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Windows 8 : Customizing the Start Screen (part 3) - Turning Off a Live Tile, Pinning a Program to the Start Screen

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4/18/2014 2:15:37 AM

Turning Off a Live Tile

As we mentioned earlier, the Start screen offers a kind of aerial view of what’s happening in your life, and it does this by displaying live content—called tile notifications—on many of the tiles. That seems like a good idea in theory, but much of that live content is not static. For example, if you have multiple email messages waiting for you, the Mail tile continuously flips through previews of each unread message. Similarly the News and Finance tiles constantly flip through several screens of content.


Tip

If you’d like to see no live content for a minute or two, you can temporarily turn off all live tiles. From the Start screen, display the Charms menu and then click Settings (or just press Windows Logo+I), click Tiles, and then click Clear.


This tile animation ensures that you see lots of information, but it can be distracting and hard on the eyes. If you find the Start screen is making you less productive instead of more, you can tone down the Start screen by turning off one or more of the less useful live tiles. You do that by right-clicking a tile (or swiping down on the tile if you’re a tablet user) and then clicking Turn Live Tile Off.


Tip

You can clear tile notifications automatically when you sign out or when you restart or shut down Windows 8. In the Start screen (or the Run dialog box; press Windows Logo+R), type gpedit.msc and then press Enter to open the Local Group Policy Editor. Open the User Configuration, Administrative Templates, Start Menu and Taskbar branch, double-click the Clear History of Tile Notifications on Exit policy, select Enabled, and then click OK.

Pinning a Program to the Start Screen

One of the significant conveniences of the Start screen is that the apps you see can all be opened with just a single click or tap. Contrast this with the relatively laborious process required to launch just about any other program on your PC: right-click the Start screen (or swipe up from the bottom edge on a tablet), click All Apps, scroll through the Apps screen to find the program you want to run, and then click it. Alternatively, you can start typing the name of the program and then click it when it appears in the Apps search screen.

Either way, this seems like a great deal of effort to launch a program, and it’s that much worse for a program you use often. You can avoid all that extra work and make a frequently used program easier to launch by pinning that program to the Start screen.


Tip

If you have a folder that you open frequently, you can pin that folder to the Start screen. Click Desktop, click File Explorer in the taskbar, and then open the location that contains the folder you want to pin. Click the folder and then select Home, Easy Access, Pin to Start.


Follow these steps to pin a program to the Start screen:

1. Use the Apps screen or the Apps search screen to locate the program you want to pin.

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

3. Click Pin to Start. Windows 8 adds a tile for the program to the Start screen.

 
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