With Windows 8, Microsoft has almost completely changed the face of their flagship product, doing away with the Start button that has been so integral since the Windows 95 days, as well as adding a brand new Start screen that, while working well on a traditional computers, is clearly geared towards tablets.
To go along with this new Start screen there are new types of apps that appear as Windows Phone-like live tiles which continuously update with new information. If all of these flashing messages on your screen seem a bit overwhelming then you can scale it back using the built-in OS settings.
To get started you will need to access the Charms menu by moving your mouse (or finger if you're using a touch-screen) to the top or bottom right of the screen, then click the "Settings" option followed by "PC Settings".
Update: If you are running Windows 8.1, the path has changed slightly. You need to click on Search and Apps in the left menu, and select Notifications from here. The preferences have remained the same on the page though.
From the left column select "Notifications". Here you will find options for "Show app notifications", "Show app notifications on the lock screen" and "Play notifications sounds". All of these are on by default when you install Windows 8. Below these three selections there is a list of each of the apps on the Start screen.
From this list a user can control individual notifications. For instance, if you don't need to see the latest sports scores flashing across the "Sports" live tile then you can turn it off from here. Again, by default, all of these notifications are on.
While many users probably will appreciate the ability to see email, news headlines, sports scores, calendar events and all of the other messages that can be displayed on the Windows 8 Start screen, some users may find that it can appear a bit "busy". Thankfully, Microsoft has made the customization process very simple, allowing each user to tailor the OS to his or her own personal tastes.
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