Monthly Archives: October 2012

How to backup your Windows 8 installation

We looked at how to do this under Windows 7, but due to small differences in how to you start the process in Windows 8, we will take a look at revised approach to doing it under Windows 8.

First step, launch Backup and Restore

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Press Windows + X then click Control Panel

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In Control Panel, click Windows 7 File Recovery

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Under Control Panel Home, click Create a system image

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Make sure your external storage device is plugged in and turned on. It should automatically be detected. Click Next

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Click Start backup to begin the backup process. The process can take some time depending on the size of your backup.

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Backing up Windows 8

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After Backup has completed you can close the wizard or create a system repair disc. It is recommended you do so if you don’t have a physical installation disc for Windows 8.

Install, Upgrade and Activate

Previously:

How to backup your Windows 7 installation

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How to migrate from Windows 8 Preview Releases: Dual Boot Setup

Windows 8 has RTMed and persons are starting to make their preparations to upgrade to the final release. According to Microsoft, nearly 17 million installations of Windows 8 previews exist. That’s a lot compared to many who also tested prior preview releases of Windows.

For persons running the Windows 8 Release Preview, Consumer Preview or even the Developer preview, migration is the only option, there is no in place upgrade that will preserve your installed applications. The final release of Windows 8 will move your personal files by moving them to a Windows.old folder at the root of the drive (C:\). In this article, we take a look at migrating from Windows 8 release previews under a dual boot configuration. Dual boot configurations is the best way in my estimation to evaluate Windows 8. Reason being, your existing version of Windows (whether that be Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7) is kept intact while you install Windows 8 preview on a hard disk or partition. The operating system will allow you to choose which version of Windows you would like to boot into at startup by using a boot manager.

Data

If you have been using any of the release previews exclusively for a period of time, you are likely to have accumulated data on the drive where the preview is installed. Depending on the version of Windows you are dual booting with, you will have to do a manual backup to keep that data. Tools such as an external hard disk are recommended in this scenario. If you are running Windows XP, Vista, I would recommend you copy all the personal folders to an external hard disk. The process is simple:

In Windows 8, launch File Explorer

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Highlight all folders within your Personal folder

Copy Personal folders

Click Copy on the Ribbon (Home tab)

Make sure your external hard disk is turned on and plugged in, then browse to your external hard disk and click Paste on the Ribbon (Home Tab)

Backup to system partition

If you do not happen to own an external hard disk, but you have enough space on the boot drive where the older version of Windows is installed, you can create a folder there and paste the folders into it.

Once you have backed up your data, the next recommendation I would make is to renable to classic text based boot manager. You can do this from within either Windows 8 or the older version of Windows. I personally recommend this as a precautionary measure, because Windows 8 uses a new graphical boot manager, I don’t know what the side effects will be if you format the partition where Windows 8 exist.

To enable the text based boot manager, right click the left hand corner of the Windows 8 screen.

Press Windows Key + X then Click System

Advanced Settings

Click Advanced System settings

Click Advanced tab

Under Startup and Recovery, click Settings

Text Boot Manager

Under System startup, click in the ‘Default operating system:’ list box, select the earlier version of Windows, whether that be Windows 7 or Vista. If you are running Windows XP, select ‘Earlier version of Windows’.

Formatting Partition, recovering disk space

The next step is to boot into the earlier version of Windows “XP, Vista or Windows 7”.

Launch Disk Management:

Press Windows key + R on your keyboard, then type: diskmgmt.msc

Hit Enter on your keyboard

In Disk Management, you should see the partition listed where Windows 8 is installed.

Delete Partition

Right click it, click Delete

Click OK

Next, right click the system partition, normally listed as Drive C:\ where Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 is installed.

Click Extend.

(Windows XP users, if you do not see Extend, you will need to use a third party partitioning tool such as Easeus).

click ‘Yes’ when the warning appears.

A wizard will now begin that will guide through the steps to merge back the unallocated space with your system partition.

The wizard provides a simple procedure to merge back the unallocated space with the system drive. Once you have selected the space, click Next, at the end of the wizard, you will see the amount allocated.

Using Easeus in Windows XP to reallocate partition space used by Windows 8

In the Easeus main screen, right click the system partition (C:\)

Reallocate Ease Us

Click Resize/Move partition

Windows XP Professional-2012-10-28-18-36-52

Under Decide size and position, drag the knob to the right until there is none left. See pic below:

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Click OK

Click Apply to confirm changes

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Click Yes when Apply Changes dialog appears.

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Click OK when complete

Restart your computer to complete changes.

You should now have a single partition displayed in Computer Explorer.

Automatically boot into the operating system.

Earlier, we had enabled the text based boot manager.

Because we no longer have Windows 8 installed, we need to remove it.

Click Start, right Computer (My Computer for XP users)

Click Properties (Windows 7/Vista users click Advanced system settings)

Click Advanced tab

Under Startup and Recovery, click Settings

Under System startup, uncheck ‘Time to display list of operating systems’

Click OK, then Apply and OK

This will allow you to boot directly to the Windows 7, Vista or XP desktop.

You can proceed to upgrade to Windows 8 final now that you have regained your disk space.

Install, Upgrade and Activate

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Windows 8 Pricing and Availability Revealed

Today information regarding availability of Windows 8 and pre-order information was announced by several sources.

Starting today, you can reserve a packaged DVD of the upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $69.99 USD ERP* (U.S.) at select retailers. When you receive your copy of the Windows 8 Pro upgrade, you’ll see that the packaging takes a fresh approach, in the reimagining of Windows. Your package will feature one of 5 vibrant illustrations – you can check out all 5 here on Facebook. We moved to paper based materials (the exception of course being the upgrade DVD inside) which allowed us to make an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel consumption. And we’ve reduced the packaging weight by 41%.

Win8_Pro1

In the U.S., you will find this offer at Amazon.com, Best Buy, Staples, Office Depot and the Microsoft Store and many more. I suggest checking with your local retailers.

Learn more here

If you don’t want to go the retail packaging, you can purchase Windows 8 as a digital download for $39.99. All distributions of Windows 8 with exception to the OEM versions are upgrades. So if you do not have a qualifying version of Windows installed on your machine (Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7), you should purchase the OEM version of either Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro.

Pricing:

  • Windows 8 Professional Upgrade – $69.99 (save $130)
  • Windows 8 Pro Pack – Product Key Card (no media) – $69.99 (save $30)
  • Windows 8 (Full Version) – OEM $99.99
  • Windows 8 Pro (Full Version) – OEM $139.99

Source ZDNet and New Egg

Microsoft has also introduced some changes to the retail boxed package, with a slimmer more eco-friendly design. Considering that this is probably the last release of Windows we are seeing in a retail package, I will definitely be picking up a copy. Check it out.

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The design is a bit artsy, reminiscent of the Adobe Creative Suite products with a flare of the ‘Sounds of the 80’s.

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Significant Updates for Windows 8 Released

Hi folks, sorry for the delay in updating my blog, been a bit busy at work and I had to do a recent reinstall of Windows 8 because of partition resizing. Anyway, Microsoft released some significant updates for Windows 8 today. Steven Sinofsky over at the Building 8 blog detailed some of the improvements:

With every release of Windows we have had approximately 8-12 weeks from when we released the code to OEMs and manufacturing and when the product was available on new PCs and for retail customers. This time has historically been used to match newly developed PCs, which can include a variety of new or enhanced components, drivers, and companion software, with the final code for Windows. Because these hardware and software components are brand new, it could be the case that they uncover the need for changes and improvements to Windows in the areas of fundamentals.

You can learn more here

I am already seeing the update as promised:

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About the Update:

KB article title:

Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 General Availability Cumulative Update

Description:

Windows 8 Client and Windows Server 2012 General Availability Cumulative Update is available. This cumulative update package provides a collection of performance and reliability improvements that are designed to improve the Windows 8 experience. We recommend that you apply this cumulative update as part of your regular maintenance routines.

Improvements:

  • Increased power efficiency to extend battery life
  • Performance improvements in Windows 8 applications and Start screen
  • Improved audio and video playback in many scenarios
  • Improved application and driver compatibility with Windows 8

Known issues:

  • When you turn a Windows feature on or off, the computer may require a restart. For example, this action may be necessary when you turn Remote Access on or off.

Microsoft has also promised to provide updates and improvements to bundled apps that come with Windows 8. These are the apps you access through the new Start Screen interface. Most of these updates will be available by the time Windows 8’s general available on October 26th 2012. 

If you are running Windows 8 now, you can obtain some of these updates by going to the Windows 8 Store.

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The Windows Store icon will indicate if there are updates available. As you can see, I have 9 waiting for me to install.

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Click on Updates in the upper right hand corner of the Windows Store screen.

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There you will see a list of the available App updates. To install them, click Install at the bottom of the screen.

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Wait while the updates are installed:

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That’s it!

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