Windows 8 Clean and polish

Speaking of playing around with your machine’s disks, Microsoft has also moved two of the most commonly used disk management utilities under the Administrative Tools umbrella: namely Disk Cleanup, and Defragment and Optimize Drives.

These will both be familiar to anyone who’s used any of the last few generations of Windows operating systems, though the Defragment and Optimize Drives tools have now been reconfigured to cope with the increasing popularity of solid state drives, and will no longer try to persuade you to wear them down with unnecessary defrags.

Disk Cleanup is the same old one-stop shop for quickly clearing up after the vagaries of the operating system, and removing the temporary files that make such a mess of your storage drives.

Another admin tool that remains unchanged in the new operating system is Windows Firewall with Advanced Security. Here you can amend any rules associated with your current firewall settings, and create, import and export different policies wholesale.

You can also jump straight into the Network and Internet Diagnostics page, which gives you immediate access to the Printer Troubleshooter.

System Configuration, which you may know as msconfig, has been moved into the Admin Tools area. For years, this utility has been our go-to option for altering boot options from within Windows, such as removing the boot GUI or starting in diagnostic mode. It was also where we decided what programs would load into the OS at startup.

No longer. The Startup tab in the Release Preview now displays a link labelled ‘Open Task Manager’. That’s right, it’s had a promotion. You can use the Startup tab to see what impact each app has on startup, and disable or enable them with a couple of clicks