7 Windows 8 Niggles Resolved

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windows 8 problemsWindows 8 has a number of features that can be annoying to experienced users of the traditional Windows desktop. From adding a Start menu to disabling the bulky ribbon, noisy live tiles, and unnecessary lock screen, you can easily fix a variety of problems you have with Windows 8.

Some of these tricks will also help you master Windows 8 as it’s meant to be used – for example, the power-user tools menu and keyboard shortcuts can be used to get around the desktop (and the rest of the system) very quickly.

Disable The Ribbon

Windows Explorer now has a new, Microsoft Office-style ribbon that aims to make its options more obvious and easier-to-use. However, the ribbon can take up a lot of screen real estate – it’s not that useful if you just want to view your files in a minimal window.

To hide the ribbon, click the arrow at its top-right corner. To reveal the ribbon and access its options later, click the arrow again. You can also use the Ctrl+F1 keyboard shortcut to hide the ribbon.

windows 8 problems

If you really have a vendetta against the ribbon, you can use Ribbon Disabler to disable the ribbon completely.

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Disable Live Tiles

Windows uses “live tiles” to automatically display information on your Start screen. New emails, calendar events, messages, photos, the weather, news, sports information, stock updates – let’s be honest, it can get really noisy on the start screen. When you’re trying to sit down at your computer and get something done, you don’t always need to be distracted with all this extraneous information. It’s not good for your information diet.

Luckily, you can easily disable a live tile by right-clicking it and selecting Turn live tile off. The application’s icon and name will be displayed instead.

problems with windows 8

Add a Start Menu

Microsoft may have tried to remove the Start menu forever, but you can easily add a Start menu back to Windows 8 if you miss it. We’ve covered a variety of ways to add a Start menu to Windows 8, including Stardock’s paid Start8 and the free ClassicShell.

As a bonus, these tools can be used to make Windows boot straight to the desktop and disable the “hot corners” that activate the charms. They’ll help make Windows 8 feel more like a desktop operating system than the “touch-first” operating system Microsoft says it is.

windows 8 start menu

Easily Access Power User Tools

If you don’t want to use a Start menu but wish you could access power-user tools like the Control Panel more easily, use the hidden tools menu. To access it, press the Windows key and X at the same time. You can also right-click in the bottom-left corner of your screen.


Hide The Lock Screen

The lock screen may be nice on a tablet, but it just adds an additional key press to the login process if you’re using a non-touch machine.


To disable the lock screen, open Notepad and copy-paste the following code into the Notepad window:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00



Save the new file with a .reg extension. For example, name it something like:


Double-click the .reg file to add its information to your registry, and then restart your computer. Your computer will always skip the lock screen and go directly to the login screen, saving you a key press.

Prevent Window Snapping On The Desktop

Like on Windows 7, Windows 8 uses the Snap feature on the desktop to automatically snap windows to the edge of the screen. If you want to disable this feature, you can do so from the Ease of Access Center.

Press Windows Key + U to open the Ease of Access Center, and then click the Make the mouse easier to use option. Enable the Prevent windows from being automatically arranged when moved to the edge of the screen check box. The Snap feature will be disabld.

Use Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts make it much easier to get around on Windows 8. Instead of accessing the charms bar by moving your mouse to the top right or bottom right corners of the screen and moving it towards the center of the screen, you can just press Windows key + C. There are also shortcuts to access the individual charms, such as the Windows key + I shortcut to open the Settings charm from wherever you are.

To learn these keyboard shortcuts, download our free Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts cheat sheet. To really master Windows 8, be sure to download our free guide to getting started with Windows 8.

windows 8 problems

Have you made any of your own tweaks to Windows 8? Leave a comment and let us know your favorite tricks and tweaks for making Windows 8 feel more familiar and easier-to-use.

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Comments (24)
  • Elizabeth

    Apparently the author lives in Canada; I don’t know if Canadian speech patterns tend to favor (favour?) British expressions, but I would at least take care to edit this article explaining what the word “niggles” means (bothers, problems, annoyances). “South of the border” in the U.S., we have a country that is experiencing some of the highest racial tensions since perhaps the 1960s civil rights movement, due to emotionally charged reactions on both sides of the political aisle involving our first black president. Niggles looks like — though I know it isn’t — a word that some people might find offensive.

    A history of some of the sensitivities involving words with mistaken identity: In the 1990s a U.S. congressman faced a barrage of criticism for using the word “niggardly” (meaning “cheap” or “stingy”) to describe arguments over the federal budget. I’m not sure if he actually ended up having to resign. But someone else used it deliberately to talk about the “fiscal cliff” budget crisis, as an intentional dig at President Obama. When the old politician — who was in his eighties and from a different generation where even the other word was part of everyday speech — used it, he meant it solely as a synonym for cheap. Whoever said it this time had a clear intent of working in a word that all too many people still use in everyday conversation, with the added significance of issuing a personal attack on the president’s race.

    Meanwhile, in the U.K., where the word “nappies” means diapers (I’m guessing among some speakers in Canada too), people commenting about the Duchess of Cambridge’s pregnancy are facing culture clashes with racially sensitive Americans for whom the word “nappy” refers to black hair (and black people). Perhaps the most surprised by this have been blacks from the United Kingdom, who also use the word “nappy” to refer to diapers rather than as a (self-loathing, in this case) racial epithet.

    I’m not accusing the author of racism or implying that either side is right or wrong. It’s up to the author if he wants to change his title; I’m not telling him he absolutely should or absolutely shouldn’t. As stated above, I know enough about the English language to realize straight away that niggles just means problems (in this case, “Windows annoyances”), and isn’t at all an insult directed at anyone. But I can tell you that not everyone is like me and aware of this definition, and a lot of people seem to have an automatic filter that prompts red flags to go up and flame wars to ignite at the mere mention of anything with the letters N-I-G.

    Just a head’s up for you. Wouldn’t want any American flame wars to burn this well-informed and friendly Canadian. :-)

    • Chris Hoffman

      Thank you very much for the explanation, Elizabeth. This title was suggested by someone in England, approved by someone in Israel, written by someone in Canada (me!), and edited by someone in Germany. So you’re right that no American was on-hand to notice this. It didn’t even occur to me.

    • dragonmouth

      There is no need to worry. Hers are niggling complaints. Only people with a niggardly (as in meanly or ungenerously small or scanty) knowledge of the English language would complain. Their ilk will look until they find a problem where none exists.

      Actually the words “niggle” and “niggard” (and their derivatives) are the only two words in the English language that have the prefix “NIG” but have NOTHING to do with “black”.

    • American Me

      Niggles didn’t make me think of it. I just figured Niggles was GEEK for something. Or maybe Giggles mistyped.
      And I figured out the meaning/intent of the word by reading the article. If people can’t figure that out, they won’t be able to comprehend the rest of the article. In my humble opinion.
      Actually .. the number 7 then Windows then the number 8 threw me for a second.. I’m tired over here and was thinking, Huh? Windows 7 or Windows 8 … (Isn’t there a rule of grammar that says spell out a number if it’s the first word? Don’t change it on my account!)

      Signed, An American.

    • dragonmouth

      “we have a country that is experiencing some of the highest racial tensions since perhaps the 1960s civil rights movement”
      Let’s not get carried away! The atmosphere today is nothing like it was in the 60s. If there is strife, it is caused by rampant, out of control Political Correctness. Overly sensitive people who have no lives otherwise are going through the dictionary, flagging every word that starts with “NIG” and seeing racist meaning in each one.

      This is similar to several “progressive” state legislatures currently considering the passage of laws to remove the suffix “MAN” from usage. According to their “enlightened” and “progressive” thinking any word that starts or ends with “MAN” is misogynistic and discriminatory to WOMEN. OOOPPS, sorry, that should be “WOBEINGS”, or “WOPERSONS”. Should we change the word “MANdible” to “BEINGdible” or “PERSONdible”???

  • dyl Belleza


  • Gustavo Ibarguengoytia

    There is one issue that I have not been able to solve. For some reason transfers to USB flash drives is far much slower on Windows 8.

    Same drive and same USB port took a couple of minutes to transfer a 1 GB file from my PC to my USB, but on 8 it takes 10 or more minutes. A 3 GB file took about 30 minutes.

    I have tried google to see what is the problem but I can’t find a solution. Has this happened to any of you? I already have the USB drivers up to date.

    • Gordon Hay

      Don’t trust Windows to tell you your drivers are up to date – check with your machine manufacturer’s website to see that you have the correct ones for 8.

  • Achraf Almouloudi

    So why did you upgrade to Windows 8 if you don’t want to feel its experience ? it was designed to be like that and if you’re really an experienced user you should have no problem adapting to it. Like I’m and I did.

  • Paul Pruitt

    Awesome article. I did the registry thing to disable the lock screen even though the graphics are cute. The Power user tool shortcut is really great. I also studied the shortcut sheet. I hope I remember some of the new to me ones.

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For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.