Quick Tip: Add Administrative Tools to the Windows 8 Start Screen

Many common administrative tools are hidden by default in Windows 8. Here is how you make them visible.

As someone who gets paid to know the ins and outs of the Microsoft Windows operating system, I often find myself accessing system utilities, configuration settings, and administrative tools. This is relatively easy to do in Windows 7, but as a more simplified user-orientation operating system, Windows 8 defaults to hiding many of those administrative applications. However, regaining access to those tools is just the flip of a switch away.

Note: This tip is strictly from the desktop or notebook PC perspective - we are not discussion tablets yet.

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Administrative tools

Figure A shows a typical Windows 8 Start Screen on a notebook PC - notice I have installed Office 2013, which accounts for the extra tiles.

Figure A

A typical Start Screen
To add Administrative Tools to our Start Screen we need to access the Charms menu (Figure B). The simplest way is to use the keyboard shortcut [Windows Key]+C. Or you can move your cursor all the way down to the bottom right corner. Once you get to the Charms menu, click the Settings button.

Figure B

Charms menu
Clicking the Settings button will give you several options (Figure C), but we are looking for the Tiles menu item - click it.

Figure C

Tiles menu item
The Tiles section shows you a simple Windows 8 on/off switch (Figure D). Move that switch to the on position.

Figure D

Move to the on position
When you click back to the Start Screen (Figure E), you will see that there are many new tiles added. I re-grouped them so that the tiles for the Administrative Tools were located together. Returning to the normal Start Screen view (Figure F) you can see that there are many useful tool tiles available to you.

Figure E

New tiles on Start Screen

Figure F

Administrative Tool Tiles

Now, you may not want to keep those tiles displayed all the time, in which case you can turn them off by flipping the on/off switch, but it is nice to have quick access to them when you need it.

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About Mark Kaelin

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to,, and TechRepublic.

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