Learn Windows 8 basics with Microsoft's 'training brochure'

Windows 8 is here to stay, and whatever tweaks Microsoft makes in its upcoming Windows Blue release, many users find the new interface difficult to master.

That wouldn't be such a big deal if Microsoft gave you an instruction manual for learning all the new features, but, alas, I certainly didn't find one in the "box." (I bought and downloaded the upgrade several months back, so there was no box.)

Actually, there is a manual of sorts, though how anyone would ever find it is beyond me. It's called the Windows 8 End User Training Brochure, which sounds like something aimed at MIcrosoft Store salespeople, not everyday users.

That said, it's a very handy little resource, a 36-page introduction to Windows 8's interface and operation.

Specifically, it covers all aspects of the Start screen, from basic navigation to picture passwords, then delves into features like the new File Explorer, File History, and business-level stuff like BitLocker and Windows To Go.

The guide concludes with useful reference pages like "Get to know the language of touch" (a cheat-sheet for users with touchscreen PCs) and "What to do with your mouse" (for those without).

This is a genuinely helpful guide for Windows 8 newcomers, and I can't help wondering why it's not bundled with the operating system, a live tile that appears front and center when you first start your PC. Maybe (hopefully) Microsoft plans to include it in Blue (a.k.a. Windows 8.1). Thankfully, you don't have to wait.

While we're on the subject of learning Windows 8, find out how you can take a free online course, then check out my three quick ways to ease your transition to the new OS.

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at hasslefree@pcworld.com, or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PCWorld ForumsSign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.

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