Windows 8 is made for work. It will simplify access to your tools and keep your business working in the most efficient way. Getting started is simple, just follow the easy steps below to get on your way.
If you have a touch screen computer you will want to become familiar with the new commands. Learn how to touch, swipe and tap to navigate your screen.

Windows screen keyboard To use the touch keyboard, tap in a text field or other area where you can type. The keyboard will be displayed automatically.

Learn how to use a mouse and keyboard with Windows 8.

Step 1: Install your applications

The first step in getting Windows 8 ready for your small business, is to set up your apps and tiles. Each of your business apps are represented by a tile on the Start Screen. There are two types of tiles, static tiles and live tiles. Static tiles are tiles that represent programs such as Internet Explorer or places such as Desktop and live tiles are programs such as your calendar, task lists, and email.

Note: Anytime you are installing apps on your computer you might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.

Note: Devices running Windows RT can only install apps (programs) through the Windows Store.

To install an app from the Windows Store

  1. Open Start by swiping in from the right edge of the screen (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen and moving the mouse pointer down), and then tapping or clicking Start.
  2. Tap or click Store and then tap or click an app, and then tap or click Buy, Try, or Install

To install an app from a CD or DVD, USB, or other medium

Insert the disc or attach the storage medium (such as a USB fob) to your PC, and then follow the instructions on your screen.

To install a program from the Internet

Before you download and install programs from the Internet, make sure you trust the publisher of the program and the website that's offering the program.

  1. In your web browser, tap or click the link to the program.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • To install the program now, tap or click Open or Run, and then follow the instructions on your screen.
    • To install the program later, tap or click Save or Save as to download the program. This is a safer option because you can scan the program for viruses before you install it. When you're ready to install it, double-tap or double-click the file, and then follow the instructions on your screen.

Step 2: Customize the Start Screen

Now that you have installed all your applications, you can customize the Start screen so that all of your important business applications are accessible in the most prominent way.

Tip: Not all tiles are live. Some tiles like the small ones are static, like an icon, and won’t update as your data or pictures do.

Arranging the tiles on the Start screen for your business

Things you frequently use, or that you want your employees to use like your Sales program or your business website can be displayed prominently on your Start screen.

Adding apps, websites, and more to Start

Not everything can be pinned but you can pin the following types of items to your start screen:

  • Websites from Internet Explorer – Such as your business website
  • Files or Folders you use often
  • Contacts such as your Office Manager, or perhaps the business Owner
  • Your line of business or point of sale application

Step 3: Connecting to Wi-Fi, and the Internet

More and more computing is done on mobile devices such as laptops, tablets, the Surface, and smart phones. You can take your office with you almost everywhere you go. Windows 8 based devices commonly use either Wi-Fi or a mobile broadband network like 3G/4G or LTE network to get online. To use mobile broadband, you need hardware (built-in or external) that will work with mobile broadband and a data plan with a mobile broadband provider.

Connect to the Internet

To view a list of available networks swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Settings), and then tap or click the network icon (network icon or computer icon). Press and hold or right-click the name of your mobile broadband network, change any auto connect settings that you want to change, and then tap or click Connect.

For more information on connecting wirelessly to the Internet see the Windows on line topic: Connect to the Internet

If you need to set up your small business network this step-by-step guide might be a good place to start: Guide to setting up your small business network

Caution: if you have a limited data allowance be careful about automatically connecting to the internet. You can incur high data charges if you don’t have a plan that makes roaming and data usage affordable. Setting up metering for your connection might help limit the extra usage that can happen when Windows downloads updates or other data in the background.

To learn more: Mobile broadband from start to finish

Step 4: Connecting printers and devices

In Windows 8 it is easier than ever to set up your devices and hardware. More often than not, Windows will find your drivers and software and install them for you. If Windows doesn’t recognize the device, you will be prompted for drivers that you will need to get from the manufacturers website.

To open Control Panel click in the upper right corner or sweep in from the right edge of the screen, tap or click Search, type Control Panel in the search box, tap or click Apps, and then tap or click Control Panel.

If you want to see all the devices connected to your PC, open the Settings charm, tap or click Change PC settings, and then tap or click Devices. Alternately, if you want to see the devices and printers installed you can tap or click Search, tap or click Settings, type View devices in the search box, and then tap or click View devices and printers.

How to install and manage printers and devices

Step 5: Staying safe

Today our lives are constantly connected to the internet, smart phones, tablets, laptops, all want to connect automatically and update information. Windows 8 has several ways of helping to defend your interests.

Check Action Center to make sure your firewall is on, your antimalware protection is up to date, and your PC is set to install updates automatically.

Windows 8 also includes Windows Firewall, which actively watches and restricts the connections to and from your computer from outside your trusted network.

Windows 8 comes with Windows Defender to help protect against Malware. Malware attacks are often associated with downloading and viewing pages on the Internet.

To learn more about network security this step-by-step guide might be a good place to start: Protect your small business network

Windows 8 security check list

Step 6: Connecting with others

Email is vital for small businesses and for some it has become a default communication method, connecting people all over the world. Windows 8 includes a Mail app, as well as a calendar, and address book that will help you manage your small business.

The Calendar app and People app (address book) are connected to your email so you can easily set appointments, select people from your address book and email an invitation out to the meeting. Setting up your email accounts in the Mail app automatically adds them to both the Calendar app and the People app making all the information available throughout your Windows 8 computer.

Identifying the Mail and Calendar Apps Both are visible on the Start menu by default when you start Windows. They can be live tiles if you want them to show the most recent messages title and sender and upcoming appointments.

The first time you open Mail it will ask you to add your Microsoft Account. If you don’t already have one you can set up a new account at http://outlook.com

To add another Hotmail, Exchange, or Google Mail account:

  1. Tap or click the Mail tile on the Start screen.
  2. Open the Settings Charm, and tap or click the Accounts link in Mail
  3. Tap Add an account, select the type of account to add, and then follow the on-screen instructions.

More resources

Additional support options
Ask The Microsoft Small Business Support Community
Contact Microsoft Small Business Support
Find Microsoft Small Business Support Certified Partner
Find a Microsoft Store For In-Person Small Business Support