Windows 8/ Windows Server 2012 basic help getting around.


Windows 8 / Windows 2012 are interesting OSs. There are new features that take a while to get used to.

  • There is no Start Menu. There is now a start screen. To access it, move the mouse towards the left hand corner of the screen, a small start square will appear. Click it to display the start screen. Or press the key.
  • Apps – When you click on an app, it opens full screen. You cannot re-size or minimize. There is no close button. To close them put the mouse at the top of the screen. The mouse pointer will change to a hand. Click and drag the page to the bottom of the screen, as if you are throwing the application away. This is how you close it.
  • Charms – By moving your mouse to the right of the screen, (near the top right or near the bottom right) icons will pop out from the side. Search, Share, Start, Devices, Settings. Or ( + C)
    • Search – Clicking search will allow you to search for apps, settings, or file.
    • Share – I’m assuming you can share stuff by clicking on this, so far I get the message saying I’m unable to share anything.
    • Start- This toggles the start screen menu and the desk top.
    • Devices – If you have dual screens, selecting this will allow you to share your screen differently to a second screen.
    • Settings – Here you can configure how the pc is setup. Also it gives you information about network, sound, brightness, notifications, power and keyboard
  • How do you shut down? Using the Settings Charm ( + C), click Power. You then get the option to Sleep, Shut Down, Restart.
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Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 Start Screen is reset when Sysprep


After creating my Windows Server 2012, I installed all my software required. I then called Sysprep which prepares my machine so that it can be cloned and used multiple times on the network.

 After rebooting the machine and gone through the configuration of Product Key, Configuring Language etc, when I logged in for the very first time, none of the programs I previous installed and placed on the start screen menu were there.

 To ensure the menu is there after sysprep and for every user that is added to the machine afterwards follow these instructions. 

  1. Run the SysPrep tool to initialise system clean up. For example from the command prompt type: %windir%\System32\Sysprep\sysprep.exe”
  2. Select Enter System Audit Mode and Restart and click OK.
  3. Once the system has restarted, copy the AppsFolderLayout.bin file of the users start menu you wish to copy. For example c:\users\TestProfile\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\AppsFolderLayout.bin and copy to c:\users\Default\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows
  4. Run Sysprep again Select Enter System Out of Box Experience (OOBE) and tick Generalize. Select Shutdown options as Shut Down and click OK.
  5. Once your machine has shut down, feel free to copy the Virtual Machine. When someone next starts the virtual machine the basic set up will appear which they will need to configure, but when they hit the new Start Screen menu, they will see all the menu items available to them.