Surviving Your First Hour with Windows 8

by Woody Leonhard for Windows Secrets Newsletter

Surviving Your First Hour with Windows 8

I call it “Metro vertigo.” To get you off on the right foot, here’s a one-hour intro to Win8 that will get you up to speed with minimal frustration.

We’ll start with a few assumptions and warnings

For this rapid-start tutorial, I’m going to assume you’re already adept at either Windows XP or Windows 7 — you have a solid understanding of mousing and keyboarding, can find the Control Panel, aren’t intimidated by Windows Explorer, and haveat least a nodding acquaintance with antivirus software and other common add-ins (such as Firefox or Chrome).

I’m also going to assume that you’re working with Windows 8 — not Windows RT, which, as I detailed in the Oct. 25 Top Story, is an operating system of a different stripe.

In the process of setting up Windows 8 (either turning on a new machine for the first time or going through the online upgrade), you were asked to pick a user ID. Unless you went through three — yes, three — nonstandard choices in proper sequence, you ended up providing or creating a Microsoft account to sign in to Windows. Your Microsoft account, registered with (and tracked by) Microsoft, looks like an e-mail address — and might, in fact, be a real Microsoft e-mail address (i.e.,,, or, among others).

If you’re already using a Microsoft account as your main Win8 account, don’t fret: I’ll have a few tips in next week’s Windows Secrets Newsletter about reducing the privacy implications. On the other hand, if you set up a local account (typically, a Windows 8 user name that doesn’t look like an e-mail address), I salute you — and also point you to next week’s issue.

If you haven’t yet set up your PC, I suggest that you follow the somewhat hard-to-find options and set your new Win8 system to a local account for now. You can later add Microsoft accounts till the cows come home, after you’ve read the caveats and suggestions next week.

This one-hour orientation takes into account all three major Windows 8 input methods: touch screen (which might work on your machine), keyboard (a very big help, even if it isn’t literally required), and mouse/single-point trackpad. If you have a multitouch trackpad, and its driver is working correctly — by no means a foregone conclusion — the trackpad should behave much like a touch screen.

So get your Win8 computer cranked up, make sure the keyboard’s plugged in, and follow along as we jump back and forth between the Dr. Jekyll — Mr. Hyde Win8 interfaces.

Rest of the Story Here…

This excerpt appears with permission from Windows Secrets Newsletter.

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9 thoughts on “Surviving Your First Hour with Windows 8

  1. Woody, Have to thank you for your “Windows 8 for Dummies.” I was on the verge of returning Windows 8.

    I had a 2000 XP with 256MB. It was sloowww.

    I bought an Inspiron Windows 8. I think I read your book more than being on the computer. Last night, I found a web site about sciatica and nerve pain. Then I looked for some inkling of how to print the damn thing. I found my printer in devices, but didn’t know about clicking until I read “Dummies.” So I got it printed.

    Thanks Marty

    PS: If I keep my lap top plugged in all the time, does that hurt the battery? My daughter said I shouldn’t keep it plugged in.

  2. I think Microsoft should fine tune windows 8 for pc users only, eg start button needs to be included. I’m not a big fan of touch screen bull S***t and then maybe it could be a good operating system if all else fails perhaps they should just update windows 7 to sp2.

  3. I’m still using XP Pro and will continue until they pry my cold, dead fingers off the keyboard.
    I’m an old dog and I don’t wanna learn any new tricks

    • You should try windows 7 its the same as XP but faster and and better looking graphics , ie it should have been the operating system that followed XP as it has all the speed and stability of XP SP2/3 with all the nice graphics of vista , if you like XP you will like 7 SP1

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