Tag Archive: Windows 8


Device Manager displays only non-Plug and Play devices, drivers, and printers when you click Show hidden devices on the View menu. Devices that you install that are not connected to the computer (such as a Universal Serial Bus [USB] device or “ghosted” devices) are not displayed in Device Manager, even when you click Show hidden devices.


To work around this behavior and display devices when you click Show hidden devices:

  1. Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Command Prompt.
  2. At a command prompt, type the following command , and then press ENTER:
    set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1
  3. Type the following command a command prompt, and then press ENTER:
    start devmgmt.msc
  4. Troubleshoot the devices and drivers in Device Manager.

    NOTE: Click Show hidden devices on the View menu in Device Manager before you can see devices that are not connected to the computer.

  5. When you finish troubleshooting, close Device Manager.
  6. Type exit at the command prompt.

    Note that when you close the command prompt window, Window clears the devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1variable that you set in step 2 and prevents ghosted devices from being displayed when you click Show hidden devices


Windows 8 Keyboard Shortcuts

1. Windows Key + C: Displays Charms menu.

2. Windows Key + X: Brings up a menu of advanced system options, including Windows Control Panel, Command Prompt, Task Manager and File Explorer.

3. Windows Key + I: Displays the Settings menu for the current app. For example, if you’re in Internet Explorer 10, this key shows Internet options. If you’re on the Start menu, it shows general OS settings.

4. Windows Key + Q: Brings up the apps search menu that allows you to search your list of installed programs.

5. Windows Key + D: Activates desktop mode.

6. Windows Key + Tab: Brings up the Task Switcher and toggles between Windows 8-style apps.

7. Windows Key + H: Brings up Share menu for the current app. For example, hitting Windows Key + H in Bing Maps, lets you email or share map information on social networks.

8. Windows Key + M: Opens desktop mode and minimizes all windows.

9. Windows Key + W: Opens universal search menu and sets it to search settings.

10. Windows Key + F: Opens universal search menu and sets it to search files.

11. Windows Key + R: Opens Run menu where you can launch programs by typing in their executable file names.

12. Windows Key + E: Opens File Explorer to the “My Computer” view which shows all your drives.

13. Windows Key +Number Key (1-9): Switch to desktop mode and make the Nth application on the task bar active where N is the number key you hit and 1 is the furthest taskbar icon to the left.

14. Windows Key + . (period key): Docks the current Windows 8-style application to the right or left, depending on how many times you hit it.

15. Windows Key + Z: Brings up app menu, which shows contextual options for the active app.


Hyper-V is a native hypervisor that enables platform virtualization on x86-64 systems first introduced in Windows Server 2008.  Subsequent releases existed in Windows Server 2008 R2 and the latest in Windows Server 2012.  It is Microsoft’s competitive offering against VMWare ESX.

Hyper-V has taken a debut in the non-server operating systems, Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 Enterprise.

There are a few methods of creating virtual machine templates.  I will go over the traditional method that does not involve any additional cost programs like SCVMM (System Center Virtual Machine Manager.)  However, I highly suggest using it to manage a virtual machine environment and the System Center suite, in general, is fantastic for managing an entire infrastructure deployment.

Base Virtual Machine

  1. Create Base Virtual Machine
  2. Shut down VM and make a backup copy of the VHD.  This is used in the future if you want to recreate the base template.
  3. Boot the original VM and not the copy you just made.
  4. Run System Preparation Tool (Sysprep).  It is found under: C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep\sysprep.exe.
  5. Configure Sysprep to do an Enter System Out-of-Box Experience (OOBE), check the Generalize button so it creates a new SSID and choose Shutdown as the Shutdown Option.
  6. Copy the VHD again, making copies for all the new machines you want to create.

Creating Virtual Machine from Base Template

  1. Select New Virtual Machine Wizard and assign memory, CPU and configure networking.
  2. Connect Existing Virtual Hard Disk.
  3. Finalize wizard to build the new virtual machine.
  4. Start the newly created virtual machine.

If you’ve purchased a new machine with Windows 8, the BIOS most likely includes the new Windows 8 secure boot feature preventing unsigned operating systems (currently non-Windows 8 OSes) from running or even installing.

  • Go to the Charms Bar in Windows 8 and select Settings > Change PC Settings > General > Advanced Start Up. On the next screen select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > UEFI Firmware Settings (this option is available only on new Windows 8 machines).


  • Turn on machine > Press key to enter Setup/BIOS Setting > Security > Secure Boot > Change ‘Enabled’ to ‘Disabled’

Description from my ThinkPad X230 UEFI BIOS Secure Boot setting:

  • Enables or disables Secure Boot feature.
  • [Enabled] Prevent unauthorized operating systems from running at boot time.
  • [Disabled] Allow to run any operating systems at boot time.
  • Note: Enabling Secure Boot requires to set the startup setting to “UEFI Only” and “CSM Support: No”.

Microsoft Windows 8 is a great product blending desktop and tablet interfaces together.  They have done a great job simplifying the licensing with fewer versions compared to what used to be available previously for Windows Vista and 7.  The editions that have been killed are Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate. 6 versions down to 3 (4 if you include the ARM-based version, RT):

  • Windows 8
  • Windows 8 Pro
  • Windows 8 Enterprise
  • Windows RT

Thank the IT Heavens for the simplicity of a better licensing system.  However, for some reason they decided to make Windows Media Center an add-on that requires an additional $9.99 purchase instead of being included. For those of you on Windows 8 Pro or are thinking about it, go to this link and get the free product key and get Windows 8 Media Center Pack. Act fast since it is only for a limited time!  Expires January 31, 2013.



Today I received my first batch of ThinkPad X230s to deploy and the build quality is as expected albeit with one caveat.  The disappointing and crippled keyboard with one less row of keys and a different layout is a nuisance.  I do not mind the chiclet keyboard as the backlight is a classy touch and a nice surprise that they kept the ThinkLight in place as well giving us options on which to use.

The first things that I did was boot it up with the standard hard drive that was included a 320GB, 7200rpm (revolutions per minute) to see what changes Windows 8 and Lenovo brought to the table.  It was a very clean integration featuring the Metro UI experience.  Once the OS was all loaded up I went to C:\Windows\Web and copied off the Lenovo Wallpapers for future use.

Second, once I grabbed the files I shut it down and flipped it over to remove the included 4 GB DDR3- 1600MHz (1 DIMM) and 320GB spindle with a total of 3 screws from the case and 4 screws from the HDD caddy.  It was replaced with 16 GB DDR3 – 1600 MHz that was purchased for $50 from Newegg compared to the $340 Lenovo charges and a Samsung 830 Series 256 GB SSD (solid state drive) from B&H Photo, Video & Pro Audio for $162 versus Lenovo’s closest offering of a 180GB SSD, SATA3 for $380.  These simple extra steps saved a total of $508 and is a significant difference when the quantity is multiplied with additional machines.

Third, it was time to install a fresh copy of Windows 8 Pro that I opted to upgrade for $50.  I downloaded the ISO and used the Windows 7 USB DVD Download Tool to create a bootable USB.  I found that it did not boot into the installer like it normally does.  I figured that it has something to do with the new UEFI (unified extensible firmware interface) mode and Secure Boot.  The default setting is now UEFI Only preventing a non-UEFI installer from loading.

Here are the steps to create a UEFI Bootable USB with Windows 8.

Method 1:

  1. Make sure you have a Windows 8 ISO image file prepared.
  2. Format your USB drive in FAT32.
  3. Extract the ISO using 7-Zip or similar program.
  4. Copy all the files from it to the USB drive.
  5. Insure “UEFI Only” or something along those lines are selected so it boots correctly as opposed to the traditional “Legacy” or “BIOS” mode.
  6. From there it should load up the UEFI Windows 8 installer and proceed with Windows installation normally.

Method 2:

  1. Make sure you have a Windows 8 ISO image file prepared.
  2. Attach USB flash drive (at least 4GB) directly to your computer.
  3. Download Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool.
  4. Run the tool and follow the instructions.
  5. Create a new folder on your computer disk (i.e. C:\WIN8)
  6. Copy all the files from your USB drive to the newly created folder.
  7. Right click on the USB drive icon in Computer window and select “Format…” from the context menu.  Select “FAT32 (Default)” in “File system” drop down menu.  Click “Start” and wait until the drive gets formatted.
  8. Copy all the files from the folder you created earlier (i.e. C:\WIN8) to the newly formatted FAT32 drive.
  9. Your UEFI Windows 8 installation USB drive is ready.  Attach it to USB 2.0 port (some computers do not boot from USB 3.0 ports) of the computer you want to get Windows installed.
  10. Reboot computer and the installer should work normally with all the benefits of UEFI.

The reasons for all these step is the Windows 7 USB DVD Download Tool formats the USB drive as NTFS and that type of filesystem is not supported for UEFI booting.



UPDATE: Information on receiving a COA below is incorrect.  I haven’t had time to update this entry, but I was informed incorrectly by a Lenovo representative multiple times.  In addition, what I received was a power adapter for a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 which is a completely different laptop!  More information is found at http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Windows-8-OEM-OA-3.0-Piracy-Genuine-Microsoft,16636.html

Thank you, Ripper, for the comment and link.


I received what has to be one of the first batches of ThinkPad X230s with Windows 8 Pro and discovered a problem with the shipment…it was missing the CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY that is always including with most OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) that contains the Windows Product Key for those that install Windows on their own.  There are several reasons why I recommend to do this, the top being cost savings on hard-drives or SSDs (solid state drives) and performance enhancements with a clean install of the operating system with only the drivers and software you need as opposed to the “junkware” (i.e. Norton Antivirus and other trial software) that is typically included.

In my case, the standard operating procedure (SOP) for me is to install a SSD that is purchased separately since it is significantly cheaper to do it that way instead of having it pre built with one.  Case in point, the Samsung 830 256 GB SSD was purchased for $162 from B&H Photo, Video & Pro Audio versus the “180GB Solid State Drive, SATA3” option priced at $380 through Lenovo.

The new ThinkPads use 7mm height drives versus the typical 9.5mm standard so be aware of this if you’re going to install them yourselves.  The best option currently are the Samsung 830 Series SSD since they are 7mm height, reasonable priced, fast and reliable.  It is an extremely easy process that requires removing 5 screws and swapping the drives out.

Without the product key, you are stuck with the problem of how to activate a fresh install of Windows, in this case, Windows 8 Pro.

The solution is to call Lenovo Technical Support at 1-800-426-7378 and speak to a technician explaining the situation.  Depending on the quality of the representative, it may take some time to understand the predicament.  Once they understand the problem, the solution is they will send a sticker with the product key on it to place on the bottom of your laptop free of charge.  Ironically, documentation from the manual states that this sticker is placed underneath in the battery compartment and there is even a place that fits in perfectly.  I am told that because Windows 8 is newly being shipped with these computers that is the reason for this hiccup and that the production process should be ironed out shortly and the stickers will be included and placed in the correct location.

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