I do wish you the best of luck! Windows 8 as you probably know, doesn't have the "start menu" like in Windows 7 and before. But there are plenty of start menu programs out there. I use:
I like it.
In another thread, a free start menu program was discussed, but until I can confirm, independantly the country the author is from, and where he lives now (country), I won't use it. Most of the references I've found was written up by the author himself, and I won't rely on that.
Hopefully, you'll see this before you try Windows 8. In Windows 8.1, if you're connected to the Internet, it will attempt to force you to create a Microsoft (LIVE) account. Simply unplug the ethernet cable, and don't enable wi-fi during the install, and it won't make you create a Microsoft (LIVE) account. Once you finish the setup, and you see the start screen the first time, you can then plug in the cable and/or enable wi-fi and continue to install programs, run updates, etc.
Also, if you use office (and other M$ products), they make it hard to get the updates for office, etc, unlike the other versions of windows. Here is how to enable office updates:
1. Get to the Start screen (normally pressing the WIN key).
2. Type (no quotes): "Windows Updates".
3. Select "Windows Update Settings".
4. Choose "How Updates Get Installed".
5. Check "Give me updates for other Microsoft Products When I update Windows".
6. Click Apply.
8. Run updates