Win8 boot guide: Your first hour with the new OS

Woody Leonhard

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.,,, 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 article is part of our premium content. Join Now.

Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.

Woody Leonhard

About Woody Leonhard

Woody Leonhard is a Windows Secrets senior editor and a senior contributing editor at InfoWorld. His latest book, the comprehensive 1,080-page Windows 8 All-In-One For Dummies, delves into all the Win8 nooks and crannies. His many writings tell it like it is — whether Microsoft likes it or not.