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.

160 comments
travissimons
travissimons

I really like tip number one of checking for any updates.  Updates seem like they are important to have when doing a computer installation.  My dad says you should also get someone that knows what they are doing, so it is done right. http://www.tresami.com.au/networking.aspx

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.

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.

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";->

myangeldust
myangeldust

It's about the Live ID that they've integrated, for voluntary use, that allows having one's desktop profile on multiple computers. Is this a profile file that gets stored on some Live server to be downloaded whenever one signs onto another machine? If "yes", how could one do the same without signing onto the Live ID service? In other words, what would I need to duplicate my desktop and settings across computers in my house and beyond (without giving my deets to Live)?

myangeldust
myangeldust

You know that scene in [every] sci-fi movie where the hero looks at a computer screen and it shows him/her all the information at once... sometimes without the hero asking first? Well the screen shown is NEVER a desktop GUI. The naked desktop is ONLY for folks who sit in front of one all day long. The rest of the world HATES desktops - a lack of a is why mobiles and tablets are so popular. How long would the Enterprise have lasted in a fight if the crew had to click on a Start button first? If I had a company I'd be introducing my own entries into this market segment. I'd be putting my eggs in every viable basket to make sure my company continues. PS: In case you were wondering: Start > LockheedSoft FotonPlus 4.5 > Torpedo Firing Console > Select tube... Oh! Surprise! You're dead.

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

1. Sell it if at all possible and buy something without Win8 or 2. Buy a mac 3. Or format the hard drive and install Windows 7 4. Or format the hard drive and install a version of Linux 5. You can often buy a really good computer/device for less with Linux installed

littlepitcher
littlepitcher

Install Launchy. Delete tiles. Those tiles are great for fat-fingered tablet owners, but a major aggravation to those who prefer customized serene or sarcastic artwork.

myangeldust
myangeldust

Identify higher paid IT folks who don't want to adapt the new Windows 8, get them fired, take their position, paycheck, and bigger office. A natural selection of sorts and a win-win. They get their Windows 7 at home and I get continued employment. Thanks, Mr. Gates!

dl_wraith
dl_wraith

OK - I've danced the W8 dance in many of the threads here already and frankly have had enough of the reactive negativity. I spend all day listening to IT staff and users moan about this and that and I'm in no mood to do it all again, countering arguments and trying to help people be a little more positive about what's happening. It's clear the negative viewpoint can't be beaten so let me for once join the negative ninnies. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right? Bear with me for a moment, normal service will resume shortly. OK, so here's the thing. Assume I'm spitting fury about the 'useless' UI, supposedly enforced touch screen mentality (and no, CharliePalmetto, I have not read your well-written posts in other threads demonstrating just how W8 can work either way within Metro ;) ), play- and social-media focused experience, differences with basic tasks such as shut down and all that jazz. Although I may appear to be reactionary and a little closed to the possibilities the point I will make with all this is that users on the whole WILL get annoyed with W8 and may consider not upgrading......at first. Users like to do things they way they've always done them. Microsoft have always ensured that the basics of windows are the same so anyone familiar with any windows OS can get about easily. Users and admins don't want to waste time learning new interfaces or customising the experience. IT SHOULD JUST WORK FOR THEM! Right? Hmmm....almost right (normal service resuming in 5, 4, 3............). Although the point that Metro....ahem, sorry - IFKAM, is very different and touch oriented is a very good one the assumption is that users will hate it and that it'll be too much effort to learn for people and that there's not enough 'power' in the interface for the skilled users is not a reasonable line to take. As we know, assumptions make an ass....(you finish that one. I'm going to throw up in a corner for starting that sentence. Next I'll be talking about OS paradigm shifts *sigh*) Fact is, some users and admins will hate it and stay hating it. We always get some of those. Most users will use it and go "eugh! Where's *this feature* how do I do *such a thing* why did they have to change it??" but do you know what? Like the Xbox users before them, it will become normal for them quite quickly and such complaints will melt away, like the complaints of XP's users did when they got used to the new start menu or the complaints of server 2008 admins did once they got used to administering that system. Enough complaints will remain that Microsoft will consider dialling back a little on some apps and interface options, possibly up until W9. Fact is, they won't want to as they've produced an OS that's trying to unify computing devices and cope with the challenges of touch enabled devices. Although you may not want to see it, you're looking at the first step towards a POSSIBLE future of operating systems. Whether it is a success or not will be decided later as we get to grips (or not) with this new approach. I don't like it much - I hate the W7 phone and don't get on with my Kinect-enabled tile dashboard thingy on my Xbox (voice command is cool though). Despite this I want W8 to be a success in that it changes our mind about how an OS should be. The way windows works is very, very old now. You can't tell me we should carry on doing the same damn thing forever because people have gotten used to it? Bravo, Microsoft, for taking this risk and hoping some of us can get on board. Swallow the bitter little pills, ladies and gentlemen, and give it a go. er....sorry for the length of that post. I'll shut up now.

micah imomos
micah imomos

people don't like change windows 8 is good.. 1. sing into win8 with your outlook email 2.confirm your system for sync. 3.sign into all social networks.eg people.mail,music, sky drive,photos,video so on 4.go to the store 5.install Google. 6.get your self use to the system.. 7.install office 2013.. 8.gives app permission.. 9.try using the share charm 10.enjoy

Gisabun
Gisabun

The IFNAM [Interface Formerly Known as Metro] will piss off sys admins because even Server 2012 will have it. THey'll then have second thoughts of dumpoing that interface on the users.

deb
deb

I work mostly on the desktop. Pinning tiles to the taskbar is okay, but they still take up too much room even when small icons are enabled. So I still enable the Quick Launch bar, which lets me have two columns of shortcut icons on my vertical taskbar (Oh, and another thing I do immediately is switch the taskbar from the bottom to the left side of the screen). Since I use multiple (four) monitors, another thing to do when I set up Windows 8 is select which monitor will be my Start Screen monitor, and then put a different wallpaper on each monitor to make it easier to identify which is which. Next, because on each of my main computers my fourth monitor is a large screen TV, I enable Windows Media Center and configure it to open on the TV. Next come the usual "fixes" to Explorer that pre-date Windows 8 (show file extensions, show hidden files, etc.), IE 10 desktop version (get my toolbars back, add "Email link" icon to the command bar, etc.) and Control Panel (switch to classic view).

Dyalect
Dyalect

And will be easily shot down. Why not just make a proper tablet version of Windows 7 and stop thrusting this $40 "upgrade" upon the masses. It WILL be another vista dud.

kburrows
kburrows

XP was looked at the same way in 2001. So, why do we have a hard time adapting to change? You guys can flame all you want, but it's going to happen. You can adapt or stay behind, your choice. Here's my take on 8. It may not be on the level with XP, but it is a step in the right direction. I think Microsoft has it right to integrate an OS with all systems whether it be dekstop, tablet or phone. Is it perfect? No, but it is where we are going. That said, I think the ultimate goal of Windows 8 is to at least get everyone to Windows 7 and off of XP and being a gateway to future iterations of Windows that will integrate more seamlessly between devices.

jfuller05
jfuller05

I've been testing Windows 8 at work and would have loved to follow such a nice list like this when I first installed and setup 8. I'm going to point folks to this list when they are first setting up 8.

technomom_z
technomom_z

1. Find old Windows 7 installation disk. 2. Install Windows 7.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

What other configuration changes, tweaks, and tricks do you recommend for a fresh installation of Windows 8?

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