For anyone who - like me - is forced to use Windows 8/8.1, but hates lots of the non-negotiable features, I commend to you Winaero. From them, you can download two lightweight programs which:
1. Allow you to turn off the bottom-right hot corner, meaning the stupid Charms menu doesn't pop up all the time (Charms Bar Killer
runs in your systray, and allows you to turn various hot corners on and off).
2. Allow you to fine-tune, and indeed turn off, the taskbar thumbnail previews meaning the the silly little windows don't pop over the thing you're trying to look at (Taskbar Thumbnail Tuner
is a run-when-you-need-it selection of extra settings, including the mighty "disable thumbnails" tickybox).
(There are various registry hacks proposed on t'internet to solve both of these. I haven't tried them.)
If the above are features you like and use, then hurrah! However, in my case they were nothing but a source of irritation.
I think nearly 12 months of locating settings, finding obscure menus, and downloading extra bits means that I'm now willing to declare a sort of armed truce with Windows 8 (or, actually, 8.1 now). It has agreed to keep all its spurious Mac-esque eye-candy and ridiculous Metro nonsense out of my way, and I've conceded that a very small amount of the new functionality is useful.