WIndows 8 offers a new Lock screen, which is much more functional than any Lock screen you might have encountered in previous Microsoft operating systems. It offers quite a bit of information. It offers the time and date, and it shows whether you're connected to a network. If you are using a laptop, it also shows the status of the battery. You can also add thumbnails for your favorite apps here so you can see the status of those apps without leaving the Lock screen, and some apps show information here by default. (As an example, you might see a Mail glyph with a number by it, announcing that new, unread mail is available.)
The Lock screen offers different ways to unlock the computer. You can slide the picture up and off the screen, click or tap it one time, or tap any key on the keyboard. Once you bypass this screen, you input your password.
How you unlock the Lock screen depends on the type of computer you're using.
traditional desktop computer Tap any key on the keyboa d o c ck wth the
Mouse anywhe e on the sc een, o c ck nea the bottom of the sc een and d ag upwa d f app cab e, type you passwo d when p ompted
Traditional laptop computer Ho d down the eft t ack pad button wh e mov ng the cu so upwa d, o pe fo m a s m a movement Ate natvey, tap any key on the keyboa d o c ck w th the mouse (o app op ate t ack pad button) anywhe e on the sc een f app cab e, type you passwo d when p ompted
touch-compatible computer or tablet P ace you finge anywhe e nea the m dd e o bottom of the sc een and fl ck upwa d f app cab e, type you passwo d when p ompted
Exploring the start screen
After you've unlocked the computer, the Start screen appears; it holds tiles. If there are more tiles than there is space on the screen, you'll see a scroll bar across the bottom of the screen (which doesn't appear in the figure).
TIles can serve many purposes. Many of the tiles open apps such as Mail, People, and Messaging. Some of these tiles also offer up-to-date information for the application they represent and are considered live tiles. You do not need to open the app to view basic data it offers. For example, the Weather app, after it is configured, can show up-to-date weather information for your city, and the Calendar app can show upcoming appointments and birthdays. This data appears on the Start screen so you have access to it without opening the app. The information is dynamic and changes as the information it represents does. If you need to see more than a preview of the information, you can click the tile, and the app opens in a new screen from which you can access all its features. Messaging, People, Calendar, Photos, Mail, and similar apps all do this. You can get more apps from the Store.
Beyond offering access to the default apps that come with Windows 8 (and any you acquire from the Store), the Start screen can also offer tiles for many of the programs and applications you install yourself. You might see tiles for Microsoft Word, Outlook, or PowerPoint, Adobe Photoshop, or other programs. These are not apps. They're called desktop apps, and they are the traditional applications with which you're familiar. Often you obtain these by downloading them from a website or by installing them from a CD or DVD. (In contrast, you can get apps only from the Windows Store.)
To open an application, whether it's an app or a desktop app, you click or touch the tile on the Start screen. What you see after this depends on the type of app or application you've opened. It's important to note that you can remove apps from the Start screen if you don't plan on using them. Just right-click the unwanted tile and choose Unpin From Start. (If you do not have a keyboard, mouse, or track pad and can use your finger only, tap, hold, and drag downward to display the option to remove it. You'll know you've done this correctly when a check mark appears on the selected app.) When you unpin an app from the Start screen, note that this only removes the tile and does not uninstall the related app. As you'll learn later, it's easy to access all your apps from a single screen if you want to use the app again.
Beyond opening apps and desktop apps, some tiles offer access to familiar parts of the computer such as the desktop. From the desktop, you can open File Explorer by clicking the folder icon located on the taskbar.
If you leave the Start screen and want to go back, tap the Windows key on your keyboard. Tablets often have a physical Windows button. Alternatively, you can position the cursor in the bottom-left corner and click when the thumbnail of the Start screen appears.
Finally, you can add tiles. You can pin your favorite folder (perhaps My Documents or Public Documents) to the Start screen, and you can do the same with your favorite website (perhaps Facebook). You can pin almost anything. Pinning items to the Start screen is a great way to personalize Windows 8 and makes the Start screen much more useful. If you've already pinned a few items, you'll see them. If not, wait;