Saturday, December 29, 2012

Windows 8 Laptop, Wired? Want Wireless!

After another battle to get Windows 8 to retain a wireless connection using the Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 wireless card in the laptop, Windows 8 shows a connection established with the wireless network, shows activity (based on looking at the Send / Receive in the network adapter properties), and no actual Internet access.  There is still LAN access on the network, just no Internet access.  The Network and Sharing settings show there is an Internet connection on the wireless, there is even an IP address from the network, and still cannot browse any web site.  When I open a command prompt window to use ping, there is no results back.

I bought a laptop to use wireless.  I use wireless on my other laptops that do not run Windows 8 and those laptops have no problems with wireless.  Seems like if I want to use wireless on this laptop, I need to change over to Windows 7 Professional on this laptop.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Hyper-V or VirtualBox in Windows 8

In Windows 7 Professional, I used Windows XP Mode that Microsoft had available to allow you to run older programs in Windows XP that would not run in Windows 7.  Microsoft's obsoleted Virtual PC and did not make Windows XP Mode available for Windows 8.  The new method of running Windows XP is through a virtual session.  Using virtualization in the desktop environment is nothing new to me.  I previous used VMware Workstation for years to run other Windows versions for support reasons.  The same applies here, but there are some differences now.

Microsoft's Hyper-V does not support USB devices and there are other limitations that has been discussed in various news articles and blogs.  To run a guest operating system in a virtualized session, you cannot run the guest OS at the host OS screen size resolution.  For instance, on a laptop the guest OS will not adapt to the host OS video settings.  This feature is important to me as it affects how I work with and use the guest OS.  Hyper-V also seem to greatly slow down the computer when the guest OS ran.  I'm using a laptop with Windows 8 Pro x64, 8GB DDR-3 memory, and 750GB SATA hard drive.  I also have to uninstall and reinstall Hyper-V at times in Windows 8 whenever Hyper-V would stop running for no apparent reason.

I downloaded and installed Oracle's VirtualBox, free virtualization software,  to run Windows XP Professional and Windows 7 Professional.  The two main features that Hyper-V lacks, USB device detection and guest OS using host OS screen resolution, are available in VirtualBox in the guest OSes.  VirtualBox guest OSes seems to run faster on the same system where Hyper-V did not run them as fast and efficient.  The guest OSes in VirtualBox, based on what I am seeing on my system (as the results may vary per system and configuration) run fast for a virtualized operating system.

Since I do run Linux Mint 14.1 on a second laptop, I can install Oracle's VirtualBox in Linux and copy over the installed guest OS(es).  This saves time on re-installing, re-setting up, and re-updating all the guest OSes between the two host OSes.  This also provides a back up of the VirtualBox guest OSes in case I need to ever get them back, and also a way to always keep them up-to-date.  If one guest OSes gets updated on on one of the two host OSes, I can just copy the VirtualBox files between systems.  So far this method is working.  I do not know of any problems that may occur to break this backup method to keep the guest OSes running on both host OSes.

Based on my results between Microsoft's Hyper-V (built-in to Windows 8) and Oracle's VirtualBox, I may continue to use VirtualBox to keep the guest OSes running on both systems.  Especially when Hyper-V is not available in Linux.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Another Windows 8 Reset...

After attempting to use Norton 360 and Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool, where Norton 360 would not run in Windows (noted in an earlier blog) and Microsoft's tool would not even run in Windows 8 that it supports, I decided to run another Windows 8 Reset.  I figured when I ran the previous Windows 8 Refreshes where it will keep or not keep your personal data, I still needed to run a Windows 8 Reset, I figure just save some time initially.  Now I need to go through all the initial Windows 8 updates, set up, etc. again.

Windows 8 is just a broken operating system.  Hopefully Microsoft will fix Windows 8 eventually, or I (among all other Windows users experiencing problems with Windows 8) will go back to Windows 7.

I am still using my secondary laptop running Linux Mint 14.1 where it has not had any problems.  All the problems relating to the wireless network is definitely with Windows 8.  The other computers running Windows XP and Windows 7, including the Linux system, never has problems with the wireless connection.

Windows 8 ongoing repair process, Norton 360

After finally uninstalling Visual Studio 2012 along with SQL Server 2012 Express versions in Windows 8 Pro x64, the system continued to experience unusual slowness and locks ups.  I could be browsing a web site or opening a document in Microsoft Word 2010, for example, and the system would just lock up for about three minute.  The lock up time varies and then the system would run again.  Each time Windows 8 would lock up, I tried to open Task Manager and it would also not open right away until the system would start running again.

I updated Windows Defender in Windows 8 and ran a full scan.  No problems found based on Windows Defender.  I thought there may be a virus on the system or some type of malware program.  Some times I do not trust Windows Defender in Windows 8 results.  Windows Defender has never found any problems and that is unusual for Windows Defender.  In Windows 7, Microsoft Security Essentials would show some type of message that it scanned or caught something running, and the past two months Windows Defender has never shown anything.  This may be valid, but it is unusual for Windows.

I downloaded Norton 360 and installed it in Windows 8 Pro x64.  I ran LiveUpdate after installation to get all the updated product updates.  LiveUpdate ran about three different times to get all the updates.  The final set of updates from LiveUpdate prompted to restart Windows 8.  After restarting Windows 8, Norton 360 icon showed an icon in the Taskbar area while in Windows 8 Desktop mode.  I normally run everything in Windows 8 Desktop mode as I do not like the Modern UI interface.  Each time I would try to run a virus scan using Norton 360, the Symantec Framework would crash and Norton 360 would no longer be running.  When I try to run Norton 360 again, it would not run.  I then uninstalled and re-installed Norton 360, ran through all the updates via LiveUpdate, and this would result in the same problem.  The Symantec Framework would always crash causing Norton 360 to no longer run.

I posted about this problem in Norton Community.  Hopefully there is a workaround or solution to this problem.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Attempting to repair Windows 8...

This is a continuation of the Re-Enabled Windows Updates in Windows 8 blog posting from earlier today.

In attempt to get Windows 8 Pro x64 running less unstable than its current state, I decided to remove Visual Studio 2012 (Web and Desktop) along with SQL Server 2012 versions.  When attempting to uninstall the Visual Studio 2012 Web and Desktop versions, I hoped that they would just uninstall without any problems.  When Microsoft's uninstaller was removing each installation, there were prompts of missing files and Microsoft's Installer unable to access or read various files.  The process of removing the program would fail and I try again and again with the same results, different files.  I restarted Windows 8 each time these would fail to uninstall, and eventually Visual Studio 2012 (Web and Desktop) components eventually uninstalled from Windows 8 Pro x64.  Yes, this took several hours to accomplish.  I never had problem like this before uninstalling Visual Studio.  There were messages that I need to remove the program using an Administrator account.  Well, Windows 8 has only one account and the one account is an Administrator account.

After taking a break from this torturous task of removing Visual Studio 2012, I then selected to remove Microsoft SQL Server 2012 (64-bit).  Surprisingly this uninstalled without any problems from Windows 8 Pro x64.  The removal process took a while to accomplish, however, it seem to uninstall without all the difficulties, error messages, etc. like Visual Studio.

I kept uninstalling other programs that I had installed in Windows 8 just to see if Windows 8 would run better.  This comparison would be hard because Windows 8 has never ran good for me.  Windows 7 on my previous laptop ran great for years and I seldom, if ever, had a problem.  This is not the case for Windows 8.

This attempt to clean up Windows is taking a very long time.  This may eventually lead me in to running another Windows 8 Refresh or Reset on the system.

Re-Enabled Windows Updates in Windows 8...

In Windows 8 after running a Windows 8 Reset, where it puts the laptop back to factory installation on the system, I decided to disable (or turn off) automatic updates in Windows Update.

Windows 8 has been running somewhat stable with the ongoing wireless connectivity issues, frequent crashes where Windows 8 shows a message bar across the screen that a problem has been detected, and more annoying problems.  I never had these problems when I ran Windows 7 and Windows XP.  I avoided Windows Vista completely as it was an awful operating system.

I ran Windows Update in the Control Panel where I downloaded all the available updates.  In a month's time I would not think that there would be so many updates, but there were many updates (over 300MB+ worth).  While the updates were installing, Windows 8 encountered a serious error where I had to restart Windows.  I guess Windows 8 did not restarting in the middle of installing updates.  This same gaudy bar of a Windows came up a few more times where Windows just restarted.  Eventually Windows 8 did start up to the Desktop, or Modern UI, where I ran Windows Update again.  When I tried to instal the remaining updates, Windows Update prompted to restart the system (AGAIN!).  This time Windows 8 went through a repair process and rolled back previously installed updates.  This ran for some time.

At this point Windows 8 had rolled back the previous updates and ran some type of repair on fixing the system.  Due to Microsoft's vague and plain windows of information, I had no idea what had been running on the system.  After several more restarts of Windows 8 throughout the repair and rollback process, I was able to get back in to Windows Update to install updates.  Now there was nearly 450MB of updates available.  While those updates were installing, Windows Update restarted Windows without any prompting of any sort.  When Windows 8 came up to the Desktop again, Windows Update automatically completing the installation of the updates.

Now various programs such as Microsoft Office 2010 (Word, Excel, OneNote), Adobe Reader 10.1.4, and a few other small utilities I had to reinstall.  Uninstalling and installing Adobe Reader and the small utilities were no problem.  Office 2010 went through a repair process, restarted Windows 8 several times, and now all my previous settings in Office 2010 are no longer available.

I also found that Visual Studio 2012, which I recently installed (see this LINK on my blog), will no longer run without crashing or showing a dialog window that Visual Studio 2012 is not compatible in Windows 8.

Furthermore, I noticed in the Modern UI that the Start menu Tiles are no longer showing.  When I press the Windows Key on the keyboard to toggle between the Modern UI and Desktop mode, the Tiles do briefly and quickly show, but do not remain showing when I go back to the Modern UI.  With all the restarts of Windows 8, I thought the Start menu in Modern UI interface would show, but they do not.  I tried clicking in the area where the Tiles show just in case they were still accessible, and there was no indication from the mouse pointer that any items where clickable, and I was unable to run any programs.  When I pressed the Windows Key again, the Desktop mode did appear where I could run the programs that were still running in Windows 8.

The past two months with Windows 8 has been awful where these multitude of problems just keep occurring.  I have already ran Windows 8 Resets many times where the operating system does not run any better.  Microsoft and ASUS Support always tells me to either run a Windows 8 Refresh or Reset when I call about any questions or problems.  I guess they know Windows 8 is so broken that there is no attempts to even fix a problem.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Windows 8 or Linux Mint 14.1

After installing Visual Studio 2012 and SQL Server 2012 Express version in Windows 8 Pro on my primary laptop, I copied over the backed up Visual Studio 2010 projects, and Visual Studio 2012 seems to have converted the projects fine.  These are very basic programs in C# and .NET ASP from my learning of how to program.  After running in to more problems along the way, I have been using Linux Mint 14.1 more on my secondary laptop.

Linux Mint 14.1 on my secondary laptops run better than Windows 8 on my secondary laptop.  Linux has had no wireless connectivity issues, unlike Windows 8 continues to have wireless connection problems.  I have also found using Linux for daily tasks (Facebook, LinkedIn, E-mail, etc.) seems more stable and better to do in Linux.

I will try to write more later on what I have been researching between Windows 8 and Linux Mint 14.1.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Visual Studio 2012 and SQL 2012 Express Versions

When I ran previous Visual Studio versions (2005 through 2010), I have always had problems installing Visual Studio (C# and Web).  After hearing all the hype of installing Visual Studio 2012 and SQL Server 2012 Express versions on how easy they install, I had hoped these would install correctly.

After installing Visual Studio 2012 Express versions for C# and Web, for desktop, this put Windows 8 in  a recovery mode where it had restarted the system numerous times.  After trying to get Visual Studio 2012 Express installed where it would run, I had to install SQL Server 2012 Express.  There are a few projects in C#/Web that I have that uses the SQL Server databases.

When I opened Visual Studio 2012 to open a project that I had worked on in Visual Studio 2010 while using Windows 7, I had to install the SQL stand-alone version.  I downloaded the SQL Server 2012 stand-alone version.  This did not install without any problems.  The first time and subsequent times that I tried to install this small SQL Server 2012 Express version, the installer would stop in the middle of installing, stall there for a while, and then eventually close.  Seconds later a windows will show that the installation successfully completed.  Well, when I try to open the Visual Studio (VS) project, I kept getting the message that the stand-along SQL version is not installed.  After uninstalling and re-installing, including attempting several repairs, I finally got SQL Server 2012 Express version to install in Windows 8 Pro.  When I opened my project in VS 2012, it finally recognized that I had the stand-along SQL server installed.  However, when I opened my other project that has a SQL database just like my other project, the SQL Server stand-along message came back.

When I looked at the Event Viewer - Application logs, I noticed a message that the SQL Server 2012 Express stand-alone version is NOT compatible with Windows 8.  I find that message strange due to this is the version for Windows 8, according to Microsoft.

I finally downloaded the SQL Server Express 2012 version, the full version with Tools, and installed this in Windows 8 Pro.  Now after installing the full version of SQL Server 2012 Express version, which took a few attempts to install, the VS 2012 projects finally recognize the SQL database server.

Seems like Microsoft's own software does not install correctly in its own operating system.  How are they expecting other software vendors to get their software to install after once they spend countless hours upgrading or updating their software to Windows 8.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Ongoing Windows 8 Wireless issues

After continued and further research on the wireless issues in Windows 8, the Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 (and others) network cards are not the problem.  The wireless problems in Windows 8 is a Microsoft problem.  There are other network card manufacturers (brands and models) that are also experiencing same type of problems in Windows 8.  When there are other computers (desktops and laptops) connecting to and using the wireless connection without any problems, including the same type of or similar network cards, the problem is in Windows 8.

Based on my research and findings with trying to keep wireless connection on the Windows 8 laptop, the problem is not with the wireless card driver, it is in Windows 8.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Continuing Windows 8 Wireless problems

I use a LinkSys E1200 Wireless-N router with my 10MB Internet connection and there has been no wireless connection issues.  I ran Windows 7 and Windows XP on different laptops using wireless connections without ever having problems.  Based on the wireless usage history, wireless connections were flawless.

On my primary laptop that has Windows 8 Pro x64, wireless connections have continuously experience connection problems and unable to connect back to wireless network(s) if Windows 8 has been in stand-by (or sleep) mode.  I found only a restart of Windows 8 allows the wireless connection to get established again.

While the Windows 8 Pro x64 system currently cannot to the wireless network, I found lifting up the lid on the secondary laptop running Linux Mint 14.1 re-established the wireless connection to the network.  When comparing Internet connections, mostly wireless, between Windows 8 Pro and Linux Mint 14.1, Mint seems to work better.

According to Windows 8, the wireless network is not available and it shows full strength wireless connection for the network.  How can Windows 8 indicate that the wireless network is not available when it shows it in the available list of networks.  This is showing how buggy and flawed Windows 8 is on wireless connections.  Microsoft does not care to address or fix this issue.  When I talked to Microsoft Support about this issue, they said that it is the hardware and I may need to replace it.  Well, the hardware (router) is good as other laptops connect just fine and use the wireless Internet connection.  Then they told me to run a Windows 8 Reset, which completely reloads Windows 8 back to factory on the system.  Possibly the wireless network card driver may not have loaded correctly.  After doing a Windows 8 Reset once, this did not correct the problem.  Microsoft and ASUS Support teams had no clue what could be wrong.

You have to restart Windows 8 whenever the wireless connections get disconnected in Windows while other devices work fine on the wireless connection.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Using Linux Mint 14

I am continuing the use of Linux Mint 14 on the secondary laptop where the usual tasks that I do in Windows are now accomplished in Linux.  Mint seems more user friendly where possibly some average computer users would be able to get Mint installed and some devices configured, such as printers or scanners.

I used Mint's Package Manager and Software Manager to install various programs that I use or other packages needed.  I used both to get the feel of both programs, however, you could use either one.  I also open Terminal to use the apt-get and other command-line utilities and commands.  Using Terminal command line commands is nothing like the old DOS days.  You can actually accomplish various tasks through Terminal.

Although I did not initially like MATE's Menu layout, I am getting used to the bulky wide Menu when compared to Windows 7 or Windows XP Start menu layout.  I may install another Desktop, such as XFCE, later.  One advantage of Linux, you can always change to another Desktop environment if the default install environment is not right for you.  This is not possible in Windows.

I will try to write more later about Linux Mint 14.  I still use Windows 8 on my primary laptop, however, I may try to dual boot Linux Mint 14 and Windows 8 on my primary laptop.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Linux Mint 14.1, fast and not bad...

Since I have installed Linux Mint 14.1 on the secondary laptop (Intel i3, 2.3GHz, 8GB DDR3 memory, 500GB SATA hard drive), I am starting to like Mint.  I still have Windows 8 Pro running on the primary laptop, however, it seems my usage of Mint on the secondary laptop increased.  Although I am still installing and setting up programs that I currently run in Windows (7 and 8) to what is available in Mint.  This also accounts for features for playing videos, accessing various network shares and the printer.

In Mint I installed WINE 1.4.1, which installed without any problems, and was able to install a game that I play in Windows.  I was able to install Bejewel 3 in WINE and the game runs, so far, without any problems.  I thought I would get WINE installed in case I need to install other Windows programs.  I do have Microsoft Office 2010 installed in Windows, including LibreOffice 3.6.3 in Windows.  Mint has LibreOffice installed for the Office suite.  I know I can use Microsoft created documents in LibreOffice in both Windows and Linux versions.

I started to think about the Windows based programs I use that may not be available in Linux, and so far I have not found any.  I know there are business programs are not available, and I do not have any business programs installed in Windows (such as QuickBooks, Quicken, etc.).  There are alternatives available in Linux.  Those alternatives may not be sufficient enough for you to use in Linux compared to the Windows version.

I came across a ZDNet article where someone bought a good HP laptop that has Windows 8 pre-installed and decided to install Linux (Fedora, Linux Mint, and Ubuntu).  There are more of these types of news stories showing up on the Internet.  You should not get overly energized from the drop Windows 8 hype.  Make sure you read the article where they make a true comparison between Windows 8 and Linux on what they do on both systems.

Once Fedora 18 (final) comes out, I may switch back to Fedora as I have used this Linux flavour for many years.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Windows 8 to Linux Mint 14...

After continuing having problems with compatibility issues in Windows 8, I decided to try installing Linux on the secondary laptop.  The primary laptop still runs Windows 8 Pro x64 where I continue to have problems.  I just decided to either give up on trying to fix the problem(s) or find other way of accomplish the tasks I want/need to do.  I removed the original hard drive on the secondary laptop to preserve Windows 8, just in case I want to return to the operating system.

I downloaded Linux Mint 14.1 MATE 64-bit version from the web site.  I extracted the ISO image to an USB flash drive and installed from the flash drive.  Linux Mint 14.1 did install from the USB flash drive, where Linux Mint 14 would not install.  When Linux Mint 14 install, towards the end of the installation process it would crash and hang the system.  After successfully installing Linux Mint 14.1 from the USB flash drive, I have been installing other programs in Mint and it runs much faster than Windows 8.

I do play a Windows based game, Bejeweled 3.  In Mint I installed WINE and was able to install Bejeweled 3 without any errors or problems.  When I played Bejeweled, the same ran smooth and the graphics looks good in Mint.  I ran the game in full screen mode and regular window mode where the game played smoothly.  When I tried to play this game in WINE within other Linux distributions, the game did not run or the graphics were lagging (or jerky) so bad that it was not worth attempting to play.

Linux Mint 14.1 seems to run good on the secondary laptop.  I do not need to worry about Windows 8 product activation and all the other hide-n-seek issues of where did Microsoft put that feature or program.  So far Mint is good, however, Linux in general is not up to par with Windows in usability and ease of use.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Frustrated with Windows 8, try Linux again...

I purchased a laptop with Windows 8 pre-installed where I planned on installing and using Linux.  There are several distributions of Linux that I would use, such as Fedora Core Linux, Ubuntu Linux, and Linux Mint.  Since I used to run Red Hat Linux before that distribution went commercialized, I went with Fedora Linux.  After installing and setting up Fedora Linux again, this feels like an operating system that allows you to customize, navigation seems intuitive to find your programs and files without searching for them, and an operating system that you can install without the fear of Product Activation.  You also do not need to install those security programs, such as anti-virus, malware scanners, and Internet security suite programs that just slow down your computer.

The Linux community seems more helpful with knowledgeable people that freely and gladly offer their support, advice, and assistance. Although Linux, in general, is not an operating system that the average computer user can install and use, it is a good operating system.  Every operating system has it flaws and updates.  If you keep Linux updated, you should not have many problems.  Viruses, malware, etc. that you have infiltrating Windows on a daily basis is not found on Linux.  Linux does have some virus and malware problems, they are so insignificant and do not propagate like they do in Windows, that this problem is not an issue when running Linux.  I never had any Linux infections as I have been running Linux (on-and-off) for years.

While I am setting up Linux, I am comparing the Windows computers with the Linux system to see if I can do everything in Linux that I do in Windows, and probably more in Linux.  There are differences in programs, just different interfaces, layouts, etc., but they do the same tasks. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Back to Windows 7...

I finally got Windows 7 Home Premium x64 restored back on the laptop after a Windows 8 update installed causing the system to no longer boot.  At this this I am keeping Windows 7 on the laptop as I know it runs without many problems.  Seems like the Windows 8 Upgrade process still is not a good option to choose.  After reading many messages in the Microsoft Answers and other Windows based forums, the Windows 8 Upgrade route with installing Windows 8 on top of a previous Windows operating system is still not good.

Windows 8 Pro is still running on my new laptop with continued problems.  Just like any other new Windows operating system, just deal and cope with these problems where you find other workarounds.  However, Windows 8 makes you feel less productive as you are spending more time figuring out how the darn operating system works.  You spend more time navigating for your programs and files than creating and using them.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

KB2770917 and KB2769165 updates fail to install

I upgraded my second laptop from Windows 7 to Windows 8 Pro.  The laptop has been running fine for the past several weeks.  A few days ago Windows Update tried to install KB2770917 and KB2769165 updates.  Both updates failed to install and restarts Windows 8 each time.  I have tried to install one update at a time, the same results -- update(s) fail to install and restarts Windows 8.

I posted a message in the Microsoft Answers Windows 8 Forum about this problem and found a reference to another message thread about this same problem.

The suggestions in the "Windows 8 Update Failing On KB2770917" did not correct the installation problem of these two updates failing to install.

I tried a few more times to install these two updates in Windows Update in Windows 8 Pro, and now Windows 8 fails to start up.  Now when Windows 8 Pro starts up, it shows the unhappy face with wording that is too small for anyone to read and the system reboots.

I decided to put in the Windows 8 DVD images I created from the ISO file downloaded through the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistance when I upgraded from Windows 7.  I receive the same result from it with a different message, "Windows 8 Pro cannot be upgraded from Windows 2000".   I find that message interesting as this laptop only had Windows 7 on it.

Since the Windows 8 Recovery Disc that I created does not provide any help whatsoever, including no options to run a Windows 8 Refresh or Reset, the only other option to try is to run a System Recovery on the laptop.  This will bring back Windows 7 on the laptop.  At least Windows 7 ran fine on the laptop for years without any problem.

Windows 8 Shortcut Keys

I found this blog a list of Windows 8 shortcut keys.

Here is the list in case the blog entry goes away.  This is the same list that is on the blog:

Windows key: Switch between Modern Desktop Start screen and the last accessed application
Windows key + C: Access the charms bar
Windows key + Tab: Access the Modern Desktop Taskbar
Windows key + I: Access the Settings charm
Windows key + H: Access the Share charm
Windows key + K: Access the Devices charm
Windows key + Q: Access the Apps Search screen
Windows key + F: Access the Files Search screen
Windows key + W: Access the Settings Search screen
Windows key + P: Access the Second Screen bar
Windows key + Z: Brings up the App Bar when you have a Modern Desktop App running
Windows key + X: Access the Windows Tools Menu
Windows key + O: Lock screen orientation
Windows key + . : Move the screen split to the right
Windows key + Shift + . : Move the screen split to the left
Windows key + V: View all active Toasts/Notifications
Windows key + Shift + V: View all active Toasts/Notifications in reverse order
Windows key + PrtScn: Takes a screenshot of the screen and automatically saves it in the Pictures folder as Screenshot
Windows key + Enter: Launch Narrator        
Windows key + E: Open Computer
Windows key + R: Open the Run dialog box
Windows key + U: Open Ease of Access Center
Windows key + Ctrl + F: Open Find Computers dialog box
Windows key + Pause/Break: Open the System page
Windows key + 1..10: Launch a program pinned on the Taskbar in the position indicated by the number
Windows key + Shift + 1..10: Launch a new instance of a program pinned on the Taskbar in the position indicated by the number
Windows key + Ctrl + 1..10: Access the last active instance of a program pinned on the Taskbar in the position indicated by the number
Windows key + Alt + 1..10: Access the Jump List of a program pinned on the Taskbar in the position indicated by the number
Windows key + B: Select the first item in the Notification Area and then use the arrow keys to cycle through the items Press Enter to open the selected item
Windows key + Ctrl + B: Access the program that is displaying a message in the Notification Area
Windows key + T: Cycle through the items on the Taskbar
Windows key + M: Minimize all windows
Windows key + Shift + M: Restore all minimized windows
Windows key + D: Show/Hide Desktop (minimize/restore all windows)
Windows key + L: Lock computer
Windows key + Up Arrow: Maximize current window
Windows key + Down Arrow: Minimize/restore current window
Windows key + Home: Minimize all but the current window
Windows key + Left Arrow: Tile window on the left side of the screen
Windows key + Right Arrow: Tile window on the right side of the screen
Windows key + Shift + Up Arrow: Extend current window from the top to the bottom of the screen
Windows key + Shift + Left/Right Arrow: Move the current window from one monitor to the next
Windows key + F1: Launch Windows Help and Support

PageUp: Scroll forward on the Modern Desktop Start screen
PageDown: Scroll backward on the Modern Desktop Start screen
Esc: Close  a charm
Ctrl + Esc: Switch between Modern Desktop Start screen and the last accessed application
Ctrl + Mouse scroll wheel: Activate the Semantic Zoom on the Modern Desktop screen

Alt: Display a hidden Menu Bar
Alt + D: Select the Address Bar
Alt + P: Display the Preview Pane in Windows Explorer
Alt + Tab: Cycle forward through open windows
Alt + Shift + Tab: Cycle backward through open windows
Alt + F: Close the current window Open the Shut Down Windows dialog box from the Desktop
Alt + Spacebar: Access the Shortcut menu for current window
Alt + Esc: Cycle between open programs in the order that they were opened
Alt + Enter: Open the Properties dialog box of the selected item
Alt + PrtScn: Take a screen shot of the active Window and place it in the clipboard
Alt + Up Arrow: Move up one folder level in Windows Explorer (Like the Up Arrow in XP)
Alt + Left Arrow: Display the previous folder
Alt + Right Arrow: Display the next folder
Shift + Insert: CD/DVD Load CD/DVD without triggering Autoplay or Autorun
Shift + Delete: Permanently delete the item (rather than sending it to the Recycle Bin)
Shift + F6: Cycle backward through elements in a window or dialog box
Shift + F10: Access the context menu for the selected item
Shift + Tab: Cycle backward through elements in a window or dialog box
Shift + Click: Select a consecutive group of items
Shift + Click on a Taskbar button: Launch a new instance of a program
Shift + Right-click on a Taskbar button: Access the context menu for the selected item
Ctrl + A: Select all items
Ctrl + C: Copy the selected item
Ctrl + X: Cut the selected item
Ctrl + V: Paste the selected item
Ctrl + D: Delete selected item
Ctrl + Z: Undo an action
Ctrl + Y: Redo an action
Ctrl + N: Open a new window in Windows Explorer
Ctrl + W: Close current window in Windows Explorer
Ctrl + E: Select the Search box in the upper right corner of a window
Ctrl + Shift + N: Create new folder
Ctrl + Shift + Esc: Open the Windows Task Manager
Ctrl + Alt + Tab: Use arrow keys to cycle through open windows
Ctrl + Alt + Delete: Access the Windows Security screen 
Ctrl + Click: Select multiple individual items
Ctrl + Click and drag an item: Copies that item in the same folder
Ctrl + Shift + Click and drag an item: Creates a shortcut for that item in the same folder
Ctrl + Tab:  Move forward through tabs
Ctrl + Shift + Tab: Move backward through tabs
Ctrl + Shift + Click on a Taskbar button: Launch a new instance of a program as an Administrator
Ctrl + Click on a grouped Taskbar button: Cycle through the instances of a program in the group
F1: Display Help
F2: Rename a file
F3: Open Search
F4: Display the Address Bar list
F5: Refresh display
F6: Cycle forward through elements in a window or dialog box
F7: Display command history in a Command Prompt
F10: Display hidden Menu Bar
F11: Toggle full screen display
Tab: Cycle forward through elements in a window or dialog box
PrtScn: Take a screen shot of the entire screen and place it in the clipboard
Home: Move to the top of the active window
End: Move to the bottom of the active window
Delete: Delete the selected item
Backspace: Display the previous folder in Windows Explorer  Move up one folder level in Open or Save dialog box
Esc: Close a dialog box
Num Lock Enabled + Plus (+): Display the contents of the selected folder 
Num Lock Enabled + Minus (-): Collapse the selected folder
Num Lock Enabled + Asterisk (*): Expand all subfolders under the selected folder    
Press Shift 5 times Turn StickyKeys on or off
Hold down right Shift for 8 seconds Turn FilterKeys on or off
Hold down Num Lock for 5 seconds Turn ToggleKeys on or off 

Unable to mount ISO files

In Windows 8 if you find the Mount option no longer available for an ISO image, this occurred due to installing a third-party program that handles ISO image.  Nero, ImgBurn, Roxio, etc. programs that takes control of handling ISO files breaks the Windows 8 Mount feature for ISO files.

To get the Mount feature back in Windows 8, do the following:
  • Right-click on the .ISO file and click Properties.
  • In the General tab click the Change button.
  • Select Windows Explorer for the program association.
  • Click Apply in the Properties window and click OK.
In Windows Explorer go to the ISO file.  Right-click on the ISO files and the Mount feature is back.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Not Implemented mesages in Windows 8

In a CNET news article, "After 1.2 billion hours of user testing, Windows 8 is good to go", you would thought that the "Not Implemented" and "Feature Not Implemented" messages in Windows 8 would not appear.  I commonly experienced the Not Implemented messages in Windows 8 when in the Manage Windows Backup space window.  I have experienced both of these information messages popping up in Windows 8 where it feels like Windows 8 is not out of beta.

I contacted Microsoft Support about the above message, including the Feature Not Implemented, and their response was that I was running an old beta version of Windows 8.  After I explained that Windows 8 is on a new ASUS laptop and Windows 8 is the released version, they informed me that this feature works as it is shown in the Windows Help file.

I asked the Microsoft Support rep to actually run this feature in Windows 8 and they told me that they are not running Windows 8, nor do they have access to Windows 8 at this time.  They told me that they rely on Google searches on what they find on the Internet and they have no real internal database or resource to get actual answers from Microsoft.  I decided to get off the phone as it seems I can find better information on how to solve these problems.

Windows 8 Frustrations...

For those that have not upgraded or have recently upgraded to Windows 8, after a short time of use you will start feeling the frustrations of working with Windows 8.  Software incompatibilities are high if you are not using current versions.  If the computer's hardware is insufficient or not up to speed, you will feel the slowness of Windows 8.

I have been using Windows for years, ever since Windows 1.0.  In how Microsoft changed Windows over the years has impacted our productivity and pushed up to upgrade our other software programs, Windows 8 seems to impact all aspects of using a computer.

I found the picture below on PC World's web site and though the picture showed what most, if not all, of us experience with a new operating system from Microsoft:

AH!  Why did I get this laptop with Windows 8!
In the PC World's article 8 worst Windows 8 irritations (and how to fix them), I thought they would find many more irritations.  Why stop at 8, they could have found 88 and more.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Create a System Image Error 0x80780119

For those using Windows 8 that has tried to create a System Image, the ever occurring error 0x80780119 keep showing up when you run the backup process.  This error messages number indicates that there is not enough free hard drive space on the external device, such as a USB hard drive, to save the backup.

Throughout my other ordeals with Windows 8, I have tried to successfully run "Create a system image" in Windows 8 when selecting the "Windows 7 File Recovery" option in the Control Panel.

Microsoft recommends Windows 8 users to create and maintain a System Image.  Since Microsoft does not allow you to create recovery DVD's of your system, such as you were able to do in Windows 7 and Windows Vista, including some Windows XP system, this would be the only method of getting Windows 8 restored back on the system with all of your applications installed and activated.

The past several weeks I have contacted ASUS Support, Microsoft Support, and posted messages in the public forums of Microsoft to find out what may be causing this problem and how to correct it.  The Windows 8 community seems to have possible causes and found some solutions to the problem, however, many other Windows 8 users have not corrected this error.

There is a workaround solution for this Microsoft issue.  You can use a third-party utility to make an image of your hard drive.  This would include all partitions on the hard drive where you can later restore the system back to how it was at that time of backup.

Since Microsoft Support has no clue or useful information on this error, which based on the messages I have found via Google searches, this error will not be corrected any time soon.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Downgrade to Windows 7 blowup...

After spending the last two weeks of running Windows 8 Refreshes and one Reset with format, I fixed the wireless problem in Windows 8.  After installing another Windows 8 Security Update, I had to reinstall the wireless driver again, that I downloaded from Intel's web site, to get wireless stabilization again.

When I contacted ASUS Support about dual booting Windows 8 Pro using secure boot with Windows 7 Professional, they said that this cannot be accomplished.  The pre-installed Windows 8 on the laptop I had upgraded to Windows 8 Pro where I could downgrade to Windows 7 Professional.  ASUS Support told me that if I partition the hard drive and install Windows 7 with an OEM version of Windows 8, the installed Windows 8 along with the Recovery partitions on the hard drive will no longer be available.  Per ASUS, Microsoft has secured Windows 8 on the computer that installing Windows 7 is a dual-boot setup will cause the Windows 8 license to invalidate and expire.  This does not sound valid and I tried to get more information out of them.  ASUS just told me to contact Microsoft as Microsoft told them that is how it is with Windows 8.

I contacted Microsoft Support and never got a straight answer or any useful information on dual booting Windows 8 and Windows 7.  Microsoft said it may be possible, but it may not be worth the risk of losing an Windows 8 license.

After thinking about installing Windows 7 on the laptop with a different hard drive in the laptop,  I contacted ASUS Support again to find out if there were any Windows 7 drivers available.  The ASUS web site only shows Windows 8 drivers for this laptop.  I had already narrowed down all the hardware on the laptop where I know I could possible find Windows 7 drivers.  Between contacting Microsoft Support and ASUS Support, I found that some hardware on Windows 8 computers are keyed.  That is the term they used, keyed.

If I was able to install Windows 7 Professional on the hard drive with the system or installed a new hard drive with installing just Windows 7, the OEM Windows 8 key in the BIOS would get removed and the hardware drivers (i.e. chipset, wireless, network card, video, audio, etc.) would not work.  Due to the fact Microsoft has made manufacturers "key" their hardware to Windows 8 drivers.

I further researched this fact with other OEM manufacturers, as I work in the IT field in businesses, and finding more information about hardware locks, or hardware keys.  However, they also tell me that they are not sure it is 100% accurate.

I have continued to use Windows 8 on the laptop and still trying to use Windows 7 Professional in Hyper-V.  Hyper-V replaces  Microsoft's Virtual PC product.  Hyper-V is available in Windows 8 Pro and Enterprise versions.  I have Windows 7 Professional running in Hyper-V, but there are many limitations based on how I have used virtual machine in the past.  I used to run virtual machines using VMware Workstation.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Windows 8 and wireless issues...

After I had familiarized myself with Windows 8 on the ASUS laptop, I started to install applications and set up various personal preference settings.  Since I bought a laptop, the intention is to use a wireless connection.  I use a Cisco Linksys Wireless-N router that puts out a good signal throughout the house.  I have two other laptops in the house, one with Windows 7 and the another with Windows XP.  Both connected through wireless connections and both showing a strong signal.  Just want to note that I never had wireless issues on these two laptops.

The new ASUS laptop had some wireless issues initially, but that cause is from hardware.  When I upgraded the memory, I must have loosen one of the wireless connectors causing wireless detection issues.  I corrected the hardware wireless issues.  I prefer to use wireless N for its speed on the laptops.  After the ASUS laptop continued to drop wireless connections while showing a strong signal, I figured this may have been from a wireless network driver.  I research the type of wireless hardware card is in the laptop, downloaded and installed the latest Intel driver, and tried to connect to wireless networks.  The wireless connection would connect to the network, it just would not obtain an Internet connectivity.  The wireless router assigned an IP address to Windows 8.  The router and wireless connects still remain active and good working order on the other two laptops.

I contacted ASUS Support about this wireless issue.  I told them my troubleshooting steps that I took to correct this issue.  ASUS Support then told me that I needed to Refresh Windows 8 without removing personal data.  Well, that took a while to run and refreshed Windows 8.  After the Windows 8 Refresh completed, Windows 8 would not activate.  I had to contact Microsoft Support to get  Windows 8 activated.  I mentioned to ASUS Support that Windows 8 should not need manual activation as the Windows 8 keys are encrypted in the BIOS (UEFI).   They agreed, however, they are not allowed to activate Windows 8, and need to contact Microsoft.

I contacted Microsoft Product Activation for Windows 8.  After explaining to Microsoft Support what I had did to Windows 8, they did not believe me.  I provided them the information that they had requested and finally after spending twenty-five (25) minutes on the phone trying to prove to them that this brand new Windows 8 laptop needed activation.

After getting Windows 8 activated and installed available updates from Windows Update, I still had wireless connectivity issues.  I contacted ASUS Support back and went through various (totally useless) steps to diagnose this wireless issue.  After two hours listening to a "highly knowledgeable" ASUS Support rep that there is a "serious" problem on the laptop, I told them rep that it is Windows 8.  He laughed a little and proceeded to tell to run a Refresh again.  ASUS Support told me that Windows 8 Refresh has a bug where it will not reinstall drivers back correctly and the only way to fix it is to run another Refresh.

Here is where I ran in to a "Ground Hog" event.  I had already did two Windows 8 Refreshes with contacting Microsoft both times to activate Windows 8 again.  The second time with Microsoft on the phone went smoother and took less time.  After running the second Windows 8 Refresh, ASUS Support suggest to do it again as they told me the third time is usually when it works.  Well, I ran a third Windows 8 Refresh.  The results were the same, which I told them on the phone that running Windows 8 Refreshes will NOT fix the problem.  After another long telephone discussion on this issue and a long hold time (14 minutes), the ASUS Support rep came back telling me something that I expected and knew it would not fix it.  The ASUS Support rep told me "My manager, a  Windows 8 Expert for the past four years..." (Uh... how long?) that I needed to run a Windows 8 Reset.

The Windows 8 Reset with format ran for eight (8) hours on the laptop.  What a Windows 8 Reset with format does is completely removes all personal data and reloads Windows 8 back to Factory.  Thus I have to restart completely over again.  This took several days to complete due to work schedule.

After completing these steps for ASUS Support, I wasted nearly two weeks of my time running Windows 8 Refreshes and one Reset of Windows 8.  I had enough at this point of doing these useless timely Refreshes.

I contacted ASUS Support back about the wireless issues and they started to tell me to run a Windows 8 Refresh, etc.  I stopped them and they understand at that time I had enough.  Then the ASUS Support rep suggested to contact the hardware manufacturer (Intel) of the wireless card and they had no idea what was wrong.  I asked if they did not know what was causing this problem, why did they instructed me to run those Refreshes and Reset.  The ASUS Support answer was "I don't know."

After further researching the Intel wireless card problems, which is also on other OEM laptops, there is a serious flaw in the Intel wireless driver.  I found the wireless driver on Intel's web site where I only updated the wireless driver.  If you install the other updated drivers, such as the Bluetooth, wireless connections will continue to fail.  I finally installed the latest wireless driver and this has solved the wireless connectivity issues.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I bought a new laptop...

On October 28, 2012, I finally purchased my new laptop.  I had been reviewing laptops for some time to find the laptop that meets my needs.  I found a few laptops in Best Buy, however, when I went back to buy those laptops they were already removed from the floor.  Best Buy was no longer selling those laptops.  Newer laptops were coming out with Windows 8.  When I finally found a laptop I wanted to buy, the laptop had unfortunately Windows 8 on it.  I bought the laptop in hopes to adapt and learn about Windows 8.  This is not a touch screen laptop and did not have an option to downgrade or have Windows 7 installed.

After arriving home with the new ASUS laptop, Windows 8 problems started to occur right out of the box of turning the system.  Windows 8 new logo shows on the screen and went away.  I sat there looking at a blank screen with no hard drive activity.  I turned off the laptop and tried again.  Then Windows 8 install ran for the first time.  During the Windows 8 installation, I found it confusing on whether it was actually running.  There was an animated circle of dots that kept showing on the screen with no progress indication of time or progress.  I figured with an Intel i5 processor, 8GB of DDR3 memory, and a fast 750GB hard drive, this should not take very long.  Three hours later (as I had to leave for a while) I found Windows 8 showing the same screen.  I restarted Windows 8 to see if the install would complete.

I contacted ASUS Support while the laptop started the installation process again.  This time is seems to run and I continued to hold.  ASUS Support finally answered the phone and I explained the problem.  When Windows 8 installation process had restarted (as it should), I finally had the window showing to create accounts.  The ASUS Support rep told me that if I made it that far, it should complete the installation.  I got off the phone and continued to complete the Windows 8 setup.

When it prompted me to use either a Microsoft Account or Local Account, I selected Local Account.  I read some recent news stories on using a Microsoft Account and the security risk is very high for problems.  I created my Local Account and continued with the setup process.  When Windows 8 starts to create the Local Account, an error message showing "You must log in to create the account".  I found this message puzzling and clicked OK on the message.  Since I was creating the very first and initial account, I figured something went wrong in the setup.  About several minutes later, my Local Account had been created.  I restarted Windows 8 and logged in to the account.

This is when I started to play around with Windows 8 to figure out where Microsoft had changed and hide various tasks and options.