10 best hidden features in Windows 8


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1. The secret Start menu

Right-click in the lower-left corner to bring up a stripped-down Start menu

2. Sync your settings

Windows 8 supports the old user account system, but it can also create a new kind of user account that's linked to your Windows ID, and pulls in information from SkyDrive, Xbox, Hotmail/Outlook and all the other cloud services the company is pushing.

3. Windows Defender

Windows 8 comes with Windows Defender, now with added antivirus capabilities

4. Simpler shutdown

Use the traditional Alt+F4 shortcut as a quicker way to power down your PC

5. Built-in screenshots

Windows 8 will automatically save screen grabs whenever Win+PrtScn is pressed

6. Keyboard shortcuts

Use the Ctrl+Tab shortcut to see all of your Windows 8 apps listed together

7. Snap your apps

As you may already know, Windows 7 allowed you to snap windows to the side of the screen by clicking and dragging the title bar.
Windows 8 goes one step further, enabling users to dock a Start page app (like Weather or Bing) to the side while you work on the desktop.

Many Windows 8 apps have a mini mode for displaying them at the side of the screen
So, for example, you could keep an eye on the forecast while playing around in Photoshop, or stay in touch with your Twitter feed via the People app while crunching numbers in Excel.
To dock a full-screen Start page app, drag it from the top to the left or right of the screen. You can run Start page apps alongside each other too.

8. File History

Windows 8 can keep track of previous versions of your important files, which can be a lifesaver if you accidentally delete a document or a favourite photo becomes corrupted.

The File History backup tool in Windows 8 isn't enabled by default
The feature - File History - is not enabled by default, so you'll have to activate it from the System and Security section of Control Panel. The only caveat is you'll need a second hard drive available, whether this is external, internal or networked.

9. ISO support

With Windows 8, native ISO mounting support is included — just double-click and go
Windows 7 came with a built-in ISO burner; Windows 8 does away with the burning, and can launch ISOs (and VHD files) natively.
Double-click on a downloaded or ripped ISO to view its contents; right-click and choose 'Mount' to run it.

10. Reinstall Windows

Here's a feature you might not come across until something goes wrong - Windows' new reinstall routine, known as Reset (on the PC Settings page).
There's no need to dig out discs or serial codes, because everything you need is already available, hidden away on the hard drive.

Complicated reinstalls should be gone forever thanks to the Windows 8 Reset tool

Returning Windows to its factory setting takes a handful of clicks, and has never been easier.
Alternatively, you can do a 'refresh', which brings back all the default operating system settings, keeping your personal files, settings, the programs that came with your PC and any applications that you have downloaded from the Windows Store.