Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 has been out for several days now. It is available to download directly from the Windows Store (on current Windows 8 devices) and then executes itself. I tried out the preview a couple of months back, and I thought that it was great, so I really wanted to get the full version.

This turned out to be a bit trickier than expected. The download took about thirteen hours. This is quite a long time for a 3GB download. Partially this was due to my slow connection speed, but the delay was also caused by the Windows Store’s strange download “techniques”: it requires you to check back every twenty minutes (or it closes) and the app itself is buggy. Occasional glitches cause the download to appear more or less complete than it actually is.

Once it was downloaded, however, it worked fine! The updated is automated and finished its work within fifteen minutes, leaving me with a shiny, new OS! Actually, there aren’t too many changes. There are a few new apps: Health and Fitness, Food and Drink, Help and Tips and a Reading List (but with no offline reading feature??). Also included is a calculator (with scientific mode) and a voice recorder. The search feature has been much revamped, and of course there are plenty of performance updates. The lock screen now allows you to take pictures without entering a password, and the “PC Settings” menu is now much more comprehensive.

Oh, and did I mention that The Start Button, in all its humble majesty, has returned?

Currently all it does is returns you to the Metro screen, but it should give a few months of ease to all the Windows 7 fanboys!

Perhaps the best features of the new update relate to customisation. There are now FOUR tile sizes on the Metro Screen: 1/2 x 1/2, 1×1, 1×2 and 2×2. The colour theme settings are much more detailed. Now (one of my favourites) you can also have your metro background the same as your desktop!

I still need to check and see if the Windows Experience Rating is there.

N.B. The Messenger App IS still there, contrary to previous reports!

To conclude, I think that (as long as your connection speed is decent) the 8.1 upgrade is very worthwhile. Get the newest Windows OS in the world now!

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Check your Disk for Errors

Here’s a quick guide on how to use the CHKDSK utility to find and fix errors on your hard drive!

  1. Press Win + E to get to My Computer.
  2. Right click on your hard disk and select properties.
  3. Go to tools and click “Check Now”.
  4. With older operating systems, you may need to tick several boxes. Otherwise, click start.

On Windows 8 (and 7?) the scan will run and any errors will be removed.

Sometimes, and on older operating systems, you need to do the following too:

 

5. When prompted, schedule a disk check.

6. Close open programs and restart your PC.

This will do the scan at the next startup. It can take a long time with older computers, so be patient!

Add Shortcuts to My Computer

Here’s a quick little trick that will let you add shortcuts in “My Computer”! You can link any files here!

 

1)  Open the Run dialog by pressing Win +R.

2)  Type  %appdata%\microsoft\Windows\Network Shortcuts and press Enter.

3) Right click in the blank space and go to New and then click Shortcut.

4) Enter the file path of your shortcut. Now you have your own shortcut in My Computer!

 

To remove a shortcut, simply press Win + E and then right click on it and select delete.

Get the Windows 8.1 Preview!

Here’s how to get hold of the Windows 8.1 Preview!

 

METHOD 1: (Easy Method)

This method is easier, BUT MAY RUIN YOUR COMPUTER! Don’t do this on your main computer and make sure you create recovery media.

  1. Make a USB recovery drive. Check out Microsoft’s guide if you’re unsure.
  2. Now go to the link below and follow the instructions:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows-8/preview-download

 

METHOD 2: (Best Method)

This is more advanced but doesn’t affect your actual PC OS. It creates a Virtual Drive.

  1. Download VirtualBox and the Windows 8.1 .iso. YOU NEED TO GET THE RIGHT VERSION! This will either be the 32 bit or the 64 bit depending on your computer. This will take a long time, so be patient!
  2. Now setup and open VirtualBox. Click “New” at the top left.
  3. Type “Windows 8.1” and select Microsoft Windows and Windows 8.1 from the dropdowns. Click next.
  4. Now click next again. On the next screen, select “Create a virtual hard drive now” and click create.
  5. Leave the next option at VDI and click next.
  6. Now choose fixed size and click next.
  7. Then click create!
  8. After it has been created, go to settings and then storage.
  9. Click the disk under “Controller IDE” and click the little disk icon to the right of the dialog box.
  10. Choose your ISO file!
  11. Now click OK, and click “Start”.
  12. Continue through the setup process. When asked for a product key, enter: NTTX3-RV7VB-T7X7F-WQYYY-9Y92F (The dashes will be added automatically)
  13. Soon, you will have Windows 8.1 up and running! You can toggle fullscreen in VirtualBox using Right Ctrl+F by default.

 

Don’t hesitate to Contact Me if you have an issue!