I am also using window 8. At first I hated it, but now I am getting use to it, liking it, and I find that it's faster than Windows 7. I just ignore the tile screen, go directly to the desktop, and find that for the everyday user there are not much changes. If however you are an administrator, then there is lot of new way of doing things.
the tile screen has the advantage of automatically updating my email, facebook, weather, stock quotes, etc. It's just like live tiles on my Lumia 920. Very similar. I also use the desktop, but not having the "start" button made some things tricky. I still need to learn how to start programs without going through all the steps. Before on WIndows 7, just click the start button and find the program. Now that isn't an option.
The whole screen is your start button now. If you have a touch screen swipe up from the bottom of screen. Click all apps. When you see a program you want to add to the main screen:
1.) Right click on the icon.
2.) On the bottom of screen click pin to start.
3.) Press Windows button
4.) Scroll or swipe to right to see new program on the start screen.
4.) Hold down on the icon and drag to where you want it on the screen.
You can do this on the desktop or main screen
To find anything control panel, run, calculator, etc:
1.) Swipe in from left of screen.
2.) Click top icon that says search. Enter what you are looking for.
3.) Right click on the icon to pin it to start or double click to open it.