Nice new Windows 8 world

I faced the challenge of working with Windows 8 after several years of using Kubuntu. This article summarizes some of the interesting things while working into W8.

Must-know shortcuts

  • Win + Q: Search for programs… (replacement for the search bar in the start menu)
    • Alternatively: Press Win (to show your apps) and start typing right away.
  • Win + Left/Right Arrow: Place currrent window in the left/right half of the screen
  • Win + Up/Down: Maximize/Restore/Minimize current window
  • Win + D -> Alt + F4: Shutdown menu

See also: In Windows 8.1 und 8 Programme finden und starten [German]

Environment variables as file names

In the Explorer, you can access the address bar using Ctrl+L (just like in Firefox, Opera, etc.). Instead of typing an actual path, you may also enter an environment variable representing a path, e.g., %APPDATA%.

I guess this is not a new, but anyway a cool feature.


Since there is not official “Start Menu” any more, the folder containing autostart programs may be a hard to find. A convenient workaround is to open the Run dialog (by pressing Win+R or selecting Run from the context menu of the windows logo in the bottom left corner) and to issue the following command:


Show confirmation dialog when deleting files

In my default configuration, W8 would remove files without any further confirmation which may be troublesome. In order to enable the confirmation dialog, locate your Recycle Bin (should be on your desktop) and right-click it. Select Properties and, in the dialog popping up, set the check box next to Display delete confirmation dialog.

If you cannot find your Recycle Bin, see here.

Uninstall apps

Even though this should be a simple task, I did not find out how to uninstall apps by myself – probably because I was not used to the W8 philosophy. To uninstall apps, go to the “apps screen” (by pressing Win) and afterwards press Tab and then Enter to access the list of of alphabetically sorted apps.

Here, you can uninstall apps by simply right-clicking an app and selecting Uninstall…

Using touch, this procedure is a little tricky as described here.

Disable startup jingle

Windows should not welcome me with an intrusive sound, especially when booting it in a meeting or so. So, I disabled system sounds all together. To get to the sounds configuration, on the Run dialog (Win+R or via start context menu) and enter the following command:

control mmsys.cpl,,2

Change to the Sounds tab and uncheck the appropriate checkbox.

See also: Soundschema in Windows 8.1 anpassen [German]

Disable screen orientation hotkeys

Some display drivers assign the keyboard shortcuts Ctrl+Alt+Up/Down with flipping the screen. Since these combinations are also used in Eclipse for duplicating lines, this behavior confused me. The following thread on stackoverflow describes how to disable these hotkeys for some drivers: How to disable the screen orientation hotkeys in Windows (XP)?

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