Just upgraded to Windows 8.1

Shout out to Jeff from JBTech for reminding me about the release of 8.1. I’ve been running Windows 8 for a while and I recently successfully got a Hackintosh running. So lately I’ve been on my Hackintosh rather than my Windows 8 machine.

You won’t find the update in Windows Update. It’s actually found in the Windows Store tile. I decided to upgrade and aside from the start button and allowing me to boot into the desktop instead of the tile window, I don’t see anything else I would use. Oh well, for the most part, it’s good to update.

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BSOD on Windows 8 – SSD Issue?

Last night I got a BSOD with an error called DPC_Watchdog_Violation. I searched for it and many claim it might have something to do with my SSD and its firmware being old. I’m running a SanDisk Extreme SDSSDX240GG25 with firmware R112. Apparently it’s an old version so I decided to update it. I installed the toolkit and it told me the latest (as of February 8, 2013) is R211. I went ahead and created a USB boot disk from the utility.

I rebooted and when I got to the install screen I couldn’t use my keyboard. I’m using a Logitech K750 wireless keyboard. Then I thought maybe the driver isn’t supported if it’s a wireless keyboard. I plugged in a wired USB keyboard on a different port, restarted, and it was the same thing.

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I ended up calling tech support. They told me to try and burn an ISO on CD. I didn’t want to waste a CD for a 10MB file but oh well I just want to update the firmware. Same thing with booting off the CD.

Then I switched USB ports again for my wired USB keyboard, and there it was. The patch installed in about 2 seconds. I rebooted and hopefully I don’t get the BSOD anymore.

My Windows 8 Adventure

Windows 8 is here and Microsoft is offering multiple editions (again). I never thought I would be one of those who would buy the wrong version on accident but this time around I ended up making the mistake. Maybe this is why Microsoft releases so many different versions. Why can’t they be like Apple when they release OSX, there’s just the regular version (that covers new installations and upgrades) and the Server version. Very easy to distinguish between the two.

So the plan is to remove my RAID0 SSD (2x Kingston 120GB SSD). I decided to get rid of the RAID0 after I found out that RAID0 trim support can only be found in 7-series motherboards. I decided to get one Sandisk Extreme 240GB SSD drive. I was able to get it for only $120 a few months ago and it has been sitting around waiting for me to use it.

Below are some pics I took. You will notice two copies of Windows 8. The white box is the Windows 8 Full OEM version I got from Newegg. The other is the Windows 8 Pro from Best Buy.

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I’ll take the blame for getting the wrong version from Newegg. I guess I just didn’t notice that the title didn’t have “Pro”. All I kept trying to look for is the full version and not upgrade. The best deal I found was the Best Buy one – for $70 – but the there is no clear way to tell whether or not it’s the full version or upgrade. The Newegg disc is what I used to install since it clearly says “Full”. I planned on returning the other copy at Best Buy. After installation and registering, I was trying to install the free Pro Pack but was unable to. After an hour of trying to figure it out, I checked the System Properties and did not see “Pro” in the Windows version. I double checked the box and it was the same thing.

I ended up re-installing with the Best Buy box and was able to install it as a full version. It’s weird the URL I posted above links to the product but it now says “upgrade” yet I was able to install it without any version of Windows on my hard drive. Anyways, it comes with both 32 and 64bit discs. Now I’m up and running and Metro is going to take some time to get use to.

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Restoring Windows 7 after an oopsie

I have a RAID10 and 2 other hard drives installed on my PC. I was trying to format one of non-RAID HDD but it wouldn’t let me in Windows. So I booted off of the Windows 7 DVD and formatted it that way. I didn’t continue the installation after I formatted the HDD. I made sure I selected the right HDD. I restarted and kept getting the missing bootmgr message like the one below.

The joys of Windows. I guess it’s what I get for messing around with it too much. But I accepted the challenge. Here’s what I did. I recently purchased a Kingston SSD drive which came with an Arconis software to clone HDDs and partitions. I know the data is still in my RAID array, the bootmgr is just messed up and won’t boot that drive. I tried to restore by booting off the Windows 7 disc. Unfortunately, because it’s a RAID, it doesn’t recognize it. I can load the drivers but I only have 1 optical drive on this PC and it already has the Windows 7 in there.

So I ended up cloning the contents in the RAID onto one of the HDD. I booted of the Windows 7 disc again and I was able to restore the bootmgr. This was possible because the HDD wasn’t in a RAID array and is just a regular drive. So with a working Windows 7 installed on the non-RAID, I cloned it again but back to the RAID10 array. I unplugged the other drive and rebooted. Everything is back to normal. I didn’t have any back ups yet because I was trying to prepare those drives when this happened.

Conclusion: Make sure you have a software that can clone or back up. It’s very helpful. The Arconis True Image software is great. Saved me today from re-doing my Windows machine.

Deleting ._ files in Windows

At work we use iMacs for workstations but Windows for servers. There are some nuisance when sending files from OS X to Windows. Filename lengths, network connections, hidden files – just to name a few.

In OS X, there are hidden files that start with ._ which become visible when viewed in Windows. It’s usually not a problem. It becomes a problem when you are working with Joomla. If you download and unzip Joomla, then transfer the files to a Windows machine, you will get a ._ for each file and folder. This bad because in the Joomla system, there is an XML file for each components, modules, plugins, themes, etc that describes it. There is also a list of files in that XML file. You will probably get errors in the Joomla admin interface because of those ._ files.

Here’s the command to get rid of them in Windows. Open up your command prompt and enter the following command…

del /A:H /S /Q [location] ._*

The del command means delete. The A switch selects files based on an attribute. The H means hidden attribute. The S switch is used to search subdirectories within the [location]. The Q switch is quite mode and is optional. [location] is obvious so replace this with the path of where you want to do the deleting. Finally, the .* means files that start with . and the * is a wildcard.

Make sure you check to make sure there are no files that begin with ._ that you need.

Upcoming Windows Vista looks too familiar

Check out this video http://www.freesmug.org/video/vista/TheRealVista1.mov. The audio was taking from a Windows Vista preview show, I’m guessing. With a possible 1GB memory requirement on the upcoming OS, why not just get a Mac? Well that’s a whole different conversation. Just thought I’d share since I found it funny. Oh by the way, one of the beta testers who have been a tester throughout all of the Windows versions says that the current Vista beta is the WORSE one compared to all the other Windows beta he’s tested, and he’s not the only one.