Computing 101:Windows 8 Tips for Traditionalists

Windows 8 offers a lot of features not found in previous versions of Windows. But for some
users, especially those over 60, it can be intimidating.  Many seniors are more used to the standard Windows formats where you can see all your files, shortcuts, and programs on the desktop. So, seeing a touchscreen keypad that resembles a tablet or smart phone can be disconcerting.  Once you get used to it, it’s simple.  It’s getting there that’s tough.

Here are 5 basic tips to consider when using Windows 8, which may minimize the frustrations and keep you working steadily using the new operating system format.

1) Change your thinking. Think of it like a portal to the world. If you click on the shopping button, for example, Windows 8 will immediately take you to the shopping site portal, where you can shop to your heart’s content. Connect to the world with the click of one button.

2) Reassign shortcuts the way you want them.  With a little practice, you can learn how to reassign the main shortcut buttons to point to the tasks you use the most.  You can define button for Facebook, one for email, and others for specific sites or places you wish to go.  Just because it was programmed into Windows the way it was doesn’t mean you have to keep it that way.

3) Think out of the box.  Windows 8 is very easy to maneuver around, but it just takes thinking about computing a little differently.  Rather than using the mouse and keyboard, you can use your hands to go to whatever you want in a one-touch process.  Practice using your hands, rather than the mouse and keyboard as a rule, only using the keyboard when needed.  Before long, it will come without effort.

4) Get news and information faster.  One of the great things about Windows 8 is that it is fast. Think of the new format as a time-saving too.  Click on the button you want to access news, shop for apps in the Windows store, and more quickly and effortlessly.

5) If you don’t like the touch screen, don’t use it.  While one of the greatest aspects of  Windows 8 is the ability to use touch-screen technology, if you do not like this method, simply revert to the point-and-click mouse and keyboard method you are used to.  Windows 8 will still work, even if you do it the old way.  Just because you have the technology doesn’t mean you have to use it the way it was invented.  Use it however you feel the most comfortable.

For older or more unexperienced users, it may be enough to reassign buttons their liking or to use the system regularly and practice accessing the links until it becomes second nature. For others, they may feel more comfortable reverting to the old way of operating a computer, even though the technology allows for a smart device type user experience.  Whatever the needs, seniors and others who struggle with the new format may find it easier if they follow these simple tips.

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