Category Archives: Windows Help & Tips

Windows help & tips

image681

Updated! Posting to WordPress Blogs with OneNote Only

Credits: PGSRamblings

Windows Live Writer is god-tool to all Bloggers, no matter your file and rank. That is the first tool you install after installing any OS upgrade. Windows 8 is no difference to this rule, except there is a problem. If you decide to go the route of mobile computing and minimalistic blogging on the go, there’s no way to do that with Microsoft Surface or Surface 2. These are pure ARM devices that doesn’t allow you to install any other Desktop apps except for the ones that came with it from the factory.

So you can’t install Windows Live Writer, bummer you said. No buying of Surface for you. Well I have good news for you. Whatever your reason will be, lack of Windows Live Writer will no more be your excuse.

Those that follow me on Twitter know my whining to @Automattic every once in a while about the lack-luster WordPress app for Win8 they dropped in the Store about two years ago, and promptly forgotten about it. It hasn’t received a single update in two years. In this App, you’re practically limited to basic editing, and no local attachment of pictures. Yes, you can add internet pictures, but anything local is burst. I have begged them to fix this app to no avail.

Then I started thinking critically, this is the 21st Century, live should be easier than this. For me, I have moved from Desktop Apps to fully mobile experience. I don’t install Desktop apps on any of my x86 Tablets, (Have about 3 of them), I can’t install on MS Surface that I love so much. I have gone the green route on my Desktops, so the less Desktop Apps the better.

Then I remembered something from the young days of WordPress, they allow you to publish to your blogs by mail posts. Ok, lets check if it still exists in the 21st century, and there you are! It’s still a supported feature!

Now don’t get me wrong, this is a glaring security risk, WordPress gives you a mail address to which you could mail anything and it will get published immediately. Therefore, if anyone should get hold of your address book, they can basically publish to your blog. But that is less frustration if you can manage the security of your devices. Now, let’s check if that mail feature supports full HTML markup. Picture and all. Voila! It does.

So, there it is, WordPress problem on Windows Metro solved. We have a better tool in Windows 8 that is far better than Windows Live Writer, it is called OneNote. I don’t need to tell you about OneNote, it is an app that any Information junkie should be using. Period.

Now suppose I could compose my blog posts in OneNote, with its rich writing experience, spell-check, and formatting experience, I could just press the Share to button, select to Share to Windows 8 Mail App, select my Blog WordPress mail address and presto, a blog post. I am in paradise!

I used the above technique to post the McAkins Online Article below:

Open Share Charm, select to share to Mail App:

You get the full OneNote article in the Share Pane. Remove the OneNote Title metadata and Mail Signatures as shown in Yellow below. WordPress will use the Mail Subject line that has be entered for you by OneNote, you can of course change the title here.

Press the Send Mail button and you’re done. Your post is live within half a minute. One disadvantage to this is that the posts are published under “UnCategorized” or default category. Also there are no tags, no excerpts etc. You have to login to WordPress to do these updates. But at least, you now have the chance from OneNote to Publish in no time.

[UPDATE] What a joy, please neglect above strike-throughs. You can use shortcodes in your mail to specify all necessary tags and category information, and delay or set posting time! Just scroll a bit down on the page and read all about it.

Of course this is a temporary solution till Automattic decides to update their WordPress client in the Windows Store. We just have to bear the little risk that if anyone hack your addressbook, they also have access to your site publications till you change the publish email address for your blog site.

(For those waiting for my second treatise about OneNote, please consider this as the second publication. I wanted to show you also the workaround on how to attach files to OneNote, but that is already a supported feature in OneNote now. My excuse for being late with that.)

About these ads
image68

High System Interrupts CPU Usage in Windows 8

This past period I re-loaded my Desktop PC to use one of the modern APU from AMD. I went from a powerful Quad-Core system to an APU On-board low power system. I did this out of a conscious choice to start limiting my impact on carbon emission and of course lower my utility bills. I am mostly in browse or Coding mode most of the time, I don’t game at all, so my need for a monster powered system of decades ago, is no more responsible in this green age. I mean, my desktop is like 24hr alive, so this is really necessary.

After the re-load, I was faced with two issues immediately. Video Driver issues which I wouldn’t bother you with in this article. I was eventually able to fix it by double installation of Win8. Simply to refresh the system.

The second and persistent problem was the high CPU usage of the System Interrupts.

Mine was running on constant average of 20% which as a Windows expert I know it means trouble in paradise. In the IDE HDD years, you know this means a HDD is using low level mode instead of the DMA mode. But these days, all HDDs use DMA mode, just to be sure, I wanted to check, yup, all my HDDs are on UDMA mode. So what could be causing this headache. High Interrupt use means warm CPU and waste of energy.

I scoured the internet for a solution, none are relevant to me. Now there is no tool that I know of that can show you Interrupt CPU usage and from where the break requests are coming from. So I decided something that years of experience has taught me: Defragment your HDD when having Perf issues.

Well, it worked like a charm, I defragged the System Drive fully, offline fully if you know what I mean. The result is what you see above. Interrupts now averages 0.5%.

So there you go guys, maintain your spinning HDDs, it helps. Of course this solution will not/should not apply to SSDs, but unfortunately, those are also notorious to frags. But you should let Windows maintain SSDs as recommended by Microsoft. As you know they have limited Write life compared to traditional HDDs.

XP Still Not Completely Dead to Microsoft

 

msohtmlclipclip_image001

Today I fired up an old XP box just out of curiosity to see the security status of XP anno June 2014, and lo and behold I have one Security update which in this case is the Malicious Software Removal for June 2014.

Then I thought while we are at it, lets see the status of MS Security Essentials, and yes, it is still being updated daily by MS as you can see below:

msohtmlclipclip_image002

Like I initially reported and contrary to popular opinion, MS has not completely abandoned XP users, it is still making sure they are not the Internet Trojans everyone is purporting them to be after EoL.

Of course this doesn’t mean that you should still sit on XP, it is a dead OS. You may be making the Net unsafe for all of us as is. You don’t want to come to a Gun warfare with a knife. Get off of this time bomb called XP now while you still safely can.

windows 98 se Large

How to Install Windows 98 — Video Tutorial

windows 98 se Large

Need to install Windows 98 on an old PC? Trying to run an old software on a Windows 98 virtual machine? This video demonstrates how to install Windows 98 as well as devices drivers for Windows 98.

I install the OS on a VMware Virtual Machine, but the steps should work on a real PC too. I installed Windows 98 recently on my 13 year old PC, and it went flawlessly.

You need to make sure, however, that you have the drivers for your hardware; otherwise, you may be stuck with a bad experience, such as lack of sound or low color depth and screen resolution. Enjoy the video. If you have any questions, please leave a comment, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible, God Willing. Continue reading

msohtmlclipclip_image001.png

Making OneNote MX Better – Part 1

msohtmlclipclip_image001

Some people have recently discovered Microsoft’s OneNote and within no time it has become a tool of choice to organize their lives. Rightly so.

As for me, I was using OneNote when it was first known as the Clipboard in Microsoft NetMeeting. Believe it or not, in those days even long after NetMeeting died, I would install NetMeeting just to use its clipboard. It was so easy to use as a digital-scratch book; to dump your daily experience and for those rare moments in life when a lamp lights up on top of your head.

It was joy then to see, when the NetMeeting people branched out the Clipboard as a standalone app that we know today as OneNote. It has become the joy of my life, both professionally and in private life. I just can’t imagine life now without OneNote. Oh yes, for those of you that don’t know your history and swear by EverNote, OneNote was there when they lifted the idea to create EverNote.

So enough of history. This post is about making OneNote MX better. I was a fan of OneNote for Desktop, all of its iterations, but I have moved fully over to OneNote MX. That is the Touch-enabled version of OneNote for Windows 8 Metro interface.

The reason I prefer the MX version is simple. I am a multi-device person, I love OneNote ubiquity to death. Therefore I have lot of my personal and professional Knowledgebase on OneNote. I do a lot of casual reading thus on my tablets. Secondly, I am gradually weaning myself off of the Desktop. It is history. Desktop environment sucks battery life on mobile devices. The less desktop apps you have running the longer your battery life.

So here is OneNote MX rocking my life, but I miss a lot of the features I’ve come to depend upon in the Desktop version as follows:

  • Documents and Media Attachments:

Figure 1: OneNote Desktop with full Inserts.
Figure 1: OneNote Desktop with full Inserts.

  • Audio/Video Inserts with Time Sync
  • Password Protected Notes creation and consumption
  • Ability to add Caption to pictures

msohtmlclipclip_image003
Figure 2: The New Store as example of Picture with Caption

 

Those are Desktop version features that I miss the most, I am sure you can think up a few for yourselves. Now unto feature requests for OneNote MX:

  • Support Ink Stroke smoothing on ALL devices. On Dell Venue 8 Pro, Dell has improved inking a thousand times than when it was released. But it’s still a joke compared to Wacom strokes. This can be helped with stroke smoothing. If the Wacom Bamboo App can smooth strokes on my 8″ device so should OneNote MX.
  • This one is for all Bloggers who are suckers for OneNote:

Please add a Plug-in or something to export a OneNote MX page to WordPress.com, essentially making OneNote a LiveWriter replacement for Windows 8. Please do it! We don’t need another LiverWriter MX App or something, with just a little tweak, OneNote should be able to export to WordPress etc. It can’t be that hard right?

  • There is inconsistent Drag-to-make-subpage with touch and mouse. You can with Mouse, you can’t with Touch. Please fix. Make Promote/demote subpages easy with both touch and mouse.
  • All my notes now reside on OneDrive, I can’t easily see the size of my notes. I keep very large KB Notebooks, I need to know the size of individual notebooks. Please add property button to Notebook appbar to see size of notebooks.

These are just a few of my longings for OneNote MX, be rest assured I am passing all these and more to the OneNote Team. I am hoping with this, that more people will make the same request so MS can take it seriously. Just use the feedback button on OneNote Appbar. I hope we’ll see an iteration with time that will bring OneNote MX in par with the desktop version in terms of usefulness; hopefully towards the Gemini release timeframe.

Now this is the first part of my OneNote treatise. In the second part I’ll introduce you to how you can have attachments in your OneNote MX and other little tricks. And in case you don’t know, both OneNote Desktop and OneNote MX are free as Air. You can download and install them with no charge at all, and with OneDrive, your Notes follows you all over the world.

Peace out!

Hints of Cortana on Windows

Cortana is already knocking on Win8 door!

image

Our favourite MS tweeterer and Trekkie-extraordinaire Brandon LeBlanc posted this blog post today to inform that the power of Bing, the same that powers our lovely Cortana is now in Windows 8 common search feature or “Smart Search” as Microsoft likes to call it. Before you only search as always with keywords, now you can input search in Natural Language in the Windows 8 search box, and Bing has got your back to understand your intent and bring you relevant result. Continue reading

Windows Phone Logo Medium

Pro Tip: Use Custom Colors for Windows Phone Start Screen Tiles

Windows Phone Logo Medium

With Windows Phone 8.1, you can now choose any background images for your Start screen tiles. A nice side effect of this is that you can now also put custom colors for your live tiles too! No, Windows Phone 8.1 did not add new accent colors for you to customize device with. Instead, you can use a solid color of your choice as the background picture for your tiles! Continue reading

Windows Phones with Tiles

Did you know: Windows Phone 8.1 Built-in Apps Update through the app Store

Windows Phones with Tiles

With Windows Phone (WP) 8.1, many of the built-in apps are now updatable from within the Windows Phone Store. Unlike on previous WP versions, the built-in apps do not need to wait for the next OS update to be updated. These apps now can and do update regularly just like other apps you install from the Store. I have already seen many of them being updated recently, and WPCentral documented today that the Games app has been updated. To compliment this, these apps now have their dedicated Windows Phone Store landing page just like any other apps you find in the store. Continue reading

Windows XP

Windows XP Dead as Advertised–Now what?

msohtmlclipclip_image001[8]
Source: @Thurrott & @TheRomit

Unless you’re an alien visiting earth for the first time today or you’ve been living under a rock, no doubt you’ve been bombarded with the so-called death of the most veritable OS on the planet today: Windows XP!

Yes, XP is officially dead today. Tomorrow is the day after and still you haven’t upgraded to a modern OS, or you cat just pissed on your shiny modern device, now you have to use XP for a while. Well, we know there will be some of you roughnecks or by chance still using the OS after its demise; this advice is for you then to make your life bearable.

Warning: All advice given here does not replace upgrading to a modern “Safe” OS. You are aware of your own risk staying on a Dead OS! (Sorry we just have to insert that Legal bit). Continue reading

msohtmlclipclip_image001.png

SkyDrive doesn’t support Full Folder restore

msohtmlclipclip_image001

I learnt the hard way to day that Microsoft SkyDrive (OneDrive) service doesn’t support Full Folder Restore from Recycle Bin. I was unfortunate to own a Dell Venue Pro 8 tablet, and right from the bat, I have discovered Dell cut corners with the device by integrating a sub-par Touch and Pen Digitizer in the product. I would have returned the device, but I am mesmerized by the screen quality of the device on an 8″ tablet, hoping Dell will eventually fix via Driver patch. This tablet would have been utopia if not for this buggy touch/pen interface. Continue reading

msohtmlclipclip_image001.png

Private Network Setting NOT gone from Windows 8.1

msohtmlclipclip_image001

Earlier today I posted about the Private Network Settings being gone from Windows 8.1, well I have found the root cause of the problem. I am happy to report that the setting is not gone from Windows 8.1, but it’s part of a typical change of feature that Microsoft didn’t bother to inform the populace about; maybe they did, but as a Microsoft Watcher I find it difficult that I would have missed the information. Continue reading

Downloading Windows 8.1 50%

Download Windows 8.1 ISO Using your Windows 8.0 Key

Folks, we have some GREAT news for you! A Microsoft community member have figured out a loophole that lets you download Windows 8.1 using your Windows 8.0 product key! The community member’s name is Tom. Here’s his tip.

Easy Steps to get Windows 8.1 ISO

Step 1: Go page and click on the “Install Windows 8″ button. http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/upgrade-product-key-only

Step 2: Run the file and enter in your retail Windows 8.0 product key. Click Next.

Enter Windows 8 product key

Step 3: It will show you the version of Windows that is to be downloaded. Click Next.

Ready to Download Windows

Step 4: Download should be started. Cancel the download immediately by clicking the X button on the upper right of the setup Window.

Downloading Windows 8

Step 5: Go to this page again and, now, click on the “Install Windows 8.1″ button.  http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/upgrade-product-key-only

Step 6: Run the file and it should say “Download is interrupted”. Close it and run the file again. It should now start downloading Windows 8.1.

Downloading Windows 8.1 50%

Step 7: Once the download is complete, you will be given the option to create an ISO file. Do this and you now have an ISO file that you can use at your disposal.

You can now also use this ISO file to burn to a DVD or USB and use it to refresh or reset your PC! This is great to see the community members stepping up to make up for the stupidity of Microsoft not willing to give its paying customers an ISO file.

Thanks to Tom for finding this awesome workaround! Here’s Tom’s original forum post: http://www.eightforums.com/installation-setup/33164-how-download-windows-8-1-iso.html

This post was originally published in McAkins Online

Windows Blue

[OBSOLETE] We Have Found a Solution to the Refresh and Reset Problem in Windows 8.1!

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Windows Blue

Warning! This solution doesn’t fully work and is now obsolete!!! We have a newer, easier, and more reliable solution that does work and have been tested multiple times with success! Please see the new article on how to download a Windows 8.1 ISO using you Windows 8.0 retail product key. http://mcakins.com/2013/10/19/download-windows-8-1-iso-using-you-windows-8-0-key/

I am very excited to share with you guys that my efforts to find a solution to the frustrating refresh and reset problem in Windows 8.1 has not been fruitless. As you may now, we have blogged earlier that if you upgrade your retail copy of Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 using the Windows Store, you will loose the ability to refresh or reset. Well, I have good news for you, as I have discovered one way to regain the functionality in your Windows 8.1 install!

As you may recall from the previous blog post, when you upgrade to Windows 8.1, you cannot refresh or reset your PC due to missing installation files. To make matters worse, Microsoft stubbornly refuses to provide any ISO image or recovery files to go along with the Windows Store upgrade. However, the good news is that Microsoft is providing an ISO of Windows 8.1 to any users for free. This ISO is the Windows 8.1 Enterprise Evaluation for IT professionals. And because all Windows 8 ISOs contains the files necessary to install any edition of Windows, you can use the Enterprise evaluation ISO to refresh or reset your Windows 8.1 PC!

Please follow the steps to restore the refresh and reset functionality to Windows 8.1

Tutorial Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Step 1: Download the Windows 8.1 Enterprise Evaluation ISO

Please go to the following link to download the Windows 8.1 Enterprise ISO. Remember, you MUST download the version (32-bits or 64-bits) that match your current install of Windows 8.1!

Download link: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/evalcenter/hh699156.aspx?CR_CC=200320080

If you are using 64-bit Windows 8.1, download the 64-bit version of the evaluation. If you are using 32-bit version of Windows 8.1, then download the 32-bit version of the evaluation. If you don’t do this, it will NOT work.

Step 2: Mount the ISO Image

Right-click on the ISO image you downloaded and click “Mount”. Then, open “My Computer” aka “This PC” and double click on the ISO image you mounted.

Mounting ISO

Step 3: Locate and Copy Install.wim

Once you have double clicked on the mounted ISO image from “My Computer” aka “This PC”, go to the “Sources” folder. In that folder locate a file called “install.wim”. Right-click on it and click “Copy” to copy the file to the clipboard.

Finding Install.wim

Step 4: Setup the Refresh Folder

Open “This PC” and go to the C drive. There, create a new folder called Win8 (You can call it whatever you want, actually. Just remember to replace ‘Win8′ with the name you have given it in the steps below).

Paste the Install.wim file you copied earlier in this folder.

Pasting Install.wim

Step 5: Some Command Prompt Magic

Open the search charm and type “CMD.exe”. Do not press enter. Right-click on the first result you get below the search box and choose “Run as Administrator”.

Once a Command Prompt window opens, type the following commands:

reagentc.exe /setosimage /path C:\Win8 /target c:\Windows /Index 1

That is all you have to type. Press enter.

It should say:

Directory set to: \\?\GLOBALROOT\device\hardisk0\partition2\Win8

REAGENTIC.EXE: Operation Successful.

C:\Windows\system32>

Please replace “Win8″ if you named that folder something else. Also, if your copy of Windows is installed on a different lettered drive, replace the letter c with the appropriate letter in “C:\”.

Step 6: Refresh or reset your PC from PC settings

Now, whenever your PC is not running well, you can use the refresh and reset functionality in PC Settings.

For more information on how to do this, please see this Microsoft support article: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/restore-refresh-reset-pc

Refresh or Reset Windows 8.1

Concluding Thoughts

Since Microsoft failed to provide a proper solution to this problem, we as the community must help each other out. I really hope this helps you solve the refresh/reset problem in Windows 8.1. If you have any questions whatsoever, please leave a comment below. I will try to get back to you as soon as I can Inshallah (God Willing).

Helpful Links

Instructions on how to Reset and Refresh Windows 8 without DVD from our friends at IntoWindows

http://www.intowindows.com/how-to-reset-or-refresh-windows-8-without-dvd/

Download Windows 8.1 Enterprise Evaluation

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/evalcenter/hh699156.aspx?CR_CC=200320080

Ready to Refresh Windows 8 (1)

Warning! If You Upgrade to Windows 8.1 Through Windows Store, You May Loose The Ability to Refresh and Reset

Ready to Refresh Windows 8 (1)

I am reporting to you with a very important precaution for anyone who has Windows 8 retail and is planning to upgrade to Window 8.1 for free through the Windows Store. This is serious because you may loose the ability to refresh or reset Windows once you do the upgrade, and there is no easy way to fix this, currently. This applies to every one who bought and installed a retail copy of Windows 8 (including those who took advantage of the $40 upgrade offer).

Here’s a quick background on what the reset and refresh functionality is. Basically, it is a “push-button” reinstallation of Windows. The refresh option allows you to reinstall Windows while keeping your files and settings intact, and the reset option allows you to do a easy, once-click, clean install of Windows. This feature is very important, as you might need to reinstall your OS if you are experiencing slowdowns or are infected by a computer virus.

If you have purchased and installed a retail copy of Windows 8 and have upgraded to Windows 8.1, you have essentially lost this crucial feature, Please see below for details on this. Below, please refer to the scenario that applies to you. You either upgraded to Windows 8 electronically or used an upgrade DVD or ISO.

If You Installed Windows 8 Electronically from Windows.com

Many have installed Windows 8 electronically from Microsoft. This includes many who took advantage of the $40 upgrade offer. If you have done this, the web installer created an ESD file on your hard drive that allowed you to refresh or reset your Windows 8 PC.

The ESD file is located in a hidden ESD folder on your main drive (usually the C drive). It is a few gigabytes in size and provides all the necessary files needed to reset or refresh you PC at anytime you needed. See the image below:

Windows ESD files to refresh and reset (3)

You were also given the option to delete the ESD file using Disk Cleanup if you wanted to free up some disk space, but that would mean you would loose the ability to refresh or reset.

Windows ESD Installation file in Disk Cleanup

After You Install Windows 8.1 Through the Windows Store

When you upgrade to Windows 8.1 through the Windows Store, you are not provided with an updated ESD file. Windows 8.1 cannot use the original Windows 8.0 ESD file to reset or refresh. As such, if you attempt to refresh or reset Windows 8.1, you will see this error message, asking you for the Install media. However, you were never provided the install media and you are stuck! Please see the image below:

Insert Media to Reset or Refresh

If You Installed Windows 8 from a DVD or ISO Image

You might have purchased a Windows 8 upgrade DVD from a retailer. Alternatively, you might have purchased Windows 8 upgrade electronically from Microsoft, but, instead, you might have created an ISO image, burned it to disk and installed it from there. In either case, the following applies to you.

Windows 8 installations that were done through the DVD or ISO can only refresh or reset using the DVD or USB drive containing the installation files. When you need to reset or refresh Windows 8, you will first need to insert the Installation media in your drive and then reset or refresh your PC from PC settings.

After You Install Windows 8.1 Through the Windows Store

When you upgrade to Windows 8.1 through the Windows Store, you essentially get a brand new OS. Therefore, you can’t use your original Windows 8.0 install media to reset or refresh Windows 8.1 if you ever need to. Even if you have your original Windows 8 install media in the drive, you will get an error message when you attempt to refresh or reset your PC, asking you to provide the install media. However, you were never provided the install media and you are stuck! Please see the image below:

Insert Media to Reset or Refresh

Final Thoughts

If you care about being able to refresh or reset your PC for any reason, I suggest you do not yet upgrade to Windows 8.1 until Microsoft comes out with a fix or the community finds a solution to this problem. Of course, one solution is to give Microsoft over a hundred dollars to get a Windows 8.1 DVD, with which you can refresh or reset, but that is not a pleasant solution. We’ll keep you posted when a solution arrives, God Willing.