As you sort out the stakes, you'll notice that four of them are longer than the others. These 16" stakes are specifically for the guy ropes that go the long (center) poles in front and back. These poles and ropes get much more stress than the others, but these longer stakes should stay put even when the ground is soft and the winds are high.
Speaking of ropes, the ropes that go to the long (center) poles need to be longer than the other guy ropes, because the poles are longer than the others. We have therefore provided you with two rope sets with longer ropes. They can be distinguished from the others by a piece of ribbon tied to the loop where it slips over the pole stud. So if you're setting up the center poles and find that there's no ribbon tied to the loop of your ropes, stop right there - the rope won't be long enough for the center poles - and find a rope set with the ribbon.
There's a ring threaded onto the bottom loop of each rope. Putting your stakes through the ring, rather than the loop itself, will probably double the life of your ropes.
If you've ordered the sunshade with natural ropes, you're probably wondering what those little hooks on the slides are for. They help lock the rope into the slide, to keep it from loosening if the winds are strong or gusty. Just slip the lower part of the rope into the hook. It's true that these hooks are a little bit of a hassle sometimes, but they really help keep the ropes tensioned.
One more thing: if you've ordered the natural ropes, be aware that they have probably been treated with some sort of oil as a preservative. If these ropes come into contact with the fabric of the sunshade, the oil will migrate from the rope to the fabric, causing unsightly spots. That's why we usually store the ropes separately from the fabric, or put them into a plastic bag before stuffing them into the sunshade bag.