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Using the Windows 8 Interface : Bypassing the Start Screen (part 2) - Pinning a Program to the Taskbar, Using Desktop Programs as the Defaults

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11/3/2014 3:09:25 AM

Pinning a Program to the Taskbar

That’s great if you spend most of your time in the new interface, but it doesn’t do you much good if you’re a dedicated desktop denizen. Accessing the Start menu items from the taskbar, as we described in the previous task, is great, but it can take a few clicks to launch some items, so it’s not the most efficient way to start those programs you use frequently.

A better way to go is to pin your favorite programs to the Desktop app’s taskbar, which puts those programs just a click away.

You can pin a program to the taskbar either from the Start screen or from the desktop. First, here’s the Start screen method:

1. Use the Apps screen or the Apps search screen to locate the desktop program you want to pin. (Note that this technique doesn’t work with Windows 8 apps.)

2. Right-click the program tile. (On a tablet PC, swipe down on the tile to display the app bar.)

3. Click Pin to Taskbar. Windows 8 adds an icon for the program to the taskbar.

Here’s how to pin a running desktop program to the taskbar:

1. Launch the program you want to pin.

2. Right-click the running program’s taskbar icon. (On a tablet PC, tap and hold the program’s taskbar icon.)

3. Click Pin This Program to Taskbar. Windows 8 adds an icon for the program to the taskbar.

Finally, if you displayed the Start Menu toolbar as described in the previous section, you can also follow these steps to pin a Start Menu item to the taskbar:

1. Add the Start Menu toolbar to the taskbar as described in the previous section.

2. Click the Start Menu toolbar arrows.

3. If necessary, open the submenu that contains the program you want to pin to the taskbar. For example, if the program is in the Accessories submenu, select Programs, Windows Accessories.

4. Click and drag the program icon to any empty section of the taskbar.

5. When you see the Pin to Taskbar banner, drop the icon. Windows 8 adds an icon for the program to the taskbar.


Tip

Windows 8 displays the taskbar icons left to right in the order you pinned them. To change the order, click and drag a taskbar icon to the left or right and then drop it in the new position.

Using Desktop Programs as the Defaults

We mentioned earlier that it’s jarring to switch between the Start screen and desktop interfaces because they’re just so drastically different. Unfortunately, Windows 8 often forces this transition by using many Windows 8 apps as the default programs for certain file types. For example, if you double-click a JPEG file in File Explorer, Windows 8 opens it in the Photos app. Similarly, double-click an MP3 file and Windows 8 plays the song using the Music app.

Fortunately, with a bit of work you can configure Windows 8 to open these and other file types using desktop programs. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Press Windows Logo+X to display the power tool list.

2. Click Control Panel.

3. In the Search box, type set program.

4. In the search results, click Set Your Default Programs. The Set Default Programs window appears.

5. Click a desktop program that you want to use for opening one or more file types. For example, to change how Windows opens MP3 files, click Windows Media Player.

6. Click Choose Defaults For This Program. The Set Program Associations window appears.

7. Select the check box beside each file type that you want to associate with this program. For example, in Figure 2 you can see that we’re working with Windows Media Player and that we’ve selected the .mp3 check box.

Image

Figure 2. Use the Set Program Associations window to associate file types with a desktop program.

8. Click Save. Windows 8 associates the program with the file types you selected.

9. Repeat steps 5–8 to set the defaults for your other desktop programs.

10. Click OK.
 
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- Using the Windows 8 Interface : Bypassing the Start Screen (part 1) - Booting Directly to the Desktop, Accessing Start Menu Items from the Taskbar
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