The biggest change of Windows 8 is the Metro interface. While the Metro interface is good for a tablet, it’s not designed for desktop computers. I upgraded my main workstation to Windows 8 a while ago. I use the desktop about 99% of time, and I only use the Metro interface when it’s necessary.
I found that if you have multiple monitors, you can configure it so that Metro only shows on the second monitor. This works very well, and the interface does not interfere with the applications on the main monitor. Here is how to do it.
- Move the cursor to the corner of the second monitor.
- Click on the Start icon.
This activates the Metro interface on the second monitor. From now on, whenever you press the Windows key, the Metro interface will show on the second monitor. Note that this change only applies to the current session. You’ll have to do it again the next time you log on.
My work desktop crashed a few days ago, I thought it might be better to install Windows 8 on it instead of trying to fix the Windows 7 installation. After a few days, I really missed the gadgets that were on my desktop before. I first tried some clock programs from the App store and did not like them at all. I decided to find out if I could just get the Windows 7 gadgets back.
To my surprise, it is not difficult. All you need to do is to install a program called 8GadgetPack from this site:
Just install it and you can use the Windows 7 gadgets again. Not only I was able to use the default gadgets, I could also use the gadgets I downloaded before I upgraded my machine to Windows 8. The program is actively maintained and it’s free. Give it a try if you want to use Windows 7 gadgets again.
Dell is offering a free eBook for those who register on their site.
The book gives a nice overview of the new OS. The printed copy of the book sells for about $14.00.
From the Back Cover
Just want to get going with Windows 8? This book was made for you!
Windows 8 looks and acts differently than previous Windows versions. The touch-friendly Start screen and new apps can confuse even the most experienced Windows user. This book helps you master Windows 8 by getting you started using the new interface, finding that missing file, creating a network, using Windows 8 on your tablet, and more.
- The big changes — tour the Start screen, where you load apps and programs, see where the desktop went, and use the Control Panel to customize Windows 8
- Touch and go — get acquainted with the many features designed for touchscreen devices
- Tour the web — use Internet Explorer, set up and use e-mail, access your social networks, and do it all with more security
- When you have to share — discover how to protect everyone’s privacy and how to set up a network
- The magic of media — play CDs, digital music, and movies, or work with photos transferred from your camera
Open the book and find:
- Straightforward explanations of unique features
- Which version of Windows 8 is right for you
- Tips for touchscreen users
- Whether you should upgrade to Windows 8
- Easy, do-it-yourself maintenance tips
- How to download apps from the Windows Store
- The easy way to back up your PC
- Ten things that will drive you crazy and how to fix them
- Use the Start screen to launch apps
- Send e-mail and link to social media accounts
- Create music playlists, watch videos, and organize photos
- Troubleshoot common problems
A user has asked me to install Cisco AnyConnect client on several machines. It’s tedious to visit each machine and install the client one by one. I tried to see if there was an option for silent installation and, indeed, there is. You can actually use the MSI option with the executable. Here is an example.
This tells the program to install quietly without GUI. Combine this with the psexec utility, and you can use this command to install the client on a remote computer.
psexec -c \\computer_name anyconnect-win-3.1.00495-web-deploy-k9.exe /qn
It only takes a few seconds to install the client.
When I installed Windows 8 on a VirtualBox virtual machine, I also installed the VirtualBox guest additions. After the guest additions were installed, I could no longer boot the virtual machine up. All I got was a black screen. After rebooting the virtual machine several times, I saw the option to recover the PC. I then tried the Refresh your PC optio,n and I was able to recover my PC/virtual machine. There are two options for you to recover your PC: refresh and reset. According to the Building Windows 8 blog, the differences are:
- Reset your PC – Remove all personal data, apps, and settings from the PC, and reinstall Windows.
- Refresh your PC – Keep all personal data, Metro style apps, and important settings from the PC, and reinstall Windows.
Note that after you refresh your PC, only the apps you bought from the App Store will be restored. You will have to re-install the applications you installed from a disc or downloaded from the web. Here are the steps to refresh your PC:
- When Windows 8 detects there is a problem starting up, it boots to the Recovery screen automatically.
- At the Recovery screen, click on See advanced repair options.
- Click on Troubleshoot.
- Click on Refresh your PC.
- Click on Next.
- Click on the account you want to use.
- Enter the password and click on Continue.
- Insert your Windows 8 installation or recovery media.
That’s it. The whole process takes several minutes to finish. If you are still able to boot your machine up, you can also refresh your PC as another option. To refresh your PC while in Windows, follow these steps:
- If you are not at the start screen, press the Windows key.
- Type in refresh.
- Click on Settings
- Click on Refresh your PC.
- Follow the wizard to finish it.
Windows 8 uses the same command line utility slmgr as Windows 7 for activation with a MAK (Multiple Activation Key). Follow these simple steps to activate your Windows 8.
- Open up an elevated command prompt.
- Enter the following
slmgr -ipk your-mak-key-here
To learn more about this command, type the following command.