You start in a small box called the "relaxation vault", unable to get out. After a few seconds, GLaDOS will introduce you to the game:
Hello and again welcome to the Aperture Science Computer-Aided Enrichment Centre. We hope your brief detention in the relaxation vault has been a pleasant one. Your specimen has been processed and we are now ready to begin the test proper. Before we start, however, keep in mind that although fun and learning are the primary goals of the enrichment centre activities, serious injuries may occur. For your own safety, and the safety of others, please refrain from…
At this point, the voice is subsumed by static, and nothing can be made out, until GLaDOS counts down to the vault opening. Such outbursts of static will happen frequently when you are about to be given potentially useful information, just to make things harder.
Walkthrough - the first puzzle
The vault opens with a portal; a hole in space from one place to another — in this case, from inside the vault to a wall facing it. Looking through this portal, you can see yourself in the vault. You'd better get used to such paradoxes, as Portal is full of them, and indeed, they are the basis for the game.
Exit the vault, and proceed to the next room, which contains the first puzzle. This puzzle is designed to get you acquainted with the basics of the game, and all that is required is for you to pick up the cube and put it on the button to open the door. With the default keybindings, pick up the cube by pointing at it and pressing , then move it to the button and press again to release it. The door will open, and you can proceed to the chamberlock to get to the next level.
No Cheating SpeedRun in One Segment for Mere Mortals
In this guide, the page for each individual chamber includes a section with this name. The section contains advice for no-cheats speedrunners that is specific to that chamber. For background information on speedruns, refer to the Portal speedrunning overview page. Refer also to the tips page for general advice on completing chambers quickly. In the remaining chamber pages, a wikilink in the section heading will take you to the speedrunning overview page should you want to go there.
There's not much you can do to bypass or finesse anything in this, the first, chamber, so just make sure not to waste any time. Move through the portals the instant they open and don't bump into anything as you walk to the button room. If you find that jumping makes you go faster, then by all means jump. Go directly to the dispenser, as your approach triggers the arrival of the cube. Grab the cube before it hits the floor. If you can throw the cube, then all well and good, otherwise walk over to the button and place it securely on. Immediately walk through the door and into the exit chamberlock. You should be in the chamberlock within one minute and 15 seconds from the appearance of the aiming crosshairs. Most of that time you will have spent standing around waiting for the first portal to open.