The AZERTY keyboard layout is rarely used in North America; by default, most Windows 8 machines are set to use the QWERTY keyboard as part of their regional settings. By accessing the regional language settings menu, however, you can make the switch to AZERTY easily. There are several AZERTY keyboards to choose from, some of which use specialized special characters of symbols for accenting.
Press "Windows-X" to launch the power user menu, then click "Control Panel." You can also access the Language menu from the Charms menu's search feature, but the Control Panel is generally faster and simpler.
Click "Change Input Methods" from the "Clock, Language and Region" group. If you have Control Panel set to list view, click "Language" instead; they both lead to the same menu screen.
Click "Options" next to the box displaying your currently selected language. By default, it's set to the default language for the region in which the computer was purchased, or the language you selected during set up.
Click "Add an input method" from the Input Method section and select an AZERTY keyboard from the list. There are several on the list, but your best bet is to choose one such as "French," "Belgium (Period)" or "Luxembourgish," as they are less likely to have unusual symbols.
Click "Add" to add the keyboard to your language options, then click "Save" to confirm the addition. Once the keyboard is saved, you can switch to the new keyboard any time by pressing "Shift-Ctrl."
If you don't need the QWERTY keyboard setting, remove it from your list of input languages. This will keep you from accidentally switching by bumping the Shift and Ctrl keys at the same time.
You can add any number of keyboard layouts and languages, all of which can be accessed with the "Shift-Ctrl" keyboard command. Each time you enter the command, it'll switch to the next one in the list sequentially, so memorize the order for maximum effectiveness.
Try to avoid loading too many keyboard languages at one time. With too many languages, switching can become more cumbersome than it is useful. Maintain only the layouts and languages you need on a regular basis, then add and remove less frequently used ones on an as-needed basis.