Get to know Windows

There are lots of new things to explore. Here’s a quick overview.

Start screen: Your favorite things

Pin apps, websites, and people to Start to easily get to what you use most. Tiles and notifications show what’s new so you can get important info and updates at a glance.

From Start, you can just start typing to search for what you want. You can also see a list of all apps on your PC when you swipe up or right-click, and then tap or click All apps.

You can get to the Start screen by swiping in from the right edge of your screen and tapping the Start charm or by pointing your mouse to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving down, and then clicking the Start charm. You can also use the Windows key Windows key on your keyboard to go to Start.

Apps and the Windows Store: Discover great apps

Browse, search, see staff picks, or view lists of popular apps to find exactly what you want.

Tap or click Store on the Start screen to open the Windows Store.

Connected to the cloud

When you sign in with a Microsoft account, your PC is connected to the cloud and:

  • Your friends’ contact info and status automatically stay up to date from services like, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn without signing in to each one.

  • You can get to and share your photos, docs, and other files from services like OneDrive, Facebook, and Flickr.

  • Your personal settings can be synced to any PC running Windows 8 or Windows RT that you sign in to, including your themes, language preferences, browser favorites, and apps.

  • You can get apps in the Windows Store and use them on any PC running Windows 8 or Windows RT that you sign in to.

If you didn’t sign in with a Microsoft account when you set up your PC, you still can. Open the Settings charm, tap or click Change PC settings, go to Users, and then tap or click Connect your Microsoft account . To learn more about Microsoft accounts, see Create a user account

The charms: Search, Share, Start, Devices, and Settings

Here’s a glimpse of what each charm does—but they can do a lot more, so explore what they can do for you. Especially check out how the options change depending on if you're on Start or using an app.

Illustration of the charmsThe charms

The charms appear on the right side of your screen. Swipe in from the right edge or move your pointer into the upper-right corner and then down to see them, and then choose the one you want.

  • The Search charm is a powerful new way to find what you’re looking for. Enter a search term once, and you can quickly get results from the app you're using, other apps, the web, or your PC—all from the same place.

  • The Share charm lets you send links, photos, and more to your friends and social networks without leaving the app you’re in.

  • The Start charm takes you to Start or, if you’re already on the Start screen, returns you to your last app.

  • The Devices charm is a handy way to do things like send files and stream movies to TVs, printers, and other devices around your home.

  • The Settings charm is how you do basic tasks like shutting down your PC and changing the volume. It’s also used by apps to configure things like account and privacy settings.

App commands: New, Refresh, and other commands

Commands themselves aren’t new, but they now stay out of sight until you need them so you can use the whole screen for what you’re doing.

Illustration of the app commandsApp commands

The app commands appear at the top and bottom of your screen. Swipe up or down from either edge or right-click to see them, and then choose the one you want. Commands might also appear when you select or right-click an item like a tile or photo.

Switch between apps

Sometimes you want to return to an app you were just using or quickly switch through your recent apps.

Illustration of switching appsSwitching apps

Swipe in from the left edge, or move your pointer to the upper-left corner and then click the corner, to switch to the next app.

To see your recently used apps when using touch, swipe in from the left edge without lifting your finger, and then push the app back toward the left edge.

To see your recently used apps when using a mouse, move your pointer into the upper-left corner and then move it down the left edge.

Snap an app: Use two apps side by side

Do two things at once by snapping an app to the right or left side of your screen. Keep the app in one-third of the screen, or expand it to two-thirds or full screen with one motion. Experiment with different layouts to find out what works best for you.

Illustration of snapping appsSnapping apps

Slide your finger in from the left edge or move your pointer to the upper-left corner until the second app appears. Drag that second app until an opening appears behind. You can also snap apps straight from the list of recently used apps.



Your screen resolution must be at least 1366 x 768 to snap apps. To check this setting:
Tap or click to open Screen Resolution.

To learn how to use these new features and discover new ways to do other common tasks, see Touch: swipe, tap, and beyond and Mouse and keyboard: What's new in Windows.

Was this helpful?
Thank you.
Do you want to add anything else?
Thank you. Your feedback helps us to continually improve our content.
1200 400 How can we make this more helpful for you? Submit Skip this Do you want to add anything else? Submit No thanks