, supports reminders and Google Now), and comes with Exchange support.

                                    The program is super easy and will not cost a dime for you. It is a good thing, right?

                                    Available for iOS and Android

                                    3. Jorte Calendar

                                      Jorte Calendar is one of the most popular calendar applications in the Google Play store.

                                      The program features a wide range of configuration options, with many design alternatives. You can adjust display mode to your needs and view calendar entries sorted by month, week, or day (by hours). It is convenient for quickly picking the desired date, using task bars, and setting reminders.

                                      Apart from its ordinary information storing function, this application can be a special cloud service, Jorte Cloud, allowing you to synchronize calendars, schedules, and task lists on multiple devices. The application also supports data importing from Google Calendar.

                                      For those paying attention to the program design, there is also Jorte Store, where you can buy styles and icons to personalize the calendar. This feature makes Jorte is one of the brightest calendar applications.

                                      A basic version of the app is free of charge, so if you do not want to spend money on a calendar application, it is a good option.

                                      Available for iOS and Android

                                      4. Business Calendar

                                        Business Calendar is geared towards people who use their calendar for work purposes and business task planning. It offers different modes with wide configuration capabilities.

                                        The application gives a default view mode by months, and events can be marked in different colors. Display modes/ sorting can be adjusted to your needs (by month, day, year, or events).

                                        You can also set a multi-day viewing mode to see how things look for the next few days. Scrolling up and down moves you by month, and if you check a few days, they will be shown in a more detailed form.

                                        The day display mode offers hourly scheduling, and the schedule mode provides a detailed schedule for a single event.

                                        Business Calendar is a great tool for planning/ scheduling cases, tasks, and events. There is a support for recurring events, which can be set up in just a few clicks.

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                                        Having purchased software, you can use it to import and export other calendars, delete, copy, or move several events at the same time.

                                        Android Business Calendar application may seem somewhat chaotic, but it works fine and is easy to work with if you play with it for a while.

                                        A full version of the application is available for $4.99, but you can also find a free version for the app test drive.

                                        Available for Android

                                        5. aCalendar

                                          aCalendar opens our collection of top 10 calendar applications available on the market today. With its appealing design, easy navigation, and great functionality, it is one of the most popular calendar apps in our list.

                                          Some of extra functions include color schemes for each case type (48 colors to choose from), different types of demonstrations, different widgets, moon phases, and much more.

                                          Taking into account it functionality, aCalendar is a reliable calendar application that has an easy-to-navigate interface with three display options. Scrolling from side to side allows you to switch between the display modes of the month, week and day.

                                          When scrolling down and up, you are moving through the calendar at intervals in accordance with the selected display mode.

                                          Apart from its time planning feature, aCalendar synchronizes photos from contact lists or social networks to remind you about birthdays, anniversaries, or any other special dates.

                                          The program also supports data transfer through NFC and full-screen widgets, which eases your work with any data.

                                          The program is available for free, but you can also get even more features if you buy the extended version of software for $4.99.

                                          Available for Android

                                          6. DigiCal Calendar

                                            DigiCal Calendar is very similar to Cal Calendar in the fact that the application focuses on design more than on its functionality. However, this doesn’t mean that the application doesn’t serve the purpose.

                                            With this calendar application, you can synchronize all your calendars and view them in different ways.

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                                            Along with the basic functions, this program comes with support for Google Calendar, Outlook, and includes some unique and interesting features. You can match keywords to the image or set up a dark theme.

                                            The app can even show you the weather forecast for three days. There are many other features that deserve the attention of people who really like to use calendar applications.

                                            Available for Android

                                            7. SolCalendar

                                              SolCalendar can be called a universal application. It claims to be an all-in-one digital solution having a basic calendar functionality combined with some other advanced features, such as weather forecast for a specific day.

                                              The application supports Google Calendar, as well as tasks, widgets, lunar calendar and even Foursquare.

                                              Those searching for a calendar application to cover just everything in its functionality, SolCalendar is a program to consider. There are a lot of interesting things in this application; the program does an excellent job working in “all-in-one” mode.

                                              Test SolCalendar – the application is available for free. You can test it out without purchasing the service.

                                              Available for Android

                                              8. Calendar

                                                Calendar is a relatively new app. It works as a web app and for both iOS and Android devices. It is an intelligent app that learns your contacts, schedule and tasks. It also helps you schedule and arrange meetings according to your available time slots.

                                                A good thing about Calendar is that it allows you to sync up with other calendars you use such as Apple Calendar and Google Calendar. And so you can manage all the calendars you have in one place.

                                                Calendar also gives you analytics of your meetings, giving you a clear picture on how you can improve your time management.

                                                Available for Desktop, iOS and Android

                                                9. Today Calendar

                                                  Today Calendar is one of the most hip and edgy calendars in our list. The solution was one of the first ones that really embraced Material Design and remains one of the few that adhere to the neat style.

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                                                  The calendar application offers bold colors, simple controls, and great functionality. This is not as heavy an application as many others; it will not eat all the memory of your device.

                                                  If you are not searching for something complicated and over-functional, Today Calendar is what you need. You can always test the application before paying for it – the program is available for free.

                                                  Available for Android

                                                  10. Calendar Widget: Month

                                                    Sometimes people do not need a heap of calendar applications. They would prefer to have one efficient calendar widget.

                                                    Calendar Widget: Month perfectly fills this niche and meets all the needs of a modern user. It has some features of an ordinary calendar, but the real great thing about this software is that it has 80 or more themes in its library.

                                                    The design of the application is great; the themes are perfectly tuned. There are options for almost any theme of your smartphone. The only drawback is the fact that the widget memory is not too large, and you should be ready for it.

                                                    This simple calendar widget was created in the image and semblance of widgets from Yahoo. The widget window displays one calendar month with the ability to go to the previous and move to the next one.

                                                    If you need a simple and affordable calendar to plan your tasks and affairs for one month, this widget is ideal for you. Calendar Widget: Month is so simple that it does not even have Google Calendar support.

                                                    At the moment, it does not have the function of connecting any third-party calendars and services. Developers allow the possibility of introducing support for Google service as an addition to the widget, if users request to have this opportunity.

                                                    Available for Android

                                                    Our Verdict

                                                    Searching for the right application to manage your various calendars and plan your busy day can sometimes turn into a streak of obstacles.

                                                    Most of us need flexible applications that can be easily used to manage our tough schedule. The application should have all necessary time planning functions and be intuitive.

                                                    Stylish design and limitless compatibility also matter. It is not always easy to find such a program.

                                                    The above digital calendar solutions fall under the category “worth” of being used. They are modern, multifunctional, easy, and easy. Pick the one you like!

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                                                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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