Can I get a start button on Windows 8?

Sure can! There are numerous downloads available to put a start button on your Windows 8 desktop. Some for free, some at a modest price. All are trying to fill the void that Microsoft has created by leaving the start button out of Windows 8.

Windows 8 START buttonOver at This ‘n That, I offered a quick solution to help out until Microsoft puts a real one back on Windows 8. There are rumors to the effect, that come Fall, the Windows 8.1 update will once again feature a start button.

Take a couple of minutes and read my post Make your own Windows 8 start button and a couple more to a reasonably good substitute on your Windows 8 taskbar.

.:.

© 2012 Ludwig Keck

How do I create desktop shortcuts in Windows 8?

Windows 8 offers easy options to place a tile on the Start screen, “Pin to Start”, and to put an icon on the desktop taskbar, “Pin to taskbar”, but the method to create a desktop shortcut is not obvious at all. Here is how you can quickly put a shortcut icon on your Windows 8 desktop for any installed desktop program. This does not work for the Windows 8 style apps that only run in the non-desktop environment.

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Press the Windows logo key to open the Start screen. Right-click on an empty space and click All apps in the bar at the bottom.

Find the program – you may have to scroll – and right-click its tile.

Now you get the options on the bottom for a number of tasks. Click Open file location (see the red arrows in the illustration). shortcuts-07This switches you to the desktop and opens File Explorer. The shortcut location for the program will already be selected. Right-click on the program name, move the pointer down to Send to then horizontally over to the sub-menu and down to Desktop (create shortcut). Click that.

That’s it. You will now have a desktop shortcut for that program on the desktop. You can position it as you like. The shortcut works as expected, double-click it to open the program.

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.:.

© 2012 Ludwig Keck

My desktop shortcut icons are gone. How do I get them back?

This is a not uncommon problem. How it happens I can’t say, but how to get them back is easy.

Before I show you how to restore the shortcut icons, here is how to make them disappear:

  • Right-click on an empty spot on your desktop.
  • In the small menu move the pointer to View…
  • Move the pointer horizontally to the additional menu.
  • Move the pointer down to Show desktop icons. This item is checked when the icons are displayed. Click it so it will be unchecked.

The icons will immediately disappear.

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To restore the desktop shortcuts just follow the same procedure.

  • Right-click on the desktop.
  • In the small menu move the pointer to View…
  • Move the pointer horizontally to the additional menu.
  • Move the pointer down to Show desktop icons. This item is unchecked when the icons are not displayed. Click it so it will be checked.

The desktop shortcut icons will be restored.

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My own icons have never pulled the disappearing act, and I did not know about this. I am indebted to my friend AlexO for this solution.

.:.

© 2012 Ludwig Keck

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Can multiple SkyDrive Desktop Apps be used in Windows 8?

SkyDrive has been thoroughly integrated into the fabric of Windows 8. The SkyDrive desktop app brings access to SkyDrive right into File Explorer – Windows Explorer of prior Windows editions. An earlier post, from before Windows 8 was released, shows a method for providing access to multiple SkyDrive accounts (Can I install multiple SkyDrive apps on my desktop?). That method works just fine in Windows 8. This article expands on that and provides some additional information.

Only one instance of the actual SkyDrive desktop app can be installed, however, shortcuts to SkyDrive folders of other users of the PC can be placed on the desktop. The illustration here shows access to three SkyDrive folders simultaneously.

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First a review on setting up the PC.

  • Set up a user on the PC for each SkyDrive, that is for each Microsoft account. Set up the SkyDrive desktop app for each user on their respective desktop. Leave the users signed in at all times.
  • On the primary user’s desktop right-click on an empty spot; click New, then click Shortcut.
  • In the Create Shortcut menu click Browse the navigate to Computer > Users > other user. Click on SkyDrive (in the expanded list for the user).
  • Click OK, then Next. Give the shortcut an appropriate name then click Finish.
  • Repeat for the other users.

You may have to give permission to proceed during these steps.

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All normal tasks can be done in these folders – copy, move, delete, paste – just as in any other folder. The difference is that any changes in these SkyDrive folders will be synced with the SkyDrive in the cloud and the SkyDrive folders on other PCs, smartphones, etc. Of course, you need to be connected to the Internet for synchronization to take place. If you are not connected to the Internet, you can still make any changes like any other folders in File Explorer. When a connection is restored, the syncing will take place in the background.

imageLimitations:

There are some limitations with this arrangement. You can see the sync status symbols only on the local SkyDrive folder (the check mark indicates that the item is up to date). There is no indication that another user is signed out and thus the changes will not be synchronized.

imageYou cannot make changes to which folders should be included in the local SkyDrive folder. Such changes have to be made on the respective user’s desktop.

You cannot initiate sharing in the folders for the other users, you can do this only in the primary SkyDrive folder.

When rebooting the PC you need to sign in each user.

These are relatively minor inconveniences compared to the ability to easily access several SkyDrive folders on the same desktop.

.:.

© 2012 Ludwig Keck

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