Using the new Windows 8 UI, the start screen is the main area where you can access apps.  You can think of it as home base for Windows 8.  You can personalize this start screen by pinning your favorite Windows 8 apps.  The start screen is also where you access the charm bar, which allows you to shut down and restart your computer as well as set-up and manage your operating system.  Read on to learn about how the start screen plays an integral role in the Windows 8 UI experience.

How is the Windows 8 Start screen different from a desktop?

There are many distinctions between the Windows 8 start screen and Windows 8 desktop.  The Windows 8 start screen is designed to be used on either a PC, tablet, or mobile device.  In this way, the start screen integrates with either a keyboard and mouse, or a touch screen.  This makes setting up and customizing your home screen easy – navigating is similar to navigating on an iphone, and the apps that sit on the start screen are similar to mobile apps.  Apps on the Windows 8 start screen are both new Windows 8 UI-style apps, which are sandboxed apps designed to work specifically with that interface, as well as the apps added on the desktop component of Windows 8.  Learn more about how to use and download Windows 8 UI-style apps.

This start screen is a unique place that you can sync with any device or PC for which you use Windows 8.  This means that if you add and customize apps on the new Windows 8 UI on your PC, it will also be set up this way on your Windows 8 tablet.

How can I jump between the Windows 8 start screen and the Windows 8 desktop?

To navigate between both operating systems, simply press the windows button on your keyboard.  You can also click on the desktop icon on your Windows 8 start screen, and this will bring you into the Windows 8 desktop.  Be aware that apps that you download and install on your Windows 8 start screen will not be on your Windows 8 desktop.  The apps that you download from the Windows 8 store are designed specifically to work with the new Windows 8 UI and do not correlate to desktop apps.  If you’d like to add the same apps to your Windows 8 desktop, you must download and install them in the traditional way, like adding apps to your Windows 7 desktop.

How do I get back to the start screen?

To return to the Windows 8 UI-style start screen from either the Windows 8 desktop or if your using an app, press or touch the windows button on your keyboard. You can also open the charm bar by dragging your mouse to the top right-hand corner of your screen. Even if you’re inside an app, pressing the windows button on your keyboard will always bring you back to your start screen.  If you’re in the charm bar, pressing start will bring you back start screen.

  • Jenkem Jones

    I would not have bought a computer with Windows 8 if I had any idea how terrible it is. I don’t like tablets and Ipods and now I have a computer that is just as useless and unfriendly as those junk toys. I might as well try to do my computer work with an electronic football game.

  • Jay Sarmiento

    Actually the only feature I dont like about windows 8 is the start screen. I like the start menu of windows 7 but why did they remove that in windows 8.