Advertising
Advertising

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!

      Advertising

      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.

            Advertising

            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.

                    Advertising

                    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.

                          Advertising

                          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

                                More by this author

                                5 Life Lessons I Learned From Dean Winchester 10 Best Online Shopping Sites I Wish I Knew Earlier 10 Reasons Why Dogs Are Man’s Best Friend 30 Incredible Things Your iPhone Can Do 10 Things Only Detail-Oriented People Do

                                Trending in Technology

                                1 40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2019 Updated) 2 8 Replacements for Google Notebook 3 7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively 4 7 Clever Goal Tracker Apps to Make the Most of Your Business in 2019 5 10 Smartest Productivity Software to Improve Your Work Performance

                                Read Next

                                Advertising
                                Advertising
                                Advertising

                                Last Updated on June 17, 2019

                                40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2019 Updated)

                                40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2019 Updated)

                                Over the years here at Lifehack, we’ve discussed plenty of apps that you can use to improve your overall productivity.

                                There are certain ones that many of our contributors and editors (past and present) have adopted over the long-term — there are always the stalwarts that stick around. But there are also new apps that crop up every day, adding more and more depth to the app category.

                                Some of the apps are incredibly plain and simple, while others are more robust and offer more features than you can shake a stick at. And everyone has the one they prefer.

                                It’s been our job (and still is our job) to keep abreast of all of the productivity-type apps out there. As a result — and as a bit of a refresher — we’ve put together a list of 40 best productivity apps for iPhone (all categorized based on their functions) to provide you with an all-in-one resource for you.

                                For Getting Things Done

                                1. OmniFocus

                                This app is, while pricey, considered to be one of the (if not the) most robust and full-featured productivity apps on the market.

                                Download it here.

                                  2. Forest

                                  Train yourself to put your phone down and stay focused on the task at hand by playing with this planting game. It’s fun and will help you achieve more.

                                  Download it here.

                                    3. Things

                                    Another robust choice, this app is a favorite amongst “productivityists”.[1]

                                    Download it here.

                                      4. 30/30

                                      Recently covered here at Lifehack

                                      , 30/30 is a newcomer to the game that incorporates lists and timing of tasks into an elegant and easy-to-use interface.

                                      Download it here.

                                        5. Any.Do

                                        A beautiful-looking app that is both easy on the eyes and your wallet.

                                        Download it here.

                                          6. PocketLife Calendar

                                          This calendar app is specifically designed to be stylish and super easy-to-use. You can organize your life easily with different modern features.

                                          Download it here.

                                            7. Asana

                                            We’ve covered Asana here at Lifehack

                                            , and it is being actively developed by a strong team committed to making collaborative task management a more efficient and effective experience.

                                            Download it here.

                                            Advertising

                                              8. ToDoist

                                              This app keeps track of everything – from simple errands to your most important projects – so you can get it all done and enjoy more peace of mind along the way.

                                              Download it here.

                                                9. FlowTasks

                                                From the folks at MetaLab, Flow is a gorgeous collaborative task management app that is easy-to-use and incredibly functional.

                                                Download it here.

                                                  10. Calendars 5

                                                  This calendar app focuses on events that help you to keep track of upcoming events and tasks easily. It has everything you need to organize, track and complete your to-dos.

                                                  Download it here.

                                                    11. Clear – Tasks, Reminders & To-Do Lists

                                                    A fun and innovative list-making app that relies on swiping and pinching to make things happen. Clear created a lot of buzz when it launched, and might be the perfect to-do list gateway app for many.

                                                    Download it here.

                                                      12. Due

                                                      A robust reminders app that lets you store and maintain reminders of all types. It’s replaced Reminders for me when it comes to the basics, and it’s worth a look if you want to keep the mundane stuff out of your head and cluttering your mind.

                                                      Download it here.

                                                        13. Checkmark 2

                                                        I use this app

                                                        for location-based reminders (such as groceries I need to get or single items I need to pick up from various locations). Checkmark is simple to use and a valuable addition to my productivity arsenal.

                                                        Download it here.

                                                          14. TeuxDeux

                                                          Created by Tina Roth Eisenberg and Fictive Kin — Teux Deux is simple and incredibly stellar in terms of design. If you like lists (including the popular “Someday Bucket”) and want to associate dates with tasks, then Teux Deux will be right up your alley.

                                                          Download it here.

                                                            15. Wunderlist 

                                                            Another incredibly popular choice is Wunderlist. Part of 6Wunderkinder’s software family, it sports a gorgeous design and is incredibly functional. We’ve talked about the app a couple of times here at Lifehack, so check those posts out here.

                                                            Download it here.

                                                            Advertising

                                                              16. Nirvana

                                                              For the GTD enthusiasts, there’s Nirvana. Straight from the source: “Nirvana frees your mind to focus on actually getting things done. If you’ve had enough of generic to-do lists, it’s time for Nirvana.”

                                                              Download it here.

                                                                17. Priorities

                                                                An elegant-looking task management app that has received decent reviews,[2] this could be the one for you if you’re not a fan of OmniFocus or Things — especially if you need (or want) to share tasks with others.

                                                                Download it here.

                                                                  For Building Habits

                                                                  18. Productive

                                                                  With this app, you can plan your habits with an easy-to-use interface, schedule habits for any time of the day, set smart reminders for each time of the day and stay on track with useful feedback. This app is perfect for anyone who wants to build a habit that sticks.

                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                    19. Habitica: Gamified Taskmanager

                                                                    You can complete tasks and build habits in a more fun way with this app. Input your Habits, your Daily goals, and your To-Do list, and then create a custom avatar. Check off tasks to level up your avatar and unlock features such as armor, pets, skills, and even quests.

                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                      20. Streaks

                                                                      This app follows the model of the popular “don’t break the chain method” in that you use the app to track how you are donig in the pursuit of your goal. Great for goal-setting — and an easy and elegant interface to boot.

                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                        21. Remember The Milk

                                                                        Another popular to-do list app, Remember The Milk has a huge following. It has plenty to offer, including the ability to share tasks with others.

                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                          22. Day One Journal

                                                                          When it comes to journaling, nothing really beats Day One. Its latest update added a slew of features that will make you want to start making journaling a habit.

                                                                          Download it here.

                                                                            For Files Organization

                                                                            23. Evernote

                                                                            Touted as the world’s most widely-used productivity app, Evernote an be used simply as a notetaking app or can be customized to be your GTD app of choice — among other things.

                                                                            Download it here.

                                                                              24. Pocket

                                                                              You can save an article, video or link you want to read or watch later to Pocket from anywhere including your computer, Safari, email, and your favorite apps like Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, and Feedly.

                                                                              Download it here.

                                                                              Advertising

                                                                                25. Sync.Me

                                                                                This app identifies unknown phone calls, warns you from annoying spam calls, and adds a caller picture to your contacts from Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

                                                                                Download it here.

                                                                                  26. Droplr

                                                                                  One of the most popular file-sharing apps out there today. Straight from the source: “Stay productive on the go. Droplr for iPhone keeps you in sync and makes sharing on the iPhone natural.”

                                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                                    27. Dropbox

                                                                                    Before iCloud, there was Dropbox. And there still is Dropbox, which is still widely used by both Mac and PC users all over the globe. It’s like having a flash drive in your iPhone. A must-have.

                                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                                      28. iDolly 

                                                                                      In conjunction with Dolly Drive and DollySync, iDolly allows you to edit and share your documents from your iPhone.

                                                                                      Since all your changes sync automatically to all your devices, the current version of a document will always be accessible because Dolly Sync keeps everything in sync. Very handy.

                                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                                        29. Soulver

                                                                                        It may seem odd that a calculator app shows up on this list, but this is no ordinary calendar app. Ben Brooks over at The Brooks review describes Soulver as follows: “It is what calculators would have been if they were invented at the same time computers were, instead of what we have with most calculator apps.” [3]

                                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                                          For Working Smarter

                                                                                          30. Captio

                                                                                          A simple capture tool. Straight from the developers: “It’s simple. Open Captio and start typing. When you’re done, hit Send. The note is immediately delivered to your email inbox.”

                                                                                          Download it here.

                                                                                            31. Drafts

                                                                                            A tremendous capture tool that allows for simple capture, followed by sending items to various applications such as OmniFocus, Things and more.

                                                                                            Download it here.

                                                                                              32. NoteShelf 2

                                                                                              This is a perfect note-taking app for you. You can take beautiful handwritten notes, type, annotate PDFs, record audio & create lists. You can organize them into categories or groups.

                                                                                              Download it here.

                                                                                              Advertising

                                                                                                33. Doodle

                                                                                                This app links directly with the Doodle service, which is one that allows you to plan and organize meetings far more efficiently and effectively. Lifehack contributor Steve Dotto has written about Doodle more in-depth here.

                                                                                                Download it here.

                                                                                                  34. TextExpander (Legacy)

                                                                                                  I have saved countless hours of time with TextExpander, and despite its inability to be as robust on iOS as it is on the Mac, it is still a worthy app to have in your arsenal.

                                                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                                                    35. Launch Center Pro

                                                                                                    A quick launcher for the iPhone that doesn’t just launch an app…with some of them it can do much more. This app saves you time by launching complex actions in a single tap.

                                                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                                                      36. GoodReader

                                                                                                      This may seem to be an odd one to make this list, but here are plenty of reasons why it is here with this article.

                                                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                                                        37. LogMeIn

                                                                                                        Want to be able to control your Mac from wherever you are? Then get this app.

                                                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                                                          For Improving Security

                                                                                                          38. 1Password

                                                                                                          There is simply no better password manager out there. I’ve even put together a 1Password Emergency Kit worth looking at here.

                                                                                                          Download it here.

                                                                                                            39. LastPass Password Manager

                                                                                                            You can store passwords and logins, create online shopping profiles, generate strong passwords, track personal information in photo and audio notes.

                                                                                                            All you have to do is remember your LastPass master password, and LastPass autofills web browser and app logins for you.

                                                                                                            Download it here.

                                                                                                              40. Truecallers

                                                                                                              Identify and block spammers, search for unknown numbers and call friends easily with this app. With a community-based spam list from over 250 million users, you’ll need this app.

                                                                                                              Download it here.

                                                                                                                There are plenty of other options out there (and we’ve heard from readers in the past as to what they enjoyed using), but these 40 are among the best.

                                                                                                                More Great Apps Recommendations

                                                                                                                Reference

                                                                                                                Read Next