Windows 8.1: Start to personalize your PC

Featuring your favorites

Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 are all about you and the stuff you love—and there are lots of ways to personalize your PC with your favorite apps, people, photos, and colors.

If you sign in to your PC with a Microsoft account, all the things you've personalized go with you. When you sign in to another PC or device with that same Microsoft account, you'll see the same pictures, contacts, and settings. And, if other people use your PC, they should sign in with their own Microsoft account so they can personalize with their own favorite apps, people, photos, and colors (without changing any of yours).

 

Signing in with a picture password

With a picture password, you can sign in to your PC with your favorite photo instead of a hard-to-remember password. You choose the picture, which gestures—circles, straight lines, or taps—you use, and where on the picture you trace them. You can draw a picture password directly on a touchscreen with your finger, or you can use a mouse to draw your shapes. Everyone who has a Microsoft account on your PC can set up their own picture password.

 

To set up a picture password

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

  2. Tap or click Accounts, and tap or click Sign-in options.

  3. Under Picture password, tap or click Add.

  4. Sign in with your Microsoft account info, then follow the steps on the screen to choose a picture and pick your gestures.

Picture passwords are more than a fun way to sign in—they can also be more secure than regular passwords because they’re harder to guess.

Choosing where you go when you sign in

By default, you see your Start screen every time you sign in to your PC, but you can go to the desktop or the Apps view instead if you want.

To go to the desktop when you sign in

  1. Open Taskbar and Navigation properties by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering Taskbar in the search box, and then tapping or clicking Taskbar and Navigation in the results.

  2. Tap or click the Navigation tab, then tap or click the When I sign in or close all apps on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start check box. Then tap or click OK.

To go to the Apps view instead of the Start screen

You can automatically go to the Apps view whenever you go to Start. The Apps view lists all of the apps installed on your PC, but they won't have tiles and you won't see updates from them like you do on Start.

  1. Open Taskbar and Navigation properties by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering Taskbar in the search box, and then tapping or clicking Taskbar and Navigation in the results.

  2. Tap or click the Navigation tab, and then tap or click the Show the Apps view automatically when I go to Start check box. Then tap or click OK.

 

Changing your account picture

Your account picture is associated with your Microsoft account, so you’ll see it whenever you sign in to your PC and on your Start screen. Plus your friends and family will see it wherever they have you listed as a contact.

You can use one of your own favorite photos for an account picture, or use an app to create or edit one. And if you have a webcam, you can take a picture or create a video clip.

The account picture page
 

To change your account picture

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

  2. Tap or click Accounts, and then tap or click Your account.

  3. Pick one of the following options:

    Find a favorite photo. If you want to find a favorite photo to use, tap or click Browse. You can navigate to photos on your PC, or to pictures you store on SkyDrive. Tap or click a photo to select it, then tap or click Choose Image.

    Use an app to create or edit a photo. If you want to use an app to create, find, or edit a photo, tap or click the app you want to use, then follow the on–screen instructions or find a photo. All the apps installed on your PC that can edit or create a photo will be listed here. If you don’t see an app to use, find out how to get one in Getting apps for your PC.

    Take a picture or make a video clip. If you want to take a picture or record a video clip, tap or click Camera. Then take a photo, or switch to video mode to make a video clip.

 

Customizing Start

You can pick the tiles, colors, and pictures on your Start screen, and organize your apps. If other people use your PC, make sure they all sign in with their own Microsoft account. That way, each person can have their own customized Start screen. To find out more, see Start screen.

 

To change the background

  1. Open Start by swiping in from the right edge of the screen and then tapping Start. (Or, if you're using a mouse, point to the lower-left corner of the screen, move your mouse all the way into the corner, and then click Start.)

  2. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Settings.)

  3. Tap or click Personalize, and then tap or click the background, background color, and accent color you want. The background and accent colors you pick will show up in a few other places too, like the charms and the sign–in screen.

The personalization settings in Start
 

To see your desktop background on Start

You can use your desktop background picture as the background on your Start screen. Start will update automatically whenever the desktop background changes.

  1. Open Start by swiping in from the right edge of the screen and then tapping Start. (Or, if you're using a mouse, point to the lower-left corner of the screen, move your mouse all the way into the corner, and then click Start.)

  2. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Settings.)

  3. Tap or click Personalize, and then tap or click the preview of your desktop background.

     

To pin apps to Start

You can pin your favorite apps to Start so you can get to them quickly and see updates from them at a glance.

  1. Open Start by swiping in from the right edge of the screen and then tapping Start. (Or, if you're using a mouse, point to the lower-left corner of the screen, move your mouse all the way into the corner, and then click Start.)

  2. Swipe up from the middle of the screen to go to the Apps view. (If you’re using a mouse, click the arrow button in the lower-left corner.)
  3. Browse to the app you want to pin and tap it or right-click it to select it.

  4. Tap or click Pin to Start.

 

To unpin apps

Unpinning an app is different than uninstalling an app—if you unpin an app from your Start screen, the app will still show up when you search for it, and it’ll still be in the Apps view if you need to find it again.

  1. Open Start by swiping in from the right edge of the screen and then tapping Start. (Or, if you're using a mouse, point to the lower-left corner of the screen, move your mouse all the way into the corner, and then click Start.)

  2. Press and hold or right-click the app you want to unpin to select it.

  3. Tap or click Unpin from Start.

 

To move a tile

  1. On the Start screen, press and hold a tile you’d like to move. (If you’re using a mouse, click and hold the tile.)

  2. Drag the tile where you want it.

 

To resize a tile

  1. On the Start screen, press and hold the tile you want to resize. (If you’re using a mouse, right-click the tile.)

  2. Tap or click Resize, and then pick the size you want.

 

Customizing your lock screen

The lock screen is the screen you see when you lock your PC (or when it locks automatically after you haven't been using it for a while). You can add your favorite photos of your kids, pets, and vacations, or even create a rotating slide show.

If you want some free photos to use, download some desktop backgrounds from the Personalization Gallery.

The lock screen
 

To add photos to your lock screen

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

  2. Tap or click PC and devices, and then tap or click Lock screen.

  3. If you want to use just one photo on your lock screen, tap or click Browse, and then choose the picture you want (you can choose photos on your PC or SkyDrive).

  4. If you want to see a slide show on your lock screen, tap or click Play a slide show on the lock screen to turn it on.

  5. Tap or click Add a folder and browse to a folder on your PC or SkyDrive.

  6. Tap or click the folder to select it, tap or click Choose this folder, and then tap or click OK. You can pick up to ten folders.

 

To get app updates on your lock screen

You can choose a few apps to show updates on the lock screen so you can see what's going on even when your PC is locked.

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

  2. Tap or click PC and devices, and then tap or click Lock screen.

  3. Under Lock screen apps, tap or click the plus button The plus button. Then tap or click an app in the list to select it.
Choosing a lock screen app
 

To show detailed app info on the lock screen

You can pick one app to give you detailed updates on the lock screen so you can get info about things like the next appointment on your calendar, or see who's calling you on Skype.

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

  2. Tap or click PC and devices, and then tap or click Lock screen.

  3. Under Choose an app to display detailed status, tap or click the plus button The plus button, and then tap or click an app in the list to select it.

Windows 8.1 preview and enterprise deployment

The Windows 8.1 preview is here! If you would like to be one of the first to try it out you can already download it for free. You can also download the full preview guide of Windows 8.1 here.

Enterprise Deployment

With the release of Windows 8.1 there are also some tools that came with it to deploy Windows 8.1 to your Enterprise desktop/notebooks and tablets.

There are a few different ways you can install the Windows 8.1 Preview release.

If you have…

Consider these options

Computers running Windows 8 , Windows 8 Pro (retail- or OEM-activated), or Windows RT

Following the steps on the Windows 8.1 Preview website to install an update to enable the preview installation via the Windows Store, then install from the Windows Store.

Computers running earlier operating systems, or ones to be used for a clean (bare metal) installation

Download the Windows 8.1 ISO file. Use this with MDT 2013 or System Center 2012 Configuration Manager R2 to refresh existing computers, or burn to a DVD or copy to a USB key for simple installation.

Computers running Windows 8 Pro, volume activated

Download the Windows 8.1 ISO file. Use this media to either:

  • Perform an in-place update of existing Windows 8 Pro installations
  • Refresh existing computers using MDT 2013 or System Center 2012 Configuration Manager R2
  • Burn to a DVD or copy to a USB key for simple installation

Computers running Windows 8 Enterprise

Wait for the availability of the Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview ISO, which should be available in the coming weeks. Watch for an announcement on this blog when it is available.

Note: It’s also important to note that while computers running Windows 8.1 Preview can be updated to the final Windows 8.1 release, this update process will only migrate the data on the device. All applications (from the Windows Store or desktop applications) will need to be reinstalled as part of this process. To illustrate:

If you are currently running…

Going to…

This will migrate:

Windows 8

Windows 8.1 Preview

All data, settings, and applications

Windows 8

Windows 8.1 final release

All data, settings, and applications

Windows 8.1 Preview

Windows 8.1 final release

Only data

For those using earlier operating systems, the OS refresh processes implemented by the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and System Center Configuration Manager (or other similar tools) can be used to automate the move to Windows 8.1 while preserving data and settings, and can also install any needed applications as part of that process.

What's new in Windows 8.1

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Enhancements

Workplace Join

A Windows 8 PC was either domain joined or not.  If it was a member of the domain, the user could access corporate resources (if permissioned) and IT could control the PC through group policy and other mechanisms.  This feature allows a middle ground between all or nothing access, allowing a user to work on the device of their choice and still have access to corporate resources With Workplace Join, IT administrators now have the ability to offer finer-grained control to corporate resources.  If a user registers their device, IT can grant some access while still enforcing some governance parameters on the device.

Work Folders

Work Folders allows a user to sync data to their device from their user folder located in the corporation’s data center. Files created locally will sync back to the file server in the corporate environment. This syncing is natively integrated into the file system.  Note, this all happens outside the firewall client sync support. Previously, Windows 8 devices needed to be domain joined (or required domain credentials) for access to file shares.  Syncing could be done with third-party folder replication apps. With Work Folders, Users can keep local copies of their work files on their devices, with automatic synchronization to your data center, and for access from other devices. IT can enforce Dynamic Access Control policies on the Work Folder Sync Share (including automated Rights Management) and require Workplace Join to be in place.

Open MDM

While many organizations have investments with System Center and will continue to leverage these investments we also know that many organizations want to manage certain classes of devices, like tablets and BYOD devices, as mobile devices. With Windows 8.1, you can use an OMA-DM API agent to allow management of Windows 8.1 devices with mobile device management products, like Mobile Iron or Air Watch.

Mobile Device Management

When a user enrolls their device, they are joining the device to the Windows Intune management service.  They get access to the Company Portal which provides a consistent experience for access to their applications, data and to manage their own devices.  This allows a deeper management experience with existing tools like Windows Intune. IT administrators now have deeper policy management for Windows RT devices, and can manage Windows 8.1 PCs as mobile devices without having deploy a full management client.

Web Application Proxy

The Web Application Proxy is a new role service in the Windows Server Remote Access role. It provides the ability to publish access to corporate resources, and enforce multi-factor authentication as well as apply conditional access policies to verify both the user’s identity and the device they are using resources, and enforce multi-factor authentication as well as verify the device being used before access is granted.

RDS Enhancements

Enhanced Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) in Windows Server 2012 R2 with improvements in management, value, and user experience. Session Shadowing allows administrators to view and remotely control active user sessions in an RDSH server. Disk dedupe and storage tiering allow for lower cost storage options. User experience for RemoteApps, network connectivity and multiple displays has been improved. Administrators can now easily support users with session desktops to provide helpdesk style support. Administrators now have even more flexible storage options to support a VDI environment without expensive SAN investments. End users will find RemoteApp behavior is more like local apps, and the experience in low-bandwidth is better, with faster reconnects and improved compression, and support for multiple monitors.

NFC Tap-to-pair Printing

Tap your Windows 8.1 device against an enterprise NFC-enabled printer and you’re all set to print. No more hunting on your network for the correct printer and no need to buy a special printer to take advantage of this functionality. Simply attach an NFC tag to your existing printers to enable this functionality.

Wi-Fi Direct Printing

Connect to Wi-Fi Direct printers without adding additional drivers or software on your Windows 8.1 device, forming a peer-to-peer network between your device and the printer.

Native Miracast Wireless Display

Present your work wirelessly with no connection cords needed; just pair with a Miracast-enabled projector via NFC and Miracast will use Wi-Fi to let you project wire-free.

Mobility Enhancements

VPN

We have added support for a wider range of VPN clients in both Windows and Windows RT devices. We have also added the ability to have an app automatically trigger VPN connections. 

Mobile Broadband

At Windows 8 launch, the devices had embedded radios that were separate components within the devices.  Windows 8.1 supports embedded wireless radio, which gives you increased power savings, longer battery life, also enables thinner form factors and lower cost devices. 

Windows To Go

With Windows To Go in Windows 8.1, the Windows Store is enabled by default. Windows To Go users may roam to any number of machines and access the Windows Store and use Windows Store apps. 

Broadband Tethering

Turn your Windows 8.1 mobile broadband-enabled PC or tablet into a personal Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing other devices to connect and access the internet.

Auto-triggered VPN

When you select an app or resource that needs access through the inbox VPN – like a company’s intranet site – Windows 8.1 will automatically prompt you to sign in with one click. This feature will be available with Microsoft and third-party inbox VPN clients.

Security Enhancements

Remote Business Data Removal

Corporations now have more control over corporate content which can be marked as corporate, encrypted, and then be wiped when the relationship between the corporation and user has ended. Corporate data can now be identified as corporate vs. user, encrypted, and wiped on command using EAS or EAS + OMA-DM protocol. This capability is requires implementation in the client application and in the server application (Mail + Exchange Server). The client application determines if the wipe simply makes the data inaccessible or actually deletes it. 

Improved Biometrics

All SKUs will include end to end biometric capabilities that enable authenticating with your biometric identity anywhere in Windows (Windows sign-in, remote access, User Account Control, etc.). Windows 8.1 will also be optimized for fingerprint based biometrics and will include a common fingerprint enrollment experience that will work with a variety of readers (touch, swipe). Modern readers are touch based rather than swipe and include liveliness detection that prevents spoofing (e.g.: silicon emulated fingerprints). Access to Windows Store Apps, functions within them, and certificate release can be gated based on verification of a user’s biometric identity.

Pervasive Device Encryption

Device encryption previously found on Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 is now available in all editions of Windows. It is enabled out of the box and can be configured with additional BitLocker protection and management capability on the Pro and Enterprise SKUs. Consumer devices are automatically encrypted and protected when using a Microsoft account. Data on any Windows connected standby device is automatically protected (encrypted) with device encryption. Organizations that need to manage encryption can easily take add additional BitLocker protection options and manageability to these devices.  

Improved Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer 11 improvements include faster page load times, side-by-side browsing of your sites, enhanced pinned site notifications, and app settings like favorites, tabs and settings sync across all your Windows 8.1 PCs. Internet Explorer 11 now includes capability that enables an antimalware solution to scan the input for a binary extension before it’s passed onto the extension for execution

Malware Resistance

Windows Defender, Microsoft’s free antivirus solution in Windows 8, will include network behavior monitoring to help detect and stop the execution of known and unknown malware. Internet Explorer will scan binary extensions (e.g. ActiveX) using the antimalware solution before potentially harmful code is executed.

Device Lockdown

With Assigned Access, a new feature offered in Windows 8.1 RT, Windows 8.1 Pro, and Windows 8.1 Enterprise, you can enable a single Windows Store application experience on the device. This can be things like a learning application for kids in an educational setting or a customer service application at a boutique, Assigned Access can ensure the device is delivering the intended experience. In our Windows Embedded 8.1 industry product, we deliver additional lockdown capabilities to meet the needs of industry devices like point of sale systems, ATMs, and digital signs.

Modern UI Experience

Variable, Continuous Size of Snap Views

You have more ways to see multiple apps on the screen at once. You can resize apps to nearly infinite sized windows, share the screen between two apps, or have up to three apps on each monitor.

Boot to Desktop

We have made configuration options available which will allow you to boot directly to the desktop in Windows 8.1.

Desktop and Start Screen

Improvements have been made to better support users who prefer a mouse and keyboard experience to access applications.
These are just some of the key features available in Windows 8.1 We encourage you to test out and try these features when you evaluate Windows 8.1 for use both in your work environment as well as at home in your personal life. Please note that Windows Server 2012 R2 may be required in order for some of these features to be available.

 

 

Windows 8.1 update teleconference

Recently at the JP Morgan Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in Boston, Tami Reller (Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer, Windows) shared with the audience that the update previously referred to as “Windows Blue” will be called Windows 8.1 and will be a free update to Windows 8 for consumers through the Windows Store.

During her remarks, Tami reiterated the goal of delivering continual updates to create a richer experience for Windows customers. Windows 8.1 is part of that and continues the journey we first began with Windows 8 last fall. Windows 8.1 will help Microsoft to deliver the next generation of PCs and tablets with their OEM partners and to deliver the experiences customers, both consumers and businesses alike  need and will just expect moving forward.

Today, there are more devices and choice allowing you to pick the right Windows 8 device that meets your needs. Windows 8 provides a great experience for consuming and creating content, for both work and play and on the go. And you’ll immediately benefit from continual updates, whether it’s from app updates through the Windows Store, performance updates through Windows Update or the Windows 8.1 update later this year.

Teleconference with Tami Reller (Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer, Windows)

also see this Microsoft blogpost.

Windows 8 Tips and Tricks

 

Below are several different "Tips and Tricks" which might be handy for you.

 

Show Available Wi-Fi networks in your client computers environment (Wireless interface required)

typ in commandprompt : netsh wlan show networks

 

Access the "Quick Menu"

press  (Windows button) + X

 

Access the Windows "Sidebar"

press  (Windows button) + C

 

Switch between taskbar programs

press  (Windows button) + T

How To: create your own Windows 8 tiles

We are all familiar with the new Windows start screen in Windows 8 now. So what is the next step? Yes, let's create our own personal tiles in the startscreen! The following manual shows you how to do this.

First of all, download and install the following freeware program: Oblytile

When you start the program you will see the following screen.

 

First of all we will give our own "tile" a name (you can also select to hide the tile name if you like).

Next, we are going to select what our tile is going to do (start a program/.exe, open a webpage/url). In our example we are going to make a tile that starts the system's standard webbrowser and shows our website.

Fill in the URL you would like to display. you can also set any arguments when starting a program.

Next, select the image you would like to use for your tile (best to choose/make a 120px by 120px image).

Now we are ready to save our own created tile. just click "save". You will see a message that your tile has been created (you can also set some additional arguments for your tile, for example always run in administrator mode).

Now when you open your startscreen you will noticed that you personal tile has been created. you can easily drag and drop it to a position of your choice.

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