My First Steps in Windows 8

By Tom Kuklinski
President, Computer Users of Erie, PA
January 2013 issue, Horizons
tkuklinski (at)

I know you were breathless in waiting for Microsoft's release of its newest Version of Windows. It is simply called Windows 8. It is now here for you to use and enjoy. Are you
familiar with it? In this article I hope to give you a little insight into it.

Microsoft offers Windows 8 as a download for only $39.95. This is actually an upgrade. You will need to have a previous version of Windows in order to upgrade. The versions that qualify are Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. If you do not want to download this upgrade then you can order the disc for $69.95.

I purchased the disc version of the upgrade. It is Windows 8 Pro. In the box are One disc for 32 bit and one disc for 64 bit installation. Also in the box is a paper credit card size Product Key for Activation. The packaging is tasteful, clean and simple.

One more card contained the instructions for installation. It simply showed three steps. 1. Insert disc. 2. Follow the steps and 3. Enter your key. It also gave instructions in
Getting around with a touch screen or a mouse. Again, clean and simple instructions.

So, I did as instructed. I first made a complete backup of my Windows 7. I did this just in case I wanted to go back to it if I did not like Windows 8. Once you go to Windows 8 as
an upgrade, you cannot reverse this process. You will have to reinstall your previous version if you want it back.

After I made the backup of Windows 7, I inserted the Windows 8 upgrade disc. It would not start. I received an error. It said that I had no 'autoexec.dll' file. I could not get the upgrade to work. So then I went to another version of Windows for upgrade. I decided to convert a Windows XP Home Edition to Windows 8. I inserted the disc and received the exact same error. This was confusing to me. I did not have any more options for converting a previous Windows version without fixing my old versions. Since this was an upgrade of Windows 8 I decided to try installation without a previous Windows version to see what would happen.

I inserted the Windows 8 disc and proceeded with an installation. Windows 8 seemed to install. After a while, the process completed and I had Windows 8 running. WOW!

This was not an upgrade but a new install from the Upgrade disc. I just installed the 64 bit version. I decided to look around this new version of Windows. I was impressed. It certainly is different. It was exciting for me to see this new look of Windows 8. I decided to try to change the background. Windows told me I first must Activate this installation. I pulled out the Product Key and typed in the required numbers and letters. This version would not Activate because the Product Key is for an upgrade. So much for that. However, this installation of Windows 8 continued to work with the exception of a few areas.

So I decided to start from scratch. I made a new installation of Windows XP Professional. Now I tried to install Windows 8 Pro Upgrade. No good. This Windows 8
said I must have Service Pack 3 installed. Okay. I have come this far so I downloaded and installed the Service Pack 3 to Windows XP Professional. Finally, I said, this must be what this upgrade wants. Viola! Windows 8 Pro began to install. The installation completed and I activated the product.

Windows 8 Pro is finally up and running. Now to spend some time looking around. If you are a Windows user now, then this version will look foreign to you. It is quite different
in its layout.

Upon first glance, Windows 8 has two faces. One face is composed of rectangles and small squares. This is the foreign side of Windows 8. Then there is the side that looks
familiar. It appears like a typical Windows desktop however, it does not have a Start Button or a true Taskbar as I knew it. Navigating around the screen was different. I quickly learned that different keys and certain areas of the screen would do different things to Windows 8. Now what do I do? I soon found a friend. I also have to tell you that I am doing this from a laptop and not a touch screen device. I have a keyboard and mouse or trackpad. The friend is the WINDOWS KEY on my keyboard. This KEY is really 'Key' to getting around Windows 8. I began to experiment and learned how to navigate. I learned where things are placed in this new version. Believe me, it is different but yet felt similar. As I continued to use Windows 8, I became more familiar with it.

I will not go into further detail in this short article. Instead, I am saving that up in a future article. However, I must tell you that as I continue to use Windows 8, I am feeling comfortable with it and have good feelings about it. I will tell you that later. Stay tuned.

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