a Mode «hands-free» in Windows 8.1

By | 10.12.2018

Mode «hands-free» in Windows 8.1

If you have worked with Windows 8.1, you’ve probably been faced with a mode «hands-free». As the name implies, «hands-free» allows you to manage modern apps on the Windows 8.1 device without holding it in my hands. So, let’s try to understand what this mode is and what it is.

What is a mode «hands-free» in Windows 8.1

This function is designed for tablets and hybrid devices with a camera. Mode «hands-free» uses the device’s camera, allowing movements of the hands (without touching the screen) to perform basic navigation (back and forth) inside the advanced applications that support this feature. In some situations, this can be very convenient.

How to use it

At the time of this writing, a mode «hands-free» there is only one app that comes with Windows 8.1 – «Cooking.»

If you start «Cooking», and then open any of the recipes at the bottom of the screen you will see the app bar, which includes our regime. If the panel does not appear automatically, you can open it manually by swiping up.

Режим «хендс-фри» в Windows 8.1

If you previously used this function, when enabled the app will ask for permission to use the web camera of your device. You want to allow access, otherwise a mode «hands-free» will not work.

Режим «хендс-фри» в Windows 8.1

Next you will see a guide on how it works «hands-free». Please take a minute to watch it.

Order in the «hands-free» to go to the next page, you need the right hand to grab the current page and wave my hand in front of the camera from right to left.

To go to the previous page, used the same gesture but with the left hand.

Thus, this mode helps not to get any on the display during cooking, so as to move through the recipes you don’t even need to take the device in hands.

How to enable manual mode «hands-free»

When you first activate «hands-free», as mentioned above, you will be shown a tutorial of this regime. When you use «hands-free» you will not see the user – apparently, this is due to the fact that the app assumes that you already know how to use the function.

If you want to look at the manual again, open the Charms bar, then click «Options» and in the next menu again click on «Settings».

Режим «хендс-фри» в Windows 8.1

Then just enable the option «Show the Handbook for hands-free», and the next inclusion of a mode «hands-free» you’ll see the manual.

Режим «хендс-фри» в Windows 8.1Restrictions in mode «hands-free»

At this stage this feature is highly experimental, and is pretty bad. When using it you will face the following restrictions:

  • If you have a desktop PC, this feature will not work even if you have a webcam. With the Microsoft LifeCam, at least, «hands-free» involved refuses.
  • Gestures to navigate forward generally working well, but when you need to go back, things are much worse, and gestures to move back captured with great difficulty.
  • This feature works only with applications that support it. Until now it was only implemented by Microsoft and only in the application «Recipes». About third-party apps that support «hands-free», I have not heard yet.


As you can see, now mode «hands-free» is nothing more than just an interesting experiment, but it actually can be useful while cooking. However, this feature could find a place in other categories of applications, so it is hoped that soon we will see other apps with this feature, and Microsoft will spend a little time to bring it to mind.

It is possible that if the next generation Surface tablets will be equipped with Kinect-like technology, «hands-free» can offer you not only navigate forward and backward within apps, and much more.

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