The bottom part of Settings is the same no matter where you are; it lets you change global Windows 8 settings for your network, sounds, screen, notifications, power and keyboard. Click the "Change PC settings" link at the bottom of the screen to get to the new "PC settings" screen, which lets you customize how the most important features of Windows 8 work from a single location.
For example, its Personalize section lets you change your account picture and the background images for your lock screen and Start screen, and choose which Windows 8 apps -- Weather, Mail and so on -- should deliver information to the lock screen. (Desktop apps can't send information to the lock screen.)
The PC settings screen: one-stop shopping for customizing how Windows 8 works.Click to view larger image.
If you're signed into Windows with a non-Microsoft ID account, here's where you can change that. Click Users, then click "Switch to a Microsoft account" and you'll be able to sign in with an existing Microsoft ID, or else create a new one and sign in with that.
You can also change myriad other system settings, including app notifications, search preferences, privacy options and more. The settings are all straightforward and self-explanatory. Just click the one you want to change and get to work.
One noteworthy section in the PC settings screen is "Sync your settings." Microsoft built Windows 8 assuming that people would be using it with multiple devices. This feature lets you sync some of your settings among them.
You can sync your lock screen; account picture; Desktop personalizations; passwords for apps, websites and networks; app, browser and mouse settings; and so on. Simply turn on or off which items you want to sync or not sync.
You can customize how your settings sync among multiple devices. Click to view larger image.
More systemwide navigation
When you first start using Windows 8, the navigation will probably confuse you -- particularly because Windows 8's two interfaces coexist uneasily. To help ameliorate that, Windows 8 has a number of systemwide navigational features that are available wherever you are -- on the Start screen, the Desktop, inside a Windows 8 app or in a Desktop app. The Charms bar is one of them, but there are others as well.