6 More Tweaks To Make Life Easier In Windows 8

Are you constantly looking for ways to navigate and circumvent issues you are having with Windows 8? I’ve compiled a list of tweaks you can perform by simply using either the Metro or desktop interface of Windows 8 and a fix that might help some of you laptop and tablet users. Let’s get started!

A lot of laptop users complain that their screens keep darkening after booting into the operating system, regardless of whether they adjust the brightness settings or not. This can be a very annoying issue, and it’s usually caused by a feature in Windows 8 called “adaptive brightness.” Here’s how to turn it off:

  • On the desktop, right-click this icon on your taskbar: win8-pwr-management-icon
  • Click “More power options.” Once in the new window, click “Change plan settings.”
  • Within the window with all the gadgets and sliders, you’ll find “Change advanced power settings” near the bottom. Click on it. This puts you in a “tree” list.

win8-adaptive-brightness

  • Navigate to “Display -> Enable adaptive brightness.” Turn the setting to “Off”

In general, it’s good to keep this setting on, especially if it’s working correctly. It not only saves your battery in darker conditions, but it also makes the laptop easier on your eyes.

If you write with different sorts of diacritics, you can do this instead of pressing “Alt” key combinations:

  • Right-click the lower left corner of your screen and select “Control Panel.”
  • Select “Clock, Language, and Region -> Language.”
  • Click “Add a Language” and select the language you’d like to add.
  • Select the language in your list now and click “Move up.” This turns it into the default language for your keyboard.

You can also edit the English language options by clicking “Options” to the right side of the language’s item. This keeps the operating system’s display language intact and only changes the keyboard layout. You can also remain with the option of choosing “English (US)” at any point in time via the taskbar.

This feature comes useful when trying to deter nosy people from seeing what you’ve been running. More importantly, however, it also saves you some RAM where you would otherwise have filled it with application data from the “resume” feature of Windows 8.

  • Go into Metro and hover your mouse over the top right corner of the screen. Click “Settings” and then “More PC Settings.”
  • Click “General.”
  • Under “App Switching,” click “Delete History.”

win8-delete-app-history

Note that you’ll have to change some settings back to the way they were in some applications. That’s all!

App notifications can get very annoying, especially if you have a lot of them installed. To turn this off entirely, hover your mouse over the top right corner of the screen and click “Settings.” Click the “Notifications” icon and you’re done!

win8-notifications-off

In some situation, you might want some notifications, like mail and messaging. Here’s how you can selectively get rid of notifications from applications:

  • Get to the “Settings” charm as described earlier in this tutorial. Click “More PC Settings.”
  • Click “Notifications.”

win8-notifications-cp

As you can see, you can turn some notifications off while you work to prevent you from being distracted and turn them on again at your leisure.

For some people, IE in Metro can be annoying. Many people working on Word while using IE will have to click through the interface enough to drive them dizzy. Here’s a way to configure IE to open web tiles in Metro in the desktop:

  • Open IE in the desktop. Click the gear symbol and click “Internet options.”
  • Click the “Programs” tab.
  • Click the dropdown box that says “Let Internet Explorer decide” and select “Always in Internet Explorer on the desktop.”

When you accidentally delete something, you want a quick way to access the Recycle Bin. Unfortunately, there’s no way to pin the Recycle Bin to the taskbar. This method will put it into the taskbar as a “pseudo” pinned item so that you can access it on the fly rather than scramble around your desktop. Here’s the process:

  • Right-click on your taskbar, hover the mouse over “Toolbars,” and click “New Toolbar.”
  • Paste the following text into the path within the window that shows up:
%appdata%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch

Don’t forget to press “Enter!”

  • Click “Select folder.” Now, you get a Quick Launch area on the taskbar. We’re not done yet!
  • Right-click the taskbar and mark the checkbox that says “Lock the taskbar.” If it’s already marked, you need not click it.
  • Drag the Quick Launch item slowly until it surpasses the icons of open windows. I say to do it slowly because sometimes the mouse loses its “grip” on the toolbar. After you’re done, Quick Launch should be at the left edge of the screen’s bottom.
  • Right-click the Quick Launch toolbar and clear the checkbox next to “Show text.” Do the same for “Show title.”
  • Right-click the Quick Launch toolbar again, hover your mouse over “View,” and click “Large icons.”
  • Drag the Recycle Bin’s icon from your desktop into the toolbar. Eliminate the other shortcuts if you wish.

Now, you can lock the taskbar again. Emptying the Recycle Bin will be a cinch! All you have to do is right-click your new shortcut and click “Empty recycle bin.” Once you access it, you’ll get all your deleted items just like you did in the Recycle Bin shortcut on your desktop.

For more ideas on how to tweak your Windows 8 system, refer to this article. We also have an article on how to skip Metro when booting. And finally, this one will help you circumvent Metro even more.

If you have a question or comment, please use the comments section below. Happy computing!