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Self-taught course

Provided by: University Information Services


This course is self taught (Materials may be loaned out).

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Microsoft Windows 8.1

Self-taught course


Microsoft Windows 8.1 is designed for users who are keen to learn how to operate the software to perform tasks that include: starting applications, creating folders, copying and moving files, creating and using libraries, performing searches, and personalising Windows.

Target audience

Anyone who is new to the Windows 8.1 operating system.


Microsoft Windows 8.1 assumes little or no knowledge of the software. However, it would be beneficial to have a general understanding of personal computers.

Topics covered

Starting Off With Windows 8.1

  • Turning On The Computer
  • Signing In To Windows
  • The Desktop
  • The Start Screen
  • The Apps View
  • The Taskbar
  • The App Switcher
  • App Bars
  • The Charms Bar
  • Windows Store Apps
  • Displaying Key User Interface Elements
  • Putting Your Computer To Sleep
  • Shutting Down Your Computer

Working With Windows Apps

  • Displaying The Start Screen
  • Starting Windows Apps From The Start Screen
  • Starting Windows Apps From The Apps View
  • Displaying The Desktop
  • Switching Between Open Apps
  • Arranging Apps Side-By-Side
  • Closing Windows Store Apps
  • Installing A Windows Store App
  • Uninstalling A Windows Store App
  • Using Gestures On Touch Screens

Personalising the User Interface

  • Adding Tiles To The Start Screen
  • Moving Tiles On The Start Screen
  • Changing The Size Of The Tiles
  • Working With Tile Groups
  • Turning Live Tiles On And Off
  • Removing Tiles From The Start Screen
  • Pinning Apps To The Taskbar
  • Creating Desktop Program Shortcut Icons
  • Changing The Lock Screen
  • Changing The Start Screen Background
  • Changing The Desktop Background
  • Changing Your Account Picture

Using Common Windows Apps

  • Starting The Mail App
  • Adding Accounts To Mail
  • Working With Mail Messages
  • Starting And Navigating The Calendar App
  • Scheduling Meetings
  • Connecting Your Accounts To The People App
  • Adding Contacts To People
  • Working With The People App
  • Opening PDFs And XPS Files In The Reader App
  • Using Reader
  • Using The Maps App

Looking at Desktop Windows

  • Starting Desktop Programs
  • The Anatomy Of A Desktop Window
  • Expanding And Minimising The Ribbon
  • Using The Ribbon
  • Accessing The Backstage View
  • Minimising And Maximising A Window
  • Resizing A Window Using A Mouse
  • Moving A Window On The Desktop
  • Switching Between Open Programs
  • Snapping Two Desktop Programs Side-By-Side
  • Shaking Down Windows
  • Scrolling In A Window
  • Closing Desktop Programs
  • Other Ways To Open Desktop Programs

Working With Programs

  • Viewing Installed Programs
  • Dealing With Non-Responding Programs
  • Installing A Program
  • What Happens During Installation
  • Uninstalling A Program
  • Keeping Programs Updated

Data Storage on Your Computer

  • Understanding Data Storage In Windows
  • Understanding File Explorer
  • Opening File Explorer
  • Viewing Storage Devices Using File Explorer
  • Viewing Network Connections
  • Understanding USB Flash Drives

Working With Folders

  • Understanding Folder Hierarchy
  • Navigating The Folder Hierarchy
  • Understanding Personal Folders
  • Accessing Your Personal Folders
  • Creating A New Folder
  • Copying A Folder
  • Moving A Folder
  • Renaming A Folder
  • Deleting A Folder
  • Viewing The Hierarchy Path
  • Changing Folder Views
  • Working With Files
  • Understanding Files
  • Creating A Simple File
  • Exploring Files In Windows
  • Copying A File
  • Renaming A File
  • Selecting Files
  • Copying Multiple Files
  • Replacing Files
  • Moving Files
  • Copying Files To A USB Flash Drive
  • Setting Files As Read-Only
  • Deleting Files
  • Deleting Folders With Files
  • Common File Types

Working With Libraries

  • Understanding Libraries
  • Displaying Libraries
  • Exploring Your Libraries
  • Creating Folders In A Library
  • Creating A Library
  • Adding Folders To A Library
  • Changing Library Views
  • Deleting Folders From A Library
  • Deleting A Library

The Recycle Bin

  • Understanding The Recycle Bin
  • Creating Some Sample Files
  • Sending Files To The Recycle Bin
  • Restoring Files From The Recycle Bin
  • Emptying The Recycle Bin

Favourite Locations in Windows

  • Understanding Favourite Locations
  • Adding A Location To Favourites
  • Removing A Location From Favourites
  • Restoring Default Favourites
  • Hiding Favourites

Searching in Windows

  • Introducing Windows Search
  • Understanding File Searches In Windows
  • Creating A Searchable File
  • Initiating The Windows Search Feature
  • Using Windows Search
  • Changing The Windows Search Settings
  • Searching Unindexed Folders Using File Explorer
  • Searching File Contents Using File Explorer
  • Indexing A Folder
  • Unindexing A Folder
  • Tagging Files For Easier Searches
  • Saving A Search
  • Sorting Files In A Folder
  • Modifying View Settings


  • Understanding Printing In Windows
  • Viewing Available Printers
  • Installing A USB Printer
  • Setting The Default Printer
  • Pausing A Printer
  • Printing Files From File Explorer
  • Managing The Print Queue
  • Sharing Your Printer With Others
  • Connecting To A Network Printer
  • Printing From Windows Apps

User Accounts

  • Understanding User Accounts In Windows
  • Creating A Microsoft Account
  • Creating A Local Account
  • Switching Users
  • Changing Your Password
  • Changing Your Account Name
  • Controlling User Accounts
  • Deleting A Microsoft Account
  • Deleting User Accounts

Security and Protection

  • Understanding Computer Security
  • Checking The Action Centre
  • Checking Windows Firewall Settings
  • Checking Malware Protection Settings
  • Checking Windows Update Settings

Help and Support

  • The Windows Help And Support Window
  • Searching Help
  • Browsing Help
  • Printing A Help Topic
  • Browsing Online Help

At the completion of this course you should be able to:

  • work with the basic components of the Windows 8.1 interface
  • work with Windows Store apps
  • personalise the new user interface
  • work with several of the default Windows apps
  • work with desktop windows
  • use Windows to install, update and uninstall programs
  • understand data storage and navigate your computer's drives, folders and files
  • navigate the folder hierarchy and work with folders
  • manage files on your computer
  • understand the purpose and function of libraries, and how to manage libraries
  • work with the Recycle Bin to manage deleted items
  • work with Favourites and shortcuts in File Explorer
  • use the Windows search facility
  • manage your printer and printing tasks in Windows
  • manage user accounts
  • work with Window's security features
  • learn how to use Windows Help and Support

Watsonia workbook with 159 topics. Files for the exercises are provided on a CD or can be downloaded here

System requirements

Windows 8.1


Approximately 10 hours

Related courses

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