Jerry Nixon @Work: Windows 8: Moving Metro Around

Jerry Nixon on Windows

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Windows 8: Moving Metro Around

imageSo many people didn’t enjoy the love that the Windows key gave in Windows 7. To them, the Windows key was a useless key. To them, they simply didn’t know.

Now with Windows 8 there is even more love! Will you make the most of it or are you “one of those users”? My mom, by the way, is holding a user group next Thursday for those users – BYOB (bring your own bengay). ;)

Actually: my mom isn’t holding a user group next Thursday – if you are one of those users, then you are on your own!

Windows 7

My favorite use of the Windows key in Windows 7 was to use Windows key + Shift + the Left/Right arrows. This keystroke combination effortlessly relocated the current window from one monitor to another.

This was only second to Windows key + the Left/Right arrows (without Shift this time). This quickly snapped the current window to the left or right edges of the monitor. Keyboard equivalents to mouse actions were everywhere in Windows 7 – and remain in Windows 8. 

Windows 8

I have already blogged on many of the new keystrokes in Windows 8. But in a my colleague, Jeremy Foster’s excellent blog article, it hit me that the value of some new keystrokes are not well understood by the consumers who are previewing Windows 8.

Windows Key + Page Down/Up

To that end, I wanted to reiterate this one. Let’s pretend you have your monitors configured like I do – two portraits bookending a landscape monitor, like this:


Windows 8 indicates which monitor will show the Metro content; it’s that gray charms bar (see it on the left monitor?). Clicking your keyboard’s Start Button (aka the Windows key) shows the Metro tiles and content there. To change monitors you cannot simply check “Make this your main display”. No. Instead, enter the coolest key combination yet: Windows key + Page Down (or Up).


In the image above, the Windows key + Page Down moves the Metro tiles from the left monitor to the right. Using the Windows key + Page Up will move the Metro tiles back left.

Note: Since there are only two monitors in the scenario above, Windows key + Page Down will loop around back to the Left monitor again.

A Prey

You might be asking, a key combination for a touch-first operating system? I have to smile. You mean you have multiple monitors on your tablet without a keyboard? Amazing. You are a better user of technology than I am. But to your credit, I know there is a way. What is it?

The Hunt

Actually, I don’t know yet. Setting “Make this my main display” in the Screen Resolution dialog sets the default start location to new windows in desktop mode. That’s not what we want. We want to set the monitor for Metro. What is the mouse/touch method to indicate the Metro monitor?

If you can beat me to it, then you win. But shortly, I will comment on this post with the resolution. I might act like I know everything – but as you can see (or as my wife will volunteer) there’s plenty “not up there”. But, I am good at finding answers!

Mark, get set, go!


The winner!

Thomas Winwood is the winner of a brand new car! Wouldn’t it be cool if you could really win that Microsoft Mustang?! Nice! Sorry Thomas, you just get awesome street cred for getting the answer before I even woke up the next morning! Good job. Thomas’ answer:

“Rightclick the superbar on the secondary monitor, click "make this my main taskbar". Metro content will now appear on that monitor.”

But, to be clear to those reading the superbar he mentions is the taskbar stretching across multiple monitors (native in Windows 8). But, I am not sure we officially call it a superbar. I think it is still the taskbar. Superbar is a term from Ultramon, I think, which is a fine product.


Anyway, you right-click the taskbar in any monitor but the current, Metro monitor (also, not sure we call it the Metro monitor either! hehe!) then select "Make this my main taskbar". That’s it.

Best of luck!