Charm bar


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Starting from Windows 8, Microsoft introduced some shortcut keys to quickly perform some of the common tasks that a person using the PC needs to do often. These shorcut keys are called "charms" (I don't know why). There are 5 such keys marked Search, Share, Start, Devices, and Settings. This group of keys or "charms" are arranged in a vertical column or bar called the "Charm bar". This bar remains hidden but can be easily made visible by swiping in from the right edge of the monitor if using a touch screen. If you are using a mouse, just hold your mouse pointer either in upper-right corner or the lower-right corner of the monitor. It looks like this:

windows 8.1 charm bar
Charm bar appeared along the right edge of the monitor

Once again the charms are Search, Share, Start, Devices, and Settings. Here is a close-up look of the 5 charms:

windows 8.1 charm bar
Close-up view of the five charms

To close the charm bar just click anywhere outside the charm bar.

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Here is how to use the different charms:

  1. Search: Click on the Search charm. Then first specify where to search from the dropdown menu. Please see screenshot below.

    Specify where to search
    First specify where to search

    You can always specify "Everywhere" (default) if that increases the chances of finding what you are looking for. Then in the search box type in your search term (word or phrase) and hit Enter on the keyboard. When the search results are displayed, click on the item that is most relevant.

    Very often you don't have to type the full search term. As soon as you start typing the first few letters, Windows will guess what you are trying to find and will display the results for you. Often times the number one in the list is actually what you are looking for. Suppose you are trying to find Control Panel. As soon as you type c-o-n, you'll see control panel has appeared first in the list. Just click on it. Control Panel will open up for you!

    Another vey cool thing. When you are on the Start Screen, you don't even have to use the Search charm to search for something. Just start typing. Try yourself with the same example as above. On the Start Screen, start typing c-o-n. You will see the Search charm has automatically opened up for you and is displaying search results for you based on the first 3 letters you've typed. Notice 'control panel' is number one in the search results! Cool or what?

  2. Share: This charm is useful for quickly sharing something with others. For example, you are looking at Bestnetguru.com Homepage. You find it interesting and informative. You know one of your friends will find it useful. You just open the Charm bar, and click on Share. Your Windows mail will open with a screenshot of Bestnetguru.com Homepage as an attachment to your mail. Just fill-in your friend's e-mail address, (add a note/message if you want), and then hit the Send button. That's it. Your friend will know about Bestnetguru.com immediately!

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  3. Start: Start charm just brings up the Start Screen.

  4. Devices: Devices charm is useful for accessing desktop devices like players, printers, and projectors. Please see screenshots below.

    options for windows 8.1 desktop devices
    Options for Windows 8.1 desktop devices

    project to a connected screen options
    Project to a connected screen options

  5. Settings: All settings can be accessed from this charm. If you need to change any of your PC settings you have to do it from here. When you click on the Settings charm, you will see this sub-menu:

    settings options
    This sub-menu gives various options
    to play with Settings

    It is all self-explanatory. Just read the options and click on the appropriate one. Please note 'Change PC Settings' appears at the very bottom.

    This screen will also allow you to Sleep, Shut down, and Restart your computer. To do that, you have to first click on Power as explained in Shutting down/Restarting section of this website.


    Next: Windows store


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