Win8 is unique among Windows versions; every experienced Windows user will feel significant disorientation on that first journey into the new OS.
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 have at 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., @hotmail.com, @live.com, or @outlook.com, 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.