Windows 8 represents the most radical departure from the traditional interface since the very first version of the Windows OS shipped all those year ago. The new look Start screen, which sits on top of the traditional desktop, will be the biggest change that you’ll notice from previous versions of Windows.

Other than the new Start screen Windows 8 is in many ways almost identical to Windows 7. However, that’s not to say there hasn’t also been some major restructuring under the hood to make things run more smoothly.

The Start screen, in essence, replaces the start menu, which has disappeared completely. This new addition displays apps and information all in one place and makes it easier to get to the things you need and use most often. Part of this new interface is the Charm bar.

The Charm Bar is a universal toolbar that you can get to from wherever you are simply by moving the mouse pointer to the bottom right of your screen. Once you’ve done that you’ll see five options pop up: Search, Share, Start, Devices and Settings

Windows 8 Charms

The search tool allows you to look for applications, files or settings. The share button lets you to quickly send items such as web pages to friends via social networking sites like Twitter or by email. Clicking on Start will return you to the new Windows 8 start screen from wherever you are. To see what peripherals like printers, monitors are plugged in to your computer click on Devices. Finally, to change a range of the most used options simply click on Settings, it’s from this option that you’ll be able to change volume, brightness and network connections as well as shutdown, sleep or restart your computer.

Windows 8 takes a little getting used to because in some ways it’s so very different to what has come before, but once you’ve mastered the charm bar and start screen you’ll find it easier and quicker to use than ever.

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