Windows 8

Feb 18 2013

News - How to Banish Live Tiles from Windows 8 and Bring Back the Desktop

Windows 8In my opinion Windows 8 is faster then Windows 7, and I don't mind using it, but when you are on a remote desktop of Windows 8 or running it in Hyper-V, it is less then pleasent when it comes to moving the mouse to the corners to do anything. I came across this article in PCWorld Magazine and then found it on thier site for easier click through. I have done this for mine and I am enjoying it, if I can keep it as Windows 7ish feel then I am more happier. Goodbye "Live Tiles" and hello desktop again.

In a world exploding with tablets and touchscreens, Microsoft's decision to saddle Windows 8 with the finger-friendly Modern interface formerly known as Metro makes a lot of sense—for Microsoft. But if you're among the majority of Windows users who aren't using a tablet or a touchscreen, the focus on Live Tiles and mobile-centric apps is more of a frustration than a feature. Vexingly, Windows 8 is riddled with sneaky ways to drag you out of the desktop and dump you on that shifting, shiny Start screen.




Jan 29 2013

News - ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre 6 "Metro" UI

ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre 6

When Microsoft disabled optical disc drives for media players, I was wondering where applications like TotalMedia Theatre would go - after all, if you're not shipping a new product every so often it's difficult to keep the fresh stream of revenue required to keep making bug fixes and adding support for new "protection" schemes. I wasn't able to see this at CES, but shortly after I got back ArcSoft let me know that it was coming and today I finally got the time to have a look - you can too after the click.

Jan 20 2013

News - AT Compares IVB on Windows 7 & Windows 8

A few weeks ago Ganesh did an excellent writup of an IVB build in a passive Streacom chassis, today he's back with a look at how Windows 7 and Windows 8 perform on that system. It's a great read, and I have to admit to being a little surprised by the numbers, but I also wish the piece included factors like Windows Media Center and commerical Blu-ray playback in the mix because frankly those are pretty important to me - and I suspect to many of you as well.

Oct 31 2012

News - Windows Media Center Free for Windows 8 Pro Until January 31st

Metro WMCMicrosoft broke a lot of hearts when they announced that Windows Media Center was not going to be included with Windows 8. It was frustrating enough that WMC development was languishing, but turning it into an optional add-on, and only for Windows 8 Pro at that, seemed to be Microsoft's passive-aggressive way of letting HTPC fans know that WMC was well and truly dead. Fortunately, Microsoft has decided to throw us a bone, if only temporarily. Until January 31, 2013, Microsoft is giving the Windows Media Center Pack away for free. All one needs to do is visit Microsoft's "Add Features" website and supply an email address to receive a product code. Folks running the standard version of Windows 8 will still need to pony up for the Windows Pro Upgrade Pack for $59.99 which includes WMC. After January 31st, the WMC Pack will presumably return to the regular $9.99 price tag. On a side note, the WMC Pack product code apparently only works on retail versions of Windows 8 Pro. MSDN subscribers are reporting issues using the product key and I should find out about Technet copies this weekend.

Of course, Windows Media Center is still widely available for Windows 8 users, but it doesn’t come with the OS itself. Users must purchase it as an add-on in the Windows Store for $10. Granted, that’s not a lot of money at all, especially for all the features that you get, but considering that it was once a free feature that came with Windows, we can see how HTPC enthusiasts would be upset.


Oct 27 2012

News - Hulu Plus, CyberLink PowerDVD 12 and PowerDVD Mobile Arrive on Windows 8

With the release of Windows 8, we are going to see a steady stream of streaming media apps make a splash on Windows 8 and the Windows Store. Netflix got in early, and this week brought a Hulu Plus app and new versions of CyberLink PowerDVD. The Hulu Plus app takes full advantage of the Metro/Modern/Windows 8 UI with touch controls, pin to Start screen, and Snap View. As a Hulu Plus app, it is only useful to Hulu Plus subscribers, so fortunately the free Hulu is just a website away.

At Hulu, we are relentless about creating beautiful, intuitive and engaging experiences that help you find and enjoy popular current season TV shows whenever you want, on whatever device you want. Which is why we are so proud to announce the Hulu Plus app is now available on one of the newest operating systems: Windows 8.

Hulu Blog

PowerDVD Mobile for Windows 8

CyberLink has announced two new versions of PowerDVD with the release of PowerDVD 12 and PowerDVD Mobile for Windows 8. PowerDVD 12 is a fairly standard upgrade to their traditional x86 desktop software. For $14.99, or for free with the purchase of PowerDVD 12, PowerDVD Mobile brings some basic video and photo editing, and MPEG and MKV support to the new Windows 8 UI. The company is also promising an Ultra version of PowerDVD Mobile for Windows 8 is in the works, but they are not offering any specific details at this point. Unfortunately, PowerDVD Mobile does not support Windows RT, so anyone who drank the Redmond Kool-Aid and picked up a Surface is going to have to look elsewhere for their MKV fix.

CyberLink Corp. (5203.TW), a provider of innovative media creation solutions, today launched an updated version of its award-winning media player, PowerDVD 12, along with newPowerDVD Mobile to ensure users of Microsoft’s upcoming Windows® 8 operating system continue to enjoy a premium entertainment experience on their new Windows 8 PCs.


Jul 26 2012

News - Microsoft Announces BUILD 2012

Microsoft held their first BUILD conference in September 2011, providing the first in-depth look at Windows 8 and Metro. Microsoft also used the conference to release the Developers Preview, the first beta of the new OS, specifically so that developers could begin developing and testing apps for the new WinRT framework that Microsoft was bringing to bear with Windows 8. While last year's BUILD conference helped to kick off the Windows 8 beta cycle, Microsoft is undoubtedly looking for the next BUILD conference to help kick of the Windows 8 sales cycle. The company has announced that BUILD 2012 will take place in Redmond, WA from October 30 to November 2. With the Windows 8 development team having already committed to an October 26 release date for the new OS, one would assume that BUILD 2012 will be as much about promoting the freshly minted OS and highlighting the benefits of the new app experience as it will be about encouraging and educating developers. Given that Microsoft is already promising to spend time at BUILD 2012 talking about Windows Phone 8, Windows Server, Windows Azure, and Visual Studio 2012, we can also probably expect much of the conference to be focused on how Microsoft is striving to establish Windows 8 as the one true Windows, a theme that will likely get picked up again and again throughout the next year as Microsoft also works to bring all of their media services in line and begins prepping for the next Xbox and its assault on the living room.

Microsoft Build

Microsoft finally has gone public with details about its next big Windows developer conference.

Build 2012, a k a Build 2.0, will be held October 30 to November 2 in Redmond, Wash. Registration will open on August 8, 2012.


Jul 06 2012

News - Guide to Using Windows 8 as a Windows Home Server

I've been a Windows Home Server user and advocate since the product's earliest inception. Like many WHS users, I was quite torn when Microsoft dropped Drive Extender from the WHS 2011 release, but ultimately switched over. As time has gone on, WHS 2011 has felt more and more like a regression of the product, not just because of the loss of the DE storage pooling, but because of the intrusive Launchpad app and the long-standing bug that prevents backups of UEFI-based computers, a problem that has all but rendered the beloved automatic backup functionality useless in my house. As Windows 8 took form with its own Storage Spaces pooling technology and robust backup capabilities, I began to wonder if Windows 8 might not be better Windows Home Server than WHS itself. Evidently, I am not the only one as the WHS experts over at We Got Served have posted the first in what they promise will be a series detailing how to use Windows 8 as a home server OS.

However, if a home server is no longer a viable option perhaps have a look at investing and migrating to a virtual private server.

In this series, Building a Windows 8 Home Server, we’ll dig into the lesser-known corners of the newWindows 8 operating system to uncover a wonderful secret. That the future of Microsoft’s home server push is alive and well and about to land on millions of desktops and devices later this year.

We Got Served

Jun 05 2012

News - Adding Windows Media Center to the Windows 8 Release Preview

I'm sure by now that many of our regular visitors have already downloaded and installed the Windows 8 Release Preview that Microsoft dropped late last week, but if you haven't been drawn in by the sweet siren song of pre-release software, then you might be surprised to discover that Windows Media Center is nowhere to be found in this final beta release of Windows 8. To gain access to Windows Media Center in the Windows 8 Release Preview, one must make use of the new Add Features to Windows 8 control panel that Microsoft first started talking about in early May. Microsoft is still tight-lipped about what the Windows Media Center add-on will cost in the final version of Widows 8, but for the Release Preview, Windows Media Center can still be added for free. Microsoft has posted complete details about how to add WIndows Media Center along with a product key to use on their Windows 8 Release Preview FAQ page. There's nothing new to see here, but at least it's an option.


Windows Media Center is not preinstalled in Windows 8 Release Preview. If you want to use Windows Media Center, you need to add it by following these steps:

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, and then click Search.)

  2. Enter add features in the search box, and then tap or click Add features to Windows 8.

  3. Tap or click I already have a product key.

  4. Enter this product key: MBFBV-W3DP2-2MVKN-PJCQD-KKTF7 and then click Next.

  5. Select the checkbox to accept the license terms and then click Add features.

    Your PC will restart and Windows Media Center will now be on your PC and the tile will be pinned to the Start screen.

    Windows 8 Release Preview FAQ

May 07 2012

News - Microsoft Offers Yet More Details on Windows Media Center and DVD Playback in Windows 8

Microsoft's recent Building Windows 8 blog post regarding the availability of Windows Media Center in Windows 8 raised almost as many questions as it answered, particularly regarding the unexpected connection between WMC and DVD playback. To help sort through some of the questions that their blog post raised, the Windows 8 team has followed up with a FAQ that attempts to clarify the relationship between WMC and DVD playback capability and to further refine Microsoft justifications for moving away from WMC and only making it available as a premium upgrade for select versions of Windows 8. There is not a whole lot new information here that could not be gleaned by reading between the lines in the original blog post and there is still no word on pricing for the WMC upgrade, but Microsoft is taking a more definitive stance on the limited future they envision for WMC. If you like to get a glimpse behind the scenes on the business end of Windows development, then the most interesting questions relate to how Microsoft and OEMs handle the licensing of codecs for things like DVD playback.

WMC Down the Drain

With the evolution of device form factors (tablets, thin and light, etc., none of which have optical drives) and change in media consumption patterns from optical disks and broadcast TV to online (Netflix, Youtube, Hulu, etc.), we concluded that we would no longer make DVD and broadcast TV capabilities available in all Windows editions, simply because the feature applies to a decreasing number of PCs sold. Instead, those capabilities will be available only to customers that want it via Add Windows Feature (aka Windows Anytime Upgrade). 

Building Windows 8

May 04 2012

News - Microsoft Provides More Details on Windows Media Center in Windows 8

WMC Green ButtonIn a recent Building Windows 8 blog post, Microsoft announced the new product editions for Windows 8. For HTPC-enthusiasts, the announcement turned out to be a good news/bad news proposition. The good news was that Microsoft plans to streamline their offerings, reducing the number of product editions that they plan on offering for x86/x64 PCs to just Windows 8 and Windows 8 Professional. The bad news was that Windows Media Center would only be available as a premium add-on, and only for Windows 8 Professional, the higher-end edition that is not targeted at the consumer market, two factors that seem sure to further limit the audience for WMC.

Well, Microsoft is back with another blog post in which they, kinda sorta, provide some clarification on how Windows Media Center will be made available in Windows 8. Long story short, Windows Media Center is still only going to be available in Windows 8 Pro, but at least there will be an option for all x86/x64-based Windows 8 users to upgrade their way to WMC. Media Center will be made available for purchase through the Add Features to Windows 8 control panel, the replacement for Windows Anytime Upgrade. Windows 8 Pro owners will purchase the Windows 8 Media Center Pack and Windows 8 owners will purchase the Windows 8 Pro Pack which will upgrade Windows 8 to Windows 8 Pro with WMC. It's only a kinda sorta clarification as there is still no details on pricing, though Microsoft continues to promise that it will be a marginal cost.

In the process of trying to clarify the WMC situation, Microsoft also provides some guidance on what Windows 8 will provide for media playback in Metro apps, including decoder and format container support. On the whole, media support will be largely the same as it was with Windows 7, but there are a couple of notable changes. Dolby Digital Plus support will be included in all versions of Windows 8, but only for file and streaming playback. DVD and VOB playback will only be available with the addition of Windows Media Center or with a third party application. Recorded TV playback will also be available only with Windows Media Center. In the end, Microsoft is justifying all of these moves by citing declining interest in optical disc and broadcast TV playback and as a means of reducing codec licensing costs for partners.

Metro style apps can use any of the decoders included in Windows. These decoders are optimized for system reliability, battery life, and performance, and cover all key playback scenarios for mainstream content such as YouTube video, Netflix video, Amazon audio/video, H.264 web browsing/streaming, Hulu video, MP4 video, AVCHD video from camcorders, Ultraviolet video, and the HTML5 video tag. Metro style apps can also include additional decoders (such as FLAC, MKV, OGG, etc.) in their apps package for use within the apps.

Building Windows 8

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