In a pair of recent articles, "Tweaking power options in Windows 8.1" and "Investigate Windows sleep states with the PowerCfg command," I told you about Windows 8.1 features that come in handy for laptop users. Well, there's one more feature in Windows 8.1 that can come in handy for laptop users — the Windows Mobility Center. This feature is designed to provide a centralized location for a group of settings that are pertinent to laptop users. Let's take a closer look.
Accessing the Windows Mobility Center
The Windows Mobility Center is kind of hidden in Windows 8.1, but there are two quick ways to launch it. The first way is from the [Windows] + [X] menu, which I discussed in the article "Benefits of the Tools menu and Windows Key shortcuts in Windows 8" and in the article "Create a customized navigation system with the Win+X Menu Editor for Windows 8." Just press [Windows] + [X], and when you menu appears (Figure A), you'll find that you can access the Windows Mobility Center near the top of the menu.
You can launch the Windows Mobility center from the [Windows] + [X] menu.
The second way to access the Windows Mobility Center is from the Battery context menu. To do so, right-click on the battery icon in the system tray, and you'll see the Windows Mobility Center is near the bottom of the menu (Figure B).
You can launch the Windows Mobility Center from the battery icon's context menu.
Either way you access it, you'll see the Windows Mobility Center (Figure C). The UI uses a tile layout to display a group of utilities that are usually spread out all over the Control Panel. Of course, depending on your hardware, you may find additional tiles. For instance, on a tablet, you may find a Screen Orientation tile. If you've used the Windows Mobility Center in previous versions of Windows, you may notice that some tiles are no longer available. For instance, Windows 7's Windows Mobility Center included a Wireless Network tile.
The standard Windows Mobility Center in Windows 8.1 has five tiles.
The slider in the Brightness tile allows you to quickly adjust the brightness setting of your screen. However, if you click the icon in the upper left, the Control Panel's Power Options window launches to provide you with full access to all of the Power Option settings.
The slider in the Volume tile allows you to quickly adjust the volume or select the Mute check box. Clicking the icon opens the Control Panel Sound settings window, where you can adjust playback, recording, and configure various sounds.
From the Battery status tile, you can obtain an instant percentage reading of remaining battery life. You can then use the drop-down menu to select any of the available Power Plans. Clicking the icon immediately opens the Power Options window.
When you have an external monitor connected to your laptop, this tile displays its connection status and resolution. Clicking the Connect Display button brings up the Project charm bar that allows you to choose how the external monitor can be configured (PC screen only, Duplicate, External, or Second screen only). Clicking the icon brings up the Display | Screen Resolution window.
If you're using Windows 8.1 Pro or Enterprise on your laptop, you can use the Sync Center tile to sync up files if you've set up your laptop to sync files with a network server via the Offline Files configuration.
Depending on your laptop brand, the manufacturer may add custom tiles to the Windows Mobility Center (Figure D). For example, on my Dell laptop, I can access and configure such things as Bluetooth, Radio Control Options, the alternate Function key menu, the Touchpad, and additional battery settings.
Laptop manufacturers can add their own tiles to the Windows Mobility Center to control specific hardware.
What's your take?
Have you taken advantage of any of the native or third-party tools in the Windows Mobility Center? If so, which ones? Let us know in the discussion thread below.
Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.