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A familiar sight to many, this is the new Start screen which effectively replaces the Start menu in older versions of Windows. The tiles that you see are links to applications which open in full-screen. But, don't worry -- your regular applications are still there in the background, waiting to be opened and accessed. Just because Windows 8 looks a bit different (it's optimised for tablet PCs, don't forget), your regular applications should still work.
You can change the prominence settings of your tiles by making them larger or smaller -- or you can unpin them from where they are, or even uninstall them if you no longer require them.
By scrolling from right to left by the edge, you are presented with the 'Start bar', which gives you access to your Start screen, your sharing options, your default settings and search menus. It also displays the time and date on screen, regardless of which application you are in (I'm in a drawing application, by the way!), as well as the network strength and battery levels.