The new interface in Windows 8 has certainly been a talking point ever since it was released as a preview version long before it went on sale to the general public.

The flat blocks of colour that let you launch applications make a distinct impact. For many the new start screen is a harsh departure from the usual Windows desktop, but the tiles are so much more than simple icons used to quickly launch your apps.

Live tiles, as they are officially called, are indeed shortcuts to your applications and you can click on them to open software, but they also give you an at-a-glance view of a range of useful information. Weather and news headlines are two of the obvious inclusions, but you can have Twitter updates and emails showing up too.

You can change and rearrange the sizes of your live tiles and pin or unpin them to and from the start screen as you choose. Simply right-click on a live tile to see the editing options. To move a live tile click and drag it to where you want it, any shuffling that needs to be done will be handled automatically by Windows.

You can add applications and folders to your Start screen simply by right-clicking on it them selecting Pin to Start. If you have a touch screen laptop live tiles are big targets for you to tap on and you can simply tap or swipe right to left across the screen to see more.

Visit the Dell Tech Zone for more advice on family computing.