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A Microsoft account?

[Updated 15/01/15] If you have Windows 8 (or a Windows phone) and you want to use Windows to its full capacity including getting apps from the Windows Store you’re going to need a free “Microsoft account”, basically this just equates to a hotmail.com or outlook.com email address, note that you don’t need to use this as your primary email (or use it at all beyond just getting access to the store and logging on to your PC).

Logging on to Windows in versions 8 and later now utilizes a "cloud" based logon name for example This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to tie all the accounts and services to you as the user and also gives you the ability to log on to multiple computers or devices. You can, if you chose, still use a traditional "local account" and in fact I always recommend another local administrator account so that your always covered if you can't logon via your normal account. However if for some reason you chose to set yourself up to use a "local" account initially it will pretty soon convert to a Microsoft account anyway (or at least try) as soon as you connect to various services. That can be pretty confusing so its best to start out the right way from the beginning, so setup your Microsoft account first before you even turn-on your new PC, tablet or phone.

Just a note if you logon in a business setting either via a domain or even peer to peer things are little different. In a domain you logon as the domain user and can then optionally "connect" the Microsoft account to the domain logon, peer to peer needs a bit more planning.

A Microsoft account is basically an email address and password. The good news is you probably already have one. If you use Microsoft services like hotmail.com outlook.com, Xbox, or SkyDrive/OneDrive, the email address and password you already use is your Microsoft account. You don't have to do anything else to get one. Just use that Microsoft account to sign in to your Windows 8 PC, tablet or phone, and you'll get free online storage, apps in the Windows Store, access to Xbox music* (on windows 8). You can also use your Microsoft account to synchronize your photos, documents and files to and from One drive to whatever devices you sign in from, on your phone, laptop, and tablet.

Here is the link to signup if you don't have one already:

https://signup.live.com/signup.aspx

Tips

  • Setting you the account is free however once you have the account setup and if you want to purchase apps for your shiny new PC or tablet then you will also need to add your credit card details (only required if you want apps that cost money).
  • If you do logon with a domain account you can "connect" your Microsoft account to the domain account as well.
  • I suggest you do NOT chose to save all your files to one drive by default, firstly its a bad idea and secondly Microsoft has realized its a bad idea and that concept has been depreciated in windows 10 which is in public beta as of the date this was written. See a screen shot here about where you get asked that question.

 

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Make sure you chose US keyboard layout

US UK keyboardIf you are setting up a new Windows 8 PC, make sure you chose the US keyboard.

Even though we use UK spelling we us the US keyboard layout, the US keyboard has $ and the UK layout has pounds and Euros plus there are some other changes as well, its quite a pain to change this back so get it right from the onset.

 

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Add shortcuts on desktop in Windows 8

In Windows 8, why can't I find the way to create application shortcuts on desktop? I only see the two options "Pin to Start" and "Pin to Taskbar", and although these two methods are convenient, sometimes I wish to create application shortcuts on desktop, too. How can I achieve this feature?

Solution

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Upgrade to windows 8.1

How to upgrade to windows 8.1 (the free upgrade to windows 8):

Steps:

  1. Consider the implications, this in a major operating system upgrade and shouldn't be taken lightly for existing PC's. Installed apps, personal customizations, device driver compatibility among other things can all be protected by taking a simple imaged based backup with a product like Acronis drive image before continuing, continue without backups at your peril. For a new PC that was shipped without the 8.1 update do the update before you install too much software or customize.
  2. Go to the store and see if the update is available (see Images below for the store icon and the "update to windows 8.1" item

Store icon:

b2ap3_thumbnail_Win8_Store_Icon.JPG

 

Update to windows 8.1:

b2ap3_thumbnail_Win8_1_UpgradeNoteInStore.jpg

  1. If the update is not available in the store then install all the available updates for windows restart as prompted and check back in the store. If it's still not there give it a day or so and check back again.
  2. Once the update is available and once you have 3 or 4 hours available when you wont need your PC to install the update form the windows store. Bear in mind that this up to a 4GB download so make sure you have the internet data available to be able to do this without incurring excess fees, plug into mains power and let it go. I suggest you do this at 6pm one evening so that it can download and then you can press install later in the evening and allow it to do the actual upgrade overnight.

One final consideration is that it may prompt you to store your data on Microsoft SkyDrive by default as part of the initialization process, unless you have a particular desire to do this make sure you click no.

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Windows 8 KB shortcuts I

Windows8KBShortcuts1

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5 Reasons To Get Over The windows 8 Hype

5 Reasons To Get Over The Hype And Start Loving Windows 8.1 - Forbes:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/tonybradley/2014/01/21/5-reasons-to-get-over-the-hype-and-start-loving-windows-8-1/

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Want your start menu back? - Start8 from Stardock!

I suggest you upgrade to windows 8.1 and get your start *button* back, secondly learn to use windows 8 how it was designed, ask me for a 2 minute demo for your light bulb moment. But, if after that you still want to get your old start *menu* back then have a look at this product.

It's $5 per PC so it won't break the bank.

http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/

Their blurb:

The Windows® 8 start menu returns with Start8®! Download the world's most popular Windows 8 start menu.

  •    Add the best Windows 8 start menu to your desktop
  •    Windows 7-styled start menu enhanced for Windows 8
  •    Pin Modern applications to the Windows 8 start menu
  •    Boot directly to the Windows 8 desktop

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Start8.png

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Digitalwelcomemat provides IT consultancy and services for business customers on the NSW Central Coast in Australia.

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