windows 8 http://www.maximumpc.com/taxonomy/term/7744/ en Still Committed to Small-screen Windows Tablets, Lenovo Insists http://www.maximumpc.com/still_committed_small-screen_windows_tablets_lenovo_insists765 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="http://www.maximumpc.com/files/u69/lenovo_miix2_cover.jpg" alt="Lenovo Miix 8" title="Lenovo Miix 8" width="228" height="214" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Company recently diverted ThinkPad 8 inventory meant for the States to other markets</h3> <p>On Thursday, a report quoting a Lenovo spokesman claimed that the <a href="http://www.itworld.com/hardware/427596/lenovo-stops-selling-small-screen-windows-tablets-us?page=0,1" target="_blank">Chinese PC vendor had decided to stop selling sub-10-inch tablets in the States</a> “due to lack of interest” and was going to divert any remaining inventory of the ThinkPad 8, which debuted in January with a starting price of $449, to countries like Brazil, China, and Japan where demand for such 8-inch tablets continues to remain strong. The company has now issued a statement clarifying that the <strong>withdrawal of the ThinkPad 8 should not be construed as an exit from the market for sub-10-inch Windows tablets in the States.</strong></p> <p>“We will continue to bring new Windows devices to market across different screen sizes, including a new 8-inch tablet and 10-inch tablet coming this holiday,” the company said in a <a href="http://news.lenovo.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=1803" target="_blank">press release</a> Friday. “Our model mix changes as per customer demand, and although we are no longer selling ThinkPad 8 in the U.S., and we have sold out of Miix 8-inch, we are not getting out of the small-screen Windows tablet business as was reported by the media. In short, we will continue to sell both 8 and 10 inch Windows tablets in both the U.S. and non-U.S markets.”</p> <p>This means those contemplating buying a small-screen Windows tablet will have one less vendor to choose from for the foreseeable future — not an ideal situation considering there’s not a lot to choose from anyway.</p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="https://plus.google.com/107395408525066230351?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/still_committed_small-screen_windows_tablets_lenovo_insists765#comments Hardware lenovo miix 8 tablet thinkpad 8 windows 8 News Mon, 21 Jul 2014 06:44:15 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28199 at http://www.maximumpc.com Microsoft Testing Automatic Update to Fix Windows 8.1 Upgrade Woes http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_testing_automatic_update_fix_windows_81_upgrade_woes_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_8_start_4.jpg" alt="Windows 8.1 Start" title="Windows 8.1 Start" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />Let's everyone cross our fingers</h3> <p>Microsoft first offered up its free update to Windows 8.1 (from Windows 8) for the general public back in October of last year, though there are still many users who have been unable to make the leap. If you're one of the unlucky ones pulling your hair out wondering why you can't get the update to install, hang tight, a fix might finally be forthcoming. At long last, <strong>Microsoft has released an automatic update that's supposed to solve the Windows 8.1 upgrade issue</strong>.</p> <p>Hopefully this works better than the original implementation. For whatever reason, Microsoft made the Windows 8.1 upgrade available through the Windows Store. Not everyone was able to install it, however, and this fix Microsoft is rolling out is considered a pilot program.</p> <p>"This (Windows RT) pilot program is an example of ways we're experimenting to help ensure more of our customers benefit from a continuously improving Windows experience," a Microsoft spokesperson said, <a href="http://winsupersite.com/windows-8/microsoft-works-get-windows-8rt-users-updated-81" target="_blank">according to Paul Thurrott</a>. "Similar to how the Windows 8.1 Update [1] process works today, the pilot program will automatically update consumer Windows 8 and Windows RT machines for free to Windows 8.1 Update and Windows RT 8.1 Update in select markets."</p> <p>The update is intended to fix whatever issue is preventing PCs from upgrading to Windows 8.1. If you'd rather not wait for it to be rolled out to your system automatically, you can manually <a href="http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2973544" target="_blank">grab the download</a> and try your luck, at least for the Windows RT version (we're not aware of a manual download link for the x86 version yet). Please note that you must first install <a href="http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2871389" target="_blank">update 2871389</a> regardless of whether you're running Windows 8.0 or Windows RT 8.0.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_testing_automatic_update_fix_windows_81_upgrade_woes_2014#comments microsoft operating system OS Software windows 8 windows 8.1 windows rt News Wed, 02 Jul 2014 16:33:29 +0000 Paul Lilly 28107 at http://www.maximumpc.com Acronis Disk Director 12 Adds Support for Windows 8 and 8.1 http://www.maximumpc.com/acronis_disk_director_12_adds_support_windows_8_and_81 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/dd12.jpg" alt="Acronis Disk Director 12" title="Acronis Disk Director 12" width="228" height="201" style="float: right;" />Handy disk management tool for manipulating partitions</h3> <p><strong>Acronis on Wednesday rolled out Acronis Disk Director 12</strong>, the newest version of its disk management and data manipulation software. Disk Director's 12 core library support was developed by Acronis Labs, the company's $10 million high-tech R&amp;D center launched in 2013. Using the provided tools, users can partition, format, manipulate, clone, install, share, convert, boot, span, merge, split, resize, copy, and move data or disk partitions without losing files.</p> <p>"Since it first hit the market 13 years ago, Acronis Disk Director has been a leading disk management tool and has remained a must-have for technical users who want the most complete disk partitioning and data manipulation solution available," <a href="http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/05/prweb11882980.htm" target="_blank">said Nat Maple</a>, Senior Vice President &amp; General Manager, Global Consumer Business, Acronis. "But data protection needs have evolved dramatically over the last decade. With most computers now shipping with one large single partition hard drive, the most basic form of data protection available is to create different logical partitions for the operating system and your personal data, protecting your data in the case of an issue or infection of the operating system."</p> <p>The new version offers extended Windows support, including for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, along with earlier versions going back to Windows XP. It also supports newer Unified Extensible Firmwar Interface (UEFI)-based BIOSes. Acronis says Disk Director 12 users can create bootable media and boot into a recovery environment on UEFI systems.</p> <p><a href="http://www.acronis.com/en-us/personal/disk-manager/" target="_blank">Acronis Disk Director 12</a> is available now for $50 MSRP; three-license packs are available for $80 MSRP.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/acronis_disk_director_12_adds_support_windows_8_and_81#comments acronis disk director 12 Software windows 8 windows 8.1 News Wed, 28 May 2014 16:00:10 +0000 Paul Lilly 27894 at http://www.maximumpc.com Blue Screen of Death Survival Guide: Every Error Explained http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/blue_screen_death_survival_guide_every_error_explained <!--paging_filter--><h3>Every Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) deciphered (Updated!)</h3> <p>If you're returning here by way of bookmark, first off, please accept our condolences. There's only reason you spend time reading a Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) article, and that's to try and solve a problem you're having with your own system. If we could give out a teddy bear stuffed with cash to each person that visited this article, we'd do it. Sadly, we don't have teddy bears, and what little cash we have is usually spent at the pub.</p> <p>Secondly, you must we wondering, "Oh snap! I see change, and I hate change! Where's the old BSoD article I bookmarked?!" Not to fear, we realize you hate change, which is why come hell or high water, you're sticking it out with Windows XP even after Microsoft stopped supporting it on April 8, 2014. We have your back, and the original article is still here. All of it. So what are we doing here?</p> <p>The first is we're updating verbiage where necessary. If there was something that seemed difficult to understand before, it should now be easier to decipher. The second thing we've done is added some new information. You see, BSoDs are far less common in the Windows 8/8.1 era, and that was true in the Windows 7 days as well. We've updated this article to explain what happened and what's changed.</p> <p>Finally, we've added a picture gallery. No, it's not filled with cute fuzzy kittens and lolcats, though we're not opposed to either one. It is, however, populated with some of the most embarrassing and comical BSoDs to have ever occurred. Hopefully you'll get a chuckle out of it, or at the very least come to realize that the BSoD you're dealing with isn't as bad as could be.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/bsod_screens.jpg" alt="BSOD Errors" title="BSOD Errors" /></p> <p>Sound like a plan? Great! Let's get started!</p> <p>Picture this: It’s late at night, you’re sitting at your computer playing a game or working on a project when, suddenly, Windows freezes completely. All your work is gone, and you find a blue screen full of gibberish staring back at you. Windows is dead, Jim, at least until you reboot it. You have no choice but to sigh loudly, shake your fist at Bill Gates and angrily push the reset button. You’ve just been visited by the ghost of windows crashed: The blue screen of death.</p> <p>Also known as the BSoD, the Blue Screen of Death appears when Windows crashes or locks up. It’s actually a Windows “stop” screen, and is designed to do two things: tell you the reason for the error, and to calm your nerves, hence the use of the color blue (studies show it has a relaxing effect on people). Though Blue Screens are difficult to decipher, all the information you need to figure out what caused it is right there in front of you in blue and white—and that’s where we come in. We’re going to show you how to dissect the blue screen error details, so you can fix the problem that’s causing them.</p> <h2>BSoD 101: A Crash Course</h2> <p align="center"><img src="/files/u69/BSOD_Main.png" width="397" height="279" /></p> <h3>Error Name</h3> <p>There are many parts to a BSoD, but the most important is right at the top. The actual name of the error is presented in all caps with an underscore between each word. In some cases this will be all that’s needed to get to the root of the problem (thanks to the handy guide you are about to read). Most of the time, however, more information will be required.</p> <h3><strong>Troubleshooting Advice</strong></h3> <p>Nearly every BSoD includes a portion of text with some basic troubleshooting advice, the first of which recommends restarting your computer. Gee, thanks for the tip Microsoft. Before you restart, copy the exact all-caps error code and hexadecimal values shown above and below this portion of generic text. The next paragraph provides sound advice, alerting the user to check to make sure their hardware is installed properly, or to undo any recent software or hardware upgrades.</p> <h3><strong>Memory Dump</strong></h3> <p>Every BSoD is accompanied by a memory dump. What this means is when Windows crashes, it dumps whatever it is holding in system memory to a file, and saves the file on your hard drive for debugging purposes. If you contact Microsoft for technical assistance, they’ll want to know the contents of this file.</p> <h3><strong>Stop Code</strong></h3> <p>The “technical information” section portion contains the actual Windows stop code, in oh-so-easy-to-read hexadecimal form. Despite appearing unintelligible at first glance, this combination of numbers and letters is instrumental in determining the cause of the crash. Pay particular attention to the first set of numbers and letters. It precedes the other four, which are enclosed in parenthesis. If a specific driver is associated with the crash, it will be listed on the very next line.</p> <p>Click <a title="page 2" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/blue_screen_survival_guide?page=0,1" target="_blank">here</a> to continue reading the article. &nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>I Run Vista, so I'm Immune to BSoDs, Right?</h2> <p>Unfortunately, no. A common misconception is that blue screens don't even exist in Vista, but not only are they still there, but we're here to tell you we've seen them first hand. The good news is Microsoft put a lot of work into how Vista handles critical errors and other glitches that in previous OSes would cause a system crash. Most of the time, if a problem occurs, Vista will attempt to fix the problem without any interruption. For example, if your videocard crashes, you may see a message saying "Display driver stopped responding and has recovered." In XP and previous OSes, this almost always would have resulted in a system crash.</p> <p align="center"><img src="/files/u69/BSOD_Recovered.png" width="415" height="322" /></p> <p>In some cases, Vista will be unable recover on its own, and the result is a blue screen. By default, Vista will reboot itself after briefly flashing the blue screen. It happens so fast you might miss it, but once Windows reloads, you'll be greeted with an error message similar to the above. You can try clicking the 'Check for solution' button, just as you can try your hand playing the lotto. Neither one is likely to result in anything.</p> <p align="center"><img src="/files/u69/BSOD_Restart.png" width="415" height="237" /></p> <p>Instead, scroll down and take note of the blue screen codes. Armed with this information, you can perform your own detective work. Alternately, if you'd prefer to see the actual blue screen rather than automatically rebooting, right-click the My Computer icon on your desktop, select Properties, and click on Advanced System Settings. In the System Properties window that appears, select the Advanced tab, click Settings under Startup and Recovery, and uncheck the box that says 'Automatically Restart.' The same steps also apply to XP.</p> <p align="center"><img src="/files/u69/BSOD_Problems.png" width="415" height="300" /></p> <p>In another nod towards streamlining the troubleshooting process, Vista's Problem Reports and Solutions wizard can save you oodles of time in PC detective work, and may even alert you to potential conflicts you weren't even aware existed. You can find this applet by name in your Control Panel, or just type Problem Reports and Solutions in Vista's search box. Once loaded, click 'Check for new solutions' in the left-hand column. If Vista finds any conflicts, it will list them in the main window, along with any potential resolutions.</p> <p>Click&nbsp;<a title="page 3" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/blue_screen_survival_guide?page=0,2" target="_blank">here</a>&nbsp;to continue reading the article. &nbsp;</p> <hr /> <h2>IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL (0x0000000A)</h2> <p align="center"><img src="/files/u69/BSOD_IRQL.png" width="415" height="169" /></p> <p>The most common cause of this conflict is improperly installed drivers for a piece of hardware you recently installed. For example, if you’ve installed a webcam two weeks ago, and have been getting BSoDs ever since, start your investigation with the webcam. First, disconnect the hardware, and uninstall the drivers for it completely. If that fixes the blue screen, you can search for updated drivers or contact the manufacturer.</p> <p>If you haven't installed any new drivers recently, you'll need to do some more detective work. Start by examining the blue screen to see if it lists a specific driver. Looking at the blue screen, check the text at the very bottom of the screen. You'll probably see a file name. This is the driver that caused the problem. If, for example, the driver in question is named nv4_disp.dll (an nVidia-related file), and you've recently switched from an Nvidia videocard to an AMD part, then it's reasonable to assume that either the old driver was not uninstalled correctly, or the new drivers weren't properly installed.</p> <h3>Swapping Videocards</h3> <p>If you've narrowed your search of offending drivers down to those associated with your videocard, turn off the system, disconnect the power, and remove and reseat the videocard. Next, go into the BIOS (press F2 or Delete when your BIOS prompts you to do this, or consult your user manual or motherboard manufacturer's website) and check the bus speed for your videocard. We typically recommend leaving the PCI-E frequency set to Auto in the BIOS, but if you've overclocked your system, it can inadvertently knock the bus speed beyond a stable spec, which can cause blue screens. If that's the case, manually set your PCI-E frequency to 100MHz.</p> <p align="center"><img src="/files/u69/BSOD_Uninstall.png" width="415" height="311" /></p> <p>You're more like to experience this IRQL error when switching form one videocard brand to another, as the drivers will conflict with each other. The safe way to swap videocards is to completely remove all remnants of your old videocard drivers. On older systems, you can try <a href="http://www.drivercleaner.net" target="_blank">Driver Cleaner</a>, or the freebie alternative <a href="http://downloads.guru3d.com/Guru3D---Driver-Sweeper-%28Setup%29_d1655.html" target="_blank">Driver Sweeper</a>&nbsp; To begin the process, open up your Control Panel, select Add or Remove Programs in XP or Programs and Features in Vista, highlight the videocard drivers, and click Uninstall. Reboot the computer, holding down the F8 key to enter safe mode. Run the Driver Cleaner utility to scrub away any remnants of the previous drivers that a typical uninstall overlooks. After you reboot, install the appropriate drivers for your new videocard.</p> <p>It's not entirely necessary to use a third-party utility, though if problems linger when trying to uninstall drivers on your own, it's worth a shot.</p> <h3><strong>Some Sound Advice</strong></h3> <p>When the error is related to an audio driver, take note of the program that was running when the BSoD occurred. Make sure the offending application's sound options are configured correctly -- it's especially important that it uses the correct audio device -- and download any patches available that address known issues. You should update your soundcard's drivers as well.</p> <p align="center"><img src="/files/u69/BSOD_Soundcard.png" width="415" height="343" /></p> <p>If you're using an add-in soundcard, verify that the motherboard's onboard audio is disabled in the BIOS, so the two audio drivers don't conflict with each other.</p> <h3><strong>Change Doctors</strong></h3> <p>System services known to cause this error include virus scanners and backup utilities. We've had good luck sticking with the major players, such as AVG, Norton, Kaspersky, AntiVir, and Nod32 for our antivirus scanning, and Norton Ghost and Acronis TrueImage for backup duties. Do not run more than one antivirus application on your computer at the same time!</p> <h2>DATA_BUS_ERROR (0x0000002E)</h2> <p align="center"><img src="/files/u69/RAM.png" width="415" height="150" /></p> <p>This is one of the easier BSoDs to diagnose, as faulty memory sticks are almost always to blame. If you get this error, think for a second: Are those DIMMs you just added compatible with your motherboard? Your motherboard manufacturer's website will have a list of specific brands verified to work with your particular board, although these are often incomplete.</p> <div style="text-align: center"><img src="/files/u69/BSOD_Memory_Slots.png" width="415" height="311" /><br /><span style="font-size: xx-small">(Image Credit: Corsair)</span></div> <p>Next (and more importantly), are they installed in the correct slots? Some motherboards are more finicky than others when it comes to proper slot placement, and the situation is compounded when dealing with a dual-channel, tri-channel, and quad-channel configurations. Most motherboards that run dual-channel require that you install matching sets of RAM in the same-color slots, while others, such as some MSI boards, require that you install them in alternate slots. And if you have a Core i7 setup, you may need to install your RAM starting with the slot farthest from the CPU. When in doubt, poke your head in the user's manual.</p> <p>Once you've verified that your RAM is installed correctly and is compatible with your motherboard, check to make sure they're running within spec. It's possible you may have set your memory's latency timings too aggressive, or maybe the sticks can't handle the frequency you're trying to run them at. Your BIOS could also mis-read the SPD settings. Whatever the case, look up the correct parameters for your RAM and try manually setting them in the BIOS.</p> <p align="center"><img src="/files/u69/BSOD_Memtest.png" width="370" height="295" /><br /><span style="font-size: xx-small">(Image Credit: pplware.com)</span></p> <p>If the problem persists, the the problem is likely a bad stick. To find out which stick is bad you can simply remove one stick, then run your system for a while to see if the blue screens stop. Then swap the sticks and run your test again. If the machine blue screens with one stick, but not the other, you've found your culprit. You can also run a diagnostic program such as <a href="http://www.memtest.org" target="_blank">Memtest86+</a> to help determine which stick is defective. If you're running Vista, you can also use Microsoft's Windows Memory Diagnostics Tool. Type the name of the program in Vista's search box, and once selected, it will run the next time you reboot. Because most RAM sold today includes a lifetime warranty, be sure to check with your vendor before you toss out a bad stick.</p> <p>Click&nbsp;<a title="page 4" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/blue_screen_survival_guide?page=0,3" target="_blank">here</a>&nbsp;to continue reading the article. &nbsp;</p> <hr /> <h2>NTFS_FILE_SYSTEM or FAT_FILE_SYSTEM (0x00000024 or 0x00000023)</h2> <p>While many blue screens can be traced back to a new hardware install or bad memory, this particular error screams in capital letters that something is fishy with your hard drive. The error that gets displayed depends on the file system your OS is using. In most cases, the file system will be NTFS. With really old systems, the error will read FAT16. If you get this error, be sure to do one thing immediately, before you even being to contemplate its cause: Back up your important data.</p> <h3>Call the Cable Guy</h3> <div style="text-align: center"><img src="/files/u69/BSOD_SATA.png" width="415" height="288" /><br /> <span style="font-size: xx-small"><span style="font-size: xx-small">(Image Credit: Tomshardware)</span></span></div> <p>The easiest solutions are often the most overclocked, but they can also be the most effective. Checking your hard drive's cable connections falls into this category. SATA cables are notorious for working themselves loose --we've had this happen to us on many occasions. If using a SATA drive, make sure you have only one power cable connected, not two (many SATA hard drives include a SATA power cable and a legacy four-pin connector). With a PATA drive, remove the ribbon cable and look for any bent or broken pins. Carefully line up the cable and push it securely into place. You might also have a bad cable, so if you have a space cable lying around -- one you know to be good -- swap it with the one in your PC.</p> <h3><strong>Check Please!</strong></h3> <p style="text-align: center"><img src="/files/u69/BSOD_Chkdsk_0.png" width="415" height="178" /></p> <p>Now it's time to check your drive for errors. To do this, we'll first run a diagnostic scan. In XP, click Start, then Run, and type <em>cmd</em>. In Vista, simply type <em>cmd</em> in the Start Search box, then right-click cmd.exe and select Run as Administrator.. At the flashing command prompt, type chkdsk /f /r and reboot the system if prompted. The /f and /r switches attempt to fix file-system errors, then look for an mark any bad sectors before automatically rebooting when the scan completes.</p> <h3><strong>Change Drivers</strong></h3> <p>Even though we don't really think about hard drives as needing drivers, the controller's they're attached to most certainly do. A buggy SATA controller driver can wreak havoc on your data. Your motherboard's chipset drivers include specific drivers for the IDE/ATA controller tha the hard drives are connect to, so you'll need to install the latest version for your motherboard. To find your chipset drivers, you'll need to go to your motherboard manufacturer's website and search the support section, or head directly to your chipset manufacturer's website.</p> <h2>UNEXPECTED_KERNEL_MODE_TRAP (0x0000007F)</h2> <p>If you see this blue screen, you're probably overclocking your CPU, but this is not always the case. The 7F error is known to attack indiscriminately, lashing out at more than just overclockers. This particular BSoD can rear its head in response to bad RAM, a faulty motherboard, or a corrupted BIOS.</p> <h3><strong>Overzealous Overclocking</strong></h3> <p>If you've overclocked, the first thing you should do to isolate the problem (or any problem, for that matter) is to revert your overclocked components to their default speeds. If the blue screen goes away, then your overclock was too aggressive. The best way to ensure that your overclock is stable is to stress the hell out of your PC. To do this, many enthusiasts turn to the torture test named <a href="http://www.mersenne.org" target="_blank">Prime95</a>. This utility stressed your rig's CPU and memory subsystems. If any errors are found, it's a good indication that your system is not completely stable.</p> <h3><strong>Hot Potato!</strong></h3> <p>This BSoD could also be generated by an overheating PC, so it's a good practice to monitor your system temps on a regular basis. There are several temp monitoring programs available, such as <a href="http://www.alcpu.com/CoreTemp/" target="_blank">Core Temp</a>, <a href="http://www.techpowerup.com/realtemp/" target="_blank">Real Temp</a>, <a href="http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php" target="_blank">SpeedFan</a>, and many others.</p> <p align="center"><img src="/files/u69/BSOD_Core_Temp.png" width="346" height="383" /></p> <p>As far as temperatures go, most CPUs can get very hot without incurring any damage. Temperatures of 75C under load aren't unheard of for hot-running CPUs, though most newer chips probably won't get as high. In general, it's a good idea to keep your CPU below 70C, and below 50C at idle. This will vary by processor make, model, and even steppings (revisions) of the same chip.</p> <p>If a processor is running hot, examine your case's airflow and see if there are any obstructions. Check your fans for dust buildup, including the top of the heatsink that's cooling your CPU. A high-quality cooler will also bring temperatures down. And you should always have some sort of thermal paste between the CPU and the cooler. Finally, verify that all fans are spinning. If the fan is plugged in and still not spinning, replace the defective fan immediately.</p> <h3><strong>The BIOS Beckons</strong></h3> <p>If your BIOS is corrupt or has trouble with a new component, such as newly released processor core, your first order of business is to update to the latest version. Before updating the BIOS, you should change its settings back to default (there is usually a "reset to default" setting in the BIOS that makes this process easy, or you can simply clear the CMOS via the jumper on your motherboard). You should never attempt to update your BIOS on a system that is overclocked and unstable. A sudden reboot in the middle of the BIOS-flashing process will destroy your motherboard, turning it into a fancy doorstop. And remember: Never, under any circumstances, restart or shut down the system while you're flashing yoru BIOS. You can download the latest BIOS from your motherboard manufacturer's website.</p> <p align="center"><img src="/files/u69/BSOD_BIOS_Update.png" width="363" height="370" /></p> <p>When there are several different versions to choose from, skip right to the latest release rather than updating incrementally. Some motherboard vendors include utilities for updating the BIOS from within Windows. This makes the process easy enough for even novices to undertake, but for obvious reasons, we recommend avoiding this route when a system is prone to blue screens.</p> <h3><strong>Mating Memory</strong></h3> <p>Mismatched or bad memory sticks can also cause this blue screen. To scratch this one off of the troubleshooting list, run a single stick of RAM that Memtest86 has verified to be error free. If this solves the problem, replace the bad stick. If not, move on to the next step.</p> <h3><strong>CPU is Kaput</strong></h3> <p>We don't see this often, but another known cause for this particular error is a bad processor. Most people don't have the means to test the CPU in another system, so your options here may be limited. Local computer repair shops are sometimes willing to run the processor for a night or two for a nominal cost, but you can also contact AMD or Intel for a replacement if it's within the warranty period.</p> <p align="center"><img src="/files/u69/bent_pins.jpg" alt="Bent Pins" title="Bent Pins" width="620" height="465" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Click <a title="page 5" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/blue_screen_survival_guide?page=0,4" target="_blank">here</a> to continue reading the article. &nbsp;</p> <p align="center">&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <h2>Other Notable BSoDs</h2> <h3>PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA</h3> <p>Faulty hardware, including RAM (system, video, or L2 cache).</p> <h3><strong>INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE</strong></h3> <p>Caused by improperly configured jumpers on PATA hard drives, a boot sector virus, or incorrect IDE controller drives, which can also occur when installing the wrong chipset drivers.</p> <h3><strong>VIDEO_DRIVER_INIT_FAILURE</strong></h3> <p>Caused by installing the wrong drivers for a videocard or rebooting before driver installation could complete.</p> <h3><strong>BAD_POOL_CALLER</strong></h3> <p>Caused by a faulty or incompatible hardware driver, particularly when upgrading Windows XP instead of performing a clean install.</p> <h3><strong>PFN_LIST_CORRUPT</strong></h3> <p>Caused by faulty RAM.</p> <h3><strong>MACHINE_CHECK_EXCEPTION</strong></h3> <p>A bad CPU -- or one that is too aggressively overclocked, or an underpowered or faulty power supply.</p> <h2>An End Run Around the BSoD</h2> <p>Reading blue screens of death is fun and all, but there's another, easier way to discover what your PC's problem is: the Event Viewer. When an error occurs in Windows, the OS adds a note to the system's log files. These logs are accessible through the Windows Event Viewer, and they contain all the information we need to know what ails our poor computer.</p> <p>In XP, go the Start menu and open the Control Panel. Click Administrative Tools, then double-click the Event Viewer icon. Alternately, select Run from the Start menu and type <strong><em>eventvwr.msc</em></strong>, which will bring you right into the Event Viewer. In Vista, just type Event Viewer in the Start Search box.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/event_viewer.jpg" alt="Event Viewer" title="Event Viewer" width="620" height="411" /></p> <p>On the left-hand pane, highlight the application or system icon (under Windows Logs in Vista). On the right-hand pane, you'll see up to three different events labeled Information, Warning, and Error. These are sorted by the time in which they occurred. Scroll to the approximate time of the last system restart and double-click the events.</p> <p>This brings up a Properties window detailing information that should clue you in on any problem. For example, if one of the events contains a bugcheck message with 0x0000002E, we know this is a DATA_BUS_ERROR, and is usually indicative of faulty RAM. On the other hand, there might be several events pointing to a specific driver, such as nv4_disp.dll. This tells us we should focus on the videocard and any recent changes related to the display hardware.</p> <p>Armed with this information, we're ready to begin the troubleshooting steps outlined previously. If typing the event ID into Google and Microsoft's Knowledge Base (<a href="http://support.microsoft.com" target="_blank">http://support.microsoft.com</a>) doesn't help, head over to <a href="http://www.eventid.net" target="_blank">www.eventid.net</a>. This site contains a repository of comments and errors from other users, as well as the steps they took to alleviate their problems.</p> <p>We recommend you familiarize yourself with the event viewer, even if your system is healthy. Rooting out minor problems before they progress will ensure your Windows install keeps humming along uneventfully.</p> <p>Click <a title="page 6" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/blue_screen_survival_guide?page=0,5" target="_blank">here</a> to continue reading the article. &nbsp;</p> <hr /> <h3>The Rare Red Screen of Death!</h3> <p>Here's a fun fact. You may have heard about a Red Screen of Death (RSoD) and thought to yourself it was a hoax. It actually exists, or at least it did. As was explained by Microsoft employee blogger Michael Kaplan (the blog has since vanished from the web), very early builds of Vista (then referred to as Longhorn) would spit out a red screen for more serious errors. Here's what it looked like:</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/rsod.jpg" alt="Red Screen of Death" title="Red Screen of Death" width="620" height="448" /></p> <p>Not very soothing, is it? That's why we're pretty sure it never made it out of the Longhorn beta and into the final build of Vista.</p> <h3>Do BSoDs Still Exist?</h3> <p>It's unlikely you'll ever see a BSoD in Windows 7, and especially in Windows 8/8.1. Why? BSoDs mainly occurred during the Windows XP and Vista days because of faulty or poorly coded device drivers.&nbsp; These were the main causes of crashes prior to Windows 7, so it makes sense that BSoDs are now rare.</p> <p>Notice we said "rare" and not "non-existent." That's because you might still run into a problem, even in Windows 8. To be fair, Microsoft has done an incredible job researching driver issues and coming up with ways to prevent them from happening, and the result is a much more stable Windows than ever before. However, you might see something like this:</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/windows_8_error.jpg" alt="Windows 8 Error" title="Windows 8 Error" width="620" height="465" /></p> <p>No more gibberish. Microsoft wanted to make Windows 8 as user friendly as possible, and if you're going that route, you can't bombard users with a bunch of complicated text if something goes wrong. Instead, in the rare case that Windows 8 runs into a serious problem, it spits out an emoticon as if to say, "Ah shucks!" before automatically restarting. Like the RSoD, you'll likely never see this one, either.</p> <p><strong>Olympic Size Fail</strong><br />At the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, an XP system failed during the opening ceremony. That would have been fine, except that the failed system was beaming images in the Birds Nest for all to see, and what everyone saw was an Olympic sized BSoD! <strong>Presentation Gone Wrong</strong><br />Bill Gates could do nothing by smile awkwardly during a Windows 98 presentation that quickly took a turn for the hilarious. While trying to demonstrate how easy it is to install a scanner via USB, the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IW7Rqwwth84" target="_blank">system crashed</a> into a BSoD in front of a live audience. Do'h! <strong>Denver, We Have a Problem</strong><br />Flickr's a great place to look up BSoD errors, and this one shows an alarming error screen in a Denver airport. Hopefully any would-be passengers who saw this weren't afraid of flying. <strong>Hey, At Least It's Free!</strong><br />It's nice that a company is offering passersby free Internet service. What's not so nice is the BSoD that reared its ugly head and ruined the experience for anyone hoping to hop on the web to check their email. Oh well, that's what smartphones are for, right? <strong>Touch of Fail</strong><br />In Microsoft's defense, there's nothing particularly brilliant about a feature phone. That said, Samsung couldn't have been too happy that this electronic ad that crashed into a BSoD, though it obviously didn't prevent the company from selling a quintillion phones since then. <strong>Bilingual BSoD</strong><br />Ever seen a BSoD in German? Well, now you have, and ironically enough, most will find it just as illegible as the English version. <strong>Well, That Explains Steam OS!</strong><br />Gabe Newell hasn't been bashful about his contempt towards Windows 8. What's with all the hate? If we're playing armchair psychologist, we'd say Newell still harbors deep seeded resentment from when a BSoD left him flustered at an awards ceremony. <strong>Your Money is Safe! No, Really!</strong><br />Did you know that most ATMs are running Windows XP, the same OS that Microsoft is getting ready to stop supporting? Hopefully it won't lead to displays like this being commonplace, lest we have to start hiding money in the mattress again. <strong>All Aboard!</strong><br />This display was supposed to be showing people ads as they entered the subway. Instead, it showed pedestrians an error message for several days before someone got around to rebooting the system.</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/blue_screen_death_survival_guide_every_error_explained#comments blue screen of death BSOD microsoft operating system OS Software troubleshooting Windows windows 8 Features Wed, 14 May 2014 21:25:06 +0000 Paul Lilly 6066 at http://www.maximumpc.com A New Haswell-powered Tablet Likely at May 20 Surface Event http://www.maximumpc.com/new_intel-powered_tablet_likely_may_20_surface_event200 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="http://www.maximumpc.com/files/u46168/surface_page_0.jpg" alt="Microsoft Surface Pro" title="Microsoft Surface Pro" width="228" height="170" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Will reportedly be based on a new power-efficient Haswell part</h3> <p>Ever since Microsoft sent out press invites for a <strong>Surface-related event&nbsp; scheduled for May 20, 2014, in New York</strong>, the tech media has been busy speculating about the event’s agenda. Many in the tech commentariat expect the long-rumored “Surface Mini” to finally step into the realm of reality to take center stage at the upcoming event. But with the hitherto fabled Microsoft tablet widely rumored to pack an ARM-based SoC from Qualcomm, the question is: What about Intel?</p> <p>Intel won’t be left behind, according to <a href="http://www.cnet.com/news/microsoft-and-intel-moving-ahead-with-surface-tablet/" target="_blank">CNET</a>. An unnamed chip industry source told the site that Microsoft will also unveil an Intel-powered Surface tablet, with the possibility of the members of the press attending the event even going home with the tablet. </p> <p>"There's definitely a new Intel-based Surface," the anonymous source told the tech site. "From what I can assess so far I think it's going to [have] a new power-optimized Haswell variant.”</p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="https://plus.google.com/107395408525066230351?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/new_intel-powered_tablet_likely_may_20_surface_event200#comments Hardware haswell intel microsoft qualcomm soc surface mini surface pro 3 windows 8 x86 News Mon, 12 May 2014 01:35:31 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 27789 at http://www.maximumpc.com Windows XP Market Share Outnumbers Windows 8/8.1 and Vista Combined http://www.maximumpc.com/windows_xp_market_share_outnumbers_windows_881_and_vista_combined_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_xp_disc.jpg" alt="Windows XP Disc" title="Windows XP Disc" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />The Walking Dead: Windows Edition</h3> <p>Just like you're supposed to do when dealing with the undead, Microsoft aimed for the head when it cut off support for Windows XP last month, the legacy operating system that's proving impossibly difficult to kill. Despite the risk of unpatched vulnerabilities (a pretty big deal) and no more tech support (largely a non-issue for consumers, but important for some businesses), <strong>Windows XP is installed on more PCs than Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows Vista combined</strong>.</p> <p>Both Net Applications and Stat Counter agree on this, though the numbers are different. Starting with Net Applications, Windows XP is holding steady with a <a href="http://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=11&amp;qpcustomb=0&amp;qpsp=160&amp;qpnp=25&amp;qptimeframe=M" target="_blank">26.29 percent share</a> of the market, down from 27.69 percent at the end of March. Prior to that, Windows XP actually gained slightly more users, going from 29.3 percent in January to 29.53 percent in February.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Net Applications has Windows 8 (6.36 percent) and Windows 8.1 (5.88 percent) accounting for less than half of Windows XP. Add in another 8.13 percent for the catch-all "Other" category, which includes Windows Vista, it still won't be enough to catch Windows XP (26.29 percent versus a combined 20.37 percent).</p> <p>Switching our focus to <a href="http://gs.statcounter.com/#desktop-os-ww-monthly-201403-201403-bar" target="_blank">Stat Counter</a> tells the same story, just in a different way. According to Stat Counter, Windows XP is installed on 18.61 percent of PCs, or nearly 1 in 5. Windows 8 (7.85 percent) and Windows 8.1 (4.48 percent) combine for a 12.33 percent stake, and if you add Vista's 3.67 percent share, it comes to an even 16 percent for all three.</p> <p>Windows XP will continue to decline, though it might not happen as fast as Microsoft hoped or expected. There doesn't seem to be any panic taking place.</p> <p>Image Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/garrettc/162327232/sizes/l" target="_blank">Flickr (garrettc)</a></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/windows_xp_market_share_outnumbers_windows_881_and_vista_combined_2014#comments microsoft operating system OS Software windows 8 windows 8.1 Windows Vista windows xp News Thu, 01 May 2014 17:18:13 +0000 Paul Lilly 27731 at http://www.maximumpc.com Start Menu Return Rumored for August/September 2014 http://www.maximumpc.com/start_menu_return_rumored_augustseptember_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="http://www.maximumpc.com/files/u46168/windows-8-1-update-1-startmenu.jpg" alt="Windows 8.1 Start Menu" title="Windows 8.1 Start Menu" width="228" height="126" style="float: right;" />Microsoft is allegedly prepping a second update to Windows 8.1</h3> <p>Through the release of Windows 8.1 last year and the minor update that followed it this month, Microsoft has made an effort to attune the latest version of Windows to the tastes of purists (of which there are plenty, going by Windows 8’s lackluster showing). The concessions, as we learned at Build 2014 earlier this month, are going to continue, with the <strong>sorely missed Start Menu all set to make a comeback</strong> at an as-yet-unknown time in the future. </p> <p>The Start Menu, according to mostly accurate Russian leaker Wzor, could make its much awaited return this coming fall as part of a <a href="http://www.winbeta.org/news/rumor-sheds-light-windows-82-windows-9-and-chrome-os-style-windows-cloud?utm_source=dlvr.it&amp;utm_medium=twitter">second update to Windows 8.1</a>. That said, there is some confusion over what the update will end up being called — Windows 8.2 or Windows 8.1 Update 2?</p> <p>Ask veteran Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley, however, and she will tell you the <a href="http://www.zdnet.com/microsofts-new-new-windows-cadence-once-a-year-is-not-enough-7000028638/" target="_blank">Start Menu-bearing update could arrive as early as August</a>. She will also tell you that the update is unlikely to include the ability to run Windows 8 apps in their own windows on the desktop.</p> <p>Both Foley and The Verge’s Tom Warren seem to have the same set of sources, for the people he talked to also asked him to expect a second update in August. But unlike Foley’s sources, Warren’s informers were slightly less dismissive of the <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2014/4/23/5643328/windows-8-start-menu-return-in-second-update" target="_blank">possibility of windowed Metro apps being included in this update</a>. Although they expect the functionality to debut as part of Windows 9, the company is said to be “pushing” itself to get the feature ready in time for the second update to Windows 8.1.</p> <p><em>Image Credit: Microsoft</em></p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="https://plus.google.com/107395408525066230351?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/start_menu_return_rumored_augustseptember_2014#comments metro microsoft modern rumor Start Menu update windows 8 windows 8.1 windows 9 wzor News Sun, 27 Apr 2014 22:51:27 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 27699 at http://www.maximumpc.com Why You Must Upgrade From Windows XP http://www.maximumpc.com/why_you_must_upgrade_windows_xp_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3>Make your Windows XP-using friends/family members read this important PSA</h3> <p>Microsoft has officially <a href="http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/end-support-help" target="_blank">pulled the plug on support for Windows XP</a>. &nbsp;That’s it. &nbsp;Finite. &nbsp;Done. &nbsp;No more. &nbsp;Don’t expect to see any future patches, services packs, fixes, hotfixes, critical updates, anything — if you’re one of the <a href="http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/04/one-week-before-its-end-of-life-28-percent-of-web-users-are-still-on-windows-xp/" target="_blank">one-fourth of desktop users</a> or so who are still running the antiquated operating system (yes, there’s that many of you), you’re about to enter the Wild Wild West of computing.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154082/windows_xp.jpg" alt="Windows XP broken" title="Windows XP broken" width="620" height="349" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Microsoft is no longer supporting Windows XP. Which means, "hello, hackers!"</strong></p> <p>So, what does that actually mean? &nbsp;Simple: You have to upgrade. &nbsp;There are no buts about it; staying on Windows XP is a bit like seeing a waterfall ahead on a river and opting to stay in the boat instead of safely paddling to shore. &nbsp;You might not know when you’re going to go over the precipice, but it’s likely that something quite bad is going to happen to you at some point in your future.</p> <p>We’re not just being overdramatic for the sake of it. &nbsp;Why do you think a number of businesses (<a href="http://consumerist.com/2014/03/14/only-a-third-of-bank-atms-using-windows-xp-have-upgraded-ahead-of-april-8-deadline/" target="_blank">banks, especially</a>) are spending a small fortune to get their systems upgraded as quickly as can be? &nbsp;Why do you think that a number of them are likely going to be paying Microsoft a princely sum for XP support after the fact, as they’ve simply been unable to upgrade important devices like, say, ATMs before the big cutoff date?</p> <p>If you’re still not convinced — or know those that need a little bit of extra convincing — we’re going to run through <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/windows/comments/22d0pf/why_is_xp_zero_day_so_over_hyped/" target="_blank">a few Windows XP scenarios</a> to show you that, yes, it’s time to kick this legacy OS to the curb for good.</p> <h4>Patch Tuesdays Could Break Windows XP</h4> <p>Patch Tuesday sounds like it’s a good thing, right? &nbsp;That tried-and-true time that comes around once a month, on the second Tuesday of each month, where Microsoft dishes out new security updates for its operating systems.&nbsp;</p> <p>Only, it’s not going to be doing that for Windows XP any more. &nbsp;And that doesn’t sound quite so bad until you realize just what this might mean for the legacy OS. &nbsp;Consider the following situation: Microsoft finds a security exploit in Windows Vista, 7, and 8 and decides to fix it up using a Patch Tuesday update. &nbsp;Since Windows XP isn’t being fixed anymore, an industrious hacker reverse-engineers Microsoft’s fix and heads on over to his or her Windows XP installation to see if the exploit exists there as well. If it does, he'll most likely exploit it, and then we could be in some serious trouble. &nbsp;</p> <p>In other words, Microsoft will now be feeding those interested in breaking Windows XP a constant stream of possible exploits to investigate. &nbsp;It’s like turning Patch Tuesday on its head.</p> <h4>Disbelief</h4> <p>A number of novice users might feel that they’re protected from the effects of the Internet underground by running a box-copy virus or malware scanner on their system and calling it a day. &nbsp;While that’s certainly true in some cases, even the best malware scanner on the market isn’t going to protect a person from any raw exploits that can be found or abused within the base level of the operating system itself. It's really apples and oranges.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/12/Tourists_swimming_at_Victoria_Falls.jpg" alt="dangerous waterfall" title="dangerous waterfall" width="620" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Using Windows XP today is like dangling over a dangerous waterfall. You wouldn't do that now, would you?</strong></p> <p>Malware might take advantage of core areas within the operating system, but running Avast, or Norton Antivirus, or what-have-you is only going to help a user out by scanning what he or she downloads from the Web (or plugs into his or her PC). &nbsp;If a weakness is discovered that’s core to Windows XP’s operation, and doesn’t need a software vector in order to affect one’s system, then a scanning app isn’t going to be able to do anything about it.</p> <h4>What to do?</h4> <p>If we’ve finally managed to convince you that it’s time to switch – or you’ve successfully convinced a friend or loved one that it’s time to move away from Windows XP for good — there are a few routes you can go. &nbsp;The first and most obvious solution is to upgrade, and we recommend that you jump to Windows 7 or Windows 8 when you do. &nbsp;You’ll have an easier time finding copies of the latter and, while it’s a bit of a learning curve for those accustom to the no-frills Windows XP UI experience, more changes coming as a result of Windows 8.1’s official “Update 1” patch will hopefully ease the learning curve ever so slightly.</p> <p>Before you do, however, make sure that you download, install, and run Microsoft’s official upgrade “advisors” for either <a title="Windows 7" href="http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=20" target="_blank">Windows 7</a> or <a href="http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/upgrade-assistant-download-online-faq" target="_blank">Windows 8</a>. &nbsp;They’ll tell you whether your system will work well with the new OS from a hardware and software perspective, and they’re valuable tools for getting a general sense of just how well your PC stacks up before you splurge money on an OS upgrade that might not work out that well for you.</p> <p><em>Read our Windows 8.1 review <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/windows_81_review_2013">here</a>.</em></p> <p>If you’re stuck in that camp, those looking to use the death of Windows XP as an inspiration for a shopping trip can also benefit from some of the current promotions running as a result. &nbsp;Microsoft, for example, is offering <a href="http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/cat/categoryID.67770000" target="_blank">$100 off new PC purchases</a> for those who access its online store from a Windows XP machine — or, if you want to be truly awesome, for those who drag a Windows XP system into one of the company’s retail stores.</p> <p><em>Learn how to install Windows 7 from a USB key <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/howtos/how_to_install_windows_7_beta_a_usb_key" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p> <p>That said, some users will still face a bit of heartbreak when moving up to a new operating system. &nbsp;<a href="http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/compatibility/compatcenter/home" target="_blank">Outlook Express</a>, for example, does not exist in Windows Vista or higher – if that’s your XP-using grandmother’s favorite email client, you might need to help her out in moving on up to something a bit more comprehensive… and supported.</p> <p>Learn how to install Windows 8 from a USB key <a title="windows 8 install usb" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/how_install_windows_8_flash_drive_31384" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <p>For what it’s worth, you can go back to <a title="windows xp virtualized" href="http://lifehacker.com/5965889/how-to-run-windows-xp-for-free-in-windows-8" target="_blank">running Windows XP in a secure, virtualized environment</a>. &nbsp;While we don’t recommend that you do anything super-secure in your virtual machine (Amazon shopping might be out), you can at least have access to legacy applications and/or anything else you need from good ol’ Windows XP. &nbsp;And, should this virtualized copy of XP get infected with (or exploited by) something horrible, it won’t affect the contents of your primary operating system – and deleting it / restoring up a new version of Windows XP is super easy.</p> <p>The truly die-hard can also switch on up to a free Linux variant if they feel as if they’re done with Microsoft now that Windows XP has been put out to pasture. &nbsp;Newbies to Linux can give a <a title="live CD" href="http://www.knopper.net/knoppix/index-en.html" target="_blank">Live CD</a> a try, which packs an entire, working operating system onto removable media – an operating system whose contents cannot be affected beyond the point at which you power down your PC for the day. &nbsp;If your sole interest in having a Windows XP machine is to have a simple way to browse the web and check email, this might be a great way to do that — on a legacy PC — without having to spend a penny post-XP.</p> <h4>Stop reading; start upgrading</h4> <p>We’ve covered some of the more general concerns and issues related to the imminent loss of Windows XP. &nbsp;There are plenty more scenarios as to why upgrading is in your best interest, and there are surely quite a few more ways to do it. &nbsp;What’s clear is that Windows XP support is over. &nbsp;Any additional days you spend chained to the legacy OS, you do so at your own risk. &nbsp;Upgrading is easy. &nbsp;Buying a new computer is easy. &nbsp;Setting up your new apps and migrating your data over is… <a href="http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/upgrade-from-windows-vista-xp-tutorial" target="_blank">less easy</a>, but it’s better you spend the time doing that than, say, calling up your credit card companies because some industrious hacker connived their way into your Windows XP-based Web shopping, to name one example.</p> <p>If you’re on Windows XP, stop reading right now. &nbsp;Start upgrading. &nbsp;Stay safe.</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/why_you_must_upgrade_windows_xp_2014#comments hack hacker important microsoft Patch Tuesday psa scam Should I upgrade upgrade virus Windows windows 7 windows 8 windows xp News Features Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:11:12 +0000 Dave Murphy 27633 at http://www.maximumpc.com Puget Systems Offers Free Service on New PCs to Make Windows 8 Look and Feel Like Windows 7 http://www.maximumpc.com/puget_systems_offers_free_service_new_pcs_make_windows_8_look_and_feel_windows_7_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/classic_shell_start.jpg" alt="Classic Shell Windows 7" title="Classic Shell Windows 7" width="228" height="167" style="float: right;" />For when you want Windows 8, but not really</h3> <p>Here we are more than a year after the release of Windows 8 and it still remains a hot topic. The points of consternation among its critics are that Microsoft overhauled the user interface with a focus on touch computing, and then added insult to injury by removing the Start button and Start menu (the Start button has since returned, but without the handy menu). Nevertheless, it's a faster and more secure operating system than Windows 7. What's a user to do? Well, if you're buying a rig from boutique builder <strong>Puget Systems, you can have the company give Windows 8 a makeover so that it essentially feels like Windows 7</strong>.</p> <p>The new service is called "<a href="https://www.pugetsystems.com/parts/Software-Courtesy-Install/Windows-8-Makeover-Emulate-Windows-7-10219" target="_blank">Windows 8 Makeover: Emulate Windows 7</a>" and it's a free as a courtesy install on new system orders. It includes a handful of tweaks that you can apply yourself, but for less savvy users, this is a neat option that starts with installing Classic Shell, a utility that brings back the Start menu and prompts the system to boot directly into the desktop.</p> <p>Beyond the installation of Classic Shell, Puget Systems will configure desktop programs to be the default over Windows 8 apps where possible (Windows Photo Viewer, Windows Media Player, etc.). And finally, the Charms bar is disabled, as Puget Systems says it's an unnecessary feature with the added functionality of the Classi Shell Start menu.</p> <p>Is a service like this even necessary? Puget Systems says the adoption of Windows 8 from its customers is "very weak" and even slower than it was with Vista. At the same time, the boutique builder recognizes there are some distinct advantages to running Windows 8, one of them being a longer support windows from Microsoft.</p> <p>You can read more of the company's reasoning in a <a href="http://www.pugetsystems.com/blog/2014/03/25/What-Our-Customers-Have-to-Say-About-Windows-8-549/" target="_blank">blog post</a> by its founder, Jon Bach.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/puget_systems_offers_free_service_new_pcs_make_windows_8_look_and_feel_windows_7_2014#comments Classic Shell OEM Puget Systems rigs Software windows 7 windows 8 News Tue, 25 Mar 2014 15:00:56 +0000 Paul Lilly 27506 at http://www.maximumpc.com Former Microsoft Employee in Hot Water for Allegedly Leaking Windows 8 Trade Secrets http://www.maximumpc.com/former_microsoft_employee_hot_water_allegedly_leaking_windows_8_trade_secrets_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/microsoft_building.jpg" alt="Microsoft Building" title="Microsoft Building" width="228" height="172" style="float: right;" />An ex-Microsoft worker is accused of sending confidential Windows information to a French blogger</h3> <p><strong>One of Microsoft's former employees has been arrested and ordered held without bail for allegedly leaking Windows 8 trade secrets</strong> to a French blogger, court documents revealed today. His name is Alex Kibkalo and he used to work for the Redmond outfit in Lebanon and Russia. Prosecutors in the case claim that Kibkalo provided the blogger with confidential Microsoft documents, including screenshots of unreleased versions of Windows.</p> <p>Microsoft's main beef here doesn't appear to be that Kibkalo supplied screen captures to the blogger, who then posted them online for all the Internet to see. The bigger issue is that of allegedly sharing "proprietary and confidential trade secrets," including actual code, via email to the blogger's Hotmail account, <a href="http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/03/20/microsoft_ex_worker_charged_with_leaking_win_8_trade_secrets/" target="_blank"><em>The Register</em> reports</a>.</p> <p>According to court documents, Kibkalo shared Microsoft's Activation Server Software Development Kit (SDK) along with unreleased versions of Windows Live Messenger. The documents point out that having access to the SDK could allow a hacker to reverse engineer the code that's put in place to protect against piracy.</p> <p>Kibkalo was in Lebanon at the time the alleged leak took place. Based on the findings of an internal investigation by Microsoft and that of the FBI, it's believed that Kibkalo used a virtual machine on a Microsoft server to send the files from a mail.ru account. It's also said that the two talked about the illegal exchange on MSN chat.</p> <p>Why do it, if in fact he's found guilty? Investigators believe he was motivated by a poor performance review he received after having been employed at Microsoft for 7 years.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/former_microsoft_employee_hot_water_allegedly_leaking_windows_8_trade_secrets_2014#comments alex kibkalo microsoft Software windows 8 News Thu, 20 Mar 2014 15:35:38 +0000 Paul Lilly 27475 at http://www.maximumpc.com Mozilla Scrubs Firefox for Windows 8 Touch http://www.maximumpc.com/mozilla_scrubs_firefox_windows_8_touch <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="http://www.maximumpc.com/files/u69/firefox_touch.jpg" alt="Mozilla Firefox for Windows 8 Touch" title="Mozilla Firefox for Windows 8 Touch" width="228" height="157" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>The long-delayed browser had been under development since 2012</h3> <p>Mozilla has <strong>brought down the curtain on Firefox for Windows 8 Touch</strong>, Johnathan Nightingale, Vice President of Firefox, announced Friday. The decision is particularly surprising as the first stable build of the touch-friendly browser, which had been <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/mozilla_working_metro-style_firefox_windows_8" target="_blank">under development since 2012</a>, was due out soon.</p> <p>Mozilla was forced to take this drastic step after the Firefox for Windows 8 Touch Beta, released last month, failed to gain any semblance of momentum. According to Nightingale, the <a href="https://blog.mozilla.org/futurereleases/2014/03/14/metro/" target="_blank">response to the beta was so poor that it never witnessed “more than 1000 active daily users.”</a> This is in stark contrast to pre-release builds meant for the desktop proper, which tend to attract millions of testers on a daily basis.</p> <p>“This leaves us with a hard choice. We could ship it, but it means doing so without much real-world testing. That’s going to mean lots of bugs discovered in the field, requiring a lot of follow up engineering, design, and QA effort,” Nightingale wrote in a blog post. “To ship it without doing that follow up work is not an option. If we release a product, we maintain it through end of life. When I talk about the need to pick our battles, this feels like a bad one to pick: significant investment and low impact.”</p> <p>“Instead, we pull it. This opens up the risk that Metro might take off tomorrow and we’d have to scramble to catch back up, but that’s a better risk for us to take than the real costs of investment in a platform our users have shown little sign of adopting. The code will live on – many of us feel a great attachment to the product regardless of its market – but we’ll focus our efforts in places where we can reach more people. There’s a lot more of that work still to do.”</p> <p><em style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; color: #000000; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 21px; orphans: auto; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;">Follow Pulkit on&nbsp;<a style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; color: #cc0000; text-decoration: none; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" href="https://plus.google.com/107395408525066230351?rel=author">Google+</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/mozilla_scrubs_firefox_windows_8_touch#comments firefox for windows 8 touch metro modern ui Mozilla windows 8 News Sat, 15 Mar 2014 22:21:13 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 27449 at http://www.maximumpc.com Windows 8 Designer Offers Candid Explanation of Metro and Why Power Users Hate It http://www.maximumpc.com/windows_8_designer_offers_candid_explanation_metro_and_why_power_users_hate_it_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_8_start_3.jpg" alt="Windows 8 Start Screen" title="Windows 8 Start Screen" width="228" height="143" style="float: right;" />Metro is the antithesis for power users</h3> <p>To put it bluntly, "Metro is shit for power users." Those are the words of <strong>Jacob Miller, a UI designer for Windows 8 who lunged into a <em>Reddit</em> bash fest of Windows 8</strong> that began with a discussion of how many licenses have been sold to date. To be clear, Miller's intent was not to pile on the Windows 8 hate, but to clarify why Metro exists. To do that, he wanted to start from common ground before going down the rabbit hole, hence his opening comment.</p> <p>To sum it up, Miller said Metro exists as a content consumption space. It's for casual users who are really only interested in doing things like updating their statuses on Facebook, viewing photos, and "maybe posting a selfie to Instagram." He tossed out examples of your computer illiterate little sister and your mom who only wants to look up recipes.</p> <p>"That is what Metro is. It is the antithesis of a power user," Miller explains. "A power user is a content creator. They have multiple things open on multiple monitors -- sometimes with multiple virtual machines with their own nested levels of complexity."</p> <p>Miller then explained how before Windows 8, casual users and content creators had to hare the same space, kind of like a one-size-fits-all tuxedo that isn't tailored towards any specific group. As a result, many features were cut from previous versions of Windows.</p> <p>"So why make Metro the default? And why was there no way to boot to desktop in Windows 8.0? The short answer is because casual users don't go exploring," Miller said. "If we made desktop the default as it has always been, and included a nice little Start menu that felt like home, the casual users would never have migrated to their land of milk and honey."</p> <p>The good news for power users is that the casual crowd now knows about their new home, so now Microsoft can "start tailoring." Miller admits it will take some time for power users to see the benefits and that there's a lot of work left to do, but over time, the desktop will become more advanced and have things added to it that Microsoft couldn't add before, perhaps even multiple desktops like OSX and Linux have.</p> <p>"Things will be faster, more advanced, and craftier than they have in the past -- and that's why Metro is good for power users," Miller concludes.</p> <p>Check out his full (and surprisingly candid) <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/1xvbsm/windows_8_sells_100_million_fewer_copies_than/" target="_blank">explanation</a>, and then let us know in the comments section below if it affects how you view Metro. Also, kudos to <a href="http://www.dailytech.com/Windows+8+Designer+Metro+is+the+Antithesis+of+a+Power+User/article34354.htm" target="_blank"><em>Daily Tech</em></a> for digging this up on <em>Reddit</em>.</p> <p>Image Credit: Flickr (Ceo1O17)</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/windows_8_designer_offers_candid_explanation_metro_and_why_power_users_hate_it_2014#comments jacob miller metro microsoft reddit Software windows 8 News Wed, 26 Feb 2014 15:12:46 +0000 Paul Lilly 27343 at http://www.maximumpc.com Windows 8 vs. Windows 8.1 http://www.maximumpc.com/windows_8_vs_windows_81 <!--paging_filter--><h3>Windows 8 vs. Windows 8.1</h3> <p>You are your own worst enemy, indeed. In this month’s matchup, we pit Windows 8.1 against its predecessor, Windows 8, in not so much an outright battle, but a comparison of some of the more notable tweaks that Microsoft has slapped into its first refresh of the controversial operating system. Just make sure you tell your system to stop hitting itself, OK?</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/win_8_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/win_8_small.jpg" alt="Do you like clutter? Then you must be loving Windows 8 right about now; the Start Screen can be a power user’s worst enemy." title="Windows 8" width="620" height="387" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Do you like clutter? Then you must be loving Windows 8 right about now; the Start Screen can be a power user’s worst enemy.</strong></p> <h4>ROUND 1: Start Menu</h4> <p>We’ll begrudgingly give Windows 8.1 the win here, but that’s not to say we agree with the way Microsoft went about changing Windows 8’s access to applications. The now-included Start button within Windows 8.1’s desktop mode is hardly a Start button in the normal, Windows 7-or-older sense of the phrase. Rather, it takes one back to the standard ol’ Start Screen much as if you accidentally poked the Windows key on your keyboard. No fair.</p> <p>We do, however, appreciate some of the subtle modifications made to this Start Screen. It includes a more direct shortcut to one’s (newly filter-friendly) All Apps menu, as well as a more strict interpretation of just what gets dumped onto your Start Screen when you install an app. With Windows 8, slapping the Combined Community Codec Pack, for instance, littered our Start Screen with shortcuts. On Windows 8.1, zilch; you only get the tile dump if you go All Apps.</p> <p><strong>Winner: Windows 8.1</strong></p> <h4>ROUND 2: User Customization</h4> <p>Windows 8.1 takes the cake in this category, if for nothing else than its newfound ability to allow users to boot directly to the desktop upon Windows’ startup. However, Microsoft has also kicked up Windows 8’s Snap View feature in this update, freeing you from the confines of only being able to view two apps at once within Modern.<strong></strong></p> <p>We also like that you can now have Windows 8.1 jump to the Start Screen or the Apps view when you tap the Start button. It’s a simple tweak that gives power users access to everything if they want it, and users who prefer a more simplified Start Screen far less of a headache.</p> <p>Those looking to build a little more unity between their desktop and Start Screen can now elect to use a matching background for both. The OS also comes with a host of new options for background patterns and images.</p> <p><strong>Winner: Windows 8.1</strong></p> <h4>ROUND 3: App Store</h4> <p>It ain’t perfect by any means—sorry, Windows users: Google and Apple beat your built-in offering by a country mile—but we do appreciate the improvements found within Windows 8.1’s official app store. You’re still stuck with horizontal scrolling, unfortunately, but at least Microsoft is attempting to make it a little easier for users to find apps they might want to install and play with.<strong></strong></p> <p>Case in point: The store now features a lovely “Trending” section right on its front page that should, ideally, show you which apps users find most interesting. The same goes for its brand-new (and aptly titled) “New &amp; Rising” section, as well as the easily accessible lists of Top Paid and Top Free apps.</p> <p>We also find ourselves loving the integration of the right-click App Bar that pulls up easily accessible (or finger-tap-able) categories of apps in addition to a list of that which you’ve already installed. That said, this is still a fairly lame-o app store.</p> <p><strong>Winner: Windows 8.1</strong></p> <h4>ROUND 4: Search</h4> <p>We’re torn. What should real search functionality be within an operating system? Just something that searches for files and data throughout your hard drives? A hybridized, Windows 8–like approach that allows you to search for specific apps, search within settings on your desktop, and even search within the apps themselves?</p> <p>Microsoft seems to still be unsure what you should receive when you start typing random letters on Windows 8.1’s Start Screen. In Windows 8.1, search now integrates a Bing-based web search for whatever it is you’re typing on the Start Screen in addition to a search of anything on your system. That’s the default “Everything” view, which you can isolate to Settings, Files, Web Images, and Videos via a provided filter.</p> <p>If you’re looking to search within apps—like, say, your email—you have to pull up the app itself to do so. We shrug.</p> <p><strong>Winner: Tie</strong></p> <h4>ROUND 5: SkyDrive</h4> <p>Windows 8.1 packs a ton of additional SkyDrive functionality into the operating system by default, making it more of a useful companion than a semi-hidden afterthought.</p> <p>Take, for example, the simple fact that you can now see exactly how much SkyDrive storage you’re using (and have remaining) within the new SkyDrive settings menu in Modern’s PC Settings area. (And, of course, you can also quickly purchase more.)</p> <p>Flip on SkyDrive, and you’ll also be given the option to save your documents to the cloud by default instead of your local hard drive—a pleasant little way to ensure you’re always cloud-connected. Windows 8.1 comes with additional settings that you can back up or synchronize to the cloud, and SkyDrive now integrates wonderfully within File Explorer itself. Simply put, you can access your SkyDrive files (if online) without having to synchronize them, and you can select files or folders to “Make Offline” as you see fit.</p> <p><strong>Winner: Windows 8.1</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/win8.1_small_0.png"><img src="/files/u152332/win8.1_small.png" alt="Windows 8.1 gives you a flood of tiles, but only if you want it; otherwise, your Start Screen is far less headache-inducing after you’ve installed a few apps." title="Windows 8.1" width="620" height="342" /></a></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Windows 8.1 gives you a flood of tiles, but only if you want it; otherwise, your Start Screen is far less headache-inducing after you’ve installed a few apps.<br /></strong></p> <h3>And the Winner Is…<strong></strong></h3> <p>We’re not going to lie; it would be a bit silly to think that an update to a major operating system is ultimately worse than the original version of the OS. Then again, take Microsoft’s track record into account—it did take a big service pack to make Windows Vista palatable. While Windows 8.1 wins the day against Windows 8, keep in mind that there are things about the update that might be a bit jarring; you might not even like them. But, hey, there’s always Windows 8.2? <strong><br /></strong></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/windows_8_vs_windows_81#comments 2013 8.1 better feature head to head Holiday issues 2013 improvements upgrade windows 8 worth it? Office Applications Software Features Tue, 25 Feb 2014 08:18:27 +0000 David Murphy 27330 at http://www.maximumpc.com Microsoft Pushing Users To Adopt Windows 8 Over Windows 7 http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_pushing_users_adopt_windows_8_over_windows_7_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u160391/windows8_0.jpg" width="250" height="141" style="float: right;" />Windows 7 support is being phased out</h3> <p><strong>Microsoft </strong>has set a firm date of October 31st for final sale of consumer Windows 7 machines, but business machines are another story. The official website has been updated as such to reflect this, with Microsoft noting that October 31, 2014 is the new end-of-sale date for Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, or Ultimate PCs. Home Premium takes the cake when it comes to sales, but now Microsoft is pushing for Windows 8 to take over as reigning champ, per <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/article/2098425/microsoft-nudges-us-more-firmly-toward-windows-8.html">PC World</a>. </p> <p>Last year, Microsoft gave the same date for the halting of sale of all Windows 7 PCs, but then redacted that same announcement. It's standard practice to give a year's notice before pulling the plug on support, and this is projected to be the case with business machines, but it's possible this will change over the course of the year. Are you still using Windows 7 or have you updated? What about any business computers at the office?</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_pushing_users_adopt_windows_8_over_windows_7_2014#comments microsoft news Windows windows 7 windows 8 News Mon, 17 Feb 2014 07:18:29 +0000 Brittany Vincent 27273 at http://www.maximumpc.com Microsoft's Tami Reller Touts Over 200 Million Windows 8 Licenses Sold http://www.maximumpc.com/microsofts_tami_reller_touts_over_200_million_windows_8_licenses_sold <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_8_boxes_1.jpg" alt="Windows 8 Boxes" title="Windows 8 Boxes" width="228" height="130" style="float: right;" />Redmond finally provides an update on Windows 8 sales</h3> <p>We haven't heard a whole lot from Microsoft in regards to Windows 8 sales, so it was a nice surprise when Redmond's Executive Vice President of Marketing spilled the beans on exactly how many license have been sold to date. According to comments Reller made at a Goldman Sachs technology conference, <strong>Microsoft has sold more than 200 million Windows 8 licenses</strong> since launching to the public in October 2012 (and to OEMs in August 2012).</p> <p>"We've surpassed 200 million licenses now on Windows 8, which is pretty stunning," Reller said, <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2014/2/13/5408666/windows-8-200-million-license-sales" target="_blank">according to <em>The Verge</em></a>.</p> <p>In a way, that is stunning, considering all the criticism Microsoft took for forcing desktop users to accept a touch-friendly interface that's best suited for touchscreen devices like tablets and hybrids. At the same time, Microsoft sold over 240 million Windows 7 licenses a year after it debuted, so Windows 8 isn't doing as well as its predecessor.</p> <p>The slower sales can't all be blamed on the overhauled UI. Some of the blame has to be put on the PC market as a whole, which finds itself in a slump as users flock to tablets and smartphones in place of secondary systems. Still, Microsoft isn't blind to the concerns of traditional desktop users.</p> <p>"We're being very thoughtful about what's going well, what's not going well, and how do we change that," Reller said.</p> <p><a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/windows_810_everything_you_need_know">Windows 8.1</a> represented the first major step in addressing customers' concerns. It brought back the Start button (not the Start menu) and introduced a number of other user-friendly changes. Microsoft is also planning a robust <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/microsofts_update_windows_81_may_boot_directly_desktop_default2013">update to Windows 8.1</a> in spring.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/microsofts_tami_reller_touts_over_200_million_windows_8_licenses_sold#comments microsoft operating system OS Software tami reller windows 8 News Thu, 13 Feb 2014 19:56:54 +0000 Paul Lilly 27262 at http://www.maximumpc.com