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Column: No reason to fear Windows 8

| Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, 9:00 p.m.
Pam Richter is the technology and marketing librarian at the Baldwin Borough Public Library. Follow the library on Twitter @BBPL, on Facebook Like the Baldwin Borough Public Library and you can email Pam at

With any new change comes excitement and possibly a little bit of fear.

Although Windows 8, the newest operating system for Windows, has been in use since 2012, questions about its use still are among the most common questions I receive at the library. Many people are just getting new tablets or laptops with Windows 8 installed.

Let's be frank — Windows 8 is completely different than Windows 7, Vista or Windows XP, and this is a major cause of confusion and frustration.

One of the biggest differences is the start screen. When the computer or tablet is started, it is necessary to enter in a password for the device. The next screen shows a list of tiles, which looks different than the traditional desktop view on an older version of Windows.

Another common question with Windows 8 is how to shut the computer off. The shutdown button is located in the charms bar, a screen with various icons. Various computer settings are located here, including accessing Wi-Fi, shutting down and restarting the device. The charms bar can be accessed by hovering to the top right or bottom right corner of the screen.

A way to help navigate the computer is to think of the start screen with all the charms as a place to keep your favorites. The different tiles are called apps. Apps are similar to programs and are found on your start screen. You can get apps for your computer in the Windows App store.

Other apps that are located on your computer can be found on the bottom left of your start screen. By clicking the arrow, all of the apps on your computer will be listed. You can add apps to your start screen, sort of like bookmarking a page on the Internet. Hover over the app you would like to bookmark, right-click and click “Pin to Start.”

With a free upgrade to Windows 8.1, there are a number of features that have been added to Windows 8 to make it easier to use and similar to older version of Windows. For example, the start button is added back to the desktop. In order to get Windows 8.1, access the Windows Store from your device, and search for “Windows 8.1 upgrade.”

Windows 8 was created as a way to combine traditional computers and tablets and give users one experience across all devices. Don't hesitate to contact your local library for additional assistance with Windows 8.

A Windows 8 class is coming up at the Baldwin Borough Public Library on Feb. 17 at 6:30 p.m. Register online, or call the library today.

Pam Richter is the technology and marketing librarian at the Baldwin Borough Public Library. Follow the library on Twitter @BBPL, on Facebook Like the Baldwin Borough Public Library, and you can email Pam at

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