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Posted on September 4th, 2012 by David Bayon

HP teaches you Windows 8 because Microsoft won’t

If you’ve used Windows 8 and wondered how on earth to do the most basic tasks, you’re far from alone. It took us weeks to work out we could unlock a PC with the Space bar, and accidentally right-clicking in the bottom-left corner of the screen was a real revelation — try it and you’ll see what we mean.

These are incredibly basic things Microsoft should have taught us from the beginning, but didn’t. And with the final version of Windows — at least the RTM we’ve used — it still doesn’t. The extent of the teaching is a single animation during installation, which simply shows you how to move your mouse to the corner of the screen – with no explanation of why or when to do so.

So it’s both sad and entirely logical that third-parties educating users themselves. As reported by Windows Observer, HP has launched a free Getting Started with Windows 8 app in the Microsoft Store, which offers users text guides, video tutorials and links to forums and help pages.

HP Getting Started with Windows 8

Admittedly, right now it’s mostly populated by Windows 7 tips, with a few even stretching back to XP, but we’re still nearly two months from full public release. OEMs have until then to get their apps up to speed, and Store applications were opened up a few weeks ago for that reason.

Hopefully by the end of October, the HP app will be full of useful tips and tricks, such as how to get Metro to appear as little as possible, or how to find the Shut Down button, or why the hell there’s no Start menu.

Despite what Microsoft says, those are the questions new users will have after five minutes with the OS. It’s good to see a major manufacturer acknowledge that, even if Microsoft won’t.

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Posted in: Software, Windows 8


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40 Responses to “ HP teaches you Windows 8 because Microsoft won’t ”

  1. Ross Dargan Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    You appear to really have it in for windows 8. Just look at Amazon for all the getting started with windows 7 books. The fact that someone has released a book for free running on windows 8 is great, but not a sign that windows 8 is not intuitive.

    I would also strongly argue that the admin feature you get by right clicking (or pressing start button+x) is hardly a “revelation”. Its a great feature for admins, but hardly required for normal users.

    Yes there are a couple of features that are a tiny bit harder to find (the power option for example, but arguably the power button on a pc is easier to find anyway!)

    I’d love to read your thoughts on upgrading from windows 98 to windows xp, did you have the same amount of negativity then?

    Microsoft have been really ambitious with this release, and they frankly needed to be to stem the flow of users to Apple. Whilst I think this release will not be widely adopted in the enterprise, I think it will be well received by consumers.

  2. Mikhael Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    What happened to the Windows Tutorials?

    Microsoft used to do great “how to use a mouse, how to use Windows” tutorials with Windows 3.1, 3.11, 95, 98, etc.

    It all stopped with Windows XP which was a great shame as non-techies found this incredibly helpful.

    Can they please reinstate it!

  3. David Bayon Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Thanks for the comment, Ross. I agree Microsoft have been ambitious with Windows 8 – which is precisely why they should be doing everything possible to help new users at the beginning.

    If you’re going to change your whole interface, you have to show new users around if you want them to stay. We techies might work it out, but many users won’t, and it’s madness to lose them through sheer stubbornness.

    That’s the main issue here. It’s more a criticism of Microsoft than of Windows 8.


  4. Sammy Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Did it really take you weeks to figure out that you could press *any* key to move the lock screen.

    You didn’t think to press any key on the keyboard or click with the mouse?

    What were you doing for those weeks? Just staring at the screen waiting for someone to come and help?

  5. Richard Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    It is a great idea to find a way to remove the windows 8 low technology kiddie blocks screen, with its ‘nothing useful please pass along’ rubbish once called metro. Then you get to the half usable desktop. Ctrl+Alt+Del does give you a power button to turn it off and sticking short cut buttons on the screen will allow you to start your popular applications. As I remember hunting through the drive did allow other programs to be found, nowhere near as good as the present Windows 7 method but usable.
    Still I have now disabled the boot to Windows 8 option and will soon recover the Hard Drive I devoted to that detour.
    Why? It offered me nothing beyond frustration. I found it sad having used every version of windows since version 1 and, found the migrations from each to the next an easy positive, experience. Not this time, perhaps if I was a mobile device user it might have made sense. However, so far it has persuaded me to stick with my 8 year old feature-free mobile phone. Will Windows 8 succeed, perhaps it will, but I still search in vain for a reason to take an interest.

  6. David Bayon Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Sammy, having first seen the lock screen working on a tablet, I was unlocking it with an upwards mouse drag, like a finger swipe.

    Think that’s dumb? If I think back to all the people I’ve watched learning Windows 8, I could tell you a similar story about almost every new feature. What one person tries immediately, another won’t think of at all. That’s why tutorials are a sensible inclusion.


  7. Bobby Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    So what that some of you are wonderful and can find your way around in seconds.

    For everyone else, it’s a shame that Microsoft can’t make the effort to make it a bit easier.

    Even today, my Dad was telling me he is still using Word 2000 even though he has installed 2007 because of the change in interface.

    For some people it’s a big issue and it should be highlighted.

  8. Windows Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Shut Up You Silly Windows 8 Hater!!!
    Windows 8 offers more than any other operating system in the world.

    Include that Mac O S X Mountain Lion Poo.

    Mis Information and gradual ignorance from Microsoft (in the past e.g Windows Live) are the reason for the failure of Windows.

    It will be a system that millions will love and recognise.

    It will kill of iPhone and Blackberry and eventually (and sadly) – Android.

  9. toffer99 Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Windows 8 is a tragic mistake. A year from now it’ll be making Windows ME look like a combination of Nobel Prize and Oscar winner.

  10. Ronald Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    To Windows,
    windows 8 is a load of RUBBISH

  11. TheFountainOfAllKnowledge Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 4:59 pm


    This has to be the most ridiculous dribble I have ever heard… you seem to be suffering from the religious crusader traits that many Mac OS X are branded with in that there is room for only one operating system, desktop or mobile. This is categorically incorrect.

  12. aa121 Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Totally agree that MS needs to educate users. People who say Windows 8 is intuitive from the start need to wake up and look what happens when non tech people try using it.
    When you completely change 20 year old interface you can expect people to get confused.
    On the other hand who knows, maybe MS will do this via other means – i.e. throwing millions into TV ads, etc.

  13. tech3475 Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    MS are forgetting two things:
    1. Not everyone is good with computers
    2. Not everyone has a touchscreen.

    I know the day someone I know gets a W8 computer they will come to me because they don’t know what to do. Maybe something HP does but MS don’t might help but shouldn’t have to be done in the first place.

    Hell I know people who can’t rip a CD in iTunes or send email attachments despite the icon being right in front of them without tutorial.

    W8 is an OS which I can tolerate but don’t really like and one concern with relying on hacks to make me more comfortable with it is MS could break them.

    I’m going to say this, I will have one voluntary W8 computer in my house and that is only because:
    1. Just in case I ever require a metro app.
    2. I’m getting it for £15.
    3. I’ll still dual boot with W7 which will be my primary OS.

  14. Ben Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    I really hope Microsoft put a tutorial on it when it officially launches. To this day I still don’t know how to minimise a metro app, or close without Alt+F4, and as I know that most my friends / family don’t know keyboard short cuts I really can’t recommend Windows 8 to them just because I think the learning curve would be too frustrating from them.
    They seem to have to with the apple approach of ‘don’t ask people what they want, tell them’ only instead of making some of the most intuitive devices known to man, they’ve just confused us and hidden things. There seems to be quite a lot of positive press around Windows 8, but I think there’s going to be a whole wave of hate when non-techy people start trying to use it.
    (tablets excluded, I think it’ll do fine there, the interface makes sense on touch).
    I really hope they release a patch with an option for ‘I don’t want live tiles or metro or “modern” apps or whatever they are called, I just want my desktop back’ (not that I fear change or anything)

  15. aa121 Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Remember watching my wife using Windows 8 for the first time. She is what I would describe a normal non-technical user. Knows her way around Windows, but couldn’t care less about technical stuff.

    Initial reaction was – “Oh that’s different!” Even looked slightly exited. Then clicked on IE icon – “that must be how get on Internet…” After few minutes on Facebook, obvious question – “so… how do I get back???” I said you have figure it out yourself… Then just watched pointless mouse moving, right clicking, left clicking… At the end she just said – “OK, you use this thing” and just went back to her Windows 7 machine.

    Pretty sure this will be typical first experience normal users will have with Windows 8 on non-touch hardware. MS really need to invest heavily into educating people if they want to avoid this.

  16. Sammy Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    David – that gesture you describe with the mouse does actually clear the lock screen as does a finger swipe as does any key on the keyboard.

    So – if you’d done that, the lock screen would be gone.

    Again – did you really take weeks as an IT journalist or were you exaggerating?

  17. Windows8user Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Windows 8 does need a better tutorial video. Has anyone seen the one during installation? To move your cursor to either side of the screen etc etc….Though I’m in love with windows 8 so far after I got the hang of it….so smooth.

  18. Jack smith Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    i really think the downfall of windows 8 on desktops at least wont be the radical change but Microsofts lack of explanation of how to do things and failing to give an overview of new features. Once i learned how to use windows 8 and got it set up how i want i am really enjoying it.

  19. RIchard Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Having tried to use the full version of Windows 8 on my desktop since downloading it from TechNet almost a month ago, it still shocks me daily on how utterly un-intuitive and completely bonkers it is. Normal users just dont get it, and cant figure it out. The rush to Apple will only pick up pace from here!

  20. Aaron Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    Changes from Windows 8 to Windows 8:

    -Start menu is full-screen
    -Now you can run apps if you so desire
    -”Shut down” command moved from the start menu into a system-wide menu accessible via gesture. Because, you know, in previous versions of Windows it made perfect sense that you had to click “Start” to stop your computer from running (sarcasm).
    -Faster boot time, syncs your settings

    That’s it. Don’t like “Metro” and its apps? Don’t use them. You can just live in the desktop; it’s the same as Windows 7, anyhow.

    LONG STORY SHORT: Windows 8 is as confusing as an iPad, can do everything Windows 7 does (only faster).

  21. Aaron Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    I meant “Changes from Windows 7 to Windows 8.”

    Cue the grammar Nazis.

  22. Xavier Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    @Aaron, vee vil let you off zis time.

  23. deag Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Some will love and some will hate.

    Windows 8 is a marmite operating system… which is a problem.

    I think it will be a disaster for MS. It will alienate the corporates and those who don’t want to re-learn computing skills and will fall short of Apple for usability.

    Sorry for those that like it. I respect your right to that opinion… but you are wrong.

  24. Richard Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    I’m not inspired – this just looks like a support headache for all those users that can loose apps on their desktop even today! As for Helpful HP, has anyone else found this App, I’ve searched for HP, tutorial, getting, getting started, started and all to no avail… can it be this hard?

  25. Damian Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Hmmm… The official release date is the 26th yet according to this article MS has done nothing to teach anyone on how to use Win8.

    HOW DO YOU KNOW? It’s not even out yet. (…and yes I do have the final version from Technet)

    As for on the desktop: It’s easy.

    P.s. Why do I keep on bothering to come to PC Pro anymore? By the way… Maybe PC Pro can actually provide articles on how to use Windows 8 instead of jumping on the ‘drama’ bandwagon. Just a thought. After all the name of the magazine is ‘PC Pro’.

  26. Damian Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 10:51 pm


    So… I’m thinking that you’ll have a whole RESOURCE for Windows 8 just like Windows 7.

    “HP teaches you Windows 8 because Microsoft won’t” – Sad title, just sad.

  27. Moaners Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    Why are you people moaning, let it come before you start making dumb assumptions.

    Go to hell with your dieOS and Bandroids.

    A New type of fanboy nation is born one to fill the gap.

    Microsoft FTW!!!

  28. Mike Laye Says:
    September 5th, 2012 at 1:14 am

  29. Mike Baldwin Says:
    September 5th, 2012 at 11:03 am

    To all you Windows/Linux/IOS/Android – (delete where applicable) haters.If you don’t like the current flavour of any of the operating systems on offer, then go build your own!
    I believe Cambridge University can help you there….:-)

  30. fingerbob69 Says:
    September 5th, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    xp to vista to win7 was a case of evolution at work …there was always enough of the old to signpost your way through the new… and represents, for me 13 years of using computers. I never needed a tutorial. In fact, I had zero interest in the OS so long as the program/game I actually wanted to use, worked fine.

    win7 to win8… now I need to go back to school? The OS is now the final destination… or is it the store M$ want to sell you stuff from. Aaaaargh!

    Most telling is the rising awarness of third party ’shells’ that take everything you can see on the win8 desktop back to that of win7… it’s shows a real failure on the part of M$ to convince people of the revolution(and not in the good sense of that word) of win8 as opposed to the evolution of the os in the past.

  31. Ian Haynes Says:
    September 6th, 2012 at 9:07 am

    There’s a good ‘Getting started with Windows 8′ video on YouTube by a Windows MVP, Mike Halsey.

  32. thomas lee Says:
    September 6th, 2012 at 9:08 am

    As I expected, this piece has received some fan-boi responses (Win8 is perfect what are you talking about) as well as negative ones (Win8 is unusable). I’ve got over 30 years of experience with MS OSs – and this one is the hardest yet for new or naive users to figure out. Sure – there are lots of things you CAN do (eg windows-x, pin what you need to the desktop, etc), but why should I have to? Metro on a tablet is nice (well it will be once we have more stable and useful Metro apps!), but awful on a PC. Even Apple doesn’t force the IOS interface onto the mac desktop/laptop boxes. The Metro interface is going to be a turn off to a LOT of corporate knowledge workers who are NOT fan-bois, and who do not want to have to learn a totally new approach. Right now, I can not recommend my corporate customers to take Win8 except for techies. Let me be clear – WIn8 has some really great features and I use it daily on my laptop (and have done for nearly a year). I still think the bi-polar interface is stupid. Thankfully, OEMs like HP realise they need to do something if users are to take this new OS. And that something is a lot better than WIN8 RTM’s “tutorial” included in the OOBE. Maybe with Windows 9, once all the Metro-fan-bois are gone form MSFT, we’ll get a more sensible UI for ALL users.

  33. dusty_dex Says:
    September 6th, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Help!! where is the ANY key?

  34. AlanS Says:
    September 6th, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    ” -”Shut down” command moved from the start menu into a system-wide menu accessible via gesture.”


    If Win 8 is so like Win 7 why is MS so adamant that we most do it their way. Most other upgrades included a “classic” mode in the preferences so why not this?

  35. nuzsam Says:
    September 6th, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    I think it’s not that difficult to get a hang of the new Windows, but it entirely depends on how much time and willingness you have on hand. We downloaded Windows 8 RTM on our old crappy Dell inspiron out of curiosity, wowed on the new interface display for a while but then got frustrated with the interface itself and went back using our Window 7 machines. Our 5-year-old son picked up the inspiron and now after a couple of weeks he shows us how to get around on the new OS and do stuff, like shutting down the computer.

  36. B Pratt Says:
    September 6th, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    My guess would be that M$ is just too embarrassed about 8 and the apparently drug-addled Steve Ballmer.

  37. John Says:
    September 6th, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    I agree totally with aa121, my first question after using windows 8 for a few mins was “how do I go back?”. The desktop interface needs a back button, or a home button – bit like every phone/ tablet OS has.
    I can’t say i’ll be rushing to buy windows 8. I tried to do something, which is easy on any other PC’s (win, linux) – I tried to look up an address on a map from an address in an email. I would normally put two windows on the screen side by side and copy the address from one to the other (simple copy paste never seems to work for addresses as you end up editing them before it find the place you want). Now I have tried several times in “metro” and I can’t figure out how to put two windows side by side, so performing this simple task is really hard. I have a 22in monitor – I don’t want everything to be maximized. The best feature of windows 7 is aero snap – why can’t we have that in “metro”?

  38. Davi Says:
    September 7th, 2012 at 10:41 am

    I agree with all the comments about moving up the OS ladder from Windows 1 to 7, as such transfer was relatively easy. So, how do I do anything in Windows 8? Also easy, wait until October/November/December when lots of “Windows 8 for Dummies” variations are due to be released. As for Microsoft releasing any useful instructions, very unlikely… somehow they’ve lost their reality brain.

  39. Jon Says:
    September 7th, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    these are comments for using WIN 8 on a desktop, as for tablets maybe its all whizzy and wonderful.

    Windows is a GUI, except Microsoft have forgotten to include the Graphical part for a lot of functions people are used to using.

    Its not a Guess how it works interface.

    It is bad enough they have changed the user interface so much in the first place when it wasn’t broken. It is truly dire that given how these features work without any graphical elements to interact with there is no tutorial on how it works.

    I’ll give apple one thing there user interface is elegant, user friendly and intuitive.

    Windows users have been trained on previous iterations which given how counter intuitive windows 8 is an absolute disaster.

  40. Roland Says:
    September 12th, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    It does look like the major platform vendors are copying each other by not providing any user tutorials etc.

    Remember the Apple iPad shipped without any documentation – okay there was a small guide that pointed out the buttons so you could turn it on, but basically the expectation was that the user would just find their own way around. As we know there are many features of this interface that are not intuitive for various reasons – I remember seeing various parents waiting at the school gate exchanging their ‘discoveries’. One of the most glaring is the icon labelled ‘Safari’ next to the icons labelled ‘mail’ and ‘calendar’ – somee (normal non-IT) people not familar with Apple’s products had problems locating the ‘web browser’.

    But I do like HP’s approach… Currently the only way to get hold of their guide is to use Windows 8 to navigate to the Windows Store etc. etc.

    For those who can’t find the Windows Store the instructions are:

    If you want to give “Getting Started for Windows 8″ a try just launch the Windows Store from the Windows 8 Start screen, type HP and click the search button. Finally click the app, review it and click Install.


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