Windows 8

The first 10 things you should do to a new Windows 8 desktop installation

There are at least ten specific things every user should do to a newly installed Windows 8 operating system.

Microsoft Windows 8 is due to be released to the retail market on October 26, 2012. And, while I don't envision long lines camping out over night to be one of the first people to get their hands on the new operating system, I do expect more than a few copies to be sold.

Note: This list is specifically for Windows 8 installations on desktops or notebook computers with no touch interfaces. When the new Windows 8 tablets come out, we'll make a list for those.

What to do

After using Windows 8 on some office test machines for months now, I think there are at least ten specific things every user should do to a newly installed Windows 8 operating system.

1. Check for updates: This piece of advice applies to any operating system you install no matter if it is Linux, Mac OS X, Windows XP or Windows 8. The first thing you do for any new OS installation is check for security updates. If you want some proof about how important updates are, take a look at the Microsoft Patch Tuesday Resource Page. 2. Personalize settings: This is a very subjective suggestion, but I like to personalize the various computers I use to reflect their purpose. Some of the PCs I use are for productivity and some are for fun and I like to identify them by how they are personalized.

One trick I like to use for desktop computers running Windows 8 is to move the tile representing the desktop to the upper left position on the Start Screen. At that position, all I have to do is press the Enter key and I'm on the desktop.

3. Trust your computer: This suggestion is an extension of the Personalization idea. If you want to propagate your personalized settings across your various computers via the cloud, you will need to establish the trustworthiness of your Windows 8 computers. Setting up the Trusted PC feature is also important if you plan to take advantage of SkyDrive.

4. Trim tiles: Despite Microsoft's recent peculiar attitude toward the "Metro UI" nomenclature, the fact is that tiles play an important role in how Windows 8 works. So, it only makes sense that you should spend some time arranging the tiles on the Start Screen. For example, I seldom use instant messaging, so I remove that tile entirely. Depending on your preferences, there are bound to be more than a few tiles that can be removed, or at least re-sized. You may have to trim and arrange times from time to time as you add and subtract applications. 5. Turn on Administrative Tools: As part of the tile trimming process, I like to add the Administrative Tools tiles to the Start Screen and arrange them in their own group. As someone who spends a great deal of time configuring and reconfiguring Windows, I like having these tools readily available.

These are the kinds of tools you are likely to need as you fine tune your Windows 8 installation. Once you get Windows 8 set up the way you want it, you can turn them off if you wish.

6. Always open Internet Explorer in Desktop mode: First, let me say that have nothing against Internet Explorer 10. It is a perfectly fine web browser. However, I am not a big fan of IE or any app, running in the full screen Metro style (sorry, I don't know what else to call it). That's why I change the default configuration in Windows 8 to force IE to run in desktop mode. 7. Disable lock screen: On a desktop PC, there is really no need to have a lock screen displayed while the system waits for you to enter your password. Using the group policy editor, you can disable the lock screen.

8. Install your apps: Windows 8 has lots of handy built-in applications, however, you will still need to install additional software. For example, my preferred web browser is Chrome. I have also been using Office 2013 lately and on my gaming PCs I have to install Steam and World of Warcraft. For efficiency's sake, I like to install as many third-party apps as I can before I move on to the next thing on my list. 9. Group tiles and pin to taskbar: This is the reason why you want to get your applications installed. Because once they are, you will want to make another pass at the Start Screen to move and resize tiles into some organized system of your choosing. This may take some time initially, but it will be worth the effort in the long run.

This is also a good time for deciding which applications to pin to your Taskbar. For Windows 8 Desktops, the Taskbar should play a primary role in how you navigate your system. I suppose some users will continue to place icons on their desktop, but I much prefer the Taskbar.

10. Turn on File History: One of Windows 8 new features, and one that is much appreciated, is the ability to automatically back up files using File History. Using File History you can protect the data located in common folders like your libraries or in other folders that you designate. Files can be saved automatically and incrementally to external drives or to storage on a network.

Add your own

Okay, obviously this is a subjective list. These are some of the first things I find myself doing when I install or reinstall Windows 8 on a desktop or notebook PC, but it is not the definitive list. What other configuration tweaks do you recommend when installing Windows 8?

Also read:

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

159 comments
Joeyolive1
Joeyolive1

Sooo, you went to this Article to say Win7 is better then Win8? How? That's what people said about WinXP when Win7 came out. Or what about when Win98 SE came out? Who was still using Win95? People doesn't like change. Win8 is awesome! I'm using Win8.1, and I love it dearly. I just press my Start Button, click on an icon, and I'm gtg. Makes my Desktop a lot cleaner.

epicsilence
epicsilence

Press Ctrl +"-" and you can categorize apps

oneoar51
oneoar51

I am so excited that Windows 8 is part of the "Back to hot keys" movement. Granted we're all testing the product for free. Still, it's not that far off from Win7.

SkyBon
SkyBon

1. Format Windows 8 partition 2. Install Ubuntu 3. Enjoy the easy to use and secure operating system

john
john

Dear TechRepublic Editors - can you please provide 2 special filter buttons for these conversation postings: "OT" and "NOT" for "On Topic" and "Not On Topic"? It would then be a lot easier for people to look through the good stuff without having to read the gratuitous insults and uninformed comments that are posted by a sizeable minority.

myangeldust
myangeldust

What is wrong with IE10? (I'm in the wrong forum... shark attack!)

red6969
red6969

& Three Blind Mice, Where the FFFF are they going, OHHHHHHHH.

myangeldust
myangeldust

What the tarnations is this?! Users of the old tiller now have to conform (forced by the manufacturer) to this steering wheel. What could be more intuitive than a handle you can swing left and right? Every sailor knows all about it. A wheel? Please, NO! Now, these carmakers have forced upon us an ignition switch inside the car. Nothing was easier to use, or figure out, than the handcrank on the front of the car. I supposed my wife will now simply push this button and what, DRIVE the car herself?! Steering wheels, ignition switches? This is merely change for change's sake. This is Henry Ford's attempt at making all our lives miserable. Just miserable. Maybe Mr. Ford will make a Model U and bring back the tiller and crank or I can't see his company last that much longer. PS: I was going to do that "M$" thing but there's no "s" in Ford. Or Henry.

red6969
red6969

Now windows 8 update quit working ER. 800703F1 it has a built in fix it that does not work ,MS Tech's cant even fix it, Spent 10 hours with them, but on the bright side the Windows Defender will let me update it, makes no sence little help please....

red6969
red6969

Cannot understand the understanding of a 2013 brand new Operation System with 2006 Drivers / Windows 8 , i have only been able to update 1 driver / Perfect Updater. A 2012 driver the intel compatible video 2012 will not install ? I jumped form XP and im running a 10 yer old IBM / LENOVO E50 9214 A1U, MY XP played perfect Streaming & Video's , Free for views, now the Windows 8 Video really Sucks in comparison to the Video performance of my XP, I have killed everything that could possibly disrupt my internet / still sucks not quite Godzilla B movie, But I figured surely if XP played everything perfect the advanced Tech of Windows 8 is a disappointment in only that on aspect

oneoar51
oneoar51

I read a lot of different ways to shut down Win 8, but no one mentioned the 3-finger salute (Ctrl+Alt+Del). I will mention it here, as it brings up the familiar Win XP drop- down, from which I choose "Shutdown";->

petersweebly
petersweebly

@Joeyolive1 You left Vista from your list of MS versions. Vista is true evidence that MS is very capable of making BIG mistakes with their releases. Everybody knows this. My Opinion as a software developer: As someone who requires allot of advanced tools on a PC I can safely say that  Win 8 is an OS that has required allot of hacks to get stuff to work. I'm not talking about compatibility. I'm talking about Microsoft software that is "Windows 8 Compatible" but doesn't work unless you do some advanced administrative tasks to get the stuff to work. My Point. Windows 8 came out with tons of bugs so it's not perfect and months down the line MS still doesn't have the workarounds/fixes available for allot of the problems. You need to read about a workaround/fix on random forums all over the internet.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I've search this entire discussion but can find no previous references to Chrome until you brought it up. IE 10 has been mentioned only once before. That was in the context of preferring the 'Classic' desktop version over the Metro one, not in terms of preferring another browser or previous version.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

1. The ship's wheel existed for centuries before the invention of the automobile. The first cars had tillers and not steering wheels because a) it was less expensive than a wheel, and b) the ship's wheel technology of the day did not provide the precision required to steer an automobile. 2. The ignition switch has always been inside the car. The hand crank turned the engine.so the spark could start it and was replaced by the electric starter. Your commentary...let me try to say this politely...is ineffective because it is grossly deficient in historical accuracy, which causes humor in the target audience. In short, it's such an epic fail I'll be laughing for days. At you, not with you.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

a joystick control like the jet fighters use - that's a good control in that environment so it MUST be great for your car - - well, that the think MS and you are using in applying a smartphone GUI to a desktop.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

you should be able to use them to de a full install. If you need to wipe the disc and they won't do it, get a copy of any version of Linux and use the Live CD version to examine the drive and delete the Windows files, then do your rebuild.

myangeldust
myangeldust

While I'm on it I'd like to add a rotary dial to my landline phone. Get a dot-matrix printer with a serial port. Disengage the ABS on my car. Return to film photography. Incandescent instead of flourescent. Cassettes instead of MP3s. Boilerplates over templates. CRT in spite of LCD. Need I go on? Because I feel like I made the point seven examples ago. :-)

PurpleSkys
PurpleSkys

one word for this guy...troll...seems to fit if ya ask me ;)

myangeldust
myangeldust

So you agree with me. 1) Steering wheels replaced tillers. 2) Ignition switches replaced hand cranks. So where's your joke, NickNielsen? I could've bored everyone with the history of the wheel. Or caused cranial hemorrhaging in our readers explaining the differences between using a magneto versus using a dry cell in the ignition process of old timey cars (psst, it's the button I mentioned). But the WHOLE point. The ONLY point, NickNielsen, was to illustrate the unwillingness for some to adopt to new technology throughout human history. But you wanted to laugh so go for it. But only because you agree with me (see proof above). Your wife hit the lottery with you. Such a keeper!

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

If it works on a motorcycle, it must be good for a car, right? Nah, we should be operating moving vehicles with a gaming console controller. Look at how many different vehicles you can drive with one of those!

Darryl~
Darryl~

under the bridges in our area....too much flooding the past few months. :D

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Thy word is law :D My boy certainly seems dedicated to irritating the wrong people around here. He opines above that this is a small pond. I would have said 'close knit', but he doesn't seem to realize that either condition doesn't work to his advantage.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

hiding under the bridges in your area - I think my bribe to the investigation team to report on the nights being cold up your way worked.

PurpleSkys
PurpleSkys

i just wasn't thinking...was sleepy at the time ;)

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

industrial relations complaints from the UTU (United Trolls Union) as they strongly object to being associated with that guy.

PurpleSkys
PurpleSkys

not happy...but will concede...for now

myangeldust
myangeldust

Your comments sort of blend with Ernie's comments after a while. Same age group? Anyways, your twin Ernie said he's from Australia. So I called him Bruce figuring that was probably his real name. According to Monty Python, and most of my uncles, every guy in Australia is named Bruce. This is a very small sub-culture in here. I will let you get back to trading photos of whatever.

myangeldust
myangeldust

You quoted a response I made to your comment (that comment where you try to give readers a history lesson). If that response I made was updated, it was to correct a mispelled word. The original comment I made is up there untouched for all to see and memorize and find error with as I have seem to become the focus of an unhealthy obsession. If you three guys didn't have a tinge of Turkish bathhouse between you I'd be flattered at the attention. I almost vomited a little at the thought. Disclaimer: I reserve the right to correct any mispelled words that may be found in this comment. Happy?

PurpleSkys
PurpleSkys

"updating" your posts? I have your previous posts saved and that isn't exactly what the originals said. I was following along but things changed. Did you second guess what you were saying?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

My name is Charlie; it's in my profile. Who's Bruce? I've belittled W8 itself any number of times. I'd appreciate links or references to when I belittled users.

Darryl~
Darryl~

Just wondering if you've taken a bit too much angel dust today.

myangeldust
myangeldust

Must you go on every Windows forum and belittle Windows users like you do, Bruce? You spend most of your night doing this. I can only imagine you sleep at work or just live on backs of Aussie taxpayers. You're not even trying to back up your comments with facts. It's just for the mere purpose of diverting Windows users from useful information. I do have to say that your single success here has been in getting a Tech Republic* moderator to join you in this endeavour. So I guess you have that going for you. Does it balance out your lack of helpfulness in anything else? No. But your moderator still loves you.

myangeldust
myangeldust

Dude, can you read? It's right up there. I don't mention anything about inventing the wheel nor anything about electric starters. I did say "Users of the old tiller now have to conform (forced by the manufacturer) to this steering wheel." This actually happened because we're no longer using the tiller. I also said, "ignition switch inside the car. Nothing was easier to use, or figure out, than the handcrank on the front of the car. I supposed my wife will now simply push this button..." This also is true as we now start the car from inside by closing a circuit (aka switch) instead of hand cranking a magneto. In no way do I expect you to understand this clarification but I am trying. If you find it condescending that's your own problem. You father's generation would've kept the resentment all to themselves, not display it like a... a... whatever your dad used to call you whenever he caught you crying or playing with dolls.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

You're the one who's been saying the wheel was invented for the car. And the electric starter replaced the hand crank. The only proof you provide is that your reading comprehension is as deficient as your behavior. And your insults.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

It's counterproductive to convincing people that you have something worthwhile to say.

myangeldust
myangeldust

you guys aren't. Those guys are from a previous era. I don't think baby boomers had funny guys to look up to so I can't fault you for your lame retorts.

SkyBon
SkyBon

Does anyone actually BUY Windows (apart from companies)? You truly amaze me, sir.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

about Win 7 to Win 8, which have basically the same command set which is totally different to that of Win XP and Win 9x. Thus making the older applications totally incompatible with the Win 7 / 8 systems.

myangeldust
myangeldust

You CAN use Windows 7 apps on Win8 and Pro. RT is another story. Yes, you can't use XP applications on Windows 8. Continued use of Office XP or '07 when you're upgrading to Windows 8 is the real question. Is it being cheap? I can't use newer apps on an iPhone 3GS because it can't be upgraded to iOS 5 or 6, but I understand that. At some point in the pursuit of continuing said business you have to force customers off your discontinued products. It's not just to sell the new stuff but to inform customers the old stuff cannot be supported or repaired. Donate your old stuff to poor folks in other countries. Deduct it on your tax forms. Move on already.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

cost to changing operating systems. But due to Microsoft's deliberate destruction of compatibility with older software and hardware there are MAJOR costs associated with going to new a new version of Windows. Switch from Windows XP to Window 8 and you need new copies of MS Office and most of your other software as non of your existing software will work on Win 8 worth a damn, and most of your peripherals won't work either and it's doubtful you'll get drivers for them too. It's these costs that stop most businesses from changing up to a newer OS as it costs them way to much to do so.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

But it makes sense to Epson, Okidata, and Brother, as they still manufacture, sell, and support dot matrix printers. The initial cost is higher than a small office laser, but for anybody printing multiple copies of custom forms (receipts, bills of lading, etc.), impact printing is THE first option. I don't know about the construction office, but I do know about retail support. My two largest customers still use dot matrix printers today: all day, every day. One of them experimented with laser in that application and went back to impact, because it was [u]less expensive in the long run[/u] to print multiple copies with a dot matrix printer. No, I didn't know about the pen plotter. :p

myangeldust
myangeldust

Oh, no you didn't, NickNielsen. What are you smoking and can I have a puff?! My comment shows me going "retro". Where I return to old technologies in the present time. I'm not talking about keeping an old dot matrix, for instance, at the construction office. I'm saying, "Hey, I want to go BACK to using a dot matrix printer." Which doesn't make any sense. Either way, it's added effort for anyone to go back AND it's added cost to keep an existing one. Every year that goes by means fewer parts and supplies for any one of my examples. At one office I had to ditch a functioning pen plotter because the pens are either hard to get or very expensive. You know this, NickNielsen. I know you know this. None of those new Win8 laptop buyers are on this site. They will go to the store and see the "cool new thing" and buy it. Power users, actual and wannabee, will be the only ones having a kanipshin fit. (Dudes, this is like crying in front of your wife/girlfriend, don't do it!) Why does everyone go to the ABS example? When you disengage ABS you just have regular brakes. They still work, you just have to learn how to actually brake. It's a plug behind your glovebox.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Or what if the additional cost and effort arises when converting FROM these old technologies? I have customers that still use serial interface dot matrix printers because of the additional cost and effort required to convert to USB or ethernet printing. I still have a Canon AE-1 because I can't afford the additional cost for a DSLR. Putting a florescent bub into your oven or refrigerator requires the cost and effort of modifying them to accept it. I still have a cassette player at home and many of my cassettes see regular use. I have two CRT monitors that still work just fine. Only two of your suggestions either can't or shouldn't be done. Rotary dial is no longer supported by my local telco, so it's just not an option where I am. And anybody who messes with the brakes on their car is, plainly and simply, a darn fool. I just got my first copy of Win7, but only because I bought a new laptop after my old one died. I strongly suspect that most of those who will be upgrading to Win 8 will be doing so for the same reason: it came with the new computer they just bought to replace the old, dead, one. Why is it such a problem if they prefer to modify their new OS to resemble what they are used to?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

If someone's preference is to run W8 with a W7 interface (or earlier; I'm not personally familiar with the product), let 'em. It's not my money they're spending. I'm reminded of those who preach that open source is all about choices, then scream when a new Linux user loads a Windows-look alike desktop. It's the same with someone who wants to run W8 but have it look like what he's used to. In his view, he has the best of both worlds. Me, I'm in the 'I don't like so I plan to avoid it' camp. Just my personal preference; dontchakno?

myangeldust
myangeldust

...should keep one from upgrading to the new version. Grandpa would say, "more gadgets, more problems" when talking about new products. If users feel the same way about Windows 8 they should consider keeping their existing systems. Personal preference is lacing up my shoes bunny-rabbit style when the single loop is faster, but learning both methods anyways. ;-)

myangeldust
myangeldust

Each of the examples I mentioned above requires added cost and/or effort on the user's part. So why do it? Why buy Windows8 (cost) and Start8 (effort) when you can just stay with your existing version of Windows?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

If you prefer the old way and using it doesn't cause any problems, why not use it? The only example he cited that could be an actual hazard was the ABS brakes. Everything else was a matter of personal preference.

dl_wraith
dl_wraith

So I believe myangeldust's point was why reinstall an old feature over the top of (and in spite of) the newer way of doing things.

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