How To Install Windows 8 Guide
Reviewed by: Guest_Jim_*
Reviewed on: April 4, 2013
Installing Windows 8 Guide:
Congratulations! You have just brought a new computer into this world after carefully selecting and lovingly installing the components that will drive the user experience (at least until the next generation of stuff comes out). Alternatively you may have just watched your computer throw so many errors that it must think 0000FF is the new 000000, or you feel it is time for a change, so you are installing a new operating system. Windows operating systems are still the dominate OS for personal computers, so naturally you have purchased a copy of the new Windows 8 to install. Here is what you can expect when installing the operating system.
(Something important to note for this guide is that I installed the Release Preview of Windows 8 in a virtual machine, so it may vary from your install experience. If there is any difference though, it should be minor.)
The first step for installing any operating system is to inject the install media into your computer. This may involve inserting a disc into a drive or plugging in a USB drive; it depends on what you have. Regardless, once the media is connected you will need to reboot your computer so it can boot from the install media. Potentially you will also have to enter the BIOS to change the boot order of the computer, so that it will load the install media instead of the computer's primary storage volume. If you need to make that change though, consult the manual for the computer or motherboard.
Once the install media is loaded, the first screen you will come to asks for some basic preferences including language and keyboard configuration. After setting those options, hit the Next button to arrive at a screen asking what you want to do; install or repair your computer. We want to install so click 'Install now.'
Once the key is entered, you will be presented with a copy of the Windows 8 Usage license. You can read it or not, but you have to accept the license terms in order to continue.
At this point we are asked to input the Product Key, which is included with any legitimate copy of Windows 8. If you are reinstalling the operating system on a computer that came with it, there should be a sticker somewhere on the case with the key. You must enter the key because you cannot continue without it.
Now we get to the point where the install process wants to know what it is doing. Is it upgrading from a previous or lower version of Windows, or is it being freshly installed? As this is a guide for installing Windows 8 and not upgrading it, we are going to select 'Custom: Install Windows only.'
This step is easily among the most important of the install process. Here we decide where the operating system is being installed and potentially the configuration of the computer as a whole. If the computer has an unformatted storage drive installed, Windows will suggest formatting the entire disk for it to use, and there is nothing wrong with that. If you would like to partition the disk though (and there are many reasons for doing so) you will want to click the 'New' button and tell it how large you want the new partition to be. If the drive already is partitioned, you will need to select which partition you want to install to, which will reformat the partition.
With that done, the computer will now begin the process of installing Windows 8. How long it takes to go through the steps of the process is almost impossible to predict as it depends on almost every component of your computer. During this process, the computer will restart twice (in my experience). Potentially one of the times it boots up it will ask if you want to install Windows. That just means it will boot from the install media instead of the internal storage. Just manually restart the computer and remove the install media.
Setting Up Windows 8:
Windows 8 is now installed, but before you can use it you must complete some configuration steps. The first is to select the color of the interface and give your PC a name.
Now we get to some of the more important settings: sharing over a network, Windows Update, sending information to Microsoft for analysis, getting information from Microsoft, and setting up your user account. Some of these preferences can be set for you by simply clicking the 'Use express settings' button, but I went with the Customize option. Now, you can always change these settings from within the OS, but these options may not be so nicely collected together then.
Only you can decide what you want to set these options to be.
Setting up your user account is different from prior versions of Windows where the account was typically local. In Windows 8 you can have it tied to your Microsoft Account, and you need it to be if you want to use the Windows Store to download and manage applications. Of course you will need an Internet connection to sign into your account, but if for some reason one is not available, you can use a local account. Local accounts are more limited in what they can do because they cannot access to the Windows Store, but if you are worried about privacy or just do not want data syncing to your Microsoft account, this is what you will want. For this guide, I chose to use a Local account.
Once the account type is selected you will have to sign into it, and then you will finally have arrived at Windows 8.
Setting Up a Password:
You will have already set up a password for your account during the install process, but maybe you want to change it later. For that change to happen, you need to get to the computer's settings, which can be found on the right menu bar. It is easiest to access on a touchscreen, by dragging from right to left on the side of the screen. However, you can also access the menu by putting your mouse in the lower right corner of the screen, possibly clicking.
With the settings open, you want to select 'Change PC Settings' at the bottom to access the new Control Panel. Now click on Users, select the user you want to change the password for if there are multiple users, and click the 'Change your password' button. From here you just need to enter the current password and then give the new password along with a hint.
Configuring and Using Windows Update:
Here we may really start to see some differences between the Release Preview of Windows 8 I have been working with and the actual release version. However, these differences should be restricted to visual elements and nothing functional.
The first step to configuring and using Windows Update is to open Windows Update. To do so, you need to get into the Control Panel and scroll down to the bottom to find Windows Update.
At this point, we are going to see one of the decisions Microsoft made with Windows 8, for good or bad. During the set up process I chose to disable Windows Update because the option I wanted (notify me of updates and wait to download) was not available. In order to select that setting though, I first have to turn on recommended settings so Windows will find updates. Now, by looking at the list of available updates, I have access to the 'Choose important updates to install, or install optional updates,' button. I am assuming the reasoning behind Microsoft's decision to put this button behind so much fluff is to make the operating system friendlier for less-technology-competent people. 'You don't need these other settings, so we won't show them to you and risk confusing you,' is what I believe Microsoft was thinking.
Having clicked the button for additional options, we find ourselves at the Windows Update window where we can hit the 'Change settings' button to find the dropdown menu of options that includes my preferred 'Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them' option. Select whichever option you are comfortable with to make sure Windows updates appropriately.
That, in a nutshell, is what it takes to get Windows 8 installed and updated with the latest security patches and OS updates!