Windows 8 For Dummies by Andy Rathbone - Read Online
Windows 8 For Dummies
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The bestselling tech book of all time, now updated for Windows 8

Microsoft Windows is the operating system that runs nearly 90 percent of the world's computers. Windows 8 will offer new interface updates, cloud-based services, and much more. This update of Andy Rathbone's bestselling Windows guide covers all the basics, plus the enhancements unique to Windows 8. Whether you're meeting Windows for the first time or upgrading from an earlier version, this book shows you how to navigate the interface, work with files, browse the Internet, set up e-mail, manage media, and more.

Combined editions of this book, all by Microsoft MVP Andy Rathbone, have sold more than 15 million copies worldwide, making Windows For Dummies the #1 bestselling technology book of all time Covers all the basics of using Windows 8--core desktop components, managing files and folders, saving files, using Windows search, printing, and working in the cloud Shows how to get online, set up and use e-mail, use the latest version of Internet Explorer, set up security and virus protection, add music to the media player, organize photos, and edit media Includes coverage on using Windows 8's new start screen on both a desktop computer and a touchscreen device

Windows 8 For Dummies has what all Windows newbies need to know as well as complete coverage of the new version's bells and whistles.

Published: Wiley on
ISBN: 9781118238714
List price: $24.99
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Windows 8 For Dummies - Andy Rathbone

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Welcome to Windows 8 For Dummies, the world’s best-selling book about Windows 8!

This book’s popularity probably boils down to this simple fact: Some people want to be Windows whizzes. They love interacting with dialog boxes. Some randomly press keys in the hope of discovering hidden, undocumented features. A few memorize long strings of computer commands while washing their hair.

And you? Well, you’re no dummy, that’s for sure. But when it comes to Windows and computers, the fascination just isn’t there. You want to get your work done, stop, and move on to something more important. You have no intention of changing, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

That’s where this book comes in handy. Instead of making you a whiz at Windows, it merely dishes out chunks of useful computing information when you need them. Instead of becoming a Windows 8 expert, you’ll know just enough to get by quickly, cleanly, and with a minimum of pain so that you can move on to the more pleasant things in life.

And you’ll be able to do that whether you’re dealing with a touchscreen, laptop, or desktop computer.

About This Book

Don’t try to read this book in one sitting; there’s no need. Instead, treat this book like a dictionary or an encyclopedia. Turn to the page with the information you need and say, Ah, so that’s what they’re talking about. Then put down the book and move on.

Don’t bother trying to memorize all the Windows 8 jargon, such as Select the Menu Item from the Drop-Down List Box. Leave that stuff for the computer enthusiasts. In fact, if anything technical comes up in a chapter, a road sign warns you well in advance. Depending on your mood, you can either slow down to read it or speed on around it.

Instead of fancy computer jargon, this book covers subjects like these, all discussed in plain English:

Keeping your computer safe and secure

Making sense of the new Start screen

Finding, starting, and closing programs and apps

Locating the file you saved or downloaded yesterday

Setting up a computer for the whole family to use

Copying information to and from a CD or DVD

Saving and sharing photos from your digital camera

Printing your work

Creating a network between computers to share an Internet connection or printer

Fixing Windows 8 when it’s misbehaving

There’s nothing to memorize and nothing to learn. Just turn to the right page, read the brief explanation, and get back to work. Unlike other books, this one enables you to bypass the technical hoopla and still get your work done.

How to Use This Book

Windows 8 will most definitely leave you scratching your head at some point. It’s the most confusing version of Windows ever released to the public, so take pride in the fact that you’re strong enough to persevere.

When something in Windows 8 leaves you stumped, use this book as a reference. Find the troublesome topic in this book’s table of contents or index. The table of contents lists chapter and section titles and page numbers. The index lists topics and page numbers. Page through the table of contents or index to the spot that deals with that particular bit of computer obscurity, read only what you have to, close the book, and apply what you’ve read.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to find out more, read a little further in the bulleted items below each section. You can find a few completely voluntary extra details, tips, or cross-references to check out. There’s no pressure, though. You aren’t forced to discover anything that you don’t want to or that you simply don’t have time for.

If you have to type something into the computer, you’ll see easy-to-follow bold text like this:

Type Media Player into the Search box.

In the preceding example, you type the words Media Player and then press the keyboard’s Enter key. Typing words into a computer can be confusing, so a description follows that explains what you should be seeing on the screen.

When I describe a key combination you should press, I describe it like this:

Press Ctrl+B.

That means to hold down your keyboard’s Control key while pressing your keyboard’s B key. (That’s the shortcut key combination that applies bold formatting to selected text.)

Whenever I describe an email address or filename, I present it this way:


And website addresses appear like this:

This book doesn’t wimp out by saying, For further information, consult your manual. Windows 8 doesn’t even come with a manual. This book also doesn’t contain information about running specific Windows software packages, such as Microsoft Office. Windows 8 is complicated enough on its own! Luckily, other For Dummies books mercifully explain most popular software packages.

Don’t feel abandoned, though. This book covers Windows in plenty of detail for you to get the job done. Plus, if you have questions or comments about Windows 8 For Dummies, feel free to drop me a line on my website at I answer a reader’s question on my website each week.

Finally, keep in mind that this book is a reference. It’s not designed to teach you how to use Windows 8 like an expert, heaven forbid. Instead, this book dishes out enough bite-sized chunks of information so that you don’t have to learn Windows.

Tablet Owners Aren’t Left Out

Although Windows 8 comes preinstalled on all new Windows computers, Microsoft not-so-secretly aims this bold new version of Windows at owners of touchscreens. Tablets, as well as some laptops and desktop monitors, come with screens you can control by touching them with your fingers.

If you’re a new touchscreen owner, don’t worry. This book explains where you need to touch, slide, or tap your fingers in all the appropriate places.

If you find yourself scratching your head over explanations aimed at mouse owners, remember these three touchscreen rules:

When told to click, you should tap. Quickly touching and releasing your finger on a button is the same as clicking it with a mouse.

When told to double-click, tap twice. Two touches in rapid succession does the trick.

When told to right-click something, hold down your finger on the item. Then, when a little menu pops up, lift your finger. The menu stays put onscreen. (That’s exactly what would have happened if you’d right-clicked the item with a mouse.) While you’re looking at the pop-up menu, tap any of its listed items to have Windows carry out your bidding.

If you find touchscreens to be cumbersome while you’re sitting at a desk, you can always plug a mouse and keyboard into your touchscreen tablet. They’ll work just fine. In fact, they usually work better when working on the Windows desktop rather than the Start screen.

And What about You?

Chances are good that you already own Windows 8 or are thinking about upgrading. You know what you want to do with your computer. The problem lies in making the computer do what you want it to do. You’ve gotten by one way or another, perhaps with the help of a computer guru — either a friend at the office, somebody down the street, or your fourth-grader.

But when your computer guru isn’t around, this book can be a substitute during your times of need. (Keep a doughnut nearby in case you need a quick bribe.)

How This Book Is Organized

The information in this book has been well sifted. This book contains seven parts, and I divide each part into chapters relating to the part’s theme. With an even finer knife, I divide each chapter into short sections to help you figure out a bit of Windows 8 weirdness. Sometimes, you may find what you’re looking for in a small, boxed sidebar. Other times, you may need to cruise through an entire section or chapter. It’s up to you and the particular task at hand.

Here are the categories (the envelope, please).

Part I: Windows 8 Stuff Everybody Thinks You Already Know

This part dissects the backbone of Windows 8: its new Start screen, where you load apps and programs. It also explains how to find the traditional Windows desktop — the background found in every version of Windows for the past decade. It explains how to move windows around and click the right buttons at the right time. It explains the Windows 8 stuff that everybody thinks you already know.

Part II: Working with Programs, Apps, and Files

Windows 8 comes with bunches of free programs. Finding and starting the programs, however, often proves to be a chore. This part of the book shows you how to prod programs into action. If an important file or program has vanished from the radar, you discover how to make Windows 8 dredge your computer’s crowded cupboards and bring it back. It also explains how to move your work from the computer screen onto paper through your printer.

Part III: Getting Things Done on the Internet

Turn here for a crash course in today’s computing playground, the Internet. This part explains how to send e-mail and globetrot across websites. Best yet, an entire chapter explains how to do it all safely.

A section explains Internet Explorer’s built-in security tools. They stop evil phishing sites from tricking you and keep parasites from attaching themselves to your computer as you move from one website to another.

Part IV: Customizing and Upgrading Windows 8

When Windows 8 needs a jolt, fix it by flipping one of the switches hidden in its Control Panel, described here. Another chapter explains computer maintenance you can easily perform yourself, reducing your repair bills. You discover how to share your computer with several people in your family or in a shared apartment — without letting anybody peek into anybody else’s information.

And when you’re ready to add a second computer, head to the networking chapter for quick instructions on linking computers to share an Internet connection, files, and a printer, as well.

Part V: Music, Photos, and Movies

Turn here for information on playing music CDs, digital music, and movies. Buy some cheap CDs and create your own greatest hits CDs from your favorite tunes. (Or just copy a CD so that your favorite one doesn’t get scratched in the car.)

Digital camera owners should visit the chapter on transferring pictures from your camera to your computer, organizing the pictures, and e-mailing them to friends.

Part VI: Help!

Although glass doesn’t shatter when Windows crashes, it still hurts. In this part, you find some soothing salves for the most painful irritations. Plus, you find ways to unleash the Windows 8 program’s team of troubleshooters.

Stuck with the problem of moving your files from an old computer to a new one? You can find help here, as well. (If you’re ready to upgrade your Windows XP, or Windows Vista, or Windows 7 computer to Windows 8, check out for instructions.)

Part VII: The Part of Tens

Everybody loves lists (except during tax time). This part contains lists of Windows-related trivia, such as ten aggravating things about Windows 8 (and how to fix them). As a bonus for the tablet and laptop crowd, I’ve collected the most useful portability tips for Windows 8 and placed them into one chapter. You can find step-by-step instructions for the most frequently used tasks while traveling, whether you’re moving across the world or across the street.

Icons Used in This Book

It just takes a glance at Windows 8 to notice its icons, which are little push-button pictures for starting various programs. The icons in this book fit right in. They’re even a little easier to figure out.

Watch out! This signpost warns you that pointless technical information is coming around the bend. Swerve away from this icon to stay safe from awful technical drivel.

This icon alerts you about juicy information that makes computing easier: a method for keeping the cat from sleeping on top of your tablet, for example.

Don’t forget to remember these important points. (Or at least dog-ear the pages so that you can look them up again a few days later.)

The computer won’t explode while you’re performing the delicate operations associated with this icon. Still, wearing gloves and proceeding with caution is a good idea.

Are you moving to Windows 8 from an older Windows version? This icon alerts you to areas where Windows 8 works significantly differently from its predecessors.

Controlled by fingertips rather than mice and keyboards, touchscreens are standard fare on tablets, as well as some laptops and desktop computer monitors. This icon appears next to information aimed directly at the touchy feely crowd.

Where to Go from Here

Now, you’re ready for action. Give the pages a quick flip and scan a section or two that you know you’ll need later. Please remember, this is your book — your weapon against the computer nerds who’ve inflicted this whole complicated computer concept on you. Please circle any paragraphs you find useful, highlight key concepts, add your own sticky notes, and doodle in the margins next to the complicated stuff.

The more you mark up your book, the easier it will be for you to find all the good stuff again.

To access additional Windows 8 content, go to windows8. Occasionally, we have updates to our technology books. If this book does have technical updates, they will be posted at

Please note that some special symbols used in this eBook may not display properly on all eReader devices. If you have trouble determining any symbol, please call Wiley Product Technical Support at 800-762-2974. Outside of the United States, please call 317-572-3993. You can also contact Wiley Product Technical Support at

Part I

Windows 8 Stuff Everybody Thinks You Already Know

In this part . . .

Most people are dragged into Windows 8 without a choice. Their new computers probably came with Windows 8 already installed. Or maybe the office switched to Windows 8, and everyone has to learn it except for the boss, who still doesn’t have a computer. Or maybe Microsoft’s marketing hype pushed you into it.

Whatever your situation, this part explains the bizarre new Start screen in Windows 8. It shows how to find the traditional Windows desktop and then gives a refresher on Windows basics and buzzwords such as dragging and dropping, cutting and pasting, and even tapping a touchscreen.

This part explains how Windows 8 has changed things for the better, and it warns you when Windows 8 has messed things up completely.

Chapter 1

What Is Windows 8?

In This Chapter

Getting to know Windows 8

Discovering the new features in Windows 8

Deciding whether to switch to Windows 8

Figuring out whether your PC is powerful enough to run Windows 8

Knowing which version of Windows 8 you need

Chances are good that you’ve heard about Windows: the boxes and windows that greet you whenever you turn on your computer. In fact, millions of people worldwide are puzzling over Windows as you read this book. Almost every new computer and laptop sold today comes with Windows preinstalled, ready to toss colorful boxes onto the screen.

This chapter helps you understand why Windows lives inside your computer, and I introduce Microsoft’s latest Windows version, called Windows 8. I explain how Windows 8 differs from previous Windows versions, whether you should upgrade to Windows 8, and how well your faithful old PC and programs will weather the upgrade.

What Is Windows 8, and Why Are You Using It?

Created and sold by a company called Microsoft, Windows isn’t like your usual software that lets you calculate income taxes or send angry e-mails to mail-order companies. No, Windows is an operating system, meaning it controls the way you work with your computer. It’s been around for nearly 30 years, and the latest incarnation is called Windows 8, shown in Figure 1-1.

Figure 1-1: The newest version of Windows, Windows 8, comes preinstalled on most new PCs today.

The name Windows comes from all the little windows it places on your computer screen. Each window shows information, such as a picture, a program, or a baffling technical reprimand. You can place several windows onscreen simultaneously and jump from window to window, visiting different programs. Or, you can enlarge one window to fill the entire screen.

When you turn on your computer, Windows jumps onto the screen and begins supervising any running programs. When everything goes well, you don’t really notice Windows; you simply see your programs or your work. When things don’t go well, though, Windows often leaves you scratching your head over a perplexing error message.

In addition to controlling your computer and bossing around your programs, Windows 8 comes with a bunch of free programs and apps — mini-programs. These programs and apps let you do different things, such as write and print letters, browse the Internet, play music, and send your friends dimly lit photos of your latest meal.

And why are you using Windows 8? Well, you probably didn’t have much choice. Nearly every computer sold since October 2012 comes with Windows 8 preinstalled. A few people escaped Windows by buying Apple computers (those nicer-looking computers that cost a lot more). But chances are good that you, your neighbors, your boss, and millions of other people around the world are using Windows.

Separating the ads from the features

Microsoft touts Windows as a helpful companion that always keeps your best interests in mind, but that description isn’t really true. Windows always keeps Microsoft’s interests in mind. You’ll find that out as soon as you call Microsoft for help with a Windows problem. Microsoft charges $100 an hour for phone support.

Microsoft also uses Windows to plug its own products and services. Internet Explorer opens to Microsoft’s own website, for example. The browser’s Favorites area, a place for you to add your favorite web destinations, comes stocked with Microsoft websites.

The Maps app uses the Microsoft Bing mapping service, rather than Google Maps or another competitor. The list goes on.

Simply put, Windows not only controls your computer, but also serves as a huge Microsoft advertising vehicle. Treat these built-in advertising flyers as a salesperson’s knock on your door.

Windows 8 introduces a radical new full-screen–sized Start menu that’s designed for touchscreens — displays controlled with your fingertips. Now called a Start screen, it also appears on desktop PCs, oddly enough. Be prepared for some initial mouse awkwardness as you try to mimic a fingertip with your mouse pointer.

The new automatic backup program in Windows 8, File History, greatly simplifies what you should have been doing all along: creating copies of your important files for safekeeping. Because Microsoft leaves it turned off, I explain how to turn it on in Chapter 13.

What’s New in Windows 8?

You may have worked with earlier versions of Microsoft Windows. If so, toss away that hard-earned knowledge because Windows 8 starts from scratch. Why? Because Windows 8 tries to please two camps of computer owners.

See, some people are mostly consumers. They read e-mail, watch videos, listen to music, and browse the web, often while away from their desktop PC. Whether on the go or on the couch, they’re consuming media (and popcorn).

Other people are mostly creators. They write papers, prepare tax returns, update blogs, edit videos, or, quite often, tap whichever keys their boss requires that day.

To please both markets, Microsoft broke Windows 8 into two very different sections:

Start screen: For the on-the-go information grabbers, the Windows 8 Start screen fills the entire screen with large, colorful tiles that constantly update to show the latest stock prices, weather, e-mail, Facebook updates, and other tidbits. Shown earlier in Figure 1-1, that information appears before you touch a button. And touch is a keyword: The Start screen works best with a touchscreen monitor or tablet.

Desktop tile: When it’s time for work, head for the Start screen’s desktop tile. The traditional Windows desktop appears, shown in Figure 1-2, bringing all its power — as well as its detailed, cumbersome menus.

Some people like the convenience of having both types of computers built into one. Others find the two experiences to be oddly disjointed.

In a way, Windows 8 offers the best of both worlds: You can stay on the Start screen for quick, on-the-go browsing. And when work beckons, you can head for the desktop, where your traditional Windows programs await.

Figure 1-2: The Windows 8 desktop works much as it did in Windows 7, but without a Start button.

The catch is that the Windows desktop no longer contains the traditional Start button and the Start menu that sprouted from the corner. Instead, you must retreat to the new, Start screen. To open a program, click or tap a program’s tile from the Start screen, and Windows shuffles you back to the desktop, where the newly opened program awaits.

Welcome to the split personality awaiting you in Windows 8! I explain the Start screen in Chapter 2; the Windows desktop awaits your attention in Chapter 3.

Should I Bother Switching to Windows 8?

In a word, no. Most people stick with the Windows version that came installed on their computers. That way they avoid the chore of figuring out a new version of Windows. Also, Windows 8 comes with a particularly steep learning curve because it’s quite different from earlier Windows versions.

Also, many of the biggest changes in Windows 8 work best with touchscreens — those fingertip-controlled screens found on expensive cellphones, tablets, and some of the latest laptops. No matter what device it runs on, Windows 8 looks and behaves the same, whether it’s controlled by fingers on a touchscreen tablet or by a mouse and keyboard on a desktop PC.

On the positive side, if you manage to figure out Windows 8 once, you’ll know how to run it on all of your Windows devices: a tablet, Windows phone, a laptop, a desktop PC, and perhaps even a touchscreen television. On the negative side, being designed for so many different things makes Windows 8 behave a little awkwardly on all of them.

Instead of upgrading, stick with the masses and stay with your current computer. When you’re ready to buy a new computer, the latest version of Windows will be installed and waiting for you. (But if you’ve bought Windows 8 on a DVD, you can install Windows 8 onto a computer you own that’s currently running Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP; find out how at www.dummies.go/windows8. There, you’ll also find a plethora of other helpful Windows 8 tidbits.)

Windows 8 doesn’t support Windows XP mode, a popular way to run a Windows XP desktop inside its own window within Windows 7. If you needed Windows XP mode in Windows 7, don’t upgrade to Windows 8.

Can My Current PC Still Run Windows 8?

If you want to upgrade to Windows 8, your computer probably won’t complain. Windows 8 should run without problem on any PC currently running Windows 7 or Windows Vista. In fact, Windows 8 may run faster on your old PC than Windows Vista did, especially on laptops.

If your PC runs Windows XP, it may still run Windows 8, but probably not at its best.

If you have a technogeek in your family, have him or her translate Table 1-1, which shows the Windows 8 hardware requirements.

Table 1-1 The Windows 8 Hardware Requirements

In common language, Table 1-1 simply says that nearly any computer sold in the past five years can be upgraded to Windows 8 with little problem.

Windows 8 runs nearly any program that runs on Windows 7 and Windows Vista. It even runs some Windows XP programs, as well. Some older programs, however, won’t work, including most security-based programs, such as antivirus, firewall, and security suites. You’ll need to contact the program’s manufacturer for an upgraded version.

Shopping for a new PC to run Windows 8? To see how well a particular showroom PC can handle Windows 8, point your mouse at any screen’s bottom-left corner and click the right mouse button. When the menu appears, choose System. The Windows Experience Index appears. It has already tested the PC and given it a grade ranging from 1 (terrible) to 9.9 (extraordinary).

Don’t know what version of Windows runs on your current PC? Go to the Start menu, right-click Computer, and choose Properties. The screen that appears lists your Windows version. (If your Start menu fills the screen with a bunch of colorful tiles, you’re already running Windows 8. If so, right-click in the bottom-left corner, choose System from the pop-up menu, and the System window’s Windows Edition section says which version of Windows 8 is running.)

The Four Flavors of Windows 8

Microsoft offers four main versions of Windows 8, but you’ll probably want only one: the aptly titled Windows 8 version.

Small businesses will choose Windows 8 Pro, and larger businesses will want Windows 8 Enterprise. Still, to clear up the confusion, I describe all the versions in Table 1-2.

Table 1-2 The Four Flavors of Windows 8

Each version in the table contains all the features of the versions preceding it. Windows 8 Pro contains everything found in Windows 8, for example.

Here are some guidelines for choosing the version you need:

If you’re considering a tablet with Windows RT, make sure you realize that it can’t run regular Windows programs. You’re limited to its bundled Office programs and any apps you download from the Windows Store.

If you’ll be using your PC at home, pick up Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro.

If you need to connect to a domain through a work network — and you’ll know if you’re doing it — you want Windows 8 Pro.

Want to play DVDs or record TV shows with Windows Media Center in Windows 8 Pro? Then pull out your credit card and upgrade online for the Media Center Pack. (To upgrade the consumer-oriented Windows 8 with Windows Media Center, buy the Windows 8 Pro Pack.)

If you’re a computer tech who works for businesses, go ahead and argue with your boss over whether you need Windows 8 Pro or Windows 8 Enterprise. The boss will make the decision based on whether it’s a small company (Windows 8 Pro) or a large company (Windows Enterprise).

Most computers let you upgrade to a more powerful version of Windows 8 from the desktop Control Panel’s System area. (Reach for your credit card before clicking the Get More Features with a New Edition of Windows link.)

Chapter 2

The Mysterious New Start Screen

In This Chapter

Starting Windows 8

Signing in to Windows 8

Understanding the Metro Start screen

Switching among apps

Finding shortcuts on the Charms bar

Seeing all your apps and programs

Customizing the Start screen

Turning off your computer

Windows 8 comes with the traditional Windows desktop, but the new Start screen creates all the excitement. The Start screen’s large, colorful tiles offer quick stepping stones for checking e-mail, watching videos, and sampling Internet fare.

On a touchscreen tablet, you could spend all day working within the Start screen’s world of full-screen apps, deftly maneuvering through them with your fingertips.

On a desktop computer, however, armed with only a mouse and keyboard, you could spend all day trying to avoid the Start screen and find the traditional Windows desktop.

But love it or hate it, the new Start screen plays an integral role in Windows 8. This chapter explains how to make the most of it, whether you want to enjoy it or avoid it as much as possible.

When you stare glumly at the confusing new Start screen, try these tricks: Right-click a blank spot, or point at any screen corner with your mouse. Those actions fetch hidden menus, bringing you a glimmer of navigational hope.

If you’re using a touchscreen computer, substitute the word tap when you read the word click. Tapping twice works like double-clicking. And when you see the term right-click, touch and hold your finger on the glass; lift your finger when the right-click menu appears.

Being Welcomed to the World of Windows 8

Starting Windows 8 is as easy as turning on your computer — Windows 8 leaps onto the screen automatically with a flourish. But before you can begin working, Windows 8 stops you cold: It displays a locked screen, shown in Figure 2-1, with no entrance key dangling nearby.

Figure 2-1: To move past this lock screen, drag up on the screen with your mouse or finger, or press a key on the keyboard.

Previous versions of Windows let you sign in as soon as you turned on your computer. Windows 8, by contrast, makes you unlock a screen before moving to the sign in page, where you type in your name and password.

How do you unlock the lock screen? The answer depends on whether you’re using a mouse, keyboard, or touchscreen:

Mouse: On a desktop PC or laptop, click any mouse button.

Keyboard: Press any key, and the lock screen slides away. Easy!

Touch: Touch the screen with your finger and then slide your finger up the glass. A quick flick of the finger will do.

When you’re in the door, Windows wants you to sign in, as shown in Figure 2-2, by clicking your name and typing in a password.

Figure 2-2: Click your user account name and then type your name and password on the next screen.

I’ve customized my Sign In screen. Yours will look different. If you don’t see an account listed for you on the Sign In screen, you have several options:

If you see your name and e-mail address listed, type your password. Windows 8 lets you in and displays your Start screen, just as you last left it.

If you don’t see your name, but you have an account on the computer, click the left-pointing arrow shown in the margin. Windows 8 displays a list of all the account holders. You may see the computer owner’s name, as well as an account for Administrator and one for Guest.

If you just bought the computer, use the account named Administrator. Designed to give the owner full power over the computer, the Administrator account user can set up new accounts for other people, install programs, start an Internet connection, and access all the files on the computer — even those belonging to other people. Windows 8 needs at least one person to act as administrator.

Use the Guest account. Designed for household visitors, this account lets guests, such as the babysitter or visiting relatives, use the computer temporarily.

No Guest account? Then find out who owns the computer and beg that person to set up an account for you or to turn on the Guest account.

If you need more information about user accounts, including creating new ones, managing old ones, or turning on the Guest account, flip ahead to Chapter 14.

Don’t want to sign in at the Sign In screen? The screen’s two bottom-corner buttons offer these other options:

The little wheelchair-shaped button in the screen’s bottom-left corner, shown in Figure 2-2 and the margin, customizes Windows 8 for people with physical challenges in hearing, sight, or manual dexterity, all covered in Chapter 12. If you choose this button by mistake, click or touch on a different part of the screen to avoid changing any settings.

The little button in the screen’s bottom-right corner, shown in Figure 2-2 and the margin, lets you shut down or restart your PC. (If you’ve accidentally clicked it and shut down your PC, don’t panic. Press your PC’s power button, and your PC will return to this screen.)

Even while locked, as shown in Figure 2-1, your computer’s screen displays current information in its bottom-left corner. Depending on how it’s configured, you can see the time and date; your wireless Internet signal strength (the more bars, the better); battery strength (the more colorful the icon, the better); your next scheduled appointment; a count of unread e-mail; and other items.

Understanding user accounts

Windows 8 allows several people to work on the same computer, yet it keeps everybody’s work separate. To do that, it needs to know who’s currently sitting in front of the keyboard. When you sign in — introduce