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2,862 Tutorials

How to download and try Windows 8 for free

Install Windows 8 Developer Preview

You've installed Windows 8 on your PC. Here's how to navigate Windows 8's Metro interface.

Navigate Windows 8

Step 1. Start up a Windows 8 PC and, in place of the classic desktop, you'll be presented with the touch-optimised Metro interface. A series of live tiles contain shortcuts to apps or data that's updated in real time (see Step 3). You can alter their grouping by clicking and dragging on individual tiles.

Navigate Windows 8

Step 2. Click a tile to launch its associated app in a new window. No longer will you find a red cross in the top right corner to later close this window; instead, tap the onscreen Start button or press the Windows key on your keyboard. Press Alt, Tab to see all running apps, and use Windows, Tab to skip through them.

Navigate Windows 8

Step 3. Various tiles offer live data, including a Socialite tile that connects with your Facebook account and displays various images on the social network. Another neat feature is Windows Snap. This lets you run two apps side by side, with one occupying around 70 percent of the display and the other taking up the remainder.

Navigate Windows 8

Step 4. Hold down the left-click button and drag the cursor from the bottom right to left of the screen to access Windows 8's five ‘Charms': Start, Search, Share, Devices and Settings. Start always returns you to the home screen, while the other Charms are relevant to the app that's currently open.

Navigate Windows 8

Step 5. The Share Charm lets you make content relevant to the current app available to other users. In Internet Explorer, for example, you can post a link to the site you're browsing on Facebook or Twitter. Meanwhile, the Devices Charm lets you access items such as networked printers, and Search finds specific files on your PC.

Navigate Windows 8

Step 6. If you would prefer to use Window's classic desktop, it's straightforward to switch between the two interfaces. Simply press the Windows key on your keyboard or click the Desktop app on Metro's home screen. Your will now see the familiar Windows desktop, complete with traditional shortcut icons.

Navigate Windows 8

Step 7. Internet Explorer 10.0 is bundled with the Developer Preview. In Metro, the browser doesn't support Flash or plug-ins. It also has a sparse design with no Favorites bar. Press Start, Desktop and open the browser in the classic Windows interface, however, and the browser history will remember the page you were viewing in Metro.

Navigate Windows 8

Step 8. Windows Explorer has had a redesign in Windows 8, and now features Microsoft's Ribbon toolbar first introduced in Office 2007. When you've finished looking around the Developer Preview, open the Settings Charm from the home screen and choose to shut down or restart the PC from the box on the right.

Navigate Windows 8

Windows 8: Windows App Store

Rumours that Windows 8 would have an integrated app store similar to Apple's App Store and Google's Android Market were confirmed both by Microsoft itself and by the Store tile present in the Developer Preview. Click this tile, however, and you'll discover that the feature is not yet working in this early build of the OS.

Details of the App Store are still thin on the ground. Microsoft has yet to outline when the Store will go live and how payments for app purchases will be made.

What we do know is that both traditional Windows software and touch-optimised Metro apps will be available, including apps for productivity, photos, entertainment, social networking and games. The interface will have a similar look and feel to Metro, with apps divided into categories such as entertainment, finance and games. Each category will also include featured apps, plus the lists of top rated, paid and free apps that are typical to other app stores.

Developers will be able to offer free trial periods of anywhere between 24 hours and 30 days for their apps. Microsoft has also confirmed that any apps submitted to the Store will have to undergo the same certification process that applies to Windows Phone 7 mobile apps. The company uses a similar model to Apple, whereby the chances of malicious software getting on to user devices is reduced. The certification process also demands that apps meet basic standards of quality and usability.

Traditional desktop software will continue to be available elsewhere, such as vendor websites and Amazon, but Windows 8 apps can be purchased only through the Windows Store.

According to Ted Dworkin, a Microsoft director with the Windows Store development team, the company hopes that by restricting the distribution of apps to the Windows Store it can ensure the software is secure and appropriate.

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