Monthly Archives: April 2012

Windows 8 Editions and Upgrade Paths Information

The following details information about the editions of Windows 8 (Stock Keeping Units) that will be available for purchase at retail, along with the upgrade paths from previous versions of Windows.

Windows 8 will be available in two retail editions:

  • Windows 8 – targeted at consumers.
  • Windows 8 – targeted at enthusiast, power users and businesses.
  • Windows 8 will be available in 32 and 64 bit architectures

Below is a list of which editions of Windows 7 users will be able to upgrade from to Windows 8

Edition Windows 8 Windows 8 Pro Windows 8 ARM
Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium



Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate  




Migration options available from previous versions of Windows such as Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7

The upgrade options that you might see in the screen above depend on which version of Windows you are upgrading from. Here’s the list of what you can migrate based on your currently installed version of Windows:

You can transfer these… When Upgrading from….    

Windows 7

Windows Vista

Windows XP



Windows Settings




User accounts and Files





Clean install is supported across all versions.

Upgrade options when installing Windows 8:

Depending on the options you chose during setup, you might have to reinstall your applications.
What are my options for what I want to keep?

What you can keep depends on the current version of Windows running on your PC. These options only show up if the current version of Windows supports them.

Here are the options you might see:

  • Windows settings. Windows settings like Ease of Access, your desktop background, or Internet favorites and history will be kept. Not all settings will be moved.
  • Personal files. Anything saved in the User folder is considered a personal file, like the Documents and Desktop folders.
  • Apps. Some apps are compatible with Windows 8  and will just work after Windows 8 Consumer Preview is installed. Some apps might have to be reinstalled after Windows 8 finishes installing, so be sure to find the installation discs and installers for apps you want to keep.
  • Nothing. Delete everything and replace your current version with a copy of Windows 8. Your personal files will be moved to a windows.old folder.

If you choose Nothing, make sure to do the following before you continue:

  • Back up your files to an external hard disk, DVD or CD, USB flash drive, or network folder.
  • Find the installation discs and installers for the apps you know will work in Windows 8 Consumer Preview and need to reinstall.
  • If you use a fingerprint reader or other biometric device to sign in to your computer, make sure you write down your password. You’ll have to sign in by typing your user name and password the first time you use Windows 8

Windows RT – ARM Support

Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro do not support existing ARM based devices on the market such as Android Tablets like the Samsung Tab, Acer Iconia Tab or the Blackberry Playbook. You need a computer with a x86 x64 processor.

Computers with ARM processors will come with a version of Windows called Windows RT, but you cannot install it on existing devices that utilize ARM processors.

Whether you have a logo PC or you’ve built your own PC, the recommendations for the Consumer Preview include:

1 GHz or faster processor
1 GB RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

One new element to Windows 8 is the requirement that Metro style applications have a minimum of 1024×768 screen resolution, and 1366×768 for the snap feature. If you attempt to launch a Metro style app with less than this resolution (e.g. 800×600, 1024×600) you will receive an error message.


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Filed under 8 Journal, Windows 8

How to activate Windows 7 OEM license using a retail disc

I have been encountering a number of these lately, a person with a laptop wants to reinstall Windows 7, something goes wrong, either their recovery partition is damaged or they don’t have any recovery disc. Thankfully, all machines that ship with Windows 7 come with a genuine proof of license, the COA sticker, located sometimes at the bottom of a laptop or in the battery compartment (if you are using a desktop computer you can look at the side or top. What this means is, you can reinstall Windows 7, using the corresponding edition Windows 7 retail disc and use the product key located on the COA sticker to reactivate it.

For example, if you bought a laptop that came with Windows 7 Home Premium OEM and you would like to reinstall Windows 7 but have not way of doing so, you can use a retail disc, whether it be a full or upgrade version Windows 7 Home Premium disc.

Once you have installed it, all you need to do is change the product key located on the Certificate of Authenticity (COA). Lets take a look at how to do that.

Click Start, right click Computer

Click Properties


Scroll down to Windows activation.

You will notice it displays a time until Activation but be completed. Also the Product ID indicates it is using a default key, this is only for the 30 day grace period allowed until you must activate Windows 7.

Click the link, Change product key


Enter the product key located on the COA sticker located at the bottom or (sometimes in the battery compartment of your laptop), you can also find it at the top or side if its a Desktop computer.  It looks something like the following:


Proceed to enter the product key and click Next


Wait while Windows attempts to activate.


If all goes well, within a minute, you should see this screen.

You can further confirm Windows 7 is activated by checking the Windows Activation status:


Notice Windows 7 now displays OEM within the Product ID to indicate the product channel it is licensed from. Please note, this also works with Windows Vista if you are still running that version.

If you are unable to activate Windows 7 using the Change product key method, you can try phone activation and speak with a call agent who will assist with reactivating Windows 7:

How to activate Windows 7 manually (activate by phone)
1) Click Start, and in the Search box type:   slui.exe  4
2) Next press the ‘ENTER’ key
3) Select your ‘Country’ from the list.
4) Choose the ‘Phone Activation’ option.
5) Stay on the phone (do not select/press any options) and wait for a person to help you with activation.
6) Explain your problem clearly to the support person.


COA Certificate of Authenticity:

What is the Windows Certificate of Authenticity?



Filed under 7 Journal

Quick Tip: How to shutdown Windows 8 even faster!

Just realized this is an option available in Windows for a while now. Of course, its a keyboard command, but its really quick and easy.


An even quicker way to power down your system

Press ALT + F4 on your keyboard. Make sure you are at the desktop to invoke this command. If you do it while in an application, it will only close the active application window. It will look something like the following:




Filed under 8 Journal, Windows 8

Review: HP Z210 on ActiveWin

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity of reviewing some killer hardware for The HP Z210 is a small form factor (SFF) workstation featuring some cool specs such as an Intel XEON Processor, SSD and 8 GBs of DDR3 ECC RAM.


A few years ago I made a vow to myself that I would not invest in another desktop because the trade-offs they required such as desktop real estate, weight, separate keyboard, mouse and of course a monitor were becoming too much. My belief at the time was and still is, laptops are getting more powerful each year and even some models from major brands such as HP could make a good desktop replacement. There is just one area laptops have not caught up and that is raw power. Desktops remain a good choice because of the choice components used and a little thing called expandability. This review takes a look at a system unit from Hewlett Packard, the Z210 Workstation which out of the box packs a punch in a sleek slim line unit that not only is perfect for cramped spaces but offers little compromise allowing you to easily add and upgrade components with its easy to open chassis. Let’s take a look at the specifications:

  • Intel XEON E31245 CPU 3.3 GHz

  • 8 GBs of DDR3 RAM

  • 160 GB SSD Storage

  • Intel 3000 HD Graphics

  • 5 USB Ports on the front of the chassis, 6 at the back plus two USB 3.0 ports.

  • DVD RW optical drive

  • 5 in one card reader

  • Windows 7 Professional with SP1 64 bit

  • Weight 22 lbs

Read the entire review here

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Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award 2012

Hello Readers,

This just in! I have been awarded the Microsoft MVP Award for 2012 in the expertise, Windows Expert-Consumer. This is my third time receiving the award and I must say it feels like the first each time. MVP’s play a vital role when it comes to communicating the benefits of technology and they do it through a variety of avenues such as blogs, websites, podcasting, workshops, user groups, giving a speech at conferences, writing books. What is particularly amazing is the voluntary effort these users provide, all for free without expecting anything in return for it. I personally love this because of the passion to learn and share; it is the best compensation one can get out of being an MVP. I have gotten so much from simply giving my free time by participating on forums such as Microsoft Answers or writing articles about Windows 7 and Windows 8 at my blog.

Dear Andre Da Costa,

 Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2012 Microsoft® MVP Award! This award is given to exceptional technical community leaders who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with others. We appreciate your outstanding contributions in Windows Expert-Consumer technical communities during the past year.

I want to say thank you to my readers, my MVP Lead Jake Grey, fellow MVP’s and Microsoft for continuing to support my passion.

The coming months are looking very exciting, with the next versions of Windows and Microsoft Office in the pipeline (Windows 8, Windows Server 8 and Office 15), and the continued excitement for Windows 7 and Office 2010. We will definitely have a great time working and playing in the future. I look forward to being part of that journey sharing my experience and expertise with you as we take advantage of these new technologies and I look forward to learning just as much in return.

Thank You! Andre Da Costa


Microsoft Most Valuable Professional  (MVP) Award 2010
Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award 2011

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