New Windows 10 Touch Features in Build 9860

Windows 10 preview build 9860 was released to the public for testing on October 21, 2014, and it includes a lot of hidden gems. Today, I’ll talk about a couple of neat features that people might have not yet discovered. There are new touch features in Windows 10 that makes the desktop much easier to use with touch.

Windows 10 TP Start Screen 9860 Continue reading

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Project Spark in E3, OneDrive, App Studio and more for the Week of June 9, 2014

Microsoft announces games, including Halo Masterchief Collection. OneDrive app for Windows 8.1 gets updated with more goodies for non-touch users, and there are a lot more happened on the week of June 9, 2014. Continue reading

Windows 8.1 Update 1: Multi-Window Taskbar Thumbnails for Windows Store (Metro) Apps

We kicked off our information about Windows 8.1 Update one with new taskbar features coming to Windows Store apps, namely the Jumplists and media controls. Today, I want to share with you another neat feature I uncovered. Windows Store (metro) applications running in multiple Windows show up in the taskbar as multiple windows. This behavior is the same in Desktop Applications since Windows 7. It is nice to see that it is being included in Windows Store applications. Continue reading

Microsoft Talks about New Office Word Web App Features and UI

New UI Jan 2014

Microsoft yesterday published a new blog post discussing new features and user interface updates to Microsoft Office Word Web App. As you know, this is the web version of Microsoft Word, offered free of charge to everyone. The update includes a fresh new look and feel, footnotes, and even a new way to interact with Word and get things done! Continue reading

Windows Store UI Updated With Top Categories and Subcategories

Windows Store Logo

Microsoft has silently added a handy new user interface to the Windows Store in Windows 8.1. The Windows Store in Windows 8.1 updates differently than does the other parts of Windows. This is because most of the Windows Store’s user interface is delivered from Microsoft servers. In laymen’s term, the UI for the Windows Store comes from the internet; it is not loaded from your computer’s hard drive. This makes it possible for Microsoft to update the Store without having to go through Windows Update. Basically, you don’t have to update Windows to get the new updates and features to the Windows Store! Continue reading

The Name and Shame Game

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Image Credit: http://www.geeky-gadgets.com

This is an attempt to Name and Shame some of these companies that rode on Microsoft’s shoulders to greatness, but turn around to hate Microsoft’s guts. What prompted this is the news last week that Valve has joined the Linux Foundation, thus moving further away from its Windows root. I tweeted something in the trend of “Good riddance Valve”. Continue reading

Sesame Street Touch & Learn TV – Xbox Game for Windows

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Preview and Install

This one slipped in under our radar from Microsoft Studios. Sesame Street Touch and Learn TV needs no introduction to must of you with Kids. So now you know this companion app is now in the Store to teach and entertain your young and bright spawning. Continue reading

Get Paid Apps and Games for Windows 8, Windows Phone, and Xbox for FREE!

Bing Rewards

With the introduction of Windows Store gift cards, you can now put money in your Microsoft account balance and use it to get paid apps in games in Windows Store, Windows Phone Store, or the Xbox Store. Well, did you know that Microsoft is giving everyone FREE gift cards? It’s True! All you have to do is use Bing search!

 

Every time you search on Bing, you will get points. These points rack up, and you can use them to get gift cards that you can use to get paid apps and games from the Windows Store, Windows Phone Store, and Xbox Store (both for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One). You will see various gift cards. But the good news is that redeeming these gift cards puts money in your Microsoft Account that you can use to get apps and games from any and all stores. For example, if you get a Windows Phone gift card, you can use that card for Windows Phone apps or even Xbox One Games. Conversely, you can use your Xbox Gift Card to buy Windows 8 apps! You can also mix and match.

You have to first enable Bing Rewards. Once you do, you will start earning points for searching. If you are a new user, you can do some starter quests to get lots of points quickly.

Click here to join Bing Rewards and star earning points

Please note: If you click the link to bing rewards above, I may get a one-time bonous of some bing points. This post is NOT an advertisement of any sort.

Microsoft Updates Windows Store to Show Really Large Screenshots

Microsoft has quietly updated the Windows Store in Windows 8.1. The update is server side. That is, you will not need to update your operating system to see the changes; it is automatically available for all users of Windows 8.1. What is the update, you might ask? Basically, the screenshots in the app landing page are huge! It actually looks pretty nice. Before this update, the screenshots were much smaller, and you could see more of the panoramic view of the Store. But now, with the much larger screenshots, most of your screen is used by the app screenshots.

Here are some screenshots. Note that the resolution is 1920 by 1080. Before the update, I observed the app screenshots to be much smaller and I could see more stuff on screen than I can now.

Flixter App Landing Page

Windows Store Large Image

McAkins Online App Landing Page

McAkins Online App Updated With Improved UI

McAkins Tile Wide v2

Preview and Install

Hi folks! It’s Nazmus here, reporting to you that we have updated the official McAkins Online app. The update (now at version 1.1.0.3) is in certification with Microsoft and should be rolling out to you in the next few days. If you are running Windows 8.1, you will get the latest version automatically. If you are on Windows 8 or have turned off automatic app updates in Windows 8.1, you will need to manually update this app from the Store.

So what’s in this new update?

The most noticeable thing is the new look and feel. The app sports a cleaner, more beautiful design. The colors are pleasing to the eye and the entire design follows the Windows 8 design language. Gone are the gradients and unnecessary clutter!

The new update sports a new tile design that look cleaner and fits right in with your Start Screen! The tiles are live, so you will be notified of your latest posts without even having to open the app!

We fixed several annoying bugs, including the NaN bug that prevented content from showing up on the home page. We also made some performance improvements.

Check out the screenshots below to see what the new version looks like.

Help & Tips Explore Great Windows Apps and Games Xbox Games for Windows Playing a Video

Why Metro UI Doesn’t Have a Name (Original Article from Summer 2012)

I had originally written this article as a guest-post on newoin.net on August 2012. To see the guest post, please click here.

Montreal Metro Sign

According to Microsoft, Windows 8 is “a bold reimagining of Windows, from the chipset to the user experience.” This reimagining, then, brings a completely new user interface to Windows 8, an UI that is a    complete departure from any previous versions of Windows. And since the first unveiling of Windows 8 and throughout its public preview releases, this new UI has been referred to, by the community, as the Metro UI because it follows the Microsoft’s design language that was known as the Metro design language. Microsoft itself referred to apps running on the reimagined Windows 8 platform (WinRT) as Metro Style apps. Why, then, isn’t the term “Metro” ever referred to in the operating system itself? More importantly, why does Microsoft officially refuse to name the new, reimagined, user interface?

According to Paul Thurrott in Windows Weekly podcast episode 274, when asked, Microsoft personnel would gladly call the classic desktop as the Windows 8 desktop, but they would never call the new UI by any particular name. When asked explicitly what the name of the new UI in Windows 8 is, they just called it Windows. So basically, we have the Windows desktop and, simply, Windows, and not desktop and Metro. At first, this seems quite strange because why would there not be an official name to the new UI in Windows 8; I will admit that I was quite confused by this as well. However, given some time to think about this, I am able to understand what Microsoft is trying to get at.

The trick to all this is to approach Windows 8 in a fundamentally different way. That is, we must not think of Windows 8 as having the Metro UI on top of the Windows 7 desktop, but rather, we should approach Windows 8 as having the Metro UI as the primary UI with desktop as the secondary option. Conceptually, Windows 8 is Metro plus desktop, and not the other way around.  Technically, Metro is not primary nor secondary because both desktop and Metro is part of explorer.exe. But if we conceptually see the Metro UI as the primary Windows user interface, there is no need to really call it anything but the Windows UI. For instance, we don’t call the UI in Windows 7 the desktop UI or the Aero UI, but, rather, we call simply call it the Windows 7 user interface. This is the same with Windows XP, or Mac OSX. We call OSX’s Aqua user interface by, well, OSX user interface. The same principle applies to Windows 8, if we consider metro to be the primary UI. Metro, then is the Windows 8 UI, and because the desktop is now secondary in Windows 8, the classic Windows UI in Windows 8 is given a name of “desktop”.

Paul Thurrott does bring up a valid point that term Windows 8 UI is time bound, whereas something like Metro is timeless.  That is, when, say, Windows 9 is released, the term Windows 8 UI will make no sense. I completely agree with this argument. I believe the proper name of the Windows 8 UI is Windows UI. In Windows 7 and prior, for example, the tem Windows UI represented what is now the classic desktop. There was no need to call it Windows 7 UI or Windows Vista UI because the UI paradigm was the same in these versions of Windows. Because the UI paradigm is changing in Windows 8, the metro UI in Windows 8 is being referred to as “Windows 8 UI” rather than simply “Windows UI” for differentiation. However, I do think that in the future, the new Metro UI will simply be referred to as the Windows UI. I believe in the future, when we hear the term Windows UI, we will think of what is now called Metro and we will refer to the classic UI as the desktop. Similarly, we will soon refer to Metro Style apps as Windows Apps and the traditional Windows apps as Desktop Apps.

Windows 8 is as much a transitional OS as it is a reimagining of Windows. Hence, terms such as Windows 8 UI or Windows 8 Apps are only temporary, which will eventually be replaced by broader terms such as Windows UI and Windows Apps. Metro, or Modern, or whatever they are calling it these days may be still referred to the design language itself, just like Aero or Aqua is.

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

[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