Aug 19, 2013 / 5:00 am
I love recommendations and questions from readers. Here are two excellent ones!
The biggest difference between Windows 8 and older versions of Windows is that the Start Menu has been replaced by a Start Screen. So all of the commotion that you might be hearing or reading about how Windows 8 is different and scary starts with: “There’s no START BUTTON!!! How am I ever going to find my stuff?!?”
This is a problem, but not an insurmountable one. There are excellent third-party programs, many of them free, that get your Start Button back. I’ve mentioned Classic Shell (free; donation encouraged: http://www.classicshell.net/) and Start8 (free trial, then US$4.99: http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/) before. Long-time reader “Rudy” emailed to recommend StartIsBack (free trial, then US$3.00 for 2 PCs: http://startisback.com/#home-tab). Thanks, Rudy!
The complaining and freaking out about there not being a Start Button is a little wide of the mark. The problem isn’t a missing Start Button. The problem is the absence of a traditional Start MENU, which is what you always got when you clicked on that Start Button. These utilities replace the Start Button and the Start Menu. But there’s yet another alternative.
Launchy (donation encouraged: http://www.launchy.net/), is not a Start Menu at all. Rather, according to the developer:
Launchy is a free cross-platform utility designed to help you forget about your start menu, the icons on your desktop, and even your file manager.
Launchy indexes the programs in your start menu and can launch your documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes!
I have been using it since Windows XP days. It works great on XP through Windows 8. You can easily customize the look and feel, and there are add-ins for Launchy that further increase its usefulness. It takes some getting used to, but once you learn it and configure it the way you want, you won’t miss your Start Menu. Or your Start Button!
There IS a simple Start Button in Windows 8, but it’s hard to find. Move your mouse cursor to the lower left hand corner of the screen and right-click. That’s it. That’s all you get.
Rumours are flying about Windows 8.1 bringing back the Start Menu. The rumours are not true. Windows 8.1 will have a Start Button, but it’s going to give you the same crappy Start MENU as now if you right-click, and it’s just going to take you to the Start Screen when you left click. I can only hope it won’t break the third party utilities my customers are using now!
Another Word Tip
Last week’s column (http://rlis.com/columns/column417.htm) showed you how to control the document view while you’re working in Word. That brought on a lot of email, including this one from “Cal”:
Another question on keyboards. The insert key used to work as a type over function. Is that still available?
It is! You can either set it up to work that way by default, or do it on the fly. To make the change persistent:
- Open Word 2007 or 2012
- In Word 2007, click on the circle in the upper left hand corner (In Word 2010, that would be a button/tab that says File)
- Click on Word Options in the lower right corner
- Click on Advanced
- In the Editing options section, put a check in the boxes for Use the Insert key to control overtype mode and Use overtype mode
- Click on OK
If you want to change that on the fly, in any open document that you've already entered text into, right-click on the status bar at the bottom of the Word window and put a check next to Overtype.
Thank you to everyone who wrote with comments and questions and tips. I really appreciate the feedback, and I always learn something, too! If you have something to ask or tell, please email [email protected]. I read every email and try to answer them all.
Do you need help with your computer? I'm here to help you and your home or business computer get along!
Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna (http://computercarekelowna.com/) a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email to [email protected].
You can read previous columns here: http://rlis.com/column.htm . If you'd like to subscribe to this column by email, please visit this link: http://www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?Sub=20618 . It's easy, and free. If you'd prefer the RSS Feed, click here: http://rlis.com/rlis.xml.
Read more Computers articles
- A little something extra Dec 2
- The lighter side Nov 25
- Thank you! Nov 18
- Odds and ends Nov 11
- Windows 8.1 - a slight improvement Nov 4
- Answers to your questions Oct 28
- Microsoft Security Essentials Oct 21
- Laptop tips Oct 14
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