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.