Windows 8 / Server 2012 Essential Knowledge

Compared to all previous Windows versions, many of the working of the GUI has changed. On this page you will learn the essentials of the new Windows Operating System. The actions are similar for both Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.


There are multiple ways to shutdown, restart or put the system in sleep mode.


Press the Ctrl + Alt + Del key combination. You will now get the following screen at which you can click the shutdown icon in the lower right corner.
Press the Ctrl + Alt + Del key combination and click the icon in the lower right corner

Right bar

1. Move your mouse to the upper right or lower right corner of the screen, a bar will now appear in which you click the Settings option.
Right bar

2. The new options that appear includes the Power option which you can click to shutdown, restart or put the system in sleep mode.
Shutdown/Restart/Sleep the system via right bar

Alt + F4

Go to the classic and press the Alt + F4 key combination while no application window is active. The Windows shutdown window will now appear in which you can select what Windows should do.
Shutdown window after pressing Alt + F4 at classic desktop

Show all Programs

In the classic Start menu, one could browse all applications by expanding the ‘All Programs’ item in the Start menu. In Windows 8 / Server 2012, this changed slightly.

Right click

Open the Start screen, right click somewhere at a empty spot and in the lower right choose All Apps from the bar that appears.
Right click at a empty spot in the Start screen and choose All Apps

Windows Key + Q

Press the Windows Key + Q combination to go straight to the screen with all applications. Then click on an empty spot somewhere on the left to hide the search bar.
Search in apps

Power User Menu

For advanced users to quickly perform advanced system functions, it is possible to open the Power User menu by right clicking in the lower left corner of the screen. The short key to open this menu is Windows Key + X. The Power User Menu contains: Programs and Features, Power Options, Event Viewer, System (System Properties), Device Manager, Disk Management, Command Prompt [Admin], Task Manager, Control Panel, File Explorer (Windows Explorer), Search, Run and Desktop.
Power User Menu

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5 Responses

  1. android potato everyone is awesome lol says:

    hey this isreally helpful thx i didn`t know about this until now

  2. Harv Sather says:

    This is fabulous.
    I wholeheartedly agree with the previous posters.
    An extremely well written and easy to follow guide.

    The ones for Windows Server 2008 and 2008R2 are equally as good.

    A magnificent effort.

    Is it available as a download, or pdf document?



  3. newbie says:

    Wasn’t spelled out but to get the start menu up simply push your “windows” key….. it kept saying “open start menu” and it wasn’t entirely intuitive that it wasn’t something to click on…

  4. Dr. Bombay says:

    You, sir, are a genius!

  5. Megg G says:

    Thanks for this guide! I can’t believe you made this MONTHS before the official release date of Windows 2012 server edition. I was really wondering how to convert it to a workstation, and you solved that problem for me! Thank you.

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