Two ways to make the Desktop easier to navigate.
First put up some Really Useful Icons. Namely Control Panel, Your files, Network, and My Computer (well M$ now calls it This PC) . Once up you can tweak, look at your files, look at system files, and look on the LAN with just one mouse click on the Desktop.
Next clear off the Desktop clutter. New computers come with all sorts of "helpful" applications cluttering your desktop. You have never heard of most of 'em, but you hate put them in the recycle bin 'cause you never know when you might want them. Create a new folder to hold them. I named the new folder "Craplets" and put it on the desk top. One day, when I have the time, I will research the craplets and decide if I want to run them or uninstall them (zap them). But in the mean time they are off my desktop.
1. Right Click on a blank portion of your Desktop (Shades of M$-DOS, typing magic words to the prompt). The Personalization Screen appears.
2. On the Personalization Screen left side, Click on Change Desktop Icons. The Desktop Icon Settings window appears.
3. Check all five boxes, Computer,User's Files, Network,, Recycle Bin, and Control Panel. Then click "Apply".
4. To make the icons stay put, uncheck "Allow Themes to Change Desktop Icons.
Once done, you find most of the useful functions of the late, lamented "Start Button" are now available on your Desktop. I found Win 8.1 less user hostile after doing this.