Residing on the Caribbean island of Jamaica in the West Indies, Andre best describes himself as a technology enthusiast. He authors a blog about his experiences using Windows and Windows Live services.

His journey into blogging started back in December 2004 (5 years ago) when Microsoft started their online blogging service MSN Spaces which was renamed as part of the Windows Live wave of Services). Like many he was enthralled by the excitement surrounding the development of Windows ‘codename’ Longhorn which eventually became Windows Vista. From then on his enthusiasm for Windows grew into a passion. Throughout those years he was able to expand his reach through the opportunity of writing reviews and articles for ActiveWin.com thanks to founders Bob Stein, MVP and Byron Hinson.

My love of technology has allowed me to have various stints at website’s such as Longhorn Blogs (now Windows-Now), Extended64, Windows Connected, and the defunct Microsoft Clubhouse. The opportunity for me to start my very own blog and share my opinions with you about technology allows me to help and learn from so many of you in return. It has been one of the great aspects of blogging.

In April 2010, Andre was awarded Microsoft MVP for 2010 in the category Windows Desktop Experience for his community contributions. You can often find Andre participating on the Windows 7 Install, Upgrade and Activate Microsoft Answers Forum.

80 responses to “About

  1. Noel

    Hi there,

    Sorry to bother you, but I’m interested in buying the new Sony J series in Japan, but have been told by Sony sales staff that if I upgrade by myself to Windows 7 Ultimate, some of the pre-installed software, (TV tuner etc.) will no longer work.

    This seems a little strange to me.
    Can you help in anyway,

    Kind Regards, Noel

    • Hi Noel,
      No bother at all. Its possibility, if the notebook came with a previous version of Windows XP or Vista, there can be a likely possibility of compatibility issues. I suggest you run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor to find out how ready your system is.

      If you bought the computer with an existing edition of Windows 7 such as Home Premium or Professional, doing an Anytime Upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate should not cause any problems since it is the same code base across all editions. It might break warranty because it did not come preinstalled with it.

  2. lance

    hi Andre. i was just wondering what about your apple seedlings? i live in st. lucia and trying to grow some seedlings any advice? thanks

    • Hi lance,
      Thanks for visiting and thank you for the interest in my Apples. I transplanted them in early 2009. I would say they are doing quite well, one is a Fuji and the other is a Granny Smith. I would recommend you first start the germination in a jar with ventilation on damp tissue, leave it in a cold damp area where there is access to faint sun light, such as a window pane. Check on it regularly to make sure the tissue is moist. When it starts to grow and is big enough to be trans-planted, put it in a small container with some soil and keep it inside, let it grow and get strong enough. When its big enough you will need to move it to a larger container.

      You can then put it outside, let it grow, give it some fertilizer, let it grow some more for a time, then you can decide transplant it.

  3. lance

    Thank you so much Andre. I will do just that and keep you informed of my progress. Maybe you could send me a photo of your trees. This is so exting i must say. thanks again

  4. Hi Andre, I have a Dell Dimension E310 with Microsoft Windows XP home edition… How do I type a letter or resume on PC … & print it ..Even though I think I can print easily without instruction, I just can’t get the letter typing started..Thank you … Clint

  5. Thomas Przybylinski

    Andre, I hate to ask a tech question on your blog but you seem to know your stuff about msiexec, from what i have read on the forums. my problem is this: Explorer has lost the .msi association with the installer, and you can’t just simply reassociate it with msiexec.exe. when you try that the dialogue showing the command line parameters appears and nothing is installed. now, if i goto the command line, and type msiexec /i etc.msi, whatever etc.msi is will install normally. any ideas? again, my apologies, though i do hope you are inclined to help me out. Thanks!

  6. zo'

    Dear Andre

    Sorry to bother you, but I dont know who to ask anymore and to solve my problem:

    I installed Win7 on my HP Mini and everything looks fine, except that I have problems with installing new applications like e.g. Skype, always the failure 2502, 2503 and 1603 is coming just before of the end of the installation. Any idea how to solve that? I found many proposals on the net and I did it like described but without success 😦

    Greetings from south france

  7. Ramona

    Hi Andre,
    When I purchased my computer Microsoft office, words, works explore, etc. was already installed on my computer since I had a virus and went through Microsoft to clean up my computer I can no longer access these programs even though they are still on my computer it is now asking for a product key why when it was there before my virus?

  8. Pedro

    Hello André,

    I loved your site and I’ve noticed that you are an expert on windows seven! I have a netbook and I re installed windows seven home premium and will not let me enter the product key, says it is wrong. Do you know any solution for this?

    Thank you all

    • Skip entering your Windows 7 product key and complete the installation.

      Once you reach the desktop, click Start, right click Computer

      Click Properties

      Scroll down to Windows Activation

      Click the link x days until activation.

      Click the link that says ‘Show me other ways to activate’

      Enter product key

      Click Next

      Select Phone Activation

      Click Next when Enter your key page displayed

      Select your country

      Click Next, call the number listed

      Remember to explain to the call agent your situation.

      Provide the generated installation ID when requested by the call agent

      They will give you a confirmation ID in return, enter it

      Click Next to complete the activation.

      The requirements for upgrade media though is that you have a previously qualifying operating system such as Windows XP or Vista installed to use it. From the Windows 7 End User License Agreement.

      15. UPGRADES. To use upgrade software, you must first be licensed for the software that is eligible for the upgrade. Upon upgrade, this agreement takes the place of the agreement for the software you upgraded from. After you upgrade, you may no longer use the software you upgraded from.

      So, if you are still denied, you will have to simply reinstall Windows XP or Vista and let it do the eligibility check.

  9. Leona Obbrace

    Hey man! I’m from the Bahamas & very new to computers. I was wondering if you could help me out. I used arcsoft total media 3.5 with XP with little problem. I now have an acer aspire with wndows 7. I keep getting the error message ‘device is not available or is in use by another application’. I disabled all services & enabled them one by one to find that the ‘power’ service is the problem. If it is disabled then the video flows great but the computer sound is off so I have no audio (nor internet). I can not seem to turn on audio without the ‘power’ in system configuration enabled but then I have no cable. Is there a way to do that? Or what if I partition the hard drive (something I’ve never tried) & install another XP or linux will that free up the driver?
    No one seems to have an answer.

  10. Manhattan Girl

    So, what I really want to know is: did your apples trees grow and sprout fruit?

    • They are growing, but they have been through some tough times. Goats ate them down and they are growing back. I don’t know if they will fruit, but they say it takes at least 5 years or more before that happens. I germinated mine in May of 2008, so it might be some time before I start enjoying the fruits of my labour. (No Pun) 🙂

  11. Ed

    Hi André,

    First I must say thank you for an answer you provided concerning Windows DVD Maker (http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-windows_install/can-i-reinstall-windows-dvd-maker-from-my-win7/3a85ea2e-1667-e011-8dfc-68b599b31bf5?msgId=e609e4af-8967-e011-8dfc-68b599b31bf5&tm=1318512411849). Your solution was what I needed and not to be mean to others, but it was something that even the moderators on Microsoft help forums were missing. It would surprise you how common that problem is and even more so that it has persisted through Vista and now well into Win 7.

    After reading your reply I was impressed enough to follow the link here to your blog. I have to say that I find most blogs bloated and pretentious, regardless of the subject matter. Your blog is an exception to this rule. You give interesting (to your readership) and informed insights and I am pleased to have stumbled upon it.

    Keep up the good work!

  12. Mike

    Hey Andre…good job with the site. Big fan of it and reading your tips and thoughts on products. Anyway, I have a question for you. I’ve got Win7 Ultimate N and need to do a clean install on my laptop…but of course I can’t find my install disc anywhere. I saw on Answers.Microsoft.com that you had some links to different .ISO files ( http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-windows_install/i-dont-have-a-windows-7-disc-and-need-to/c10248f8-737c-44df-97ca-b070c9ac95dc )…do you happen to know of where I can get an ISO of the Ultimate N? I appreciate it.

    Keep up the good work!


  13. Brian

    I wanna asking ;how to install windows 7 on new laptop with free DOS (Non-OS)? first install..?
    thank you.

  14. Sabal

    Hey Andre, could you please help me with this?

    I bought this brand new laptop that doesn’t come with a pre-installed OS. So, I bought Win7 from MS store (which I had to download as some .ISO file). I used Windows 7 USB DVD Download Tool (as per the MS site to install from USB) to copy the Win7 files to my flash drive, now when I try to install, it gets stuck in the “Starting Windows” screen.
    To check if there’s something wrong with my hardware, I took my friend’s Win 7 DVD. The screen changed until “Expanding files (99%)” then some file corrupt error came in (something wrong with his old DVD). But that proves my laptop and all the hardware are fine.

  15. Hi Andre, I would like to thank you for your response to the post on answers.microsoft.com that enabled me to reinstall Win 7 Pro Upgrade on a new drive by flipping the bit on HKLM/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersionsetup/OOBE/mediabootinstall
    and running slmgr /rearm
    Before doing that, I called MS for support and they referred me to my internet provider because the new install didn’t have internet access. A simple reboot solved that problem and I am still awaiting MS support’s callback to get this activated. I’ll be happy to tell them I got it activated without waiting for them. Thanks!

  16. Dana

    Hello Andre,
    Just letting you know, I appreciate you doing this website, helps a lot.
    Keep up the good work.

  17. Hello Andre, I have a question. what advice do you have to get any sort of job with Microsoft? classes, programing knowledge, and or other stuff?

  18. Phil

    How do you feel now about your confident comment on http://www.microsoft-watch.com/content/vista/what_went_wrong_with_windows_vista.html.
    Has experience brought any insight ?

  19. qas

    Hi Andre!
    I downloaded a Windows 8 Debug/Checked Build from my university (Dreamspark). Now I can’t download a Windows 8 Pro (English). Can you help me?

    PS. Sorry for my English, it’s not my mother tounge.

  20. Christopher Keller

    I happened upon your site/blog by happenstance: Where have you been!!??

    Your site/tips/info are FANTASTIC! Extremely thorough and well organized. Why have I gotten more reading 30 minutes on YOUR site than scouring Microsoft to NO avail for hours?

    Thanks for providing such a wonderful service for us “Windows Dummies”, we really appreciate the help.

    Just got Windows 8 Pro, and now that I’ve read a few of your tips/tricks (which again, I have to say that you’ve outdone Microsoft BY FAR!) and now I don’t feel like a “noob” trying to navigate it “blind” essentially. Thanks much!


  21. Ramil

    Hi Andre,
    Sorry for bothering you I really need help I need to know what happen to the driver here in this link: ” http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-windows_install/i-have-currepted-my-original-windows-7-home/3b43fd2e-085e-e011-8dfc-68b599b31bf5?msgId=0fb0748a-c870-4d7e-ad26-5a26d9e37785 ” I need it because the technician here installed other version of operating system “he say he just by passing the OS” just to recover my files from my Dell inspiron n4110 laptop. I cant find the factory restore when doing the F8 upon booting up. So what will be your advice for this:

    1. I can’t find the Factory restore during booting up.
    2. I don’t have the copy of my operation system windows 7 64 bit X16-96086
    3. Can I recover my original legal copy of my OS? If YES how?

    This would be a great help for me and improve my learning in this field.
    Thanks and God Bless.


  22. Danilo Oliveira

    I am having some issues to install few programs on my Windows 8, such as Blackberry Backup and Print to go. It seems problem is on the Windows Installer. Can you email me so that you can try to help me?

  23. Jo King

    Hey Andre, where have you been? We are missing your amazing posts! 😦

  24. Claire Narbonne-Fortin

    Thank you for this wonderful resource. You are amazing!

  25. Hi Andre, I want to say a BIG THANK YOU for being present online when i so needed to know whether I could find my microsoft office picture manager… I saw a response online by your humble clever self! I will save your site on my fresh laptop and probably come back to YOU if I ever have any issues online ~ if that’s okay?
    What a smashing job you’re doing over there in the Caribbean! Good luck with your apple crop and all your studies :~)
    from Faraway land in UK : Ironbridge ~ Deborah :~)

  26. Tito Callito

    Hello, I have a laptop that came with windows 7. the trial version-I did not know that. It did a lot of updates late last year and I notice everytime. I turn on the laptop now. It does not allow me acces to my files. My word documents,excel and everything. Its now telling me to buy office 2010 or try 2013. I have found a 2007 windows disk. I have no key since I lost the case. How can I load the 2007 and not lose the stuff already on my computer. Very important stuff and I am not much of tech person. Thanks

    • Uninstalling Microsoft Office 2010 or 2013 will not delete your files, but you will need to have a copy of Microsoft Office 2007, 2010 or 2013 installed to view and edit them. If you don’t have a license for Microsoft Office, you can download a free suite such as Libre Office or OpenOffice.org which can do basic editing of Office files.

  27. Deb

    Hi Andre
    I have downloaded 8.1 on my new laptop, windows 8 was already installed. I now get the message when I boot, that there is an error and it has to restart and says there is THREAD STUCK IN DEVICE DRIVER …
    any ideas ..computer sluggish to start now… I have had Microsoft techs go through my computer twice remotely and reckoned they had fixed it but they haven’t ..looking on Google it seems it may be a Dell problem? not sure, I know very little about computers … any advice greatly appreciated – Deb

  28. Hi, I enjoy reading your site! Is it okay to contact your through your email? Please email me back.


    cailynxxx gmail.com

  29. Lami

    Hello Andre.
    I have a compaq presario CQ58-100SA and it came with the 64bit version of windows 7 home basic. I have been having problems with it but was able to do system recovery and return it to factory settings. At some point the recovery file got corrupt and i had no option but to format and change the OS but now i want to go back to windows 7 home basic 64 bit because i noticed that the laptop no performs up to par (Vram is now down to 32mb) where can i get the ISO file for it. Thank you

  30. stiletto

    I’m using Office 2013 on a Win7 machine. I used to be able to click the Ruler Bar at the top of a document and get a dotted vertical line running down my whole page to show me how things line up, very helpful when I’m writing poetry. Suddenly that disappeared and when I click on the Ruler Bar, all I get is Page Setup. This happened a couple of days ago and I can’t figure out how to get that dotted vertical line back. Can you help? Thanks a lot.

  31. Jake

    Hi Andre,

    I had asked a question on the Microsoft Community Forum, and you took the time to suggest a possible solution (thank you for that). I tried the solution but it didn’t work properly. I replied on the community forum and I hope you have a few minutes to read it and maybe suggest another solution. Thanks for your time and help.

  32. FL Horvath


    I need your help:

    I tried to install Brother Paperport and it cuased slowdown of the computer so I tried to remove it. When I try to delete its message is ERROR 1723.
    And it also changed my NORMAL STARTUP to Selected Startup. It now takes two minutes to begin. I tried to remove the Paperport with CClean but it will NOT remove it. I now consider replacing Windows7 Pro with Windows7 Home addition but I am concerned that my work-files will be damaged. Do you have any advice? I would appreciate it. If you reply please send message directly to “horvathfl@alaska.net”.
    Thank you,


  33. Tracie

    Hi Andre!! I have been searching for days for answers to a particular subject when I saw your response on Microsoft Community about downloading Windows 7 if the product key is already available. You explained it great, but I am new to this stuff, afraid of messing up and can’t afford to not have my computer since I just started going back to school. Is there anyway you could email me and answer a few more questions about the subject so that I know I am getting everything right? Thank you

  34. Hello
    My name Abood Attia
    I am a member of the Microsoft community section Arab
    I want to asking you about how to get the badge mvp and methods obtained
    and thank you ^_^

  35. alan ferdman

    Hello, just stumbled across you fantastic blog. Just tried setting up Windows 7 Starter as per your instructions , but I don’t get presented with a menu? I downloaded the iso image that you refer to and ran the cfg removal file but no menu. Any idea what might be going wrong for me? Thank in advance.


  36. rumman

    sir i can not download windows 7 iso file from the windows 7 foram site . what can i do now ? please help me .

  37. Like the name 🙂 I teach and do IT too.

  38. I found that every time I tried to download iso it was corrupted until I did it through vuze. They are not only used for illegal stuff.

  39. Liaquat

    Hi there Andre,
    Many thanks for your reply about upgrading from current OS to Windows 10 which is very helpful.

    Another question!

    Do I really need to backup my saved up files on my laptop in order to save them from being lost in the event of upgrading my existing OS to Windows 10?
    I hope you will spare some time to reply to this one and thanks in advance.

    • Its not mandatory, but it is strongly recommended you backup.

      • Liaquat

        Thanks Andre for the info!

      • Andre; Many of us who tried Windows 10 didn’t like it and returned to W7. We now cannot back up our computers. Clicking on backup gives message, “Back up is not set up”. When we click the link, “Set up backup” we get a message, “The task image is corrupt or has been tampered with (0x80041321). How can we get out around this to enable system backup”

  40. Kenneth Johnson

    Hi can I ask something
    I bought a laptop which has Windows 8.1 Single Language, now I upgraded to a NON-GENUINE WINDOWS 8.1 PRO which is actiivated by KMS PICO how am I going to revert back the changes? I totally regret my decision when I upgraded to NON-GENUINE Windows 8.1 PRO

    • You need to do a factory reset in order to reinstall Windows 8.1
      New computers that come preinstalled with Windows often have what is called a recovery partition. This is used to reinstall the operating system in the event of a system crash. To access it, you will need to boot into when you start your computer by pressing a function key. This can be either F1, F2, F9, F10, F11, F12 or even DEL or Tab key. Consult the owners manual that came with your PC for instructions about how to reinstall Windows.

      This is how the recovery partition is accessed for the most popular makes..
      For Dell, press CTRL + F11 directly after powering up the unit
      For HP, press F11 directly after powering up the unit
      For LG, press F11 directly after powering up the unit
      For Toshiba, press and hold ‘0’ BEFORE and during the power up
      For Acer, press and hold ALT + F10 as soon as you see the logo
      For Asus, press F9 as soon as you see the Asus logo.
      For Samsung, press F4 at power up..
      For Fujitsu, press the F8 key repeatedly directly after powering up
      For Advent, restart your computer. Then Press F10 repeatedly until the message “Starting System Recovery” is displayed
      For Sony VAIO, restart and press “F8” or “F10” repeatedly until the “Advanced Boot Options” screen appears.

  41. David

    I need help please. I have windows 7. I accepted a free trial for Windows 360 or office360. While this was in loading. I noticed that I had 3 of these loading 360 status things on. I guess I had clicked it 3 times. I followed the prompts in one window and completed the installation. I did not restart computer.I just closed the other 2 windows that were still in progress. I went into word and worked on my docs. After my work was done. I closed my laptop and left. Following day. I opened laptop. Typed in my password and it does not recognize it. I tried to reset it. It says put in disk or other media drive does not exist. I cannot get onto my desktop. I can access guest account and everything is fine in there. I am the administrator and I cannot my desktop or reset anything. Please help me get this fixed. I called Microsoft And The support Hung Up On me. I looked and tried the utilman access to reset the administrator password. But it still does not work. I am stuck. Please help. Thanks David.

  42. David

    I need help please. I have windows 7. I accepted a free trial for Windows 360 or office360. While this was in loading. I noticed that I had 3 of these loading 360 status things on. I guess I had clicked it 3 times. I followed the prompts in one window and completed the installation. I did not restart computer.I just closed the other 2 windows that were still in progress. I went into word and worked on my docs. After my work was done. I closed my laptop and left. Following day. I opened laptop. Typed in my password and it does not recognize it. I tried to reset it. It says put in disk or other media drive does not exist. I cannot get onto my desktop. I can access guest account and everything is fine in there. I am the administrator and I cannot my desktop or reset anything. Please help me get this fixed. I called Microsoft And The support Hung Up On me. I looked and tried the utilman access to reset the administrator password. But it still does not work. I am stuck. Please help. I do not have a passwird rest disk or a recovery disk. I dont have anything. Everything is on thid laptop. Please help.
    Thanks David.

  43. Poppie

    Andre – I followed you here from your postings on Microsoft.com about Windows 10 Installation. The more I read, the more fascinated I became with your descriptions/examples. Although my specific unusual problem was not addressed, you still managed to have such descriptive answers that I know know exactly the path to choose, and why. I don’t care it will take multiple installations, of Windows 10 before I am finally finished – I am just glad to know the >reasons< why. [It is a shame you weren't around to oversee things like the MS-DOS manual; which, among other things, gave 5 conflicting instruction lines for the same EMM386 command – and none of them worked, I had to cobble together a 6th instruction line using parts of the others that DID work.] Anyway, thank you again.

  44. Deborah B.

    My parents are upgrading to Windows 10 from Windows 7 and are NOT tech savy. They are both in their 70’s and NOT patient at all. So I need something that is very basic. They mainly use the computer for Internet, a few games and some word processing. I’m not sure what kind of information I need to provide you to help clarify this.

    If there is a video source with basic navigation tips that would probably be better since they both learn best by seeing rather than reading. I could try to show them but I get frustrated easily and if I do then I know that’s going to make them less likely to want to use it and it’s going to go downhill from there.

    I’ve been searching but everything I’ve found has been too advanced and I’m sure you probably have these things (or know where to get them).

    Thanks for any help you can provide

  45. Cha

    I’ve read a lot on this page, but can’t seem to get information on upgrading my laptop from Vista Home to Windows 10. I know all about Microsoft and the free stuff. I just need to straight forward… do it this way version. Can you help me?

  46. Larry Wade

    Hi Andre. A friend told me you were the smartest computer fella in the universe and that I was the dumbest old man he knew….. the little whipper-snapper. I have a question I can’t seem to find an answer for… all of the computers in our house have been upgraded to Windows 10, with no problems I might add. And last week or so all of them at various times updated to version 1511 Build 10586.29. Now these were originally anything from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1 laptops and desktops. So I left my HP 8.1 desktop on to let it be upgraded too. A few days later I went and checked the version and the dadgum thing is saying Windows 10 Build 10240. I guess that’s the “original” build and it’s never updated itself. All of the security and driver updates appear to be there, but the build is still the original one. Should I be alarmed? Should I attempt to manually update… and if so… I think I have the ver 1511 ISO downloaded if you can tell me how to go about installing it over an already installed Windows 10 OS. Or, is there possibly another way. I’m sort of baffled that all of my grandkids and wife’s shopping and gaming computers are all up to-date and my poor old working computer is still a dinosaur. I’d appreciate any help you might can give me. Thank you so much!!!!!!

  47. John

    Andre, I’ve installed Panasonic\PHOTOfunSTUDIO 9.2AE on my laptop running Windows Vista Version 6.0 (Build 6002: Service Pack2). It shows the message ‘An unhandled exception occurred, and the application is terminating. Object reference not set to an instance of an object.’ I’ve read your great article referenced from the Microsoft Support site on reinstalling it in Windows 8 and 10 with compatibility mode, but Vista doesn’t have this. All the online articles are heavy with code. Is there a simple way of fixing this? Thanks John

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