How to make Windows 8 suck less

I have had Win8 machines for a year now. Sadly, Big Brother Microsoft has seen to it that in many parts of the world, this is going to be your only choice unless you are willing to shell out the bucks for a Mac or buy a refurb or used Win7 machine. I was looking around this morning, and ran across this site: (I’ve done you a favor: This will open in a new browser window.)

It’s also possible to have Win8 taken out and Win7 installed, but I haven’t seen how well these machines work. I’ll bet changing the OS will void some warranties. However, how useful is your warranty, anyway? Many warranties come with all sorts of disclaimers and extra fees, or it’s not even applicable, depending on where you live.

Win 8 was designed for small devices such as tablets. What sucks about Win8 laptops is that unless you are extremely lucky you’re bound to develop a crack in the Win8 touchscreen. What can you do?

I wouldn’t even bother having the screen replaced unless it’s free of cost to do so on your warranty. Why bother if it’s only going to crack again just by breathing on it?  Many warranties will only pay for screen replacement if you pay extra or if it spontaneously cracks within the first few weeks of ownership.

If your screen is cracked you may not know it at first. Telltale signs are “jumping around” mouse, programs opening by themselves, and windows resizing. You may also see blinkng spots on your screen.  I thought I had a virus until I finally found the tiny crack on my screen, then I realized what the problem was. The crack will continue to spread, unfortunately. I am wondering if having the screen replaced with a more durable, regular screen is an option.

Even if you have a tiny crack on your Win8 laptop touchscreen, you will need to disable the touchscreen feature. A year ago, I had no clue I could save a bundle of money by doing this myself.  You don’t need to go to a repair guy to have wires cut.  I went to many sites to learn how to disable the screen myself. I ended up going through Device Manager. This is different from Devices and Printers.

Device Manager opens in a window. Find Human Interface  Devices. Click on the plus sign to the left of it and you’ll get a menu. Here, you’ll find your touchscreen. Mine’s called HID Compliant Touchscreen. Double-click on this and a window will come up. You will see an option to disable the touchsceen. The touchscreen will stay disabled until you enable it again, if you ever want to.

Of course, the Win8 touchpad is annoying, too. Why did Microsoft make it too sensitive? Have you ever accidentally swiped it with your hand while typing, and erased text that took you hours to write? If this happens, I’d suggest disabling your touchpad, and using your touchscreen or a separate mouse. This should be done as a toggle, so you can re-enable the trackpad whenever you need it.

You toggle the touchscreen on and off this via keyboard shortcut or via a small dot on your touchpad, depending on make and model. i wouldn’t suggest disabling the trackpad permanently unless you are positive you won’t lose your detachable mouse or the one you have isn’t a piece of crap.

I’ve found keyboard shortcuts handy. As the article above says, Ctrl X will bring up a menu of your most useful places, such as Device Manager, Run, Control Panel, the command prompt,or Search. Using Ctrl X will bring up a shut down option as well, so you don’t have to use the annoying charms bar. Another way to bring up Ctrl X options is by right-clicking on the Start Screen icon in Desktop.

I found those “apps” rather useless, didn’t you? If you don’t want to be annoyed by them, have your computer boot up straight to the Desktop. You do this via “Personalization.” Open this window and click on Taskbar and Navigation. Here, under Start you have a number of options to choose from. Under the “Navigation” tab, you’ll see an option to start up with the Desktop, so you’ll never have to see that annoying “apps” screen again.

As your computer ages, you’ll find programs “freeze” more frequently. If you find you need to shut down a program, you can access the Task Manager via a number of routes. One is to press Alt+Ctrl+Del. Press these simultaneously and you’ll get a new screen with a menu. Click on Task Manager. You’ll be taken back to your original screen, but your Task Manager will be displayed in a window. Now, you can shut down that annoying program that won’t X out otherwise. Task Manager can also be accessed via the Ctrl X menu. If your computer is super slow, you can install a Task Manager icon right onto your taskbar for easy access.

I find the shiny screen causes visibility problems for me. Even high contrast mode (you’ll find this in accessibility options) isn’t high contrast! It’s “slightly more contrast,” not too useful for those of us who don’t see well. To solve this problem I’ve installed Hacker Vision onto Chrome. This is a free extension.  This toggles, so if you don’t want it, you can quickly disable it. While using other programs, such as Word, I change the document background to black and use bright white text. I go through the View options and use “text width” or “page width” so the black page covers most of the screen. I find this easier on my eyes. I also made sure my desktop background was plain black so I could actually see the icons. If you like a nice photo of your cute dog as your laptop background, you can add it to your lock screen instead. No need to leave out Fido!

Do you find Win8 Skype useless? I do. That’s the one called “Skype for Modern Windows.” Don’t even bother. Install the desktop version and you’ll be a lot happier. Don’t forget to uninstall the Win8 skype, too, because being signed into both simultaneously will cause problems.

I’ve been using f.lux for a while now. This is a free program designed to cut down on blue light emitting from your screen after sundown. I’ve found that you can adjust daytime vision as well so your screen is a slight amber color, far easier on the eyes.

I am still trying to find a program that will give me a more visible mouse pointer. The options I have through Win8 don’t help enough. I waste so much time unable to find the mouse on the screen.  I’d love a bright, blinking mouse indicator that’s some obnoxious color I’ll never lose! Still looking.

Hope this helps. Let me know!


Feedback and comments welcome!