Windows 8 has been around for some time now, and in this period, users have found most of the hidden features that it has. Although these features offer access to more tools and an overall better experience, there are still many Windows 8 users that do not use them simply because they don’t know exactly how to enable them.

Today, we’ll be taking a look at some of these little known Windows 8 features, explaining what they do and how to activate/find them. While some of these tips and tricks offer less noticeable improvements, others will be be of great use and will allow Windows 8 users to quickly and effortlessly accomplish different tasks.

10 hidden features inside Windows 8

If you want to make your life a little bit easier when working with Windows 8, then some of these tips and tricks will help you out. Their usefulness depends on what you actually do, and even so, it’s good to know them so you will be prepared when the time comes. Ranging from simple keyboard shortcuts to creating folders and shortcuts that do different things, every less known feature that Windows 8 has, can be of some use.

Also, some of them have been around for a while now, being available in older versions of Windows, but most users didn’t know them, and therefore, when using Windows 8, they will put more effort in certain tasks than what they would if they knew them.

Remove Windows 8 Logon Password


As you well know, when logging into your Windows 8 device, you will be required to input your username and password for your Microsoft Account. While users can also add a local account, it will still require them to log on, and the device will not proceed automatically until the user inputs the password. If you want to get rid of the Windows 8 logon password so your device will open all the way to the Modern UI screen, then here is a simple method of doing so.

After your device has started, and it is in the Metro UI screen, type: netplwiz and tap/click on the result. This will open the “Users” window, where you will see all the accounts from that device. Click on the main account and uncheck the  “Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer” box above. Click “Apply“, it will prompt you for the password, and then “OK“. Once this has been done, restart your device and you will see it will now boot straight to the Modern UI screen, with no password prompt.

Enable “Hibernate” Option

Even though Windows 8 has a very good boot time, lasting a fraction of what it used to, in some cases, for the purpose of saving on the power bill, you might want to use the Hibernate option. This feature suspends your current session, along with all the opened programs and apps, but your device will be almost shut down. The information that was kept in the RAM will be written to the hard drive and it will not be deleted, as the hard drive will still receive power.


To enable Hibernation on Windows 8, go to your Desktop, right click and select “Personalize“. In the window that opens, select “Screen Saver” and click on the “Change Power Settings“. This will open the “Power Options” menu (which is also accessible via “Control Panel”), where you will have to click on the “Choose what the power buttons do” option from the left-side menu.

This will open the “System Settings” window, where you will see an option almost at the top of the screen that says “Change settings that are currently unavailable“. Click on that option and at the bottom of the screen you will see a list of Shutdown Settings, where Hibernation is checked off. Check the “Hibernate” box and “Save Settings“, and next time you want to power down your device, you will see the Hibernate option.

Note: Keep in mind that enabling Hibernation will occupy space on your hard drive, according to what amount of RAM you have. For example, if you have 4 GB of RAM, on your hard drive, there will be 4 GB missing, as this is where the information is stored.

Boot Windows 8 Directly to Desktop

If you are running Windows 8 on a computer or laptop, then you might not have much need for the Modern UI start screen. In some cases, even tablet users might want to skip that screen and go directly to the Desktop mode. While there are some third party apps that can do this, most of them require the user to buy them and it leaves you with yet another program installed on your computer.

There is a way to boot Windows 8 directly to the desktop when you start your device, so you won’t need to see the default start screen each time you open your computer. Follow these steps and you will see how it’s done. First off, in the Modern UI screen, type “Schedule Tasks” and under the “Settings” filter, you will see the default task scheduler for Windows 8. Click on the result that says “Schedule tasks” and it will open the scheduler.

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From the right menu, select “Create Task” and in the window that will open you will have to create the task that will boot Windows 8 to the desktop. In the name field you can put any name you want, but be sure to input a name that you will recognize amongst the other tasks that are in the list, so if you might want to modify it later on, you can find it quickly. Also from this tab, you should select “Run with highest privileges“, so it will run in front of other tasks.

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Also from the “General” tab, select from the drop-down menu at the bottom “Windows 8“. Now you can move to the next tab, which is “Triggers“, where you will set the parameters of the task. Here, click the “New” button and a window will open, asking you for different options. From the drop-down menu at the top, select “At log on” and if the boxes for “Any user” and “Enabled” at the bottom are not enabled, click on them to have them checked. Click “OK” and your trigger is complete.

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Now, click on the “Actions” tab, where you will set a response to the trigger you just created. In the drop-down menu at the top, is should be by default selected “Start a program“, if not, select it. In the “Program/script” field, you will have to type “C:\Windows\explorer.exe“. You can also click the “Browse” button if you want to manually search for the “explorer.exe” program. Click “OK” and your action will be saved.

Note: In this example, “C” is the partition where Windows 8 is installed, if you have other letters, be sure to write the correct path.

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If you are using a laptop or other mobile devices, then you should click on the “Conditions” tab and uncheck the box where it says “Start the task only if the computer is on AC power”. This option is enabled by default, but if you want your task to work all the time, uncheck it. Afterwards, you can click “OK” and your task will be created. You can now see it in the Task Library and the next time you boot up your computer, it will go to the desktop view.

Note: Depending on your device, the task might have a slight delay, and once it activates, it will open the “File Explorer” window on your Desktop.

Add your most used folders to the Jump List

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This little feature has been around in Windows 7 and many have used it to make browsing easier. Adding items to the Windows 8 Jump List is very simple, and it will allow users to access folders that are hard to reach or folders that they often use. By right-clicking on the “File Explorer” icon from the taskbar, you will see a list of all the recent folders accessed. If you want to pin a certain folder in that list, so it will be always available, you can browse your computer until you find that certain folder and drag-and-drop it on the “File Explorer” icon. You will see a message that will prompt you about the folder being pinned to that list.

Also, there is another list that you can access, which holds a number of utilities. Move your cursor to the lower left corner of your screen and right click in that spot. You will see a list of utilities and location that you can access quickly and effortlessly. Also, this list can be viewed with the keyboard shortcut Windows Key + X.

Use Keyboard Shortcuts on Windows 8

Like any other operating system, Windows 8 has lots of useful keyboard shortcuts that can help users work faster. Even some of the old shortcuts have remained active, and you will definitely recognize them in the list.

  • Ctrl + Shift + Esc – Open Task Manager
  • Windows Key + R – Open “Run” window
  • Windows Key + Q – App Search
  • Windows Key + F – File Search
  • Windows Key + W – Settings Search
  • Windows Key + E – Open “My Computer” (also works from the Start Screen)
  • Windows Key + C – Open the “Charms” menu
  • Windows Key + H – Open the “Share” charm
  • Windows Key + I – Open the “Settings” charm
  • Windows Key + K – Open the “Devices” charm
  • Windows Key + Z  (in app) – Open the optional menus from top/bottom of the screen (only if the app has such menus)
  • Windows Key + Tab – Switch between opened apps (desktop apps not shown)
  • Windows Key + , (comma) – View Desktop
  • Windows Key + Print Screen – Make a snapshot of the screen, which can be found in Documents – My Pictures – Snapshots 

Although there are many other keyboard shortcuts that you can use to make browsing easier, these offer Windows 8 users a way to quickly accomplish certain tasks. As you can see, some of them can only be used in Windows 8, as they relate to apps and other Windows 8 specific features. For more Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts, be sure to check the Microsoft How-To page.

Categorize your Apps

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If you use the Windows 8 Start Screen, and you have lots of apps installed, then you might want a way to categorize them into groups, so they are easier to locate and pleasant to look at. In order to do this, you have to move your apps into groups  in the order you want, and then use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + – to zoom out.

You will see all the app groups that you have created and by right-clicking on a group you can select it and from the menu at the bottom of the screen, you can rename the group as you want.

Use File History


File History is a feature that Windows 8 users can rely on to access older versions of their files. If a mistake was made in a document, you can use File History to revert back to an older version. This feature is similar to the Restore Point feature that allows someone to revert back to an older version of Windows.

By default, this option is turned off, as it needs an external storage device, such as a USB memory stick or an external hard drive, but those who want to activate it, can do so by opening Control Panel and selecting “File History“. From here, you can enable the feature after you attach an external memory device.

Open Apps from Desktop

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If you work primarily on your Desktop and not with apps, then you won’t visit the Start Screen that often. However, there might be from time to time the need for you to access a Windows 8 app. If you don’t want to search the Start Screen for a particular app, then you can create a folder on your desktop, containing all the apps installed on that device.

In order to do so, open the desktop and right click anywhere, select “New” and from the list, select “Shortcut“. Once you do this, a window will open, prompting you to input the location of what that shortcut will open. In the “Type the location of the item” field write “explorer shell:AppsFolder” and click “Next“. Now, you can add a name to your folder and after finishing, press “OK“. You will see a shortcut of the “Applications” folder on your desktop, where you will find all the installed apps from your device.

Create Custom Shortcuts For Shutdown, Restart, Sleep or Hibernate

If you want to be able to shutdown your computer with only one click, then you have to create some dedicated shortcuts. In order to create a custom shortcut, you have to right click on your desktop and select “New” -> “Shortcut”. In the “Type the location of the item” you can set the instruction for what that shortcut will do. There are a number of possible custom shortcuts you can make, and each of them has its own function. Here are a few examples:

  • Shutdown.exe -s -t 00 – Shut down your computer
  • Shutdown.exe -r -t 00 – Restart computer

Note: By adding different values at the end of the command, you can set your computer to shut down after a determined period of time. Keep in mind that the time set in the instructions is in seconds.

  • rundll32.exe PowrProf.dll,SetSuspendState – Hibernate computer
  • rundll32.exe powrprof.dll,SetSuspendState 0,1,0 – Put computer to sleep
  • explorer shell:MyComputerFolder –  My Computer shortcut
  • explorer shell:RecycleBinFolder –  Recycle Bin shortcut
  • explorer shell:ControlPanelFolder – Control Panel shortcut
  • explorer shell:Administrative Tools – Administrative Tools shortcut
  • explorer shell:ChangeRemoveProgramsFolder – Programs and Features shortcut
  • explorer shell:NetworkPlacesFolder – Network shortcut
  • explorer shell:Favorites – Favorites shortcut
  • explorer shell:HomegroupFolder – Homegroup shortcut
  • explorer shell:Games – Games shortcut
  • explorer shell:Fonts – Fonts shortcut
  • explorer shell:UserProfiles – Users folder shortcut
  • explorer shell:Profile – Your username folder shortcut
  • explorer shell:Public – Public folder shortcut
  • explorer shell:My Documents – Documents shortcut
  • explorer shell:Common Documents – Public Documents shortcut
  • explorer shell:My Music – Music folder shortcut
  • explorer shell:CommonMusic – Public Music folder shortcut
  • explorer shell:My Pictures – Pictures folder shortcut
  • explorer shell:CommonPictures – Public Pictures folder shortcut
  • explorer shell:My Video – Videos folder shortcut
  • explorer shell:CommonVideo – Public Videos folder shortcut
  • explorer shell:Downloads – Downloads folder shortcut
  • explorer shell:CommonDownloads – Public Downloads folder shortcut
  • explorer shell:::{3080F90E-D7AD-11D9-BD98-0000947B0257} – Flip 3D or Window Switcher shortcut

Note: It might be a good idea to give your custom shortcuts a custom icon. To do this, right click on your shortcut and select “Properties“. From the window that will open, select “Change Icon” and browse the gallery for a one that suits the shortcut.

Also, you want to place any of these shortcuts on your desktop, then you will need to navigate to this path “%appdata%\microsoft\windows\Start Menu\Programs\” and paste the shortcuts there. Now, you can search for the shortcuts in the Start Screen and pin them wherever you want.

Create God Mode Folder in Windows 8

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For those who want to have complete control over their device, having a God Mode folder, where all the functions of the operating systems can be found, is a must. If you want to create such a folder, all you need to do is create a new folder on your desktop and rename it to “GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}“. Once you’ve done this, you will see the icon change and all the features of the OS will be found within the folder.

As you can see, there are lots of features that Windows 8 offers, but are not as easily accessed as the others. In order for you to take advantage of all the things that Windows 8 can offer, you must learn these hidden features. Also, if you know other cool things that Windows 8 can do, let us know and we’ll add them to the list.


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I often wonder, where is technology heading? What do all of these advances mean for us and for our future? I sometimes miss the days when I didn’t know how to use a floppy disk, or how a computer CPU works, but now, until I find an answer to my questions, I’ll keep tracking these advances and show everything I find to those who share my interests.


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