So let's start at the very beginning - for someone who has not even opened the box. Many people are hesitant to get started but once you get going you may forget how to push the buttons on your machine. It's time to get the software on your computer and start creating!
The sticker can be seen at the bottom of the envelope (the numbers have been blurred but there are six groups separated by dashes). There were some copies of the software that were distributed with stickers that only have five groups of numbers. If you have only five groups you will need to contact Customer Service to obtain a proper serial number.
Quickstart Guide and the User Manual are available to download online - click on the name of each to go directly to these resources.
On more important link is to the Design Studio FAQ page on Cricut.com. If you run into difficulties, some of your questions may be answered there but I believe that the page needs some updating. For example, the latest version of the program works fine on Vista 64 bit computers (I am using it on my Vista 64 bit computer on a daily basis).
Design Studio Page. Click on the link marked with the arrow to download Design Studio updates. If you are already registered and signed in on the Cricut.com site you will go directly to the page.
message board and there is a great community of helpful people who are experienced with the software and may be able to help when you have those "middle of the night" questions.
(Edited for new update 10-28-09)