How-To Geek

Windows 8 Step by Step Review: Solid Book for Beginners


You might be surprised to see us reviewing a Windows 8 book, especially considering we recently launched our own book, The How-To Geek Guide to Windows 8 – but since we don’t (yet) have a paperback version, we may as well give you another option.

Note: we are indeed working on a paperback version of our book, but it’ll probably be a month before it’s available. Plus, the Step-by-Step book is written by Ciprian Rusen, a personal friend of mine, and it’s published by none other than Microsoft Press.

The Book

We’re not going to go into great detail, since we find book reviews to be quite boring, but there’s a few points that we’d like to talk about concerning this book, both the good and the bad.

The good

  • Great for Beginners: If you’re a beginner, this is definitely a solid book for you. They cover things like the Start Screen, personalizing, the built-in apps, basic networking, multimedia, family safety, and more. Anything that is new in Windows 8 is covered thoroughly.
  • Step by Step Instructions: Just like the title implies, this is the one book out there (other than ours) that really takes care to go through everything in steps with pictures, but still have lots of coverage.
  • Fairly Inexpensive: The paperback version of this book is currently just $19.79 in the Amazon US store, and considering the book is 784 pages long, that’s a good deal. The Kindle version is priced at $14 – less of a bargain.
  • Table of Contents is Easy to Understand: The table of contents is laid out in a very easy to understand way – each section of each chapter is about how to solve a problem or how to do something. So if you want to know how to connect your Facebook account to the People app, it’s right there in the table of contents.
  • Good Coverage: Nearly everything new to Windows 8 is covered in this book. Don’t be fooled by other books that say they will give you “secrets” because there’s almost nothing that they cover that isn’t also covered in this book. Or our book, for that matter.

The bad

  • Touch Gestures Covered in the Appendix: Given the fact that Windows 8 is so focused on the new Touch-friendly interface, we were surprised that you have to flip to the Appendix to actually see coverage of the new touch gestures. We suspect that many people will be using Windows 8 for the first time on a touch-enabled device, so we’d think it would have been right up front and center. Note: the touch gestures are covered within the text of the book, just not illustrated until the end.
  • Typos: We don’t have a lot of room to talk here, since the first version of our book also had typos in it, but just be prepared if you’re the type of person to get upset about some typos.
  • Confusing Intro: When you open the book, it’s to a section called “Introducing Windows 8”. Then you flip a bunch of pages further and the first chapter is also called “Introducing Windows 8” – in the table of contents, they are both listed, but each one contains something different and you really need to read both. It’s a little confusing.

Bottom line

  • If you want a paperback book that covers Windows 8 the way How-To Geek does, and you don’t want to wait a month or more for our book to come out in paperback, this is a solid choice.

You can get the book through this Amazon link – and you should also check out the “Click to Look Inside” section so you can see the table of contents and part of the first chapter. You can also look in your local bookstore if you want, hopefully it’ll be there.

Windows 8 Step by Step [Paperback] on

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/5/12

Comments (9)

  1. Ciprian

    I would like to make a clarification. Where it makes sense, in our Step by Step exercises we provide both touch and mouse and keyboard instructions.
    So, you have both the Appendix with all the touch gestures but also instructions for touch where touch makes sense in Windows 8. For example, you won’t hear much about touch in the chapter about File Explorer but you will when discussing the new Internet Explorer app, when using the SkyDrive app, etc.

  2. The Geek

    That’s a good point, the touch actions are covered in the text. The full picture guide is in the appendix.

  3. Joli Ballew

    Thanks for the review, How To Geek!!

  4. Jeff Burns

    Thanks you for your review. I will be buying the book. I also bought yours earlier but found it very confusing. I couldn’t disagree with you more on the point that most (or even many) people will be running Windows 8 on touch equipment. My computer business is focused on supporting individual users. For two reasons, they won’t be running Windows 8 anytime soon, if ever. First, they don’t own touch equipment and feel no need to go buy new equipment, just to satisfy a Microsoft whim. Second, why would any sane person dump everything they know, everything they have sweated bullets to painfully learn how to do on their current system, to deliberately switch to a system that will basically require them to start over? As you know, it’s actually worse and a lot more complex than that.

    My complaint about your book is that in reading your book, the reader who intends to continue with mouse and keyboard finds himself constantly being interrupted by touch instructions and notes about one of the 111 keyboard shortcuts that Microsoft thinks we should memorize! Has everyone forgotten that this is the same society which found setting the time on their VCR’s too daunting a task?

  5. James Sunday

    I bought this publication about five weeks ago and find it a worthwhile purchase. It’s helped me quickly solve a number of frustrations that I have encountered during my changeover from Windows 7. An aside, I don’t use (or have) a touch monitor, but I tried using a Logitech touchpad; I prefer the mouse/keyboard technique.

  6. Ciprian

    @James – I’m glad you find it useful.

  7. Dic

    Yesterday, I completed editing my MS (created in Microsoft Word) for a novel, soon to be uploaded to Kindle, and can almost guarantee it now contains no typos, extra spaces, missed spaces, etc.

    I achieved this by checking every word and every punctuation mark, etc, by reading from the end of the final chapter to the beginning of the first, every line, from right to left.

    Since I lose patience with sloppy work, I shall heed Geek’s noting that the book here in question contains many typos, and not buy it.

  8. Dic

    Windows 8: Out of the Box, by Mike Halsey, is available for download from Amazon — for $2.51. Now that’s a five-star bargain.

  9. your humble narrator

    So how many steps to reinstall Windows 7?

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