Category Archives: IT Professional

Confirmed: Windows 8.1 RTM coming August 2013

Microsoft today confirmed at the Worldwide Partner Conference, Windows 8.1 the major update to the initial release will be available OEMs this August.

Tami also made a few announcements.

She announced that Windows 8.1 RTM will be available for OEM partners in late August. This means OEMs will be able to get the RTM bits and begin preparing devices with Windows 8.1 just in time for the holidays! We’ll have more details to share in the coming months for consumers and other customers on how to get Windows 8.1. As you have heard, Windows 8.1 is an update that refines the vision of Windows 8. Two weeks ago, we announced the Windows 8.1 Preview for people to try out– if you have not already, check it out and experience the new features and improvements

Source HERE


Filed under IT Professional, Windows 8

How to prepare your PC to test Windows 8.1 Preview

With the release of the Windows 8.1 Preview a lot of early adopters and cutting edge enthusiast (such as yours truly) are itching to test drive and see what’s new. I personally am looking forward to the new Start Tip landmark and better integration between the Desktop App and the Start Screen. Regardless of all of this, you want to approach testing Windows 8.1 safely, remember, it is still pre-release software. You do not want to install on a production system. Personally, I will be doing all my 8.1 evaluations in a virtual machines, but you can also use a partition and dual boot with an existing version of Windows such as Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8 to experience the full performance of running on physical hardware.

It has come light that testing the Windows 8.1 preview will not be as straightforward and will involve some prerequisites.

Do not install it on a production machine or boot drive.

Microsoft Senior Product Marketing Manager Michael Niehaus reiterated that message in the RT in the Enterprise session on Tuesday. When the 8.1 preview is available, Windows 8 and Windows RT users will receive a Windows Update notification. That update will trigger the new bits to show up in the Windows Store, where potential testers will be able to read the description and choose whether or not to install.

Once the final versions of Windows 8.1 are available, after their release to manufacturing, those who have downloaded the preview will get the same Windows Update plus Windows Store notification. While their data and accounts will be preserved if and when they choose to install the free, final 8.1 release, all their apps must be reinstalled, Niehaus said.

Even if testers opt instead to roll their devices back to Windows 8 after installing the preview bits, they still will have to reinstall their apps once they move to the RTM version of Windows 8.1.

Windows 8 users who do not install the preview build and opt instead to go straight from Windows 8/Windows RT to Windows 8.1 will not have to reinstall their apps. All settings, data and apps will carry over, a spokesperson said when I asked. Users will be able to decide when and if they want to move from Windows 8 and Windows RT to the 8.1 versions, officials stressed.


How to prepare:

Backup your system before!

Check out the following article by Microsoft MVP JW Stuart about how to backup a Windows XP installation here using Acronis True Image here

Another solution you can use for backing up Windows XP is Easeus To Do Backup, JW Stuart also has an article about it here

These same principles should work for persons running Windows Vista.

If you are running editions such as Windows Vista Business, Enterprise or Ultimate editions, you can use the built in Complete PC Backup of your Vista installation. This can be very handy in case your Windows 8 installation fails. For instructions about how to use Complete PC Backup, see the following article here. Of course, you will need an external hard disk for this task.

Create a partition:

Dual boot:

See instructions for dual booting based on installing the Windows 8 Previews, same principles will work for the Windows 8.1 preview:

How to dual boot Windows XP and Windows 8

How to dual boot Windows Vista/7 and Windows 8

Use Virtual Machine software:

This is recommended if you have a powerful enough processor and lots of memory.

You can use alternatives such as Oracle VirtualBox or VMWare Player.

VMware Player;

If you are running Windows 8 Pro on a computer with SLAT support Second Layer Address Translation, you can use the built in Hyper-V that comes with Windows 8 Pro edition.

Will update this article with relevant content.


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Filed under IT Professional, Windows 8

Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award 2013

Wow, four years so far! To this day, it still feels like April 1st 2010. I want to thank everyone and especially Microsoft for finding my contributions valuable. It is always good to know, the little I have imparted on others over the past 4 years have in some way made your computing life a little better. Congratulations to my fellow MVP’s as well New and Renewed! For persons leaving the program, once an MVP, always an MVP a BIG Thank You!


Dear Andre Da Costa,

Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2013 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.


Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award 2012
Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award 2011
Microsoft Most Valuable Professional  (MVP) Award 2010



Filed under Computers and Internet, IT Professional

How to use Skydrive Pro

Office 2013 includes an enhanced version of Skydrive that integrates with next generation of SharePoint services. Currently, Skydrive is available as a way to bring all your personal files to the cloud, you can also use it to sync data across multiple machines running Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. With Skydrive Pro, you can setup your own online cloud storage for your organization and provision it so your employees can also store their files in the cloud and sync it across supported devices.

In this article, we take a quick look at how to setup Skydrive Pro.


Click File


Click Account and click Add Services then click Office365 SharePoint


Sign in using your SharePoint account. You should obtain this information from your System Administrator.


You will now see a list of services show up in the Account Backstage. You can start saving files to your SharePoint Team Site or you can copy existing files to your Skydrive Pro folder. See the following:


To save your document, click File > Save As then click the name of the documents folder on your SharePoint site, if not, click Browse.


Then click Save


Once your file is saved, you can now access it from your Office 365 account:


Click Sync and your files will show up in Skydrive library:


Your files will now be synced and updated.


You can also work on your documents in Office Web Apps.


Filed under IT Professional, Office Productivity

Recap: 2011 Microsoft MVP Global Summit

Last week I was in Seattle, Washington to attend my first Microsoft MVP Global Summit. This was a great opportunity for me to meet with fellow MVP’s from around the world. This years summit hosted over 1,500 Microsoft MVP’s from 80 countries in 90 Microsoft technologies. After flying for nearly 24 hours, I made it into Bellevue at 2:35 AM February 27th.

MVP Badge 2011

Sunday was an opportunity to register early, pick up my badge and attend a couple pre-summit sessions if I wanted. I used the opportunity to get some food and well needed rest for the few days ahead.


Another key aspect of the MVP Summit is an opportunity to meet with product teams and engage in discussion with them about your experiences and to really provide feedback at an intimate level. Most of the summit was covered by Non-disclosure Agreements, although my first breakout session was not.

Day 1 – February 28th


Scenes from my first break out session, those two heads in front of me are Gilberto Perera of Gils Method and Richard Hay of Windows Observer


In that session a lot of the scenarios associated with Windows Live and the synergies with other Microsoft products such as Windows 7, Windows Phone 7, Zune and Microsoft Office were discussed and demonstrated. It was great to see a first hand experience of how powerful these products are when used together. Of course, they are great on their own, but you can get some amazing experiences when you use them with other Microsoft products and services.

Evening event


L-R MVP JonPappa (Digital Media MVP), Rob Brown Windows Expert Consumer MVP, Andre Da Costa, Hal Hostetler Windows Expert Consumer MVP, Jake Grey MVP Lead.

Another great experience at the MVP Summit was the chance to meet my fellow MVP’s from around the world. The Attendee Party is a great opportunity to socialize and network with MVP’s and to also talk with your MVP Lead.


MVP’s network and enjoy great food

This was an amazing opportunity for me, along with the great food, it was really cool to meet MVP’s I follow on Twitter or read their blogs everyday. Some of these MVP’s I got meet include @WinObs, @Manan and @Edbott Being able to share that vision, enthusiasm, advocacy and passion for great products and services was truly a great experience. I tweet with a lot of MVP’s over the years and what I keep saying, it is so surreal to actually be able to finally meet them in person and have a conversation. It is one of the most valuable experiences you get out of the summit.

The Microsoft Campus


Heading to Building 92 to get my summit badge!


The Microsoft Conference Center – First day of break out sessions took place here

Visiting the campus for the first time was of course an exciting experience, you always hear about it and what its like there. The first impression is, its HUGE! Its not a campus, but more like a city as my good friend and fellow Microsoft MVP and Microsoft Answers participant Rob Brown describes. Located in the town of Redmond the campus is the headquarters for the Company where the bulk of product development takes place. A total of 40,000 employees work there which is just astounding when you think about it.


A view from within the Mixer located on the Microsoft Commons

Day 2 – Keynote

On day two, we headed to the Meydenbauer Center for the keynote which was opened by Nestor Portillo [Director Microsoft Community & Online Support]. Nestor talked about how the MVP program is more than just a technology meet-up. It was great to see MVP’s making huge impacts in their community outside of the technology industry. It was a great feeling to see MVP’s helping with rebuilding efforts in New Orleans.


There were additional keynote speeches by Microsoft Executives such as Steve Ballmer, Toby Richards and Ron Markezich. This is my second time seeing Steve Ballmer in person and he is always passionate and energized about Microsoft and this keynote speech was no exception. He spoke about his enthusiasm for Microsoft and his strong confidence in the company’s product strategy along with the belief in MVP’s as a key part of that effort to help communicate Microsoft’s products and services to customers.


Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer

Toby Richards keynote focused on improvements to community services and some of the exciting technologies and services that are coming in the pipeline to help customers get answers to problems and get the most out of their technology investments.


Toby Richards, General Manager for the Microsoft MVP Program

The last keynote was provided by Ron Markezich who talked about the Cloud and how much of a critical investment it is for Microsoft and how the Company is committed to it and is seeing a tremendous amount of up take from popular industry brands around the world. I was lucky to have one of my questions answered during the Executive Q&A, which was cool hearing my name called.


Me with two Windows Expert – IT Pro MVP’s, David Nudelman (above) & Elias Mereb (below)



Friendly Microsoft Access MVP’s, I somehow ended up sitting at their table

After the keynote, we went for lunch, then headed back to Campus. During lunch, I had the opportunity to meet a fellow MVP who I participate with on, Kenneth Vansurksum who is from the Netherlands. That was another great moment for me, since I have known Kenneth virtually for years, so it was great to finally chat with and meet him in person.


Me and Kenneth VanSurksum [MVP]

After a another day of breakout sessions, we headed back to the Microsoft Commons for our product group evening event which is another opportunity to socialize and network with fellow MVP’s. One of the perks of an event like the MVP Summit is getting the chance to meet industry professionals or what some would call the stars, like Ed Bott. Meeting Ed was truly one of those great moments, we had a long discussion about our views on Microsoft, its role in the industry and its key competitors. Ed is truly a nice guy who really knows his stuff and is not a ‘fanboy’ as some persons might think. A lot of persons were surprised to know he is an MVP, but if you have been to Ed’s personal blog you will know why.


Ed Bott and Andre Da Costa

One of things I have to point out, Microsoft knows how to feed people, there was no shortage of food throughout the summit, with a variety of dishes catering to the many cultures Microsoft hosted for the 3 day event.



Just a sample of some of the great food!

Day 3 – Last day

My last day of the MVP Summit started off with more Break Out Sessions.


I got the chance to play with some cool Windows 7 slate devices and I was very surprised how usable some of these form factors are. I am not gonna say they are just as intuitive as the iPad since I still believe, Windows 7 is not Touch Centric enough with its point and click UI. The scenarios though make it more powerful in terms of having a device that can be used not only for casual needs but for real productivity office work and even serious play time if you need it.


Fellow Windows Expert Consumer MVP’s from around the world

Before leaving building 31 for the last time, I had a pleasant surprise visit from Windows Communication Manager Brandon Leblanc who I first met in 2007 at the Windows Vista Product Launch. It was great to see Brandon again as were fellow MVP’s some of whom were meeting him for the first time.


Brandon Leblanc, Windows Communication Manager and Me

Safeco Field

My last day in Seattle ended with a bang! A special Attendee Party was kept at the Safeco Field Baseball stadium which gave MVP’s additional time to talk and socialize with fellow MVP’s, Microsoft Product Managers and eat great food.


At the Safeco Field Baseball Stadium


MVP’s enjoying themselves and listening to great music from the Beatniks


My pal Rob Brown

So, all ended well. For me this trip will be forever etched in my memory. The MVP Summit is such an amazing opportunity to interact with cultures from around world and learn so much from each other.


A little sun started to come out in the evening on my last day


My room mate Alan Burchill Group Policy MVP from Australia

I want to give a shout out to my room mate, a cool guy from Australia named Alan Burchill. Although we are at opposite spectrums of MVP Expertise’s, we share that same love for Microsoft products and that passion for technology. It was really great to meet you!

To the Microsoft MVP Community, thank you for making my first Microsoft MVP Summit special. You enabled me to meet amazing people from all around the world, meet product teams and have conversations with an impact. I am already seeing changes based on feedback I provided. That’s amazing! Also, your concierge staff was very helpful and friendly. The food was excellent, there was so much of it, not to mention the free sodas at the Campus. I have to come back next year, the Hyatt Regency was a great place to stay too, will come a little earlier next time.


I was especially pleased to really understand that Microsoft values our input and our commitment to help making the products you and I use everyday even better. I learned a lot about synergy and how the focus is on making software not only easy to use but able to really add value in a variety of scenarios and change lives for the better.

Thank you,


You can check out the MVP Photo Gallery I created on Flickr here


Filed under IT Professional, My Articles, Organizations

Register for Beta Exam 71-680: TS: Windows 7, Configuring

Registration begins: April 27, 2009

You are invited to take beta exam 71-680: TS: Windows 7, Configuring. If you pass the beta exam, the exam credit will be added to your transcript and you will not need to take the exam in its released form. The 71-xxx identifier is used for registering for beta versions of MCP exams, when the exam is released in its final form the 70-xxx identifier is used for registration.
By participating in beta exams, you have the opportunity to provide the Microsoft Certification program with feedback about exam content, which is integral to development of exams in their released version. We depend on the contributions of experienced IT professionals and developers as we continually improve exam content and maintain the value of Microsoft certifications.

71-680: TS: Windows 7, Configuring counts as credit towards the following certification(s).

· MCTS: Windows 7, Configuration

Learn more here


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Congratulations Kristan Kenney – Microsoft MVP 2007 – 2008!

My good friend Kristan M. Kenney who writes all those popular cool tweak guides for Windows Vista received news this evening that he was awarded the Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) Award for 2007 to 2008 in the category Shell User. Kris Kenney regularly maintains a blog at in addition to  and he also maintains a personal blog on Windows Live Space at

A well deserved awardee, Kris and I started testing Windows Vista at BETA 1 and he has experimented and tested the OS in so many ways I can only imagine. Finding productive ways to improve the end users experience on the operating system, his passion for technology shows through the many thorough articles and guides he has written for Windows Vista in addition to his kindness and willingness to help others. Again, congratulations Kris and keep up the great work you are doing!


Microsoft Most Valuable Professional



Filed under IT Professional